The reasons for an individual learning portal

Digitalisation is permeating all areas of life, and vocational training is also feeling the effects. With LX, Festo has developed a digital learning portal that responds to developments that are permanent.

People walking around staring at their smartphone, it's everywhere. People are so busy checking their e-mails or sending messages that the surroundings are completely forgotten. Schools are now using digital whiteboards instead of traditional blackboards. YouTube is full of appealing examples.

Things are also changing in factories. Maintenance technicians no longer have a notepad and a toolbox in their hands and are automatically taken to the next "patient" by an autonomously controlled mobile robot. In the meantime, they are told via a tablet how the software of a certain system needs to be adjusted.

Is this the image that comes to mind when we think of daily life, school and industrial production ten or fifteen years ago? Certainly not. The world has changed permanently, due to digitalisation.

New technologies as a matter of course

Rapid technological development, ever-increasing internationalisation and the widespread availability of Internet with the possibility of retrieving data via smartphones and tablets mean that new possibilities for involved in relevant subjects and learning content is constantly emerging. In addition, the typical target group of the trainer, the so-called "digital natives", grow up with smartphones and tablets and find it strange that these media are considered "new". This generation uses these devices constantly and takes it for granted that this technology must be used in education.

Way of learning is changing

The presence of smart devices creates a 'balancing act' for teachers and trainers. On the one hand, they are confronted with the training needs of future employees, and on the other, they have to deal with the target group that naturally has the greatest affinity with these media, but also continues to demand individual guidance.

In short, the content of training ('what') changes, as does its method ('how'), i.e. the way in which the (new) training content can be conveyed. Learning a few new words while waiting at the bus stop. Or watching a training video for a practical exam on the smartphone on the way to work, that is not the future but today. And so the 'where' is also changing.

The Covid pandemic further accelerated this change. Working and learning at home has taken flight out of necessity and by most predictions will be permanent.

Ideal mix

Technological development has existed since time immemorial and will continue to exist. To a much greater extent, it is a gradual process - and we are now in the middle of that process. These are exciting times for educators and human resource managers. Tomorrow's educated workforce will need to know more, have more skills and be prepared for profound change.

These changes and the aforementioned change in the way we learn have fuelled the demand for individual learning paths. Students can learn anywhere, at any time of the day. At the pace that suits them. Fast in the areas where it is possible, a bit slower in the specialisms where students need more time. Within the portal, the teacher can follow the progress per student in real time and take active action when necessary. This is the biggest advantage of Festo LX: education tailored to the individual.

An old saying can help to explain new things: it's the right mix that counts. Keeping the old and creating the new, which means continuing to use the 'old' methods and integrating the new technologies, can make sense in some areas. But in other areas, new methods are needed for the new content. And to this extent, a distinction will be made in future by trainers and trainees between 'learning something new' and 'the new learning'.

Trainers in training

Trainers must proactively prepare themselves for the Industry 4.0 themes. Ultimately, they act as multipliers for the trainees. This is what Festo calls 'train the trainer'. In addition to this training offer, an international '4.0 Community' is organised, where the trainers think about what will be possible, relevant and feasible in the future. After all, not everything that is possible is also feasible, economically meaningful and above all useful when it comes to training. In any case, process competence is of great importance for basic and advanced technical training. In future, this will be very important in order to understand and control processes, even if they involve obscure technologies. Festo trainers are already preparing themselves and their students for this scenario. An important tool for this is a feedback and development system that clearly shows the development of the competences of each individual trainee.

Festo LX in practice: 4.0 Learning factory

The MPS 403-1 training system is an example of a popular learning setup from Festo Didactic that combines hardware with digital learning via Festo LX. In addition to the computers at school, tablets or the students' smartphones are used for order initiation, information in the event of fault reporting and Augmented Reality.

The MPS 403-1 is designed for training in basic skills and specialist knowledge in the fields of automation technology and mechatronics. It takes the form of a miniaturised production line and also provides an in-depth insight into the intelligent networking of machines in the production environment and their work processes. The system consists of three stations: Distributing/conveyor pro, Joining and Sorting. These stations are networked, equipped with various RFID write and read heads and intelligent IO-Link-based sensors, and form an autonomous system.

With a web-based software environment around an educational MES system, MPS 403-1 provides a wide range of opportunities to learn about the latest technologies for Industry 4.0. This software environment includes an integrated web shop, training content such as IoT retrofit based on control systems, HMI touch panel programming and artificial intelligence with machine learning algorithms. With training programmes supported by Augmented Reality and clear, systematic preparation of all content with comprehensive training materials, this training system is a core component of any modern MPS-based training solution.

More about Festo LX

The digital Learning Experience Portal offers prepared learning content for many technical fields. At Festo LX we combine industry expertise with training know-how to create unique learning experiences. Festo LX is based on multimedia learning units that can be individually edited and compiled into individual learning paths. The courses can thus be easily adapted and perfectly tailored to the individual needs of course instructor and students.

July 2022