Work package 2

Research of personal strategies of learners and institutional factors of VET in supporting or hindering educational and vocational careers of at-risk young people in the Baltic countries and Norway.

In this part of the project we shall apply a complementary qualitative and a quantitative methodology. A qualitative, narrative interview study approach (Thomson, 2009) will be applied to study at-risk youth in VET schools. We plan to carry out 20-25 narrative interviews in each of the four countries, i.e. a total of 80-100. Parallel to it, we shall utilize OECDs PIAAC data/study, carried out in over 40 countries, covering the ages of 16 and 65 over (continuing from PISA age groups), and including information on a broad range of abilities in literacy, numeracy and complex problem-solving skills, as well as on an individual’s skill use and background (OECD, 2019). The data will be used to carry out statistical analyses on the skills and competences of young adults (16-25 years), also related to various background factors. These two types of data and analyses will complement each other. The patterns and factors of inclusion/exclusion will be compared across the four countries – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Norway by taking into account broader European context. The results of research will be used as an input into the third sub-study, Educational Learning Lab intervention.

Work package 3

A desktop study of the “best practice” in VET to support inclusion of at-riks youth in the Baltic countries and Norway.

Best practice of interventions, approaches, methods and tools used in VET institutions, to support social inclusion and prevent dropout, will be identified and described in all the four countries. Particular attention will be paid to the implications of the current VET curriculum reforms (introduction of competence-based curricula and modularisation), as well as of strengthening of the labour market orientation in the VET provision (implementation of work-based learning and apprenticeships), to combat social exclusion and to assist socially excluded youth groups. We shall also address the implications of the responses of VET to the digitalization of the work processes and advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (digital transformation in society) for preventing and reducing social exclusion. This phase will run partly in parallel with the first phase and will provide input into the third phase – Educational Learning Lab interventions.

Work package 4

Development of technology-based models, methods and tools for inclusion of at-risk youth in VET by using Education Learning Lab approach.

This work will comprise developing, testing and assessing technology-based models, methods and tools for successful inclusion of at-risk students in VET. The Educational Learning Lab model is based on the theoretical concept of boundary-crossing (Engeström et. al, 1995; Akkerman & Bakker, 2011) within and between different communities of practice. This approach emphasizes the idea that boundaries are at play in many learning and work processes, being not only barriers to learning, but potentially also generative processes, involving transformation of practice (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011). Effective co-creation and boundary crossing as learning is enabled by transfer of ownership from research to practice, effective dialogues and the creation of meaningful practices. The Educational Learning Lab model and related tools have been developed at the Tallinn University, School of Educational Sciences (CEITER project) and piloted in the context of general education (e.g. mathematics teaching by using robots, outdoor training etc.). In the frame of the proposed project, methods, tools and practices suitable for VET and workplace training settings will be investigated, developed and piloted as a co-creation process (take place in cooperation with researchers,vocational teachers and workplace instructors, learners etc.) The project will take advantage of the dedicated methodologies and research instruments, including digital tools, such as Digimirror (, LePlanner (, Observata, Prolearning, EduLog, LA Pills etc. created by CEITER team.

As the focus is on benefitting the students of at risk of social exclusion and vocational teachers/workplace instructors, the cases for intervention will be selected among schools and training places from disadvantageous social settings/regions (e.g. from regions characterized by high social security problems, criminality, low economic well-being, high rates of migrants (or second or third generation of migrants) and amongst programs targeted to learners acquiring vocational training without general education, including students with migrant backgrounds and other socially excluded groups.