In line with the special characteristics of Hungarian vocational education, our research group has undertaken to do methodological research in terms of complex school subjects. The core of our research is to involve teachers, secondary school students and the students of vocational teacher training (to-be vocational teachers) into the open content development process being formed according to the principles of interactive and collaborative learning and teaching, and to offer them methodological knowledge suitable for the continuous development of active learning and community based content development. From a methodological aspect, we have named this process Open Content Development (OCD).
The activities of the research group in the first year were organized according to the main tasks described in the work plan. In the first quarter, the researchers investigated the professional literature and searched for the best practices of the certain topics. This was partly done within the frames of literature analyses the results of which were published in the Publications edited by our research group (2016/1, 2017/1 and 2017/2), and was partly related to some lectures and discourses held at domestic and international conferences (HERA 2016, EDEN 2017, INTED2017, EDULEARN17, IADIS2017).
The common planning and harmonization of the activities of the partner schools and the teachers having undertaken to participate in the project was a highlighted responsibility. To achieve this, the establishment of the partner schools’ network, which at the time of accepting the work plan included 4 and currently involves 8 schools, was started in the reporting period. In the framework of the partnership, we started to plan the micro content structures in terms of the vocational basic and orientation subjects in accordance with our open content development concept. In the first phase of this activity, the research group elaborated a 30-lesson teachers’ further training program in which the theoretical and practical preparation demanding personal presence at the beginning of the process is followed by individual, non-contact task solution supported by a tutor. One feature of the training process that has already been implemented five times within school environment is that experimental content units are developed independently.
The creation of the patterns of the OCD model creation and content representation platforms was of outstanding importance in relation to the work on the content. The organizational background of this process was provided by professional workshops that allowed the active participation of the practising teachers (we had four of these). It was here that the development methodology and the curricula were created and the teachers of the partner schools were prepared to be able to apply the OCD method at school, i.e. to develop content with open and active teacher participation. The professional workshops offered the opportunity to introduce and discuss about the complex content units/micro contents and to create and have debates about the aspects of evaluation. To manage the problems met meanwhile properly, we have established two smaller working groups: one in the topic of data base and labelling and one in teachers’ further training.