How to increase the retention rate in computer training

Everyday problems with computer training

The following considerations are based on the experiences at ElSewedy Technical Academy (STA), a private technical secondary school, working according to the dual system approach with a combination of theoretical training in school (2 days per week) and practical training in companies (4 days per week). The STA sees itself as a “smart school”, using e-learning technologies in the classroom. For this reason, special emphasis is placed on computer skills.

Usually many students forget most of what they have learned after a certain period of time when they have not been applying the skills and knowledge. This period may be short (within the study year) or long (students forget all modules that they take in the previous study year). This also applies to computer training.

What reasons might be responsible for this?
There are several possible reasons for this, both on the part of the students themselves and on the part of the training provider as well.

Potential reasons related to students:

  • students don't recognise the importance of skills of using computer in practical life.
  • some of the students don't have a PC or can't access to the internet at their homes and so they have less time to apply what they have learned.
  • most of students believe that they must study for the exam, concentrating on the theoretical knowledge and not for developing their practical skills.
  • including transportation students always spend long days in the school or the factory, then they don’t have time and opportunity to practice and apply more in their houses.

Potential reasons related to the training provider:

  • students take this course only in the first year during their entire study
  • the usage of computers might not be necessary in all subjects, so there might be less activation by teachers to practically apply the computer skills
  • the application of computer skills is not needed on all workplaces during the practical training in factories.

According to the fact that computer skills belong to modern key qualifications that permeate all areas of life, we should ensure that these important competences are not lost or forgotten.

How could this dilemma be solved?
Our slogan: we should practice teamwork
In the STA there are different groups that deal with the students: Teachers, IT trainers, career guidance trainers, social specialists and finally employees. The more computers are used by all persons working at STA, the more likely it is that the learning success of the students will be sustainable.

  • teachers should ask students to do some activities using PC skills during the face-to-face sessions in the classroom, e.g. search for information about certain topics, prepare a presentation, writing a summary, etc.
  • IT trainers can link the computer training to the different technical programmes of the STA, e.g. “Industrial Electronics” or “Energy Components”.
  • career guidance trainers give students sessions about the rapidly development in this industry using information technology and computer skills, then students recognise the importance of computer skills keeping up the development in this industry and to be able to work in this environment.

Finally, All STA staff can support orienting the students to use their computer skills that they gained in the training to develop their performance in their different work environments. There will be no chance for the students to avoid using the personal computer, if this is a normal tool used by every employee as a self-evident tool.

Mai Nader
ICDL Trainer

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