Vocational didactics in Switzerland: Developing scientific know-how

The Leading House ‘Vocational Didactics’ is funded by the Chamber of Universities of Teacher Education, which is part of the Swiss Conference of Rectors of Higher Education Institutions (swissuniversities). This LH is managed by the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) and works closely with the universities of teacher education in Lucerne, Zurich and St. Gallen as well as with the University of Zurich.

Over the next four years, two project phases are planned: during the initial phase (1st year of the project period), a vocational didactics network will be structurally anchored under SFIVET’s lead. At the same time, a common scientific base will be established for the purpose of mapping the current state of vocational didactics in Swiss institutions that offer basic and continuing training to VET professionals. The aim will also be to achieve a systematic overview of the current state of national and international research on vocational didactics. The vocational didactics network will be supported on a continuous basis by an advisory group comprised of practitioners and researchers. During the second phase (2nd to 4th year of the project period), scientific know-how will be developed. Network partners will examine various topics relating to the three research themes ‘International vocational didactics’ (macro level), ‘Training concepts’ (meso level) and ‘Teaching practices’ (Micro level). Depending on the topic in question, SFIVET will also examine issues such as vocational didactic concepts in the training of vocational school teachers and how this training is perceived by the target groups.


A mixed method approach (see Kuckartz 2012) combining both qualitative and quantitative aspects will be used for this research project. Phase 1 will mostly consist of a systematic analysis of the content of education policy documents and the implementation documents (training plans, etc.) used by schools. This analysis will be supplemented by interviews with experts. Phase 2 will consist of interviews with vocational school teachers, workplace trainers, branch course instructors and examiners (collectively referred to as VET professionals) and written questionnaires, depending on the topic to be examined in detail. A vignette study will be carried out to assess vocational didactics. This will include examination and evaluation of specific didactic materials used in the classroom to analyse their level of effectiveness and efficiency in addressing issues encountered in practice.

In progress
1.1.2017 to 31.12.2020
  • Lucerne University of Teacher Education (Prof. Dr. Jürg Arpagaus, Prof. Dr. Janine Gut, Daniel Degen)
  • St. Gall University of Teacher Education (Prof. Dr. Samuel Krattenmacher, Claudia Koch)
  • Zurich University of Teacher Education (Prof. Dr. Markus Maurer, Karin Hauser)
  • University of Zurich, Institute of Educational Studies (Prof. Dr. Philipp Gonon, Lena Susanne Freidorfer-Kabashi)