The Research & Development Division reached a new record in 2020: it acquired numerous new projects and was involved in a total of 58 projects (2019: 44). Among these, special mention should be made of a SERI-funded project on interactive technologies in skills training, which is being carried out in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI). It is also gratifying to note that a new project supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) could be acquired: this is a project examining the impact of training conditions in host companies on the subsequent educational and career trajectories of learners.
These two examples illustrate how SFIVET research addresses key issues relating to vocational education and training. This practical focus is also reflected in numerous third-party funded projects. As a case in point, the Canton of Zurich Office for Upper-Secondary Education and Training commissioned SFIVET to assess the need for VET advisory services. This study was completed during the reporting year and included the recommendation that a specific coaching centre and website be created so that workplace trainers and learners would have a contact point to discuss challenging situations. Several SFIVET studies also covered digital forms of teaching and learning, underscoring the fact that SFIVET researchers are in tune with the times and are aware of the latest developments. For example, a study was conducted on the switch to distance learning at professional education institutions. The results of this study were provided to the professional education institutions in question as well as to several media outlets to reach a broader audience.
Despite the Corona pandemic, SFIVET researchers continued to take part in various (online) conferences in Switzerland and abroad in 2020. Through their publications, they also actively contributed to the transfer of knowledge and greater visibility of their research findings. The social relevance of these findings is evidenced, among other things, by the extent of media coverage: one example of this is the fourth OBS SFIVET Trend Report, which was presented at an online conference in October 2020 and was covered by various print and online media outlets.