Educational Research and Innovation

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

2076-9679 (online)
2076-9660 (print)
Hide / Show Abstract

This series of books from the OECD's Centre for Educational Research and Innovations provides the results of OECD work on innovation in education.

Also available in French
Working Out Change

Working Out Change

Systemic Innovation in Vocational Education and Training You do not have access to this content

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

Click to Access:
  • PDF
  • READ
10 Nov 2009
9789264075924 (PDF) ;9789264067158(print)

Hide / Show Abstract

This book analyses systemic innovation in education by looking at the ways in which educational systems encourage innovation, the knowledge base and processes used, and the procedures and criteria used to assess progress and evaluate outcomes. It draws on findings from 14 case studies in Vocational Education and Training in six OECD countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Mexico and Switzerland. The resulting analysis helps us understand how we can support and sustain innovation in educational systems in the VET sector.
Related links placeholder
loader image

Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Table of Contents

  • Mark Click to Access
  • Executive Summary
    The main aim of this study is to analyse the process of innovation in education. To this purpose, systemic innovation is defined as any kind of dynamic system-wide change that is intended to add value to the educational processes. Chapter 1 discusses the advantages of such a perspective. Particular attention is given to how countries go about initiating innovation, the processes involved in development and implementation, the role of drivers and barriers, the relationships between main actors, the knowledge base which is drawn on, and the procedures and criteria for assessing progress and outcomes.
  • Introduction
    This report presents the main findings of the OECD Centre for educational research and innovation (CERI) project on Systemic innovation in vocational education and training (VET). the project was undertaken during 2007 and 2008 as part of a wider CERI commitment to research systemic innovation, which also included a sister project on Digital Learning resources as Systemic innovation. Additionally, the education and training Policy Division of the OECD Directorate for education has carried out a policy review on VET, whose first phase has produced a report entitled Learning for Jobs. Both parallel strands of work have to be considered responses to the request made by OECD member states to emphasise the VET sector.
  • Innovation and Systemic Innovation in Public Services
    This chapter reviews previous work from the OECD on private sector innovation as well as more recent work on innovation in the public sector. The growing body of knowledge on innovation in the public sector, including social innovation, makes it clear that there is a need to develop a better understanding of the divers, enablers, barriers, and processes specific to innovation in the public services. Specific barriers to innovation in the public sector, for example, include: risk aversion of bureaucracies; political and auditing constraints imposed by performance and accountability frameworks; and inappropriate structures and organisational cultures for innovation. A key yet often missing element to public innovation is rigorous evaluation, which allows both designers and users to identify the precise strengths and weaknesses of a given innovation or reform. As the public sector offers distinct challenges to measuring impacts of innovation and there is as yet no agreed framework for doing so, important public innovations can thus be neglected (or conversely overly supported), with expensive implications for the public purse.
  • Innovation in Education and Vocational Education and Training
    This chapter presents a literature review of innovation in education and vocational education and training. Innovation is a term more often used than clearly defined in education, often employed interchangeably with related terms such as invention, reform, and change. New ideas, knowledge, and practices, however, can fail if they do not bring their desired results, impact negatively on other objectives, create new problems, or are not cost-effective. Although an assessment of whether to implement an innovation requires looking at its implications for other parts of its environment beyond those immediately affected, such kinds of systemic analysis are infrequent. There is a wide range of stakeholders in the process of innovation in VET, whose commitment and collaboration is crucial to success and who have different incentives for the inception and adoption of innovation. Available evidence suggests that VET organisations are not making use of the whole range of facilitators of innovation available to them and consequently, there is much unlocked potential in the VET sector to facilitate and increase innovation. Educators and policy-makers, on the other hand, have not sufficiently used the motors of innovation, including research in education. Research on teaching and learning from cognitive science, neuroscience, organizational theory, and other disciplines has thus rarely been put into practice. Furthermore, adequate research capacity has been lacking even in relatively general areas. The chapter closes with a model of innovation in education developed by the OECD Secretariat for this study, that is utilised in the analysis of the case studies in the empirical chapters of this publication.
  • Drivers, Enablers and Barriers to Systemic Innovation in VET
    Introducing change and implementing innovative ideas is difficult, particularly in rather traditional systems such as education. This chapter presents those factors that play a crucial role in triggering and/or facilitating innovation (drivers and enablers), and those that can hinder the successful introduction of these changes (barriers). The chapter draws on the empirical evidence gathered in the case studies and shows the different roles that drivers and barriers can play at different stages of the innovation process. These drivers and barriers are also context specific, with each system required to develop its own successful "recipe" to guarantee adequate response to the needs and barriers it faces. Overall, some of the major barriers identified in the study are: innovation fatigue, competing policy agendas, and accountability mechanisms that radically restrict risk. The chapter closes with a number of policy implications aimed at helping policy makers with the crucial questions they face when promoting systemic innovation in their VET systems: what are the ingredients for successful systemic innovations in VET? How amenable to change are the foundations that create/contribute to barriers?
  • Process and Dynamics of Systemic Innovation: Initiation, Implementation, Monitoring, Evaluation and Scaling Up
    Understanding the different stages and factors influencing the innovation process is of central importance in identifying needs for change in the system and guaranteeing successful innovation design and implementation. This chapter presents the empirical findings on the initiation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation and the scaling up of systemic innovation. In each of these phases, the chapter highlights the importance of stakeholder involvement and the crucial role that knowledge should play. The chapter closes with a number of policy implications that emphasise the need to create trust among stakeholders, develop and use knowledge to guide the process and ensure that the information generated in the monitoring and evaluation exercises is fed back into the system to enhance the existing knowledge base and to identify future innovations.
  • The Role of the Knowledge Base
    This chapter deals with the use of knowledge in the process of systemic innovation. The concept of knowledge is defined here in its broadest possible sense and includes knowledge arising from a variety of sources (e.g. academic research, field practice) and of various types, including explicit and tacit knowledge. The chapter draws on the empirical findings of the case studies in order to examine questions such as: to what extent different knowledge sources are used? How are relationships brokered among different stakeholders to facilitate the exchange of knowledge? And how is knowledge accrued during the process of innovation put into action? The issue of the relative shortage of academic research in the area of VET is discussed, as it emerged in one form or another as a challenge in many of the countries participating in the study. The chapter closes with a number of policy implications arising from the findings. These include the importance of appropriate mechanisms that enable the flow of knowledge among stakeholders in the system and the potential role that academic research can have in providing a fresh, "outsider" point of view to the system’s internal actors and stakeholders.
  • Towards a Typology of Systemic Innovation in VET
    This chapter presents a new typology framework that aims to capture aspects of the process as well as the substance of systemic innovations in VET. The aim of this exercise was twofold: (i) to map the case studies along certain important dimensions; and (ii) to serve as an analytical tool in the future for exploring some of the issues related to the processes and dynamics of systemic innovation. Three dimensions were considered important in the development of a holistic typology of systemic innovations: process, output, and contextual framework, each consisting of several variables. Using these three dimensions, as well as drawing on insights developed in the course of this study, a number of hypotheses are put forward regarding the possible types of systemic innovation in VET. In this context these are proposed merely as hypothetical types, and would need to be validated through empirical data in further research. Finally, the annex to the chapter presents a mapping of the fourteen cases studies along the variables of the typology frameworks.
  • Government, Policy and Systemic Innovation in VET
    This chapter looks at the governance, policy, and development and support of strategies for systemic innovation in VET. The governance of VET is distinct from that of other education sectors due to the complexity in the role of stakeholders, the connections to the private sector and the labour market, and the networks of public and private providers. This distinct governance plays a role in enabling, driving, and (at times) hindering systemic innovation. Key tools that can be used to promote and support systemic innovation are: building trust and bridges between stakeholders, encouraging local initiatives and mechanisms to allow innovations to percolate up from the field, capacity building of key stakeholders, gathering of appropriate evidence, and a focus on knowledge transfer. Despite the importance of strategies for systemic innovation in VET as useful and powerful tool for improving the system, very few countries/regions have actually developed a clearly elucidated approach. Without such strategies VET systems risk moving from one short-term response to another, never developing a proactive vision for longer-term development.
  • The Research Agenda
    This chapter identifies knowledge gaps in the study of systemic innovation in the VET sector for which further research might be beneficial. The benefits of such an effort could be (a) the improvement of the innovation capacity of national VET systems, particularly by identifying which drivers and barriers are operating in relation to systemic innovation; and (b) an increase in the quality of the processes and the outcomes of VET, by raising awareness of the necessary links between innovation efforts and system performance. The chapter also suggests that the main emphasis of research on systemic innovation in VET shall be put on the systemic factors that can foster innovation, on the processes taking place, and on the impact of systemic innovation on VET quality and outcomes. Additionally, the chapter discusses what could be the most suitable methodological strategies and requirements for systemic innovation and the corresponding policy implications for governments. In this latter respect, four seem to be the most urgent. The first is related to the need to develop national agendas on research on VET and more specifically on the processes of systemic innovation. The second is to incorporate systemic innovation in the national agenda. The last is that governments should benefit from the opportunities being offered by international comparative research in this domain, by way of benchmarking initiatives and developing policy lessons among peers.
  • conclusions and Policy Implications
    This chapter presents overall findings for enhancing the innovation capacity of the VET systems. First, it elaborates the overarching conclusions obtained throughout both the theoretical and the empirical phases. These conclusions complement those covered in the different empirical chapters, which focused on analysing specific aspects of the innovation process. Second, implications for policies that can better support and foster the development of systemic innovation in VET can be drawn from these conclusions and will be presented here. In addition, a final section in this chapter discusses the opportunities for transferring the main findings of this project to other education sectors and the benefits of doing so.
  • Add to Marked List
Visit the OECD web site