Digitisation in commercial vocational education and training (Digi-KaB)

Changing skills profiles and implications for learning and training processes

Project duration: 01.10.2018 - 30.09.2021

Short description:

Starting situation and goals:

Chancellor Angela Merkel is making digitisation a top priority. The convening of an independent "Digital Council" as well as the development of a comprehensive digitisation strategy reflect the topicality and importance of the issue. The focus is particularly on the digitisation of the world of work and the widely discussed buzzwords Industry 4.0, Work 4.0, Economy 4.0 and Vocational Training 4.0. Competence requirements and scientific studies on the consequences of digital change have so far been available mainly for the industrial-technical sector. The effects on commercial work areas have hardly been researched so far, although there is consensus on a fundamental change in activity structures and job profiles. These changes must also be included with regard to dual vocational training in order to be able to guarantee an adaptation of training content to future, digital jobs.
The aim of the project is therefore to record the change processes at commercial workplaces caused by digitalisation and to clarify emerging structural differences in commercial vocational training. Corresponding competence profiles adapted to digital work requirements will be identified and demonstrated. In this way, implications are to be developed both for VET policy management and for supporting decisions at different levels (e.g. school and company level; organisation of VET). Furthermore, existing didactic concepts are to be considered with regard to their adaptation to digitalised work processes and changes, including learning processes, the role of teachers and learners and the use of digital tools, are to be identified. This will promote the optimisation of teaching and learning under the influence of digitalisation.


The project starts with a systematic literature and research study analysis. In addition, national and international job advertisements will be evaluated in order to be able to assess digital requirements for applicants for commercial jobs in a practical manner. In the further course of the project, changes in commercial jobs associated with digitalisation will be identified through surveys in the company and vocational school sector. For this purpose, an online company survey with in-depth interview studies as well as vocational school teacher and school management surveys will be conducted. The results will be transferred into adapted commercial competence models and incorporated into newly oriented, evidence-based designs of curricula, teaching-learning processes and examination modalities. The results will be discussed and validated in an international design thinking workshop with national and international training experts.

Expected results:

The aim of the project is to formulate concrete requirements for commercial workplaces that are caused by digitalisation processes. Based on this requirements analysis, authentic, holistic learning environments in commercial vocational training are to be constructed. By identifying new competence profiles, a targeted development of curricular specifications in commercial vocational training is possible. This leads to digitally adapted curricular provisions that result in corresponding instructional and assessment-oriented instruments. Existing business didactic approaches are to be taken up and critically reflected and further developed in an evidence-based manner with regard to digitalisation in commercial vocational training.

Composite line:

Prof. Dr Susan Seeber
Chair of Business Education and Human Resource Development
Faculty of Economic Sciences
Georg-August University Göttingen

Project partners:

Prof. Dr. Susanne Weber
Institute for Human Resource Education & Management
Munich School of Management
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich

Prof. Dr Matthias Schumann
Chair of Application Systems and E-Business
Faculty of Economic Sciences
Georg-August University Göttingen

Project staff members:

Stefanie Zarnow, MBR
Frank Hiller, MBR
Tobias Hackenberg, M.Sc.

Selected publications:

„Busse, J., Geiser, P., Schumann, M., Seeber, S., Weber, S., Hackenberg, T., Zarnow, S., & Hiller, F. (2022). Didaktische Bedeutung der Digitalisierung für die kaufmännische Berufsausbildung. In S. Schumann, S. Seeber & S. Abele (Hrsg.), Digitale Transformation in der Berufsbildung. Konzept, Befunde und Herausforderungen (S. 75-101). Bielefeld: Wbv. Link Open Access E-Book.“

Hackenberg, T., Zarnow, S., Hiller, F., Weber, S., Seeber, S., Geiser, P., Achtenhagen, F., Schumann, M., & Busse, J. (2022). Continuing education strategies of teachers in VET - An activity-theoretical perspective. Paper presented at the EARLI SIG 11 Teacher and Teacher Education Conference on Digital Transformation in Teaching and Teacher Education, June 2022, Oldenburg.

Weber, S., Hiller, F., Zarnow, S., Hackenberg, T., & Achtenhagen, F. (2022). Thinking out of the
Box! – Design-Thinking zur Digitalisierung in der kaufmännischen Berufsausbildung.
bwp@ Profil (7) 1-24. Online: https://www.bwpat.de/profil7_minnameier/weber_etal_profil7.pdf (PDF, 974 KB)

Geiser, P., Busse, J., Seeber, S., Schumann, M., Weber, S., Zarnow, S, Hiller, F., Hackenberg, & Lange, A. (2021). Kompetenzen in digitalisierten kaufmännischen Arbeitsplatzsituationen. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 117(4), 630–657.

Weber, S., Hiller, F., Zarnow, S., Hackenberg, T., Seeber, S., Geiser, P., Achtenhagen, F., Schumann, M., Busse, J., & Lange, A. (2020). Digitalisierung als didaktische Gestaltungsaufgabe im kaufmännischen Bereich. berufsbildung 184, 74. Jg., 13-17.

Zarnow, S., Hiller, F., & Hackenberg, T. (2020). ‚Digitale Aspekte‘ in Ordnungsmitteln der dualen kaufmännischen Berufsausbildung. Zeitschrift für Berufs- und Wirtschaftspädagogik, 116(2), S. 250 - 268. https://doi.org/10.25162/zbw-2020-0011

Schumann, M., & Lange, A. (2019). Digitalisierung als Game Changer (Arbeitsbericht). Göttingen: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.

Seeber, S., Weber, S., Geiser, P., Zarnow, S., Hackenberg, T., & Hiller, F. (2019). Effekte der Digitalisierung auf kaufmännische Tätigkeiten und Sichtweisen ausgewählter Akteure. berufsbildung, 73(176), S. 2–7.