IvÜFA: Inclusive virtual practice enterprise – Vocational qualification for active participation in the general economical job market including business administration.

The research and development project aims to enable disabled and non-disabled people to experience commercial practice collectively by using digital media. For this purpose, the central office of the German practice enterprise association (at Bfz Essen Ltd.) advances the established and increasingly applied training concept in commercial vocational training, by developing a virtual learning platform in which disabled and non-disabled people work together on equal terms. Therefore, the inclusive virtual practice enterprise is employed with an extensive design and didactically sound conception while being implemented technologically. The project is subject to various forms of practical testing, thus tested by several users of different sponsorship with distinct target groups. Eventually, IvÜFA is scientifically evaluated by the Chair of Economics and Economic Education at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

In accordance with the UN proposal at the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the centerpiece of the epistemological interest lies in the intention to strengthen the participation and self-determination of members of society with disabilities. IvÜFA aims to align the practice enterprise work not only with barrier-compensating support tools, but also multi-dimensionally, considering the varying needs of people with disabilities or limitations and the focus on shared learning experience. Spatially flexible and didactically considerate, it enables barrier-free learning processes. Initially, the inclusive virtual practice enterprise will be developed by the Bfz Essen Ldt. under consideration of a didactically sound basis. The Chair of Economics and Economic Education is hereby responsible for the scientific guidance while referring to the findings of educational research and of inclusive vocational training. Since the IvÜFA is to be regarded as a new, innovative educational intervention, its prerequisites, design options, effects and scaling potential are being scrutinized.

The accompanying scientific research is carried out on the basis of the Design Based Research Approach (DBR), which is frequently used in the field of vocational education research. The aim is to penetrate the complexity of the IvÜFA as an educational intervention through a systematic design, implementation, review and re-design of the latter to eventually realize concrete improvements for inclusive vocational education and to fully develop the potential of an inclusive virtual practice enterprise. As the DBR-Approach typically requires, the scientific accompanying research is distinctly project-specific. To answer the epistemologically-oriented leading questions, effective evaluation tools are prepared while establishing a triangulation of diverse inquiryand evaluation procedures.

Project Management: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Retzmann, University of Duisburg-Essen

Project associate: Cennet Yilmaz, M. Sc.

Project partner: Bfz-Essen GmbH (Coordinator)

Project funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the framework of the official guideline for the promotion of "Inklusion durch digitale Medien in der beruflichen Bildung" [Inclusion by the use of digital media in vocational education]/ Co-financing from the European Union Social Fund (ESF)

(Funding Code: 01PE18003B)

Project objective: Further development of the practice enterprise concept into a virtual learning room in which disabled and non-disabled people jointly experience business practice by using digital media.

Project period: July 2018 - July 2021