SEED will deploy a mixed-method approach, methodologies, piloting, and implementation to deliver the project results in a sound way.

Methodology SEED





Learning Systems

As the OECD suggested, we need systems in which formal education and other forms of non-formal learning, like workplace learning, are connected through hybrid forms. In such systems, there is no gap between school and society, since formal education takes place in close collaboration and partnership with industry, with human capital as the shared agenda. Once professionals are working, they keep on learning, side-by-side with students in initial educational settings, in flexible post-initial education or in non-formal settings with close connections to more formal education. As shown in the Figure about the Learning Systems, on the right we have a well-connected system that can be characterized as an innovative learning system. (I. Zitter & A. Hoeve 2012, as cited in OECD 2015).


Open Method of Coordination (OMC)

The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) deals with cooperation and public action. It contains the sharing of good practices between countries simultaneously with the international establishment of criteria and standards, and at the same time combined with the consensus way of governance. SEED builds upon this method because it wants to push COVES to the next level. The application of OMC has resulted in four steps as shown



Learning System

In the work-based learning environments interaction will take place in different contexts and settings

In the work-based learning environments interaction will take place in different contexts and settings. Learning processes and the outcomes will be monitored in relation to the different contexts and settings used: face-to-face, at the workplace, in field labs and between different participants, e.g., students, citizens, professionals, lecturers, researchers and policymakers.

Hybrid learning environments, mainstream in VET education, will be lifted to a systemic level, to facilitate the development of SEED approaches for interaction of knowledge, skills and attitude between education and companies. The key element of the hybrid learning environment is the professional task. The professional task is composed of learning assignments that are taken from real practice. Different activities in various learning environments will support the learning process of the students and working professionals involved.

Co-creation methods will be brought in, to involve various partners in the region to create learning programs. Connectivity between school and the outside world can vary. Learning environments are based on:

a) alignment

b) incorporation

c) hybridisation.

In learning environments based on hybridisation, the aim is to co-create and foster learning, working and innovation communities, with various participants, i.e., students, citizens, professionals, lecturers, researchers, and policymakers (Bouw, Zitter & De Bruijn, 2019; 2020). Co-designing a curriculum is beneficial as a much more inclusive, reciprocal approach in which partners, including the learners, contribute to both constructing and delivering the learning program (Niace, 2014).

The strength of the regional ecosystem and COVE maturity will be analyzed using the maturity model 

(Mapping COVES, 2019)

This model distinguished three levels of maturity, ranking from:

  1. a COVE that improves on what VET normally does, with close linkages to the labor market (‘setting up foundations’)
  2. a COVE that is engaging with regional strategic development and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders (developing added value)
  3. a COVE that co-creates local skills ecosystems, local innovation and regional development, with strong VET internationalisation dimension (achieving excellence).

The model defines characteristics along the activities ‘teaching and learning,’ ‘cooperation and partnerships,’ and ‘governance and financing’.

The joint applied research projects (WP3) use a combination of research through design with action research. If dealing with wicked problems and many different stakeholders, this method contributes to developing and sharing knowledge within the research team and with the partners involved in the project. This approach builds on the methodological frameworks for research through design as developed by Jonas (2006), de Jong (2002) and Duerk (1993). Three steps can be recognized and repeated:

  1. Analysis of the existing situation
  2. Synthesis where innovative ideas did arise
  3. Evaluations of the desired solution.

This iterative design process is combined with an action research approach, where a reflective process of problem solving takes place in a community of practice, resulting in guidelines for ‘best practice’ (Denscombe, 2010), and in which stakeholders are involved as ‘co-researchers’ (Gearty et al., 2013).

The approach of SEED

The approach of SEED (the four steps of OMC, combined with the hybrid learning environment, codesign methodologies and the good practices adapting strategy), provides significant new knowledge and tools for realistically addressing the expected impacts of the call. With this approach, we aim to include societal stakeholders and community-based partners to find practical and durable solutions to realise regional skills ecosystems and excellent vocational education. This has an impact on the participants in the consortium, staff, learners, and company representatives, on regional skillsecosystems and on international cooperation. The expected impact is:

  • in the short term, on skills (personal development) and on knowledge development (e.g., joint applied research)
  • in the medium term, on VET learning environments and international cooperation (regional and transnational learning)
  • in the long term, on workforce and alignment of VET with regional needs.