At the end of May 2019 the two DCDS pilot courses organized by AECA were successfully completed. The training started on 2 April with the first of 20 face-to-face classroom-based lessons (2 hours twice a week) and lasted about 2 months. It was chosen to carry out the pilot in Bologna, where a large target group could be involved in the activity, and where AECA has carried out several previous IT training experiences . The 23 participants were divided in two groups, Group A consisting of 11 participants and Group B made up of 12 participants.
The group of trainees was selected among mostly unemployed people with some digital skills, to guarantee that they could make use and test as fully as possible the online platform, designed to complement face-to-face training delivery within the DCDS blended learning approach. The platform was in fact used by the trainees at the begininng to take the initial self-assessment test, later on to read the online materials and do the exercises associated with each learning unit, and then to take the summative test at module level (comprising several learning units). Due to time constraints and the late availability of the learning content on the platform, students went through only the main learning path of the DCDS course, called LP Base.
In general, and despite some difficulties with learning how to use the platform, participants enjoyed the training experience. In particular, they appreciated the collaboration and peer-to-peer support processes, which grew up spontaneously to manage the challenges of the platform and the execution of exercises based on it. Many trainees expressed the desire to carry on the experience and deepen some parts of it. They seemed also positive about using what they learnt in the DCDS course: 88% of them wrote in the final course Exit Survey that they intend to use the knowledge and skills gained through DCDS training in the future.
The support of the teachers was extremely valuable. They also reported three positive effects on their teaching practice from working on the common exercises/materials and tests of the platform: