INTEK Institute of Applied Technology is taking project-based learning to the next level to equip Vietnamese IT students with the skills they will need in today’s fast-changing world of technology.
|INTEK has spent the last two years promoting the need for project-based learning |
Technology is changing so fast that knowledge about specifics can quickly become obsolete. Meanwhile, conventional learning models do not evolve quickly to adapt to the rapid changes in technology. As a result, many new IT graduates cannot find suitable jobs due to a lack of practical skills and knowledge. It is clear that the conventional education model where students have to digest enormous piles of information without adequate practical application does not help them to succeed in real life.
To address this issue, INTEK has implemented project-based learning method to enable Vietnamese IT students to stay relevant and ready for the future job market.
Chinh Phan, CEO of INTEK, told VIR that the project-based learning model, also called peer learning, has existed in the EU and the US for over 15 years. The innovation of the model is that the participants work on different projects to solve real-world problems and gain the tools they need to achieve success in today’s digital economy.
Specifically, INTEKers are assigned to a particular project with a very clear purpose. For example, they can develop a website to protect their heritage, which not only help them brush up their IT skills but also gain more knowledge about local culture and history. They can also write a poker game to play with their friends and families. The projects are expected to bring meaningful purpose and value to students as well as others who use them.
As the proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” At INTEK, students also work in teams and combine their talents to find solutions. Compared with a teacher-based learning style, this model encourages students to be open to learn and share information with each other. As a result, they can develop efficient communication and collaboration skills for future workplace.
Additionally, the training institute also focuses on developing the curriculum to motivate students in the learning process. For example, a project can be designed like a game to improve student engagement and make the learning process more enjoyable. Each project will be divided into small part for students to conquer. If they succeed in dealing with an issue, they can earn some bonus points and move to the next level. The gamified learning is proved to make the projects more exciting for students.
Project-based learning does not only focus on technology. It is also about changing the mindsets of people. INTEK does not teach students a specific programming language which maybe soon irrelevant in the fast-changing technology field. Meanwhile, the institute helps students to develop the right mindset and find resources to acquire new technology skills by themselves. As a result, they can be adaptable to keep up with rapid changes in their job.
Chinh said that there is no limitation in searching information and reaching knowledge at INTEK. Students are allowed to access any utilities such as the internet, documents, or ask their partners to complete their tasks. The ultimate target is help students develop creative and critical thinking by asking them to explain their codes and share their understandings.
“Students learn how to learn when they do a project with INTEK. They learn to adapt themselves to anything which might happen in the future. They are given fundamental skills to discover mechanisms to adapt to change from one tech to another tech,” he added.
Since its inception in 2018, INTEK has realised the importance of project-based learning in education and training. However, it is not easy to introduce a completely new learning model. In the US and Europe, the culture is much more open-minded. Parents do not protect their children as much as Vietnamese parents do. In Vietnam things can be different; people protect their children to the point of stifling their initiative and freedom. They always ask teachers or parents for permission.
According to INTEK CEO, the idea of project-based learning is quite rough. Long-standing Vietnamese traditions makes the application of any new learning model complicated. Therefore, the institute has adapted the learning model to suit Vietnamese conditions. The fundamentals circle around the following principles: learning how to learn, incubating talent, boosting creativity, and becoming business- and future-ready.
With these practical learning methods, INTEK has trained many successful IT engineers in Vietnam. Not stopping there, it is also promoting both online and on-site learning to scale up presence and bring this innovative education to more students.