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The Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (f-bb) researches and analyses the current status and development requirements of occupational training and develops suggested solutions for the public and private sectors.   The issues and aims to be addressed by our research and development projects are drawn from vocational training practice.  This is done is cooperation with practitioners and in connection with the latest research and development in the field.

Our aim is to promote the exchange of academic and policy ideas concerning the development of occupational training.  The results of our research are therefore made available to the public whenever possible.  In this way, f-bb contributes to the further development of research into practical aspects of vocational training and to the improvement of vocational training practice in companies.  For this reason, cooperation with those involved in educational policy, management and practice is given a high priority.

  • Research projects
    With practice-orientated research into vocational training in pilot projects, the ability to implement new developments is highly important.  Innovation is created via an iterative process involving the diverse actors involved in vocational training.  The project outcomes – new knowledge, processes and tools – are optimised via multiple feedback pathways and made directly usable for companies and service providers in their continuing educational programmes.
  • Case studies and data collection
    Our research makes use of the full range of empirical social research methods.  The focus is on cooperative procedures which make use of the expertise of actors in the political, economic and academic worlds.  In case studies, best practice solutions are analysed, and current trends in vocational training are quantitatively investigated.  The aim is always to achieve reliable data on the basis of which solutions and recommendations for the public and private sectors can be developed.
  • Evaluation and academic support
    All research projects are based on the assumption that innovation can only be planned to a very limited extent.  What needs to be done is to consciously and methodically design the required adaptation and optimisation processes in a controlled way.  For this to be achieved, all project actors require competent advice and support.  Product and process evaluation contribute to quality assurance and provide a connection to the efficiency and efficacy of the research and development process.  f-bb supports problem solving in the planning stages and promotes project sustainability by means of the academic support it provides.

Examples of f-bb’s work

Research projects

  • ePlanspiel
    As a pilot project, an internet-based e-business simulation was developed and then tested and evaluated in several phases.  At the centre of the model is a simulation of business decision-making scenarios involving e-commerce, which are accompanied by modular online learning materials and qualitative additional tasks.
  • Experience-orientated learning arrangements for older employees
    In order to contribute to finding ways of dealing with demographic change, learning scenarios for older people and strategies for increasing awareness amongst managers of the new age structures in companies have been developed.  In nine companies, an open-ended learning structure was tested whose content was adjusted to suit the needs of each particular company.  Business problems were solved on the basis of the experience of older employees.  This allows the intervention to be imbedded within long-term strategies for skills acquisition for older workers.
  • Development of guidelines for qualification advisors
    350 companies were asked about their needs with regards to advice on qualifications.  The results were used to develop guidelines for qualification advisors.


Case studies and data collection

  • „ECVET reflector“
    On behalf of the European Commission, f-bb has, in cooperation with BIBB and numerous European educational experts, investigated the impact of the introduction of the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) on aspects of national systems (validation, recognition, accumulation and transfer of education achievements).  A typology has been developed which provides a basis for the implementation process.
  • External educational management
    A standardised written questionnaire for 550 companies in Germany, with a focus on the metal industry, was used to investigate future areas of support for external educational management and the importance of these to the companies.  
  • Early recognition
    25 company case studies in the industrial, service and technical sectors were used to develop requirement profiles in individual fields of activity, and to identify trends in the development of qualifications.  The information gathered was used to support forward-looking work in the field of HR and measures for the modernisation of vocational training systems. 


Evaluation and academic support

  • Development and testing of new approaches to the integration of older unemployed people
    f-bb evaluated the employment pacts (a national initiative of the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs) in Nuremberg, Schweinfurt and Erlangen.  By using individually developed evaluation strategies, a major contribution was made to achieving the project objectives, and  impulse given  to the modification of the projects and investigation of the impact on the job market of the pacts.
  • HR and organisational development strategies for educational service providers
    f-bb has assisted in the development and implementation of numerous HR and organisational development strategies for educational service providers and thereby has been involved in the development of new and innovative solutions.