Competitions and hackatons as learning methods

Competitions and hackathons are good methods for developing key competences in VET.
Competitions can be carried out individually or in teams and be arranged in the school, regionally, nationally or internationally. They can take place face-to-face or online. They can last anything from a few hours to several days. In VET competitions students are normally given a specific task to carry out with a certain amount of time, using specific tools, methods and/or ingredients taking into consideration things such as work safety, hygiene, legislations etc.

A hackathon is an event were problem solving is in focus. Where students/people work together to create new innovative solutions to specific problems for a limited time.

  • Creativity
  • Presentation skills. …
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability
  • Imbibing entrepreneurial mindset
  • Creative learning environment
  • Experience in pitching business ideas
  • Diversity encourages wide-ranging business ideas

Improving Teamwork and Collaboration

  1. Enhancing Social and Emotional Learning
  2. Developing Academic Heroes.
  3. Increasing Intrinsic Motivation
  4. Enhancing Beneficial Peer Comparisons
  5. Strengthening Academic Self-Concept
  6. Facilitating Growth Mindsets
  7. Building Mental Toughness
  8. Developing Agency
  9. Improving Risk Analysis

A practical example

  • Small teams of 3-4 people. Maximum 15-30 participants.
  • Allow participants access to the necessary materials.
  • Keep the event itself lasting 24-72 hours.
  • Each team should have experts in different fields.
  • Keep the assignment broad enough. Don’t try to control the outcome too much to get the most out of your hackathon. Keep the goal achievable. Many set expectations too high.
  • Ask participants to consider the commercial potential of their solution in addition to just building the product.
  • Organize a hackathon during normal business hours so that as many people as possible can participate throughout the event.
  • Arrange a space that meets your needs, encouraging creativity and teamwork.

Provide as much material and information as possible to participants. Own data, public data, results of previous workshops, results of market research – the more the better.