Knowledge, competencies and dispositions of lecturers in Technical Engineering in the context of advancing 4IR technologies


  • Nixon JP Teis University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
  • Christo J Els North-West University



TVET lecturers, engineering disciplines, emerging technologies, technology-integrated learning environments, CHAT model


The advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) affirms that the transformation and advancement of all industries and society are progressively driven by emergent and rapidly changing technologies. In order to help establish a technologically literate society, it is crucial for lecturers in Technical Engineering to stay abreast of the latest trends and technological advancements in their area of specialisation. This article reports on the findings of a sub-section of a nationwide survey that collected data from lecturers in Technical Engineering at 52 TVET college campuses across South Africa (n = 577) that offer TVET Engineering Study programmes. The purpose of the survey was to profile TVET Engineering Study lecturers’ knowledge and pedagogical practices in engineering programmes across South Africa. The sub-section of the survey specifically probed the participants’ awareness and understanding of discipline-specific technological advancements and digital educational enterprises, and also the potential impact of these on teaching technical subjects. The findings show that 52,3% (n = 302) of the participating lecturers in Technical Engineering are unaware of any technological advancements in their area of specialisation and that they do not know what the potential impact of this might be on future technical training. When Engeström’s Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT model) is applied to the activity systems that are involved, the underlying tension between these systems is revealed. This article examines the possible implications of these findings for the renewal of the Technical Engineering curriculum, considering that these lecturers demonstrate limited awareness of the technological advancements needed to participate effectively in the 4IR era.

Author Biographies

Nixon JP Teis, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

Nixon JP Teis is a technical teacher educator and researcher in the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology Education at the University of the Free State. He holds a PhD in Curriculum Studies with specialisation in Technology Education. He is the lead researcher of a national research project and the merSETA project coordinator responsible for engineering teacher knowledge and skills capacity-building.

Christo J Els, North-West University

Christo Els is a researcher and lecturer in the School of Psycho-Social Education and the Research Unit Self-Directed Learning at the North-West University. His research focuses on human development through technology-integrated learning. He has published the findings widely. He serves on the Executive Board of the UNESCO Research Chair in Multimodal Learning and Open Educational Resources (NWU).




How to Cite

Nixon JP Teis, & Christo J Els. (2021). Knowledge, competencies and dispositions of lecturers in Technical Engineering in the context of advancing 4IR technologies. Journal of Vocational, Adult and Continuing Education and Training, 4(1), 26.