The international red-conference brings together experts and researchers investigating the field of technology in education. Contributions under the umbrella rethinking education in the knowledge society may come from a range of disciplinary fields and should address, directly or indirectly, one of the following “hot topics": Sustainability. Orchestration. Informal Learning.
Due to the development of social media and online environments, the content and form of educational systems change. At the same time, demands on the individual professional to ensure that he or she is continually updated and employable are on the rise. In this article, we develop an alternative to established education and forms of training in the shape of a supportive system.
Even today, new forms of social media and online environments constitute supportive systems for individual learning, but could be developed using institutional input. System development, whereby individuals’ qualifications can be developed qualitatively and in a sustainable manner, can guide and make things easier for people who are consciously aspiring to enhance their competence and proficiency through informal ways of working in online environments. In the article, we show how such an online system differs from previous educational forms, putting forward an outline of a supportive system. The purpose of the article is to outline the fundamental features of an online system that offers a continuous and supportive process for developing occupational groups’ qualifications, whereby qualifications stand for a combination of knowledge, proficiency and competence.
The interwoven individual development processes taking place in an online environment have a special feature, which constitutes an essential prerequisite for developing a supportive system. We highlight four differences between formal educational systems and supportive systems which have to be taken into account in order to design a system rooted in online environments and social media. These differences are: 1) from pre-produced to user-generated content, 2) from individual subject motives to joint qualification interests, 3) from limited duration to continuous and sustainable activity, 4) from subject and thematic areas to a broad perspective on the participants’ skills.
On the basis of the four prerequisites, some fundamental features of a supportive system are outlined. The system is based on existing forms of online environment but which are further developed and supported methodically and systematically. A supportive system can consist of a combination of individual PLEs (personal learning environments), which are coordinated via shared online learning communities (OLC) or a PLN (personal learning network). A developed methodology based on circular ways of working supports processes in the various media and works towards progressing the individual’s development.
How to promote social media uptake in VET and adult training systems in Europe – practical example of the “SVEA” European project
Social media applications such as Twitter, blogs and Facebook are used more and more in our daily personal and professional lives. Also, many educational institutions are becoming increasingly aware that such social media applications can be effectively integrated into their learning and lifelong learning delivery systems.
However, very few are currently actually using these applications to innovate their training systems and to offer more learner-centred services.
To promote the benefits and, hence, the uptake of social media within the vocational education and adult training system, further targeted measures are needed. One such measure would be to provide trainers with the knowledge needed for them to integrate Web 2.0 applications in their training delivery and encourage use across the vocational education and training (VET) sector.
However, before training in the use of Web 2.0 applications can be developed effectively, it is necessary to understand both the barriers to their use and the needs of the user, which have to be taken into account when developing new training methods that integrate social media applications. This article outlines the barriers and challenges, as well as the opportunities offered by Web 2.0 tools, which are currently influencing European training systems in the development of more collaborative and learner-centred vocational and adult training.
The paper will demonstrate how learner-centred training elements such as a collaborative online training platform can be integrated into course systems and provide the functionality needed to offer targeted services to learners as well as trainers, supporting lifelong learning in Europe. The paper will also describe how tailored training modules are being developed to support the trainers from VET and adult training institutions to implement the use of social media tools in their courses.
This article is based on the first results emerging from the SVEA project following a regional analysis on the uptake of social media in VET and adult training systems in Europe. This analysis was carried out in five European regions: Baden-Württemberg (D), Vlaams-Brabant (BE), Extremadura (ES), Piemonte (I) and Wales (UK).
SVEA is funded by the European Commission through the Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme.
In this paper we introduce microlearning in online communities as a learning approach triggered by current patterns of media use and supported by new technologies, such Web 2.0 and social software.
We delineate microlearning as a “pragmatic innovation” to lifelong learning due to its capability to support flexible learning that can be easily integrated into everyday activities, supporting individual learning aims and needs.
First, we explore the concepts of microcontent and microlearning in the context of Web 2.0, social software, eLearning 2.0, personal learning environments, and informal and work-based learning, observing its innovative approaches to lifelong learning and reflecting the needs of current web users. We then identify underlying design principles and distinguish two main aspects of didactical design, i.e. (1) design of microcontent and (2) design of microlearning activities. We continue by presenting the ten key features that we identified to help distinguish microlearning from more traditional eLearning formats, such as web-based trainings, termed “macrolearning”.
Following this overview, we illustrate how microlearning can contribute to lifelong learning by bridging the gap between formal and informal learning and present a case study of a microlearning scenario. We argue that microcontent and microlearning, enhanced by Web 2.0, provide a viable solution to fast-paced and multitask-oriented patterns of learning and working today. Microlearning, aligned with formal learning and embedded in online communities, has the potential to support ongoing professional development.
This paper maps the ways in which 18 UK entities demonstrate and reflect innovative learning. However, in anticipation of further research, special attention is paid to addressing the challenges of blending the learning environment. The blending of hybrid pedagogical imperatives and methodologies, within physical and virtual learning environments, has increased access and flexibility for the learner and for the delivery of innovative learning spaces. However, there are many challenges related to developing a coherent framework for facilitating an effective blended learning environment. There is a need to develop an understanding of what blended learning is, in relation to both how and why people learn. It is also necessary to ask what we, the educational provider, can learn from the people who populate these ‘programmes’ of learning. This article, and the research that accompanies it, is attempting to reconcile the relationships resident within the duality of experiences for both student/trainee and educator/trainer and to bridge the divide by considering current pedagogical theory within the reality of work-based educational practice and learning development.
The FICTUP project (Fostering the Use of ICT in Pedagogical Practices), funded with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union, aims to (1) create innovative training materials that suggest concrete pedagogical activities using ICT, accompanied by a close tutoring process, and (2) test the impact of the material and the tutoring on novice teachers' use of ICT in the classroom.
The innovative training material, developed collaboratively by both experienced and novice teachers to ensure its accessibility, focuses on specific classroom activities that use ICT. Each case includes a detailed description of the activity (PDF file) and three short, pedagogical videos (ca. 2-6 minutes each) that describe the transversal ICT skills brought into play during the activity. During the first year of the project, nine cases were implemented, some of which focused explicitly on the use of ICT in science education. This paper presents a number of different sample applications, such as “Device – measurement – evaluation: Use of ICT in physics (Hungary)”, “Exploring growth factors: Applying inquiry learning in biology (Finland)”, and “GeoGebra software: Mathematics teaching (France)”.
The increased use of ICT has led to the introduction of new pedagogical approaches, including Resource Based Learning (RBL) where varied learning needs are supported by a wide range of ICT assets. Science subjects in particular are extremely amenable to the advantages offered by RBL and the associated ICT assets. The implementation of technology-supported collaborative inquiry allows teachers to design the educational setting as an integrated whole that provides students with relevant technological tools, directs them to collaborate effectively, and promotes epistemologically high-level and creative ways of working with knowledge.
This article will first provide a brief overview about how the notion of social cohesion has been used historically, focusing especially on two central points that emerge: equality and education as a nexus for social cohesion. Next, the text looks at how education can undertake the challenge of eliminating inequality and promoting social cohesion, followed by an analysis of one potentially disadvantaged group: speakers of minority languages. Perceptions of minority language groups in the EU are discussed, and a general outline of potential educational disadvantages and social exclusion they may face is broached.
Next, we advance ways in which Technologically Enhanced Learning (TEL) can be applied in order to rectify these possible risks. This section includes an interrogation of the ‘digital divide’, and what it can mean for minority language groups, and the importance of using technologies to bring ‘mainstream’ public awareness to the issues associated with minority language education (including the promotion of the many benefits of multilingual practices for society). Some examples of TEL practices which have been undertaken to ameliorate educational inequality with minority language groups are provided. Finally, the article considers the role of TEL in teaching practices, teacher education and continued resources for teacher development.
SVEA’s main objective is to provide VET and adult education staffs with the skills that are needed to remain competitive, and increase visibility in the education market. SVEA means to realize these goals by developing the web 2.0 networking practice in VET and adult training institutions.
SVEA addresses the collaboration and web 2.0 skills of teachers and trainers in both VET and adult training institutions, with a special focus on personnel and organizational development.
Providing these institutions with the means for target oriented communication and knowledge exchange, will stimulate active co-development of organizational processes and tools, and will at the same time enable teachers and trainers to use those tools to empower learner-centered and self paced teaching.
SVEA will develop an online platform offering custom web 2.0 tools for trainers and teachers, combined with both an online and a face to face training program to help the target group master these web 2.0 applications. Guidelines and training material to guarantee successful implementation will also be designed.
SVEA’s goal is to cultivate new work processes and communication strategies through the use of net-based technology. Upgrading e-skills in VET and adult training institutions will foster innovation and change in personnel and organizational management.
More efficient organizational processes, improved collaboration through web 2.0 tools, and a resulting co-development climate, will allow for greater competitiveness and visibility in the education market.
Extracted from SVEA
The researchers are using three different tools for empirical data collection: quantitative surveys, workshops with “pioneer” SME and think tank sessions. As the study is not yet completed, the focus of the current paper is to present the key ideas, conceptual model and methodology, as well as our preliminary findings.
The preliminary results show the need of a deep change in the SME management paradigm before the full exploitation of the Web 2.0 can occur. While the development of learning environments and sharing networks is helping to configure an SME 2.0 vision, that vision won’t have an easy time turning into reality due to the incipient usage of these tools and the existing obstacles. Therefore, the concept of a fast, easy and global adoption in SME should be discarded.
Nevertheless, the competitive enabler that a network based collaboration represents, the recognized value of knowledge sharing and the willingness of people to participate in change are all positive factors in the path towards the persistent and systematic development of the SME 2.0 vision. Businesses and public policy makers should not be indifferent to this opportunity and trend in the knowledge based society.