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EPALE

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Diskussion

Adult learning for vocational purposes and in the workplace: challenges and future

05/11/2018
by Simon BROEK

/en/file/vocational-education-and-trainingVocational education and training

Vocational education and training

 

What are the challenges and possible solutions for improving adult learning for vocational purposes and in the workplace? We would love to hear your thoughts in this online discussion.

As a follow-up to our discussion on the European vision for adult learning in the 2020s, we would like you to share your opinion on any of the topics below. Engage with your peers from across Europe in this online discussion moderated by EPALE Thematic Coordinator Simon Broek.

Learning in the workplace is not just a matter of providing courses or learning opportunities: success relies heavily on the organisation of work. For instance, if the job solely concerns routine tasks, employees are not really encouraged to learn (see EPALE summary: August focus on workplace learning or Organisation of work: Reflections on an often forgotten workplace learning dimension).

The ET2020 Working group on adult learning 2016-2018 focused on adult learning in the workplace and published an inspiring report with building blocks on how to stimulate policies in this area.

  • What is the role of adult learning providers in facilitating adult learning for vocational purposes and adult learning in the workplace?
  • To what extent are adult learning providers well positioned to facilitate adult learning for vocational purposes?
  • To what extent do adult learning providers have close relationships with employers? Do they respond well to employers' needs? Do providers and employers speak the same language? Do you know of any good practices?
  • How can employers further stimulate learning while working? What needs to be changed in the organisation of work, the incentives provided and training offered?
  • What are the challenges faced by adult learning providers in facilitating adult learning for vocational purposes?
  • What could/should be done to increase providers’ impact on adult learning for vocational purposes and adult learning in the workplace?

** Comments will be open until 19 November 2018!

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Bild des Benutzers Viktorija Birjukova
In the light of the problems of adult education, the cyclical four-step empirical model of the learning process and human learning (Experiential Learning Model), proposed by David Kolb and his colleagues from Case Western Reserve University, gained particular popularity. According to the ideas of the authors of the study, learning consists of repeating stages of “fulfillment” and “thinking”. This means that it is impossible to effectively learn anything just by reading about this subject, studying theory or listening to lectures. However, the training, in which new actions are performed thoughtlessly, without analyzing and summing up, cannot be effective. Based on my own learning experience, I propose to use a variant of a cycle consisting of five stages: practice - reflexive analysis - theoretical concepts - experimentation - reflection. 
Bild des Benutzers Simon BROEK
As first questions I would like to discuss the following:
  1. What is the role of adult learning providers in facilitating adult learning for vocational purposes and adult learning in the workplace?
  2. To what extent are adult learning providers well positioned to facilitate adult learning for vocational purposes?
Bild des Benutzers Simon BROEK
The ET2020 Working group on adult learning 2016-2018 focused on adult learning in the workplace. It published a report with building blocks on how to stimulate policies in this area. On EPALE we discuss what adult learning providers can do. Please feel inspired by the report (/en/content/commission-publishes-practical-guide-promoting-adult-learning-workplace).

Adult learning in the workplace can be:

  • Formal: it occurs in an organised and structured environment and is explicitly designated as learning (in terms of objectives, time or resources) and leads to a formal qualification (or part-qualification). This kind of learning might take place within a VET/apprenticeship-type programme (including at higher levels) or in short cycle higher education programmes.
  • Non-formal: it occurs in an organised and structured environment and is explicitly designated as learning (in terms of objectives, time or resources), but does not lead to a formal qualification. This kind of learning might, for instance, be employer-based training or courses, self-study or job-shadowing.
  • Informal: it results from daily activities at the workplace which are not specially organised or structured; it and does not lead to a formal qualification. This kind of learning might include peer learning, exchanges with colleagues, or learning by doing
Also, learning in the workplace is not just a matter of providing courses or learning opportunities: success relies heavily on the organisation of work. It is very important whether the organisation of work is stimulating for learning. For instance, if the work solely concerns routine tasks, employees are not really encouraged to learn (see /en/blog/epale-summary-august-focus-workplace-learning ; or /en/blog/organisation-work-reflections-often-forgotten-workplace-learning-dimension).