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EPALE - Plateforme électronique pour l'éducation et la formation des adultes en Europe


EPALE Discussion: How can digital learning be used in the Upskilling Pathways initiative?

par EPALE Moderator


As part of EPALE’s March focus on digital and e-learning, we would like to hear your views on how digital learning can be used in the Upskilling Pathways initiative.

The discussion will be moderated by EPALE’s Thematic Coordinator for Learning Environments, Simon Broek. Don’t miss this opportunity to share with the EPALE community your experience, views and questions about digital learning.

The discussion took place on 23 March 2017 at 2:00pm CET and we covered the following broader questions:

  1. How do we ensure that digital tools have a valuable contribution in providing basic skills for all adults (i.e. making upskilling pathways a reality)?
  2. What is needed at the level of the adult learning professional, the institution level and the policy level?

**This discussion has now beel closed.

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Portrait de Ulrika Knutsson

In sweden we have the problem of that people that made decsions about digital upskilling belive tha people already are digital included. Its a problem when they only talk about the technical side. There are so much more about it that concearns the knowing and understanding skills of how to - why to - what to skills. 

The more people centred view, work with people so that they could be part of the digital society are perspektive left out. The decionsmakers the people in leadership of organizations neglect the problem with those who have acsess to but don´t know how to use....

The PIACC survey did show this problem a bit but here should be even more statistic about what kind of divide and costs it´s consecvensis give. It will give costs for the european socitey in different ways if we dont take people further on the pathway. We need more statistics.

It needs funds to day a lot of people do this work to support people voluntary. Yes its good but to come further on there need to be a greater funding to initiatives and organisaations to do the work.

Leadership need to get aware about the real situation and focus on this need in the strategical programme before its to late. Programmes toward leadership on the situation and needs needs to be made. 

All of our contires need to get people in diffrent courses and training programmes to be equipped with 

digital skills to be active citizens in the society for : everyday life, working life, life in the society and for lifelong learning. Its a huge challenge! But theres no other way...


Portrait de Simon BROEK

Policies are sometimes developed on the basis of assumptions, or the skills levels of majorities ('most people can use digital tools'). This is problematic when discussing basic skills acquisition as it creates additional barriers; some of which digital can also remove...


Related to this, Barry Hake points to a broader concern in his recent blog: /en/blog/digital-learning-young-wine-looking-old-bottles

Online communication for older people should be a question of enhancing their ‘social connectivity’, reducing their sense of exclusion from the local community, and enhancing their contacts with other people in their day-to-day lives. This can involve organising local study groups to:

1) discuss how digital technologies are changing older people’s lives;

2) exchange positive and negative experiences of the digital world;

3) explore how digital skills can help them improve their quality of life.

How to convince the leadership in policy making, companies, communities and providers?

Portrait de Graciela Sbertoli

Yes, we do keep repeating the same things, don't we? But we are advancing little by little, creating consensus at European level about what is needed, and sharing good examples, proven methods, ideas to adapt...

Portrait de Graciela Sbertoli

When we talk about the need to upskill teachers in their digital competence, we often forget that teachers are busy and that their time costs money. We need efficient, pragmatic and flexible systems for the professional development of staff. 

One way of doing this is facilitating communities of practice where good didactic approaches can be shared. Very much what we are doing here right now, but maybe with a narrower focus on a particular target group.

In Norway there is a very successful Facebook group for teachers of initial literacy to adult migrants. I am often surprised at the richness of the peer learning that goes on there!

Portrait de Christian BERNHARD-SKALA

I think adult teachers need to be patient, courageous and courious in order to try out new things. They need to value steps forward and not loose courage and then going back to old learing styles

Portrait de Martin Dobeš

Hello everybody, my name is Martin Dobeš, I am in the EPALE expert team of the Czech Republic and for the past 10 years, I have been been trying to bring innovations and new approaches in adult education, mostly being part of the NGO sector. I see one of the theme of the disscussion is smart technology and how to make it use widely in the population. 

Some reflections to the theme - I am not an expert on the theme, so please take it as only some ideas. Not only here in the Czech Republic, but basically anywhere in the world, the issue of digital inclusion of adults is not so much about IT or hardware skills or even about having the right hardware – it is much more about motivation. As I have travelled long time in countries generally considered as developing countries, I have seen that more and more people even from the bottom social classes are in possession of a smart phone or a simple PC in many cases and they do have some basic IT skills. We all have seen pictures and videos of refugees arriving in Europe with smart phones in their pockets, communicating via Facebook in a desperate effort to get as much information about their potential future as possible. Most of these people belong to younger generation, however. They use social networks, Skype, Google, and they know how to get information there which they need. I have encountered numerous situations where young people, adults or youngsters from countries like India, Pakistan, Syria, Oman etc. deal with their smart phones, computers and other devices with ease, while their parents and grandparents live in a completely different world. These elderly people often have fears from the digital world, they are often much more conservative than their Western counterparts and do not have a motivation to upskill digitally. To a certain extent, this applies to elderly people in Central and Eastern Europe as well.

Portrait de David Mallows

You make some very good points Martin. Understanding adults' motivation is a central issue. In a blog for Digital Learning Week I wrote about the importance of including the concept of digital taste in our discussions. Once adults see the benefits of engaging with technology in this context, once they have ‘taste’ for digital, the next step, learning how to use it, becomes more meaningful. 

Your two example groups suggest that while we should build on the younger generations’ familiarity with mobile technologies to deliver and support learning, we should be aware of the need to help other groups to first see the benefits of digital technology before subsequently acquiring digital skills.


Portrait de Martin Dobeš

Thanks David for a very interesting blog. With your kind permission, I would translate it for the Czech EPALE community :-) 

Portrait de Graciela Sbertoli

Part of our target group will need a lot of encouragement and support, and it is important to find the right motivator triggers.

Have you read this blog by David Mallows? I think you will find it very relevant to this issue - /node/32855