The European Council has adopted Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning to help reinforce key competences and basic skills.
The Recommendation identifies eight key competences which act as a common European reference framework for policymakers, as well as education and training providers, organisations and learners.
Poor skills can significantly hinder the extent to which one is able to participate in society. Having sound basic skills ensures personal development and equality and boosters employability, social inclusion and active citizenship.
Unlike the compulsory school system, adult learning is a voluntary commitment based on high levels of motivation and proactivity. This presents more of a challenge for education providers. Efforts must be made to continuously develop innovative methodologies and tools in order to engage adult learners in improving their skills and competences.
With the outbreak of Coronavirus, adult education is also responding to quarantine by moving its teaching online. E-learning resources and communication tools are playing a key role in this pandemic, and it is not yet clear how long all of this might last. Therefore, we should take this as an opportunity to strengthen distance-learning capabilities.
In response to (and often with the financial support of) the European Commission’s efforts to build a stronger and more active European community of citizens, many projects and resources have been developed to face this major challenge. On EPALE 248, e-learning resources can be found at the following link: https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/resource-centre/?f%5B0%5D=im_field_resource_tags%3A11754
Key competences for lifelong learning and tools to engage adult learners in improving their basic skills
How ready are we for online collaboration? Online4Edu is a self-assessment test which evaluates skills and knowledge in three areas: online collaboration tools, webinars, and mobile collaboration tools. A very helpful tool in today’s world.
Let’s face it, Coronavirus is also unleashing our inner Iron Chefs. People worldwide are confined to their homes and even the few who aren’t are experimenting with recipes in the privacy of their own homes. So, why not learn a foreign language while cooking and interacting with food? Cooking engages all of our senses in the learning experience and makes for a rich multi-modal and multi-sensory experience! Linguacuisine is a project co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme which aims to build a social cuisine community and invest in innovative ways of teaching languages.
Numerical, scientific and engineering skills
The UN CC:Learn is a joint initiative of more than 30 multilateral organisations helping countries to take action against climate change both by increasing general knowledge of the climate and developing applied skills as well as through learning resources designed to help people to understand climate change and to build their resilience to it. Dozens of online courses are available on the UN CC:Learn website.
Finkit is a set of financial education tools aimed at older people. These tools are designed to help trainers, coaches and volunteers to successfully pass on financial knowledge to at-risk adults with poor financial skills. The kit (funded by the Erasmus+ programme) is composed of 1 app, 2 videos and 5 booklets that can be used on financial education programmes as well as in informal training sessions.
Digital and technology-based competences
In today’s society everyone needs a sufficient level of digital skills in order to play an active role in society, to access and progress in the labour market, and to engage in further education and training from a lifelong learning perspective. Today, more than ever, we need to boost digital competences on the basis of European competence frameworks.
Pathways for employment evaluates users’ levels in the 21 digital competences using the criteria outlined in the DIGCOMP framework.
Interpersonal skills, and the ability to adopt new competences
SOSTRA project (carried out with the financial support of the Erasmus+ programme) aims to identify the need for, and the importance of, soft skills in European Adult Education. Adult educator runs an online self-reflective test for assessing soft skills and co-creates an open, badge-driven learning experience and multimodal learning materials in order to bridge the gaps in soft skills.
Among other objectives, the Council Recommendation on Common values, Inclusive Education, and the European Dimension of Teaching aims to promote a sense of belonging and to strengthen social cohesion, and to fight divisive nationalism. Promoting common values is meant to inspire and strengthen democratic citizenship focusing on transformation towards social justice and sustainability in a globalised world. The ET 2020 framework provides opportunities to implement best practices in education policy and to disseminate knowledge with 4 key objectives. These include the promotion of equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship. Unesco offers a catalogue of resources on Global Citizenship Education, Historiana offers a set of digital tools and learning activities and the project NAVIGATE (co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme) aims to foster participation and awareness through a Game-based learning approach which helps its users to avoid fake online content.
Entrepreneurship education plays a key role in Europe’s competitiveness and in the continuous growth of Europe’s economy. Among the number of tools created to support the development of an entrepreneurial mindset, SG4Adults, co-funded by the Erasmus programme, aims to tackle the entrepreneurial skills of adult learners with a game-based learning experience that can be used by adult education providers.
Cultural awareness and expression
Cultural heritage has a crucial role to play in education. The digital collections of Europeana offer multiple different takes on historical, scientific and cultural developments across Europe and beyond to bring this source of knowledge to educators or educational organisations and learners. Europeana’s learning scenarios offer a dedicated website for learning and training providers.
Not forgetting special needs
Being forced to sit for hours and even days at a time in front of screens raises particular problems for some people. Websites don’t always accommodate for those with special needs and it could prove vital to adapt these tools to make it easier for those with special needs to navigate them.
FACIL'iti provides a solution for those who have difficulty seeing and who have motor problems or learning difficulties and makes it automatically feasible to fit displays to a specific profile.
Easy-to-read One of the main barriers stopping people with learning disabilities from accessing life-long learning programmes is the lack of accessible adult training and information material in an easy-to-understand language. Easy-to-read offers materials which help get those with learning difficulties involved in the writing process. The website delivers methodologies and guidelines to make the education process more inclusive for those with learning disabilities.
…and transversal basic skills and opportunities
Upskilling pathways targets adults with a low level of skills with the aim of boosting access to quality learning opportunities in three key steps: skills assessment, learning offer and validation + recognition.
A set of e-learning opportunities is developed as part of the AP AEPRO, once again funded with the support of the Erasmus+ programme.
The European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning is an electronic, multi-media, open access journal which publishes research and presents scholarly work and information about open, distance, online and e-learning for technology-enhanced education and training.