Review: EPALE Conference „Digital participation: digital literacy for participation in the society of the future"

The conference was organised by the EPALE National Support Service Austria in collaboration with Erasmus+ adult education and discussed the potential offered by digitalisation for adult education in the pursuit of active participation in the society of the future.



The conference was organised by the EPALE National Support Service Austria in collaboration with Erasmus+ adult education and discussed the potential offered by digitalisation for adult education in the pursuit of active participation in the society of the future. Digitalisation’s role for all areas of life was discussed in light of current developments in Europe. The aim of the conference was to create both real and virtual platforms that reach across international borders and encourage sharing and learning between the different parties involved in adult education. The conference offered the chance to attend talks, as well as workshops and ideas pools, where the 100 or so attendees expected could engage with initiatives and projects from various European countries.

Graciela Sbertoli, Chair of EBSN spoke on the subject „Digitalization and Adult Learning: The Norwegian Approach to Inclusion into a Digital Society“. The current Norwegian approach to integration for newly arrived immigrants focuses on swift integration into both society and the world of work. Digital literacy is both a goal and a tool in this process. How should these elements be integrated into training programmes? What are the success criteria for efficient implementation?

Birgit Aschemann, CONEDU, discussed in her talk „Adult learning and digitalisation: new opportunities and new responsibilities “. Taking into account recent developments in Europe, the role of digitalisation in all areas of life will be addressed. What cycle is typical for digital learning offers and what are the opportunities and concerns in this area? What is the role of adult education professionals in the ongoing process of digitalisation, and what opportunities arise from large-scale further education offers such as the Austrian MOOC for adult educators (EBmooc) that took place in March/April 2017 with more than 2700 registered participants?

Following the plenary section of the conference, three parallel ideas and networking pools provided a framework for discussion of the following:

  • new approaches for further training of adult educators (Pool 1)
  • digital learning resources in basic education (Pool 2) and
  • digital work-based learning (Pool 3).

In Pool 1, Signe Briķe, Baltic Computer Academy (LV), spoke about ‘New approaches for further training of adult educators in the information society of Latvia’ and this talk was followed by Birgit Aschemann, CONEDU (AT), who gave an in-depth insight into the first large-scale open online course for adult educations in Austria, the EBmooc.

In Pool 2, Adelheid Eichberger-Jesenko, nowa (AT), presented experiences from the ESF project ‘Learn forever’, one of the objectives of which is the acquisition of digital learning skills through the use of digital resources in basic education. During the presentation of the initial results of the Erasmus+ project ‘Digi4Adults’, Henna-Riikka Ahvenjärvi, Tampere Adult Education Centre TAKK (FI), gave an insight into the Finnish approach to digital literacy training in adult education.

The challenges and opportunities presented by digital learning in the workplace were discussed in Pool 3. The Erasmus+ project ‘Simple Open Learning Advancement’ was presented by Ana Landeta, udimas (ES), and the project coordinator Gabriele Winkler, Vocational Training Institute of Upper Austria (Berufsförderungsinstitut Oberösterreich, BFI OÖ) (AT). Estela Daukšienė, Lithuanian Association of Distance and E-Learning (LieDM association) gave an insight into open courses for work-based learning and materials that were developed as part of the Erasmus+ project ‘OPENPROF: Open Professional Collaboration for Innovation’.

You can find these presentations and the results of the conference in the ‘Digital Participation’ Community of Practice.

Author: Eva Baloch-Kaloianov, EPALE Austria

This is a translation of a German article.

Foto: © OeAD-GmbH/APA-Fotoservice/Hörmandinger

Press release in German and photos of the conference.

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