null Using digital tools to enable lifelong learning – alternatives identified by Compleap presented in final seminar of the project

Compleap team: CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd, Finnish National Agency for Education, Oulu University, Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia and DUO (Netherlands).

Using digital tools to enable lifelong learning – alternatives identified by Compleap presented in final seminar of the project

The EU project Compleap (Learner-centered digital ecosystem of competence development), coordinated by CSC, has been developing new digital solutions for supporting the lifelong learning of citizens over the past two years. The topic is particularly topical in the educational sector and society in general – it has been impossible to avoid debates around the issue of continuous learning lately.

The results of the project, to close by the end of the year, were presented on Monday 14 October, the opening day of the European Vocational Skills Week, which is one of the side events of Finland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in Europe hall in Kamppi, Helsinki.

Stakeholders have shown wide interest in and high enthusiasm for the work performed in the project. In spite of the event taking place during the Finnish autumn break from school, the hall was practically full.

Minister of Education Li Andersson opened the event with a welcoming video speech. Alongside lengthening the compulsory education age, the reform of continuous learning has been one of the key educational reforms during the present government term in Finland. With the working life changing constantly, the retraining and continuing education and training of the population are key societal issues.

After the minister's speech, the Project manager of Compleap Antti Laitinen (CSC) introduced the objectives of the project and the project team. In addition to CSC, the team consisted of the Finnish National Board of Education, in charge of service development, the University of Oulu, studying the opportunities of supporting study and career planning by means of analytics, Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia, which took part in the piloting, and DUO – Executive Agency for Education of the Netherlands, which was tasked with building the international network and communications.

Lauri Järvilehto, Professor of Practice, Aalto University, acted as the first keynote speaker, providing a context and meaning for the following presentations. In his speech, he emphasised above all the meaning of internal motivation and presented a new concept of life wide learning. As working life and society keep on changing, in the future, work and studies will become increasingly overlapped – the key is finding the matters you have personal motivation for.

Picture: Professor of Practice, Lauri Järvilehto represented the development context: the transformation in society and working life uplifts the importance of life long learning.

After the inspiring motivational speech, the project team presented their final results.

Ari Rouvari from CSC presented the learner-centered framework architecture design, aimed at describing the whole digital ecosystem related to competence development across educational and administrative boundaries. The prototypes of new services developed on the basis of feedback received from stakeholders were chosen in such a manner that they would complement the existing services. To truly enable lifelong learning, the guidance services for those seeking education and training should be developed.

Annica Moore and Marcus Caselius from the Finnish National Agency for Education presented the prototype framework developed in the project. The project implemented technical service pilots (proof of concept), which show how increasingly tailored guidance services could be built to operate in connection with national provision of education and training services, such as the website in Finland. Such services would provide users with a more personalised view of the learner pathways suited for them.

Topias Kähärä from the Finnish National Agency for Education and Antti Kaasila and Egle Gedrimiene from the University of Oulu explained how user-centered design work was performed and how the feedback from final users was utilised in the development work.

To kick off the afternoon session of the seminar, Raimo Vuorinen, internationally acclaimed expert in lifelong guidance from the University of Jyväskylä, gave the second keynote speech of the day, commenting on the presentations given earlier from the perspective of lifelong guidance

Picture: Lifelong guidance professional, project manager Raimo Vuorinen described the essential role of career management skills and co-careering in life long learning.

After this, an international panel compared the situations in Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia, and built a picture of how this kind of services could be developed in other EU countries as well.

Picture: Project outcomes has been disseminated, besides Finland and among other countries, also to Holland, Germany and Estonia. The international expert panel compared the situation between countries.

A joint EU level measure in this direction is the reform of the Europass service – the intention is to build it into a digital competence portfolio to support the mobility of EU citizens.

At the end of the event, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) presented its first observations of the impact and success rate of Compleap. The observations will be integrated into the external project evaluation to be completed by the end of the year.

The feedback received has been very encouraging, and expectations are high for the reform of continuous learning and building of services to support it. Still, a lot remains to be done both in Finland and in Europe. The expertise and long-term co-operation of various actors will be needed also in the future. In such endeavours, projects like Compleap function as key drivers.

Published originally 25.11.2019.

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Antti Laitinen