Lifelong learning has become a reality not only in the formulation stage, but in real life. The conditions exist - and demands increase. Above all the Internet, but also ICT, have created the full potential for flexible learning and individual learning.
Lifelong learning has become a reality not only in the formulation stage, but in real life. The prerequisites are there - and demands increase .
Above all the Internet, but also ICT, have created the full potential for flexible learning and individual learning. The Internet provides an immense amount of resources. Course platforms help the teacher to put up virtual learning environments without extensive technical skills. Learning centers provide a new infrastructure for adult studies. In the Nordic countries many people have access to good Internet access. Computer density is so great that everyone is able to connect to social contacts or for study purposes.
Society and work demands continuous development of all of us. The boundaries between learning in formal learning situations (schools, evening classes ) and informal learning in life outside is becoming increasingly fluid. Education providers are expected today to arrange flexible learning situations where formal and informal learning is encouraged and utilized. One area where this has been particularly evident where the expected benefits of " blended learning " is the greatest, language training for adult immigrants .
The Nordic Folkuniversities/Educational Forums have long offered flexible studies, and have since 2001 built up an extensive web-based resource site for language that is widely used by the participants. Our teachers are colleagues have expertise in flexible learning.
Many language teachers feel as yet poorly equipped to meet the new challenges in technology, teaching and learning material and we see a great need to improve the skills of many more beyond the relatively small group of spearheads.
There are plenty of training courses in distance education and teachers are encouraged to attend. Attendance has been weak. Conversations with teachers suggest that there are two main obstacles :
Time and money: Teachers often have no full-time jobs but are hired for a course or semester at a time, usually on an hourly basis. Many work for several different providers and have their teacher career as a sideline. Time for training is not part of their paid work time and they feel that they do not have the energy or can afford to attend longer courses. Training needs to provide clear and rapid return on investment in a very concrete plan.
Psychological thresholds: Many teachers do not belong to the "gameboy generation", they are not grown up with technology and a "DIY" attitude towards their own learning, but they feel great uncertainty regarding everything new. They feel blocked by a feeling of "It's difficult , tedious and unmanageable". Continous efforts need to show that it is fun, educationally valuable and affordable. We need to build confidence through quick small successes and create curiosity.
Digital reference library and mini workshops
The problems are similar in the three partner organizations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Therefore, the Folkuniversitetet's Language Group has decided to make the leap from providing shared resources to actively collaborate on teachers' pedagogical development.
With project support from the Nordic Council of Ministers NordPlus program, the partner organizations have since the fall of 2008, been running the project 5 L.
The project has developed
- 7 mini - workshops
- documentation of these because they can be implemented by other workshop leaders at many locations
- an online reference library for target language teachers in the Nordic countries
Each workshop is free-standing, very short, compact and useful and focuses on a theme, such as Culture, Words, Social Media. Through the training model of Learning by Doing and Reflecting & Adapting, teachers are trying out materials and resources, reflect on the educational benefits and "build" a session for a private language course. The reference library is actively used and gives teachers an insight over their content and utility.
Each workshop is structured so that it provides small doses of greater educational skills for lifelong learning, knowledge of resources, technical knowhow and hopefully a desire to continue developing.
Starting year: 2008
Contact: Kerstin Namuth
Det livslånga lärandet har blivit ett faktum inte bara på formuleringsarenan utan i verkliga livet. Förutsättningarna finns – och kraven ökar. Framför allt genom Internet och IKT har förutsättningar för flexibelt lärande och lärande på egen hand skapats.