Learning Participation - new position paper published by Lifelong Learning Platform

The Lifelong Learning Platform (former EUCIS-LLL) has published a brand new position paper on learning participation.  The paper covers a large number of topics for improving quality, access and outreach. EPA contributed to the position paper substantially as it is a hot topic for parents in Europe.

The paper starts by urging the acknowledgement of learner diversity and the importance of having a well-being focus, covering individualised approaches to teaching as well as learning environments and curriculum design. Increasing collaboration as a tool for increasing attainment is also elaborated on. The position paper revisits the important topics of transversal skills and digital literacy and urges the promotion of successful outreach strategies to raise awareness of participation in all stages of lifelong learning.

As the platform shares the holistic approach to education with EPA, details are also dealt with this approach. A comprehensive tackling of learning participation needs a holistic view including all learners, all educators (parents among them), and a change in the role of educational institutions.

The paper revisits typical barriers to change for educators/educational institutions:

  • Overcrowded curricula - in other words, too much material educators/teachers need to get through and little time for learner collaboration/teamwork
  • High-stakes assessments particularly for secondary school students that encourage «teaching for the test»
  • Lack of acknowledgement of learning outcomes of non-formal and informal learning
  • Few assessment methodologies on learners’ skills for collaboration as well as on other transversal competences such as sense of initiative, risk-taking and constructive management of emotions
  • Lack of professional development opportunities for educators and insufficient time to integrate new methods and aim to change mindsets
  • Lack of guidelines and support for new collaborative methods
  • Few opportunities for teacher collaboration (an important professional development approach) and lifelong professional development
  • Insufficient investment in other types of capacity building and peer learning networks
  • Difficulty of tailoring learning to meet diverse learners’ needs
  • A focus on transmission of knowledge rather than skills and attitudes
  • Lack of opportunities for learner and parent   
10 recommendations for adopting national/regional/European learning strategies that include the following key elements:

  1. Investments in professional and non-professional educators’ initial and continuing training and professional development that should include a strong methodological dimension and should be competence based (i.e. use of digital technologies and interactive methodologies as well as dealing with intercultural dialogue, conflict management and controversial issues in learning environments).
  2. Ensuring that educators have access to professional learning communities at local, national, regional and EU level including participation in European networks and learning mobility programmes.
  3. Support collaboration and peer learning among educators and with other stakeholders within and across educational institutions: include a strong “partnership” dimension with concrete actions (opening educational settings to external interventions, collaboration with families/communities, etc.).
  4. Develop specific outreach programmes to increase the learning participation in general and particularly of disadvantaged groups by taking into account learning diversity.
  5. Investments in tools and exemplars to support and encourage learner collaboration and encourage publishers to develop pedagogical content that is interactive.
  6. Revisit assessment methods and improve the capacity of teachers/educators in formative assessment methods.
  7. Improve the governance of educational institutions by meaningful participation of learners, families and communities in their management.
  8. Develop more evidence on learning participation and supporting “action research” with results applicable to both policy-makers and practitioners.
  9. Mainstream good practices, for instance by using the opportunities of KA3 policy support actions to support policy experimentation.
  10. Provide sustainable funding to successful initiatives that increase participation and retention in educational programmes.
Read the whole paper here 

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