from November 13, 2023 to November 30, 2023
Published on November 13, 2023 Updated on May 2, 2024

EUTOPIA-FLECSLAB Expert Committee Gathered in Brussels

October 19–20, 2023

With the EUTOPIAFLECSLAB project (coordinated by University of Ljubljana), our alliance expands the work of the Connected Learning Communities towards Life-Long Learning.

In each year of the FLECSLAB working period (2022/ 2023 /2024) we select 4 EUTOPIA Learning Communities so as to identify good practices and conditions that need to be fulfilled for developing the academic offering in Lifelong Learning. Aligned with this working method in 2023 we have chosen a second collection of communities that are operating in a rapidly changing context resulting in tensions on the labor market and in need for new competences to deal with the changes. The leads of the 4 Connected Learning Communities (CLC) were interviewed by the researcher of the University of Warwick and, similar to last year, the results are presented to the FLECSLAB Education Expert Committee.

The objective of this meeting was to:

  1. create transparency and coherence for the findings emanating from the various CLCs
  2. hear the insights of the external experts and representatives of other alliances
  3. inspire the development of an educational toolkit by the UPF team
  4. provide input for business scenarios.

Expected outcomes: the analysis of the second selection of 4 CLCs allows the FLECSLAB team to fine tune the roadmap for Higher Education Institutions that plan to further develop their offering for Lifelong Learners. An update of this roadmap created by the chair of the Education Expert Committee (VUB) will be made available after the Workshop.

Conclusions and implications on the educational model and its dimensions

  1. The leads of the second subset of testbed CLCs confirm the importance of CO-CREATION,  COLLABORATION AND CONNECTEDNESS across disciplines and stakeholders as this is needed for the challenge-based type of teaching that Lifelong Learners expect from academia
  2. More prevalent as compared to the first round are the dimension SKILLS DEMAND and a related need for VALIDATION, CERTIFICATION AND RECOGNITION of these skills (including the implementation of micro-credentials and flexible learning pathways)
  3. The ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY of HEI is still considered as the most important barrier for universities willing to play a more significant role in LLL. It is a crucial dimension for developing sustainable business scenarios and should therefore become a third layer next to the learner-centered approach and the educational offering.
  4. SUPPORT AND GUIDANCE to the individual learners and staff are a dimension needed to maintain the efforts and to make the system sustainable.
  5. As a result, the educational model has been slightly re-edited into:
  1. As a result, the educational model has been slightly re-edited into:

Conclusions and implications for further activities

  • The inputs of ECIU and CIVIS made it clear that several concepts are implemented by all alliances that are oriented towards a modular and flexible educational approach: challenge-based learning and teaching is the greatest common denominator, and this requires cooperation with a variety of partners in society. The transnational collaboration between learners, academic staff, and stakeholders is supposed to create the best chances for triggering innovative procedures for handling complex challenges in society.
  • The educational models of these innovative alliances are a fertile context for implementing tools such as micro-credentials and flexible learning pathways. These tools are still in an experimental phase; therefore, it is highly advisable to exchange experience across like-minded alliances.
  • Representatives of ECIU and CIVIS are both interested in the further results of our educational roadmap and the implementation of the “ecosystem” approach related to it. It seems useful to deepen the potential of this concept for the development of (business) scenarios that can strengthen the organizational capacity of academia in offering flexible learning mechanisms.       

More information on EUTOPIA-FLECSLAB