Learning in Networks and the challenges related to the competence development of educators
Overview | Session A | Session B | Session C | Session D | Session E | Session F | Session G | Session H | Symposium
Antra Carlsen, NVL Head-coordinator
Maria Marquard, NVL coordinator in Denmark, responsible for NVL thematic research networks
NVL’s experience from networking and competences needed in networking
The Nordic network for adult learning (NVL) was initiated and is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and administrated by the Norwegian Agency for Lifelong Learning (Vox). NVL follows the NCM strategy plan and focuses on creating links between theory and practice, between research and practice, and between policy and practice.
NVL is a network organization working cross-sectorally and across the national borders. Experience shows that networks can focus on specific and prioritised fields which interest the Nordic governments and be fast and efficient with initiating development work within a concrete theme, following the common Nordic values and traditions in AE at the same time taking into consideration country-specific needs and respecting diversity. The NCM can have access to expertise and collective knowledge, and use a broad arena for dissemination. This provides an added value to projects and national or local initiatives.
New trends and tendencies in learning in networks and network communities. What are the implications for adult educators; what competences they need and how they can (not) acquire them.
On one hand the globalized world constantly presents new demands to education systems, and the necessity to focus on how adult educators’ competence can be secured and developed seems to be evident. Learning in networks and developing new competences that can manage complex learning situations and manage diverse learning environments is a challenge to adult educators. Questions of balancing between flexibility and control, process and result, continuity and innovation arise.
On the other hand a recent Nordic study (2011) on the existing competence requirements and education opportunities for adult educators states the following: “It is remarkable that while the training of comprehensive school teachers is moving in the direction of research‐based education with increased specialization by age group and subject, there is no focus on the specific needs and learning prerequisites of the adult target group, such as adults’ experiences and life situation. Furthermore, the content and organisation of adult education programmes require adult educators to have various didactic competences which suit adults and differ from the requirements faced by teachers in primary and lower secondary schools. Examples include flexible education forms, work-place based training and cross‐sectoral co‐operation.”
Examples from regional further training initiatives as one way of responding to the challenges.
There are several initiatives that are innovative and imply, among other things, several of the networking aspects. One of them, called “OSAAVA” (“CAPABLE”) has been launched by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture to support the general task of employers (e.g. municipalities) to take greater responsibility in organising continuing professional development opportunities for the whole education staff. The programme has a fixed-term and is planned for the period between 2010 and 2016.
In other words, the programme promotes inclusion in CPD. In addition, the programme tries to renew the “old” and ‘too’ dominant professional development models in use in staff training. The idea behind OSAAVA is to empower teachers themselves to think, plan and execute their own CPD that better meets their own personal needs but also those of their employers or in the centre of education policies. It helps the educational organisations to replace traditional training models with more innovative learning arrangements. Also, it gives good possibilities for regional or thematic networking for all stakeholders in the field.
Next steps in the Nordic region
How and how long, with whom and why to network and ensure mutual learning in networks? These questions have to be asked and answered repeatedly and it is an on-going process.