Title AGROSKILL Transferring methods for validation of informal learning to VET institutions in the field of sustainable agriculture
Project Number 2013-1-FR1-LEO05-48134
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
The European Commission is putting more and more emphasis on the need to recognize all the knowledge, skills and competencies of an individual, including those acquired outside the formal system. The specific programs for continuing education underline how the initiatives taken by EU Member should aim at "validation of non-formal and informal learning and be based on learning outcomes".
AGROSKILL is focused on the problem of validation of non-formal and informal learning, in one of the areas where non-formal training and knowledge-based expertise are the most pregnant, agriculture, trying to "preserve the benefits for the environment and the protection of nature and support training and education for professionals in sustainable agriculture" (European Action Plan for organic food and agriculture).
In the field of sustainable agriculture, some countries have taken recent validation initiatives in the context of the development of a national qualifications framework. In Spain, certification was created for staff in charge of supporting converted to organic agriculture farmers. In other countries, such initiatives have remained limited, reflecting a lack of national strategies, a lack of knowledge on how to implement this validation in practice and - in some cases - a lack of confidence in the validation on the part of individuals and employers as well as cultural and attitudinal barriers. This can also come from a culture that values informal learning at the expense of formal, often negatively judged as too "academic" or unsuitable to local or professional characteristics.
To achieve this goal, it is important that trainers, tutors and managers of vocational training institutions acquire skills for the implementation of a validation system, and they know the real needs of their citizens, to provide training offer and validation systems as relevant as possible. The idea of the project is to analyze the modalities of implementation of system validation, and test method validation transfers identified as innovative, starting with the skills necessary for the exercise of the professions (farmers, agriculture employees, advisers and trainers), acquired through informal or non-formal learning, which could be validated.
The project objective is to adapt the content and transfer the best methodology for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning in the field of sustainable agriculture and eco-efficient, designed primarily for trainers and managers of the centers vocational training in European countries. In order to rely on concrete cases, the partners chose to focus on a form of sustainable agriculture, including organic farming.
The main problems identified in the partner countries, even if the agricultural sector is based on qualified stakeholders, training and qualifications of people are not necessarily formal, and is based primarily on the expertise (including the countries of eastern Europe and the Mediterranean) or non-formal training (France and Germany).Thus, vocational education in France, either for farmers or the accompanying organisms staff rarely the subject of a qualification after training periods.
The project also relies on the transfer of knowledge and products in terms of sustainable agriculture in Europe and on the identification of current market needs in order to take into account in agricultural training programs. In line with the priorities of the LEONARDO program, the AGROSKILL project aims to improve the skills of trainers by providing innovative tools for the validation of informal learning and expertise.
In addition, the project will also transfer innovative practices from learning structures that have previously participated in projects of the "long life training " program, involving teachers and companies in the design of new training modules that will lead to EU official curriculum and pilot courses.
To do this, the action plan is based on three main steps:
1 - analysis of skills needs in sustainable agriculture (WP2).
For this first action, carried out between October 2103 and september 2014, experts in organic agriculture and vocational training were surveyed in each country of the partnership, using a common questionnaire, and synthesis was performed (see the product n° 1).In parallel, projects dedicated to longlife training corresponding to the AGROSKILL theme were identified and analyzed (see the product n°2), and a transnational glossary of terminology specific to the theme "sustainable agriculture" was designed, so that partners use the same terms
2 – National analysis on the structure of non-formal and informal-formal learning and the current situation regarding the recognition of previous experience (WP3). Each partner conducted an analysis between meetings of Chania (April 2014) and Hamburg (September 2014)
It continues with the Implementation Strategy transfer: how to apply the transferring methods to the specific situations in each country? (WP3) For each country participating, partners write a proposal of transfer implementation, depending on national situation, and using shared guidelines, like a summary report about tranferred methods for validation training, and a general strategy for transfer implementation.
3 - implementation of pilot courses, during which the transfer will be experienced.(WP4)
Actions 3 and 4 relate to the year 2 of the project. It is expected that pilot courses are put in place by the end of April 2015. Their contents will be discussed during the meeting in Hamburg in october 2014.
In parallel, the partners have developed substantial actions to promote and recognize their efforts and to verify the efficiency of their project.
Their actions are supervised by a network of people identified as "experts" and who agreed to participate in the project by providing their opinions on the actions carried out and their results.
A communication plan is based on several complementary media to publicize the project : regular updating of the project sheet on the basis ADAM, realization of a website and brochures in all the languages of the partners, publishing newsletters , distributed to networks, various interventions in meetings ...
Project Quality evaluation plan to track the performance of the action plan and bring in financial partner all the elements necessary to properly evaluate the project. Two reviews financial and technical are provided on the project period, the first will be finalized by the end of November 2014 and will cover the first year of the project.
Recognition, transparency, certification
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Information and Communication
program or curricula
Among the main products::
- 8 National implementation strategies for converting current non-formal courses into formal courses, and validating the previous learning
- 8 Pilot courses training more than 35 VET experts/teachers and more than 500 downloads of training units
- More than 65 members in the Labour Experts Validation Network, with more than 100 VET Centres identified
At the end of the first year of the project, many of these experts have joined the project and will AGROSKILL can bring their knowledge of the subject.
The main impact in the short term is to obtain:
1) qualification system and
2) validation tools for VET teachers in the sustainable agriculture field.
In long term, the VET teachers, trainers, tutors and VET institution managers will be able to provide new training, in:
1) new courses with EU structure and formal learning
2) Validate existing expertise into formal learning.
The tools developed will be subject to the opinions of the organizations in charge of validation systems at the scale of individual nations of Europe, which naturally require additional time and difficult to quantify, so this phase does not include the project.