Project Number NL/05/B/F/PP/157518
Project Type Pilot Project, project with multiplying effect (2000-2006)
Marketing Text The aim of the Work & Learn Together project is to setup and sustain virtual communities of practice of SMEs in the tourist sector in order to faci...
The aim of the Work & Learn Together project is to setup and sustain virtual communities of practice of SMEs in the tourist sector in order to facilitate and support lifelong learning of employers and employees in the workplace. In Europe, SMEs are the backbone of regional prosperity and employment. Employees’ professional development is therefore often seen as a precondition to achieve innovations and to compete with other companies. Issues in the learning of employees of smaller companies are the work pressure, the management’s low priority on learning, and rigidity of the formal learning environments such as trainings and courses. SMEs are increasingly dependent on relationships between other companies, larger companies, sector organisations, social partners and public bodies to be engaged in tasks that otherwise would be beyond their individual reach. Moreover, communities of practice and of learners seem to have a positive influence on their learning processes, especially when these communities address work-related issues or are rooted in daily-work processes. This corresponds with the previously observed dominance of informal learning in SMEs, and aligns with the contemporary pedagogical views that learning is a social process where workers actively discuss and collaborate around issues that matter both for them as for the work they are doing.
In this 2-years project, virtual communities of practice with SMEs in tourism will be setup, monitored, evaluated and disseminated. These virtual networks will be setup around innovations in the tourist sector such as the expansion of active sport in tourism and the growth of eco-tourism such as farm tourism, bird watching and small campsites. Employees and employers of many SMEs are not yet equipped for these innovations and may feel a need to development their knowledge and skills in this field. In line with the character of work and learning processes in SMEs as described above, communities of practice would provide an opportunity to develop these new competencies and skills. In order to reach more SMEs, to cross regional distances, and to tailor learning to the needs of the learner, ICT, and web-based support in particular, will be necessary to facilitate the (virtual) communities of practice.
Following an analysis of existing support of networks and learner needs of SMEs, national and international virtual communities of SMEs will be setup, monitored, evaluated and disseminated. In addition, a comparative analyses will be performed in order to enhance the knowledge on virtual communities of practice. The valorisation and dissemination of the project results will be a core feature of the project. The main project results will be:
• tools and models to support virtual communities of practice of SMEs in tourism
• insight into innovative developments in tourism in the partner countries
• insight into the learning needs of employers and employees of SMEs in tourism
• at least 16 regional or national communities of practice of SMEs in tourism
• at least 5 international communities of practice of SMEs in tourism
• system for monitoring and evaluation of communities of practice
• guidelines for the implementation of virtual communities of practice of SMEs in tourism
• 5 seminars for sector organisations from other countries than the partner countries
• guidelines for relating the formal structure of vocational training in each country with the informal communities of practice of SMEs in tourism
• web portal with all the materials (project repository) operating as the European portal for networks of SMEs in tourism
• various conference papers and articles in both professional and scientific journals as described in the work packages
Recognition, transparency, certification
Sectors Other Service Activities