Title CTCES (Communication Training for Cross-Border Emergency Services)
Project Number DE/08/LLP-LdV/TOI/147122
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
When accidents occur in border areas foreign language competence is needed to rapidly restore a critical situation to normal.
The CTCES project consortium has produced language learning tools helping the personnel in European emergency services to learn
the language(s) of their nearest neighbours.
For accessing all course material visit http://ctces.virtual-campus.eu/.
The tangible results include:
1. course material in eight languages (English, French, German, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish)
2. a handbook for teachers and students to support the use of the course material with chapters in eight languages
3 a multi-lingual dictionary
4 an ontology
5 an online learning environment e-learning
6 a CD-ROM containing the course material and associated tools
In critical situations when lives are in danger and material losses occur, foreign language competence is often necessary. This is strikingly evident at accidents in border areas. Typically, emergency service personnel are competent only in their mother tongue. This project intended to widen the range of languages “cross border” with a strong orientation on training and re-training the vocational domains of the service.
In less densely populated rural border areas, we find two patterns: bilingual skills are limited, the standard languages are closely related, and dialects mediating between them ensure understanding (cf. Dutch and German). If the neighbouring language is held in low esteem so is the motivation to learn the “other” language across the border. Communication and learning a foreign language will happen in the Lingua Franca, in our case in English.
Co-operation of emergency services may be difficult for other reasons, too. Technical reasons such as incommensurate standards of the equipment, flow of communication, liaison between teams and their home base, rules for decision making, political and administrative decisions, financial reasons, matters of insurance, legal liability etc.
The project partners developed vocational training materials for several languages, e-learning materials and exercises for training the trainers as well as matters of liaison and the coordination of information flow to bases and other teams.
The course material covers the entirety of developed tools in this project. It is embedded in an e-learning platform that can be accessed
online or run through a CD-ROM. A printed handbook is accompanying the e-learning tool, as well as a multi-lingual dictionary for the
emergency services and a corresponding ontology. It offers multi-media contents for most pressing topics of emergency situation
communication and widens the range of languages “cross-border” with a strong orientation on language training and re-training in the
vocational domain of emergency services. The material is outlined using informative texts on the respective topic, images, voice-overs,
audio-recordings, quizzes, vocabulary lists, and speaking / listening exercises. The course material allows for the acquisition of a foreign
language for the use in emergency situations in cross-border encounters and hereby promotes the sharing of resources between
neighbouring countries to tackle major emergencies and restore critical situations to normal.
Upon the surveys and interviews, scenarios of emergency situations have been created that are likely to occur in all countries (e.g. a
pandemic, a forest fire, and a major road traffic accident). Results of the surveys have shown that for higher levels in the organizational
hierarchy of emergency services the English language is more relevant for cross-border communication in real work situations. Therefore,
the consortium changed the final course material from a one-level to a two-level structure. This addresses two different target groups
within emergency services: the higher level dealing with organizational tasks (e.g. heads of departments, coordinators), and the lower
level with practical tasks (e.g. fire fighters, paramedics).
As a result of analyzing different existing e-learning tools, the consortium finally modelled the e-learning platform for the project after
Moodle to support the opportunity for a cooperative teaching and learning methodology.
The handbook accompanies the e-learning tool and supports the use of the course material. It provides information for teachers and users
on the background of the project and the need for language training for the emergency services. Furthermore it explains the structure of
the e-learning tool and gives using instructions. Finally, each emergency scenario and the contents of the different exercise chapters are
The dictionary for emergency services is a multi-lingual dictionary for terms and phrases in the emergency services. It is embedded in the
e-learning platform and helps to improve foreign language competence of emergency service personnel. The tool is usable both along
with the courses and as a stand-alone product online and on CD-ROM.
The ontology supports translation and adds semantic information to the dictionary. The bases for the ontology and dictionary are the lists
of terminology and phrases compiled in WP4. The ontology is implemented in the e-learning platform and can be accessed on CD-ROM.
The online learning environment unites all teaching and learning materials as well as project background information. Accessing the
platform, students and trainers can enrol themselves to courses and practice language training in eight different languages, benefiting
from all included features (e.g. multi-media presentations, dictionary etc.). The platform is Moodle-based (Modular Object-Oriented
Dynamic Learning Environment).
The CTCES project results widen the range of languages cross-border focussing on language training in the vocational domain of
emergency service personnel. Language training focuses on advanced communication among emergency crews and allows for improved
emergency situation handling. The learning material is based on the application of new media, particularly on an online learning
environment. All material was made available electronically and single components can be used as standalone tools. However, using
these tools in combination with each other leads to a maximum benefit concerning the transfer of knowledge to students.
Utilization and distribution of results
Open and distance learning
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Human Health and Social Work Activities
Product information An e-learning platform and CDRom for teaching the neighbouring language and the lingua franca has been developed, including an ontology, domain vocabulary, phraseology, and texts.