Title Clustered Learning Environment Project
Project Number PL/07/LLP-LdV/TOI/140018
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
The CLEM project will aim at:
-establishing three clusters in the project regions
We put forward the following objectives for the CLEM
1.To develop an innovative blended learning content to teach groups interested in clusters how to create, make use of, and develop clusters.
2.To foster understanding of cluster growth dynamics and the factors critical to their success.
3.To produce/ contextualize learning materials as required in order to sustain interest and commitment to lifelong learning.
4.To introduce learning exchange mechanisms within clusters via a collective learning facility (VLE). There SMEs, representatives of local government, centres for R&D and other groups of interest will be able to learn and interact.
5.To disseminate results of the project towards all organizations and institutions supporting development of entrepreneurship and innovation in the three respective regions.
6.To raise organisational awareness within emerging clusters of the value of sector-relevant and focused staff development.
7.To create sustainable collaborative networks within 3 sample clusters which utilize participatory evaluative methodologies to maximise sustainability and commitment to Lifelong Learning.
By reaching these objectives we hope to contribute to the establishment of a culture of lifelong learning in the target regions and to develop competencies of experts and specialists interested in the growth and sustainability of emerging and future clusters.
The Scottish and Finnish model approaches which we intend to transfer to Poland demonstrate that companies participating in a cluster improve their effectiveness and are more likely to innovate. However, SMEs within sector clusters require a distinctive approach both in the content of training and the methodology for delivery. By working collaboratively in a cluster network the learning/training element of cluster building can be better addressed and best practices can be exchanged.
The project targets two target groups:
1.Experts and specialists in organizations and institutions involved regional development and providing support to entrepreneurs. This group is ultimately the final user of the e-learning program that is to be elaborated.
2.Managers (especially those responsible for managing people) of the SMEs in the three regions: podlaskie, lubelskie and warminsko-mazurskie. They will help us to validate the CLE model, themselves being involved in the set-up and knowledge sharing within clusters.
Specifically, we would like to target companies from the following sectors: manufacturers of furniture (a strong industry in Warmia-Mazury), hotels & restaurants (an important sector in both Podlasie and Warmia-Mazury), eco-tourism and manufacturing of organic food (sectors of growing importance in Lubelskie and the other two regions).
According to the information gathered by the Voivodship Offices in the three target regions, the principal needs of the target groups, from the perspective of our projects objectives, are the following:
1.The specialists and experts involved in regional development look for news ways of supporting sustainable regional growth and need new skills to be able to take advantage of the cluster concept.
2.The SMEs managers look for ways to improve the stability of their businesses in what they perceive as competitive and price-sensitive markets.
3.Both SMEs and the institutions of their environment are in need of a tool that would facilitate their communication, collaboration and better knowledge sharing.
The project will ensure added value by providing training, workplace learning and knowledge sharing dissemination through collaborative networks.
The partnership will be use best practices from across the EU, and will take account of research and developments elsewhere. Most notably, we will base our work on the experiences gathered in the following projects:
1.Connect (Dundee College) – which has established three collaborative cluster networks and developed a unified cluster-driven approach to problem solving and staff training in clusters. The Connect project also identified cluster-specific training needs and developed learning materials and delivery methods appropriate to these needs.
2.4T-project (University of Tampere) – targeted at SMEs and their personnel, educational institutes and research institutes in the fields of automation and foundry technology, with the objectives to develop a model to conduct functions and to utilise information technology in business chain activities, to support training and business activities and to network the sector.
We will use products and best practices established by these projects to form a basis for our own results. Taken together our activities will help the proliferation of the cluster concept by meeting immediate training needs and by supporting capacity building work. This project will be thus innovative in terms of both its design (a transnational collaboration of different educational institutions) and implementation (education on the cluster concept and the use of an advanced VLE).
First of all, the final product (an e-learning or blended learning program) will be disseminated in the three target regions. We expect that the program will be prepared in a modular manner, so as to allow for flexibility and adjustment to the needs of specific target audiences. They could include representatives of Voivodship and local authorities, representatives of employer associations, chambers of commerce and trade unions, public employment services as well as other training institutions (involved in formal and informal education) or other organizations operating for the benefit of regional development.
In medium term, there is also a possibility of transferring the program to other regions in Poland, and possibly to other countries. While our partners in western European countries have profoundly more experience in working with clusters, few educational programs exist that support development of competencies needed to launch, sustain and develop clusters.
On the other hand, we expect that demand for such competencies will be growing both in Poland and in other countries.