Title Organic Agriculture E-learning (FINESSA)
Project Number 2008-1-FI1-LEO05-00455
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Marketing Text The FINESSA project successfully developed a modular curriculum for organic production (agriculture and/or horticulture) VET at EQF Level 3. The curriculum is intended for use in blended learning, with strong emphasis of learning at the workplace and supported by elearning components.
Organic production is the fastest growing segment of the European agriculture sector and with growing environmental awareness, this trend is set to continue. To meet the market demand and various policy objectives many of the member states have set goals for the pace at which the percentage share of agricultural land under organic production should increase.
One major obstacle in the way of such goals is limited availability of vocational education in organic agriculture and horticulture in many member states.
When organic education is available the geographical location often is an obstacle, especially for those already working, in conventional agriculture wanting to convert or in organic agriculture, but lacking educational basis.
The FINESSA project aims to make vocational education in organic agriculture and horticulture available to all those who will benefit from regardless of their varying professional, geographic, age and other situations. The project's aim is vocational education that is particularly well suited for people already in the workforce, an education that turns workplaces in organic agriculture enterprises into learn-spaces.
The project transfers and combines innovations from three other vocational education projects: The Portfolio of Evidence (PoE), an innovation of the PROVOTRAIN project, is a system of assessing workplace learning in a three party co-operation of the learner, the employer and the school. In the ECO-JOB AP project an e-learning platform has been constructed for the training of farm advisers of organic farming, in FINESSA this will be adapted to form the electronic framework for making education available regardless of geographic location of the learner. The training modules of the ENSA project will serve as the foundation of the body of learning materials available to teach the organic agriculture subjects in school, at work and over the internet.
The FINESSA partnership from Finland, Spain and the UK consists of education partners and organic farmers' associations. The education partners are all familiar with both formal education and various forms of life long learning efforts, such as apprenticeships. The association partners have an important role in ensuring that the outcomes are befitting the needs of the industry. Two of the disseminating partners are from new member states, Bulgaria and Latvia, one is the Netherlands based International Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture Training (IFSAT).
The project will produce in each of the receiving countries a dedicated e-learning program for vocational education in organic agriculture, a supporting system of assessing workplace learning and a body of education modules and teaching materials. During the project teachers will be trained to work with the products and the piloting will reveal points of fine tuning.
The long term impact of the project will be more and better organic agriculture and therefore healthier food and a healthier environment for future generations of European citizens.
The FINESSA curriculum for EQF Level 3 VET in Organic production (Agriculture and/or horticulture) consists of 7 core competence modules and several elective modules.
To support the curriculum, the project developed sample elearning courses around several of the modules in all three lamguages (FI,EN,ES) and most of these courses are freely accessed in the project MOODLE found at http://www.finessa.net/
In addition the project adapted and developed further the concept and tools of the Portfolio of Evidence, a toolkit for the learner (in collaboration with the teacher and a workplace mentor) to gather assessable evidence of competencies acquired at the workplace.
Some of the modules were piloted in all of the target countries and in all of the target countries the project has resulted in new VET possibilities in organic production.
In addition the project adapted the concept of the Portfolio of Evidence to help learners provide evidence of competencies acquired in the work place.
Recognition, transparency, certification
Open and distance learning
Utilization and distribution of results
description of new occupation profiles
transparency and certification
open and distance learning
The final products include the curriculum handbook, the portfolio of evidence handbook and piloting evaluation available on the project websites and the elearning courses available in the project MOODLE (http://www.finessa.net/).
The most concrete results however are the VET programs started by partners as a direct result of the project and piloting: the organic horticulture program at KEUDA,FI and the Aprenticeship program of Soil Association, UK and MOODLE based distance learning offered by SEAE, ES