Title Common Integrated Management e-Learning System for the development of professional competition skills in the small scale urban commerce in European dimension
Project Number DE/11/LLP-LdV/TOI/147431
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
In the 27 countries of the EU the volume of retail trade fell about 0,4 percent and the youth unemployment rate of the under 25-year olds was about 21 percent. The AGORA EUROPE II project is addressed to the retail sector, which mainly feels a great competitive pressure from retail chains in the city centers.
The AGORA EUROPE II project builds on an existing management & training CD-ROM for retail use. This CD-ROM was updated to the cutting edge of information technology (Web platform and CMS) and is now available in the European environment.
With this new platform the retail employees receive new skills and knowledge, by the implementation of training modules and new linguistic, cultural and job specific contents in 7 languages (EN, EL, DE, SK, TR, PL) which were tested during the project period.
The competitive pressure from large retailers to small retail shops, which are mainly located in the city centers, led to a large number of retail shop closures during the financial crisis, which entire families live off. The target group of retailers had essentially the problem that there is no training of the staff and also the retailer himself during the operation. Cause of that, there were used no new management methods and also acquired no further knowledge and skills. The business was not modernized and often it participated not of the opportunities of new ICT. If a bankruptcy occured the staff, because of their lack of extensive knowledge, could often only find a job in retail again and the former shop owners often gave up.
The aim of the project AGORA Europe II was to set up on the training CD-ROM, which was created in the previous project AGORA Europe and implemented into a new ICT platform. A web platform was created and with the help of a content management system (CMS) there were also multilingual versions available. The learning contents from the previous version had been revised, supplemented and updated with new modules. The new platform was tested on the target group and the insights of the tests were forwarded for revision.
As result, the project had an extensive training platform, specialized on the target group “retail”, which was user friendly and interactive and led to a use of retail owners and their employees.
The AGORA EUROPE II project is based on an already existing tool, which consists of parts and methods of the autonomic and experiential learning. The consortium partners developed it from technically aspects new, added content and made it widely accessible to all layers in Europe.
The specific objective of this project was to train professionals in trade and to guarantee the employees an extensive management expertise in the retail sector. The target group in this context are owners, employees and apprentices in retail stores and especially also people who are under serious threat of an insolvency.
At project AGORA EUROPE II a customer requirement analysis was performed. The target groups in retail were asked regarding their requirements, their different needs of e-learning activities and their needs of the web portal as a system. This had a significant influence on the subsequent portal design and also on the learning and training content which was developed new. The specifications were used for subsequent technical implementation.
The system architecture was created and the available and usable technology of the platform determined. The learning content was deployed in three scenarios:
- Negation and communication skills
- Decision Management
- Knowledge Management in a team
These courses were created in addition to the existing learning content of the previous software of AGORA EUROPE. In this case there would be paid special attention to learning methods, because the traditional method of teaching “classroom-teacher-student” is not efficient, if gained skills will be transferred informally. Therefore the creation of appropriate environments and tools was necessary.
The teaching material is converted and then posted to the platform. There had been extensive tests of the platform directly for the target group. Therefore the consortium was assisted by the Chamber of Commerce in Navarre, Spain.
The dissemination of project results had started at the beginning of the project and different activities performed, especially by contacting the relevant VET centers for the future dissemination of the project results.
After the project end the consortium partners discussed different business models in order to develop it further and to keep the platform online.
Ten different Modules have been made available under three different combinations to three target groups:
1. Managers' e-Course - Managers (or shop owners) of groceries OR Job seeking managers (or shop owners) - (used to be in other sector and wants to be employed in a grocery or start up a grocery)
2. Workers' e-Course - Workers (currently employed in groceries)
3. Job Seeking Workers' e-Course - Job seeking workers - (looking for an employment in groceries)
The price model was discussed in the consortium. There are a number of pricing options and based on the option the respective price will be defined. Such pricing options are the following:
Sell for a lump-sum in which case the buyer takes control of the platform and its content
Cooperation with an agency (public or private organizations) where the AGORA consortium is running the platform and adds new training courses
Cooperation with an agency (public or private organizations) where the AGORA consortium maintains the platform but the agency design and add new courses
Deployment by a AGORA partner and opening of the platform to the public so that trainers can add their course for a fee and share revenue AGORA partner on a per user basis.
The most relevant business model is to keep the platform free of charge but to generate earnings from advertisements from different target groups.
Further the chamber of industry in commerce in Alava (Spain) is already running the platform for training the target group. Due to the actual economic crisis the chamber of Alava focuses on unemployed persons in this sector.
The other consortium partner in Spain, FFE, is an Inicitial Vocational Training Center, for young people who have been dropped from the school system, in training courses about retail commerce were teached. This fact guarantees the use of the all training modules developed in the project. FFE is in close contact with the 2 biggest Retail Commerce Associations (CECOBI-Confederación Empresarial del Comercio de Bizkaia and FMG-Federación Mercantil de Gipuzka) in the Basque Country. These associations plan to use the AGORA´s training material too.
The consortium partners „36,6“ from Poland, „Point“ from Turkey and „COOP“ from Slovakia are training centers themselfes and use the AGORA portal for training their customers.
The project leader InTraCoM from Germany is actively discussing the licensing of the AGORA platform to different associations, like the Federal Association of the German Retail Grocery Trade (BVLH).
Information and Communication
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
material for open learning
Product information AGORA EUROPE II is a comprehensive web-based learning platform for all actors in the retail sector, which consists of significant job-specific training modules and is very user friendly and intuitive operable.