Newsletter for European Research in Learning and Work [L&W]

Edition: December 2014 [www.news.wifo-gate.org][Impressum]

[Conferences] [Networks] [Programmes] [Projects] [Publications]

Dear Colleagues

This is the latest edition of the L&W Newsletter, which will reach you via a mailing list of over 1400 experts in and beyond Europe. As always, it focuses on transnational research activities in the field of human resource development (HRD) and vocational education and training (VET), centred on major categories: conferences, networks, programmes, projects and publications. Many thanks to all who contributed information for this edition of the Newsletter!

Particularly worth noting in this edition are four calls for papers or proposals relating to: the Nordic adult education conference in Tampere and EGOS 2015 in Athens (see Conferences), the VET & Culture research network conference in Valencia (see Networks) and the Special Issue on "Innovative Themes and Approaches in VET" (see Publications).

Should you prefer to read the current Newsletter edition online, you can find it under December 2014 on the website (www.news.wifo-gate.org). And please pass the Newsletter on to your own colleagues and networks - thanks! The next edition of the Newsletter will appear in early February 2015. You are invited to submit short pieces of news (texts of 100 to 200 words, without attachments, but including links to web pages) - please by 31 January 2015 at the latest!

With best wishes
Sabine Manning
Research Forum WIFO
Editor of the L&W Newsletter 


Extended deadline: Nordic adult education conference

6th Nordic conference on adult education and learning, to be held at the University of Tampere, Finland, 25-28 March 2015[Details]
Following inquiries, the organizers have decided to extend the deadline for the 6th biannual Nordic conference with the theme "Adult Education and the Planetary Condition" to 12.12.2014, which is absolutely final. Please submit an abstract of max 400 words online no later than 12.12.2014. Currently, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers of adult education are witnessing the consequences of globalization, not only as increased interaction and mobility across different kinds of borders, but also as financial and economic, social and environmental crises on a global scale. The local challenges of adulthood are increasingly also planetary. The Nordic conference  invites researchers to discuss their topics and results in the tension-field between the local and the global. Contributions relating adult education to social, economic, ecological and cultural issues are especially welcome, but the conference is open to all interested in encounters and dialogues within the Nordic adult education community. Contact persons: Anja Heikkinen (anja.heikkinen@uta.fi) and Annika Turunen (Annika.turunen@abo.fi). Conference website http://www.uta.fi/edu/nordic/index.html
(Info received from Anja Heikkinen)

Call EGOS 2015: Activity Theory and Organizations
We are looking forward to receiving interesting short paper proposals for the forthcoming sub-theme 17: "Activity Theory and Organizations" taking place in the 31st European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) in Athens, Greece, July 2-4, 2015. Please view the description of the sub-theme. The submission period ends 12.01.2015. Please note the guidelines and criteria for the submission of short papers. For more information about the EGOS conference please see http://www.egosnet.org/2015_athens/general_theme. Convenors of the sub-theme 17: Yrjö Engeström, Anu Kajamaa & Zlatko Bodroži?. If you have any questions please contact: anu.kajamaa@helsinki.fi
(Call received from Anu Kajamaa)

International Conference Observal 2015
The International Conference Observal 2015, under the topic "Professional Qualifications and Accreditation of Competences", will be held in Valladolid (Spain) on 8, 9 and 10 April 2015. The main aims of this meeting are to promote the recognition and accreditation procedures following the guidelines of the Recommendation of Council of Europe 2012, and to analyze the experience of the processes of recognition, validation and accreditation of skills acquired through work experience, and non-formal and informal ways of learning developed in the autonomous communities of Spain. The meeting is promoted by the Spanish Observatory of Validation of Professional Competences (OBSERVAL) and the University of Valladolid. The conference is open to an exchange of experiences, group discussions, workshops, posters and oral communications. During three days people and stakeholders interested in the processes of recognition of learning outcomes and lifelong learning will carry out exchanges of their experiences in the following areas: adult and continuing education, vocational guidance and skills audit, professional qualifications and accreditation of competences. For more details about the conference go to the web http://www.observal2015.com or congreso@observal.es
(Posted by Luis Carro <luis@observal.es>)

NOTE: Forthcoming and recent events related to European research in work and learning are listed on the WIFO Conference page [www.conferences.wifo-gate.org]. 
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Call for papers: VET & Culture research network conference

Vocational education, citizenship and participation: Problematizing relations between education, work and politics from contemporary and historical perspectives. 22nd Conference for Vocational and Education and Culture research network 4th -8th July, 2015, Universitat de Valencia, Valencia, Spain  [Call: http://www.peda.net/img/portal/3089561/22ndConferenceCall.pdf?cs=1415617388]
The VET & Culture research network invites junior and senior researchers, experts and educational administrators to discuss, critically and historically, global trends in policies, practices and discourses of vocational/work-related education. With this 22nd conference, we invite contributions to continue discussions on cross-cultural historical research on vocational education that enlightens our present, challenging approaches towards vocational education and transitions between education and work, new forms of precariousness, low-quality employment and unemployment.
Deadlines: Abstracts, suggestions for panel discussions or symposia, maximum 1 page, by 15th January 2015, as email attachments (word or pdf-document) to Fernando.Marhuenda@uv.es?. You are free to select your topic, but we hope that they will both contextualize and problematize approaches to vocational  or work-related education. Announcements on acceptance of abstracts and suggestions, and more details about the programme with practical information, will follow by 13th March 2015. Inquiries and abstracts to Fernando Marhuenda, fernando.marhuenda@uv.es.
(Posted by Fernando Marhuenda)

The WERA International Research Network on VET research (IRN-VET) reports of its initial activities
In 2013 the World Educational Research Association (WERA) launched new International Research Networks (IRNs), among them the network "Internationalisation of Research in Vocational Education and Training" (IRN-VET). The first major activity was the IRN-VET Forum organised in the ECER 2014 in Porto. The Forum was based on the following inputs: #by Pekka Kämäräinen (ITB) on the activity plan and cooperation model; #by Martin Mulder (WUR) on the International VET research review (one of the key activities); #by Marg Malloch (VSU) and Len Cairns (MoU) on "Destatalisation tendencies in Australia" as a theme for comparative studies; #by Lazaro Moreno (SU) on internationalisation in VET teacher education and in PhD programmes based on Swedish experiences; #by the discussant Johanna Lasonen (USF) with comments on the presented inputs and recommendations for further work. In the WERA Focal Meeting 2014 in Edinburgh the IRN-VET was represented by Ludger Deitmer, Martin Mulder and Michael Gessler, who presented the joint activity report and their research papers. More information on IRN-VET from Ludger Deitmer (ITB), Pekka Kämäräinen (ITB) and Martin Mulder (WUR).
(Contributed by Pekka Kämäräinen <pkamar@uni-bremen.de>)

ECS 50 years
In November 14 a symposium was held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the chair group Education and Competence Studies (ECS) at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Speakers from the whole green education column, ranging from preparatory secondary vocational-agricultural education (vmbo), secondary vocational-agricultural education (mbo), higher vocational-agricultural education (hbo) and academic higher education (wo), as well as the agricultural teacher education institute and representatives of the private training sector, and staff of the chair group, gave presentations about research on, policy regarding and practice of green education. Apart from the positive feedback colleagues from ECS received after the symposium, the general observation is that green education institutes are doing very well, that student numbers have been rapidly growing (in Wageningen University the student enrolment doubled during the last 10 years), but that the financing of that growth by the ministry of Economic Affairs, which is currently responsible for green education, is lagging behind. It is interesting to see the significant growth of ECS over the last 10 years. Apart from its large Bachelor and Master education program, the group started to teach a PhD course on Competence Theory, Research and Practice. This course will be taught internationally next time. For more information, contact martin.mulder@wur.nl.
(Contributed by Martin Mulder)

EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe
Over the last years, the European Union has been working toward the creation of an Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe - EPALE, a multilingual open membership community that, according to its creators, is "designed to be of interest to teachers, trainers, researchers, academics, policy makers and anyone else with a professional role in adult learning across Europe." The official launch of EPALE is scheduled for Spring 2015; however, the platform is already available for testing at: ec.europa.eu/epale.  We are sharing this information in the hope that you might be willing to look at the website and provide your feedback on what it includes or should include for the future, as this kind of input is very much welcomed by the European Commission at this stage of EPALE's creation.
(Posted by Marcella Milana via ESREA mailing list 14.11.14) 

Update: Who's who in transnational European VET and HRD research
The Directory of Professional Contacts (www.dpc.wifo-gate.org), maintained by the Research Forum WIFO, serves as a Who's who, offering up-to-date information on more than 200 contacts across 30 countries in the field of transnational European VET and HRD research. Each person included in the DPC is both a producer of transnational research and an active transnational networker. The criteria for inclusion in the DPC and and the references to individual professional work are explained in the introduction. They relate to evidence of transnational activities presented in WIFO resources of European collaboration such as the Bookshelf, Overview of articles, Conference page, ECER VETNET Proceedings and Overview of HRD conference papers, Networks at a glance and Overview of projects. The DPC is updated continuously as part of European collaboration in VET and HRD research.
(Contributed by Sabine Manning)

NOTE: References to research networks in the field of European work and learning are available on the WIFO page Networks at a glance [www.networks.wifo-gate.org]. Major online resources related to European research networks include the ECER VETNET Proceedings (www.ecer-vetnet.wifo-gate.org) offering a complete and up-to-date collection of conference papers submitted since 1998, and the Overview of selected HRD conference papers (www.ehrd-papers.wifo-gate.org).
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NOTE: Contributions are welcome for the next edition of the Directory of Doctoral Dissertations (www.ddd.wifo-gate.org), provided as part of the WIFO Gateway, which focuses on European research in the field of vocational education (VET) and human resource development (HRD). Please provide information on expected or newly completed doctoral dissertations investigating issues of HRD, VET or work-related adult education, according to the following pattern: 1*Theme of dissertation (original language AND English); 2*Year of (expected) completion or publication; 3*Author (name and email address); 4*Tutor (name and email address); 5*Institution of tutor (name and home page). Contributions should be posted by email to the editor (sm@wifo-gate.org).

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Updates on the fieldwork of the EU-project Learning Layers

The EU-funded research & development project "Learning Layers" supports the development of learning at the workplace with mobile technologies, digital media and web tools. The project has recently updated its websites with articles and videos on the fieldwork in the pilot region for the construction sector (North Germany). The articles describe the development of the new design idea "the Learning Toolbox" and the outreach activities in different events, e.g. the Brunnenbauertage and NordBau trade fairs, and in different workshops with apprentices, trainers and companies. The videos from the training centre Bau-ABC give a picture of trainers' and apprentices' involvement in the project and their views on how to use the Learning Toolbox.
English versions of the articles and videos with English introductions are available at http://learning-layers.eu/construction/
German versions of the articles and videos with German introductions are available at http://learning-layers.eu/german/aktivitaten/
(Contributed by Pekka Kämäräinen <pkamar@uni-bremen.de>)

Learning Layers work presented in ECER'14 Porto and in the WERA focal meeting Edinburgh
The EU-funded research & development project "Learning Layers" (LL) has presented its interim results in recent educational conferences. In the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER 2014) the LL project organised two major sessions: the research workshop "Interactive Innovation Research in VET and Working Life: Lessons from Dutch and European Projects" and the symposium "Construction 2.0: Concepts, Challenges and Chances for Research & Development Dialogue". The contributions to the research workshop will be published in a joint article of Joanna Burchert (ITB), Aimée Hoeve (HAN) and Pekka Kämäräinen (ITB) by the International Journal for Research in Vocational Education and Training (IJRVET). The following papers from the symposium will soon be available in the ECER VETNET proceedings of the year 2014: "The Role of Accompanying Research and Participative Design in the Learning Layers Project" by Pekka Kämäräinen, Ludger Deitmer and Lars Heinemann (ITB) and "Work Process Knowledge meets Mobile Learning - Insights into the Design Process of the Learning Toolbox" by Pekka Kämäräinen, Joanna Burchert and Graham Attwell. In the WERA Focal Meeting 2014 of the networks of the World Educational Research Association the following research paper was presented by the LL project: "Scaffolding Competence Development through Mobile Technologies".
(Contributed by Pekka Kämäräinen <pkamar@uni-bremen.de>)

euVETsupport final conference
Support structures for the practical application and implementation of EQF and ECVET in Europe
In a final two-day conference in September 2014 in Berlin, the 12 member project team of euVETsupport presented their work results to an audience of over 60 EQF and ECVET experts and users from nine European countries. The euVETsupport project consortium aimed to develop support tools and structures in order to enable VET and HRD professionals - primarily in the transport and logistics sector - to successfully implement and make use of European VET instruments such as EQF and ECVET in their daily praxis. Especially the main result of the 24 month project work, the costume fit euVETsupport portal (www.euVETsupport.eu) with its content and specific interaction possibilities for every user type, was regarded as a precision landing in order to address especially VET providers but also industry. Despite the different experiences with ECVET, EQF and learning outcomes orientation, all participants of the conference fully agreed on the fact that for making those European approaches to an integral part of VET - and working reality - profound and substantial communication and dissemination work is needed, and hence this must be an objective of the near future (see for example also project Metalog: www.project-metalog.eu).
(Posted by Viktor Fleischer<fleischer@3s.co.at>)

NOTE: Contributions are invited to update the Overview of European research projects [www.projects.wifo-gate.org], provided as part of the WIFO Gateway. The overview focuses on transnational research projects, mainly supported by EU programmes, in the areas of human resource development, vocational education, work and learning. Please send the following information to the editor (sm@wifo-gate.org):  (A) exact title and acronym (short name) of the project; (B) name and email address of the coordinator or main contact; (C) address of the website (or info page/ flyer) of the project. Contact: Sabine Manning
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Call for papers: Innovative Themes and Approaches in VET
International Journal of Innovation in Education: Special Issue on "Innovative Themes and Approaches in Vocational Education and Training (VET)". Editor: Nicole Kimmelmann
The discipline of Vocational Education and Training (VET) is confronted with new challenges and approaches that can be seen in the international discussion of researchers and education practitioners. The following headlines are just a short cut of subthemes that can be identified: Problems with diversity in VET (especially dealing with students with learning needs, language problems or migration background); Inclusion in VET; Tools for the assessment and modelling of formal and informal competences in a life-long learning context (including new technology for assessment); Professionalism of teachers, trainers and pedagogical practitioners for new challenges; Transfer problems between different institutions in VET (including transfer between academic and vocational education); Competence-based curricula and learning arrangements; The German VET system within the European context as a role model?; University didactic as a growing field for researchers in VET. This special issue of IJIIE involves these complex and multi-faceted challenges. In particular, it is keen to examine various advantages, tensions, dilemmas and contradictions experienced by educators, teachers and students through innovative approaches. 
All papers must be submitted online - deadline 31.12.2014. For details of the Call see http://www.inderscience.com/info/ingeneral/cfp.php?id=2741
(Call received from Nicole Kimmelmann <nicole.kimmelmann@uni-paderborn.de> c/o Michael Gessler)

Career Transitions and Lifelong Learning
Special Issue: Research in Comparative and International Education, Volume 9 Number 3, 2014; Guest Editor: Antje Barabasch [Details: http://www.wwwords.co.uk/rcie/content/pdfs/9/issue9_3.asp]
This Special Issue is compiled of articles that are all based on biographical data collected in a European research project designed, funded and steered by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop) and coordinated by the University of Warwick. Under the heading, 'Learning for Career and Labour Market Transitions -  individual biographies', a group of researchers from Italy, Spain, Denmark, France and Germany collected 25 biographical interviews from mid-career adults in each country. The methodology applied, the recruitment of interviewees, the interviewing strategies and the foci of analysis differed between the countries as a result of varying historical, intellectual and cultural traditions which led to a rewarding learning process among the researchers. The stories generated rich data which enabled comparisons to take place across the five countries. Overall, the study illuminates individuals' approaches to career transitions under different structural and individual conditions and reveals the complex processes of learning, labour market experiences and working-life transitions. The themes covered in this special issue are based on theoretical lenses, such as the interrelationship of agency and structure, career decision-making styles, the development of career adaptability, and gender, which the researchers in the various country teams used in their data analysis. 
(Posted by Antje Barabasch <Antje.Barabasch@cedefop.europa.eu>)

VET Learner Acquired Social Capital
Resonance with the Australian notion of Core Skills for Work, and much more arising from 'educationalist' teacher motivations and practices. ECER 2013 paper by Lewis & Libby Hughes [Download: http://vetnet.mixxt.org/networks/files/file.181924]
This paper reports upon Australian 'educationalist' VET teacher motivations and practices. The grounding proposition is that vocational education and training (VET) - when well taught - strengthens social cohesion in the workplace and the community at large. Accordingly, against a background of differing VET provider business models and a varying inclination of teachers to be 'educationalist' in nature, the paper draws attention to the opportunity to link being educationalist to the newly emerging focus upon Core Skills for Work. Beyond Australian inquiry, consideration is invited that European delivery of VET is more educationalist disposed than is the case for Australia, where competency is narrowly defined in terms workplace knowledge and skill; however, the Australian 'educationalist' VET teacher inherently addresses capability as a step beyond such a narrow view of competency. Whereas the authors perceive that the European notion of competency has lifelong learning inclusion, and the learner is as much the benefactor as is the workplace. Arising from the foregoing, the Australian 'educationalist' motivation, delivery practice and evaluation of outcomes models offered in the paper have extrapolation potential to European strengthening of VET; these may assist in holding the line against narrowing views that VET is about the workplace more so than life. 
(Contributed by Lewis Hughes <l.hughes@enviro-sys.com.au>)

Employers' support for adult higher education students
Ellu Saar, Rein Vöörmann & Ailen Lang: Employers' support for adult higher education students in liberal post-socialist contexts. International Journal of Lifelong Education, Volume 33, Issue 5, 2014 [Details: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02601370.2014.945624#.VG85xmdoBa4]
In most European countries, the proportion of adult students among both full-time and part-time workers has increased significantly over recent decades. Undertaking paid work is also increasingly common among traditional students. The opportunities to work while studying depend largely on the role of employers in promoting learning. However, both theoretical frameworks and empirical studies typically focus on the behaviour of firms in providing training. The support of employers for formal adult education has remained a marginal topic. The aim of this article is to analyse the contributions of employers to the acquisition of higher education from the perspective of the adult learners. The article investigates how employers support their staff in higher education studies and identifies which kinds of learners have a better chance of receiving various benefits. Two different data-sets have been used: quantitative data from a study of adult students in higher education and qualitative data from interviews with managers of small- and medium-sized enterprises and at least one employed participant in formal adult education, collected in the framework of the international research project Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System supported by the EU Sixth Framework Programme.
(Received from Ellu Saar <saar@iiss.ee>)

NOTE: Updates on publications provided by the WIFO Gateway include the WIFO Bookshelf [www.books.wifo-gate.org], a collection of references to publications focusing on cross-European issues of work and learning, and "From the Journals" - Overview of articles on cross-European issues in VET and HRD research [www.articles.wifo-gate.org], selected from European and international Journals related to education research [www.journals.wifo-gate.org].
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Editor of the L&W Newsletter: Dr Sabine Manning, Research Forum WIFO (sm@wifo-gate.org);
Address: Neue Blumenstr. 1, D-10179 Berlin, Germany;
Editions of the L&W Newsletter: six times a year, every two months (at the beginning of February, April, June, August, October, December);
Deadline for contributions to the L&W Newsletter: end of January, March, May, July, September, November;
Circulation of the current L&W Newsletter: about 1400 experts in 40 countries (mostly Europe);
Details and Archive of the L&W Newsletter [www.news.wifo-gate.org].
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 Editor: Sabine Manning © WIFO