Flexible Learning Communities Supporting Lifelong Learning Across Borders (FLECSLAB)

Partner: University of Ljubljana

The demographics of Higher Education (HE) are changing; learners increasingly need or desire to broaden their skills as they face multiple changes and challenges in a globalised society. Faced with the requirements of diverse learners, such as workers, parents, upskilling and reskilling employees, etc., traditional degree education is no longer the solution to the current needs and demands of the learning population. In order to address the United Nations’ Sustainable and Development Goals number 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and to find sustainable solutions to this issue, HE institutions need to rethink their offering. In disrupting the way traditional education is offered, the COVID-19 pandemic has also shown that blended learning formats can provide better-suited tools for the needs of non-traditional learners. In summary, the need for more flexible learning pathways is more crucial than ever (Martin and Furiv, 2022). The European Commission (EC) has launched initiatives to promote lifelong learning (LLL) such as recommendations for the use of micro-credentials, and for the creation of individual learning accounts to support continuous upskilling while tasking European University Alliances to pilot innovative pedagogic practices. In this project, we share preliminary results exploring the potential for developing and establishing LLL with two main tools using transnational learning communities to respond to the European Education Area and HE sector’s challenges. Against this backdrop, the EUTOPIA alliance brings together ten like-minded universities aiming to become, by 2030, an open, multicultural, confederated operation of connected campuses. Working together, the 10 members are dedicated to creating a new educational model. Over the past three years, 30 connected learning communities (CLCs) have been created, each with a specific thematic axis. The communities offer a range of transnational and interdisciplinary activities that brings students, academics, and other stakeholders together through the use of innovative pedagogies. Under the umbrella of the EUTOPIA Alliance, a new FLECSLAB project has been launched to address the transformation of HE institutions into LLL institutions. FLECSLAB aims to provide a roadmap for a more inclusive approach to meaningful international learning that enables institutions to reach a broad range of lifelong learners from diverse backgrounds and across disciplines. We seek to challenge and provide a model to transcend the traditional degree vs. LLL binary. For pedagogic innovation to become mainstream, the alignment of: a pedagogical model, policy tools and a clear structure for resource and recognition of the work of all stakeholders involved in the process are necessary.

As demographics HE are changing, traditional degree education is no longer the solution. Blended learning formats can provide better-suited tools for the needs of non-traditional learners and flexible learning pathways are more crucial than ever.

For more information, visit: https://flecslab.eu/

#blendedlearning #HE

EUTOPIA: https://eutopia-university.eu/

EUTOPIA: https://eutopia-university.eu/english-version/connected-learning-communities

FLECSLAB: https://flecslab.eu/