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TOWARDS A LEARNING AND A KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY: INSIDE TO THE LIFE LONG LEARNING

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EDUCATION IN THE NEW WORLD
TOWARDS A LEARNING AND A KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY: INSIDE TO THE LIFE LONG LEARNING

TOWARDS A LEARNING AND A KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY: INSIDE TO THE LIFE LONG LEARNING

Abstract:  The program Learning for Community Action in the Sector of for Life Learning was for life enacted with the Decision of European Parliament and Council with fundamental objective to contribute in the growth of Community as a advanced society of knowledge, with sustainable economic growth, more and better places of work and bigger social cohesion, ensuring also the social and economic growth and the protection of environment for the future generations. More special objectives are the modernisation and the adaptation of systems of education and training of member states particularly in the line of strategic objectives of Lisbon.  The particular article aims to analyze the subjects of education and life long learning in E.U. in the context of knowledge and learning society.

Key Words: Life Long Learning, Education, Training, Knowledge, Socio-Economic Development.

1. Introduction

The agenda of Lisbon recognized the real value of education and knowledge in the total process of growth of European Union under healthy conditions of employment, equality of occasions and social incorporation and fighting of social exclusion. The strategy of Lisbon recognized the catalytic importance of research and innovation, in the passage of Europe in the economy and society of knowledge. 

All member states regarding the strategy of Lisbon constitutes factor of mapping out of national policy for the education and the training. A lot of countries have determined or they determine their objectives that concern the levels of report of medium European records on the education and the training. In this framework, the European Committee undertook the continuous follow-up of application of decisions of Lisbon and Barcelona. Moreover, were placed quantitative objectives (benchmarks) that will be supposed E.U, the member states, achieve up to 2010.  The strategic objectives for the European systems of education and training were grouped in three big categories, that concern:

  the improvement of quality and the effectiveness of systems of education and professional training in the European Union.

  facilitation of access of all in this systems.

  opening of this systems in the outside world.

Innovation has a variety of roles.  As a driving force, it points firms towards ambitious long-term objectives.  It also leads to the renewal of industrial structures and is behind the emergence of new sectors of economic activity.  In brief, innovation is:

  the renewal and enlargement of the range of products and services and the associated markets;

  the establishment of new methods of production, supply and distribution;

  the introduction of changes in management, work organisation, and the working conditions and skills of the workforce.

The growth of skills is related with the faculty of individuals to face with sufficiency any educational activity at the duration of their life. To the direction this Europe has not made steps of progress, with result a important percentage of individuals faces difficulties of reading and comprehension of texts.  The investment in human potential via the education is the key in the effort of aid of place of Europe in the economy of knowledge and in the social cohesion. This article aims to analyze the determinant factors, the measurement and the implications of life long learning within the context of knowledge and learning society.

2. Measuring the Life Long Learning

Distance learning can be used for many purposes, as for instance for formal education, continuing education, advanced professional education and management/employee development In the traditional context distance education delivered by traditional learning organizations for course / program credit these needs should be met through appropriate institutional support structures. This means that providers of distance learning must help consumers to:

·    take greater responsibility for their own learning;

·    become more active in asking questions and obtaining help;

·    be prepared to deal with technical difficulties in the two-way flow of information.

·    To develop independent and self-reliant distance learners, research indicates that the following three approaches are commonly advocated:

·    (a). The service model approach which focuses on the integration of quality, by providers, into distance delivery and courseware through, e.g.,

·    quality assurance methods in courses and curricula

·    high quality support services

·    integration of the study of communication itself into the curriculum

·    the TQM model of consumer-oriented quality in methods and materials

·    (b). A stakeholder analysis model which focuses on defining quality for distance education, i.e., involving more than the learning providers in the defining quality and setting benchmarks

·          (c). A quality improvement model which involves ongoing evaluation, e.g.,

·          qualitative assessment techniques to understand stakeholder values

·          quantitative evaluation to provide indicators of quality and areas of concern

Distance learning activities are designed to fit the specific context for learning.

·          Learning opportunities include a clear statement of intended learning outcomes, learning content that is appropriate to those outcomes, clear expectations of learner activities, flexible opportunities for interactions, and assessment methods appropriate to the activities and technologies.

·          Elements of a learning event – the learning content, instructional methods, technologies, and context – complement each other.

·          The selection and application of technologies for a specific learning opportunity are appropriate for the intended learning outcomes, subject matter content, relevant characteristics and circumstances of the learner, and cost range.

·          Learning activities and modes of assessment are responsible to the learning needs of individual learners.

·          The learning experience is organized to increase learner control over the time, place and pace of instruction.

·          Learning outcomes address both content mastery and increased learning skills.

·          Individuals with specialized skills in content, instructional methods, or technologies work collaboratively as a design team to create learning opportunities.

·          The learning design is evaluated on a regular basis for effectiveness, with findings utilized as a basis for improvement.

             In the decisions and in the conclusions of Council of Lisbon, the adoption of strategy for the Life Long Learning constitutes priority and basic element of European social model. The main axis that puts together around so much the various levels of educational system, including the space of work and enterprises, the local community, the family, as well as the means of mass communication, promoting new innovative methods and using the new technologies of information. Two are the main objectives of for Life Long Learning:

·    the promotion of active attendance in social environment, and

·    the increase of possibilities of employment and employability.

In the last ten years, European Public Administration, in particular that within universities has shown renewed interest in applications geared to information technology training. Its subsequent rapid development has helped accelerate and optimize knowledge of IT, overcoming the barriers of time and space which are characteristic of traditional training. The European Union Council, during a meeting in Lisbon in 2000, recommended that national governments organize a rapid acceleration in IT training to adopt the levels necessary for the European society of the third millennium.

Following this recommendation, the European Community Commission adopted an initiative entitled “E-Learning – considering tomorrow’s training”. All member states were asked to “persevere in efforts to integrate information and communication technologies in teaching and training” and to “take advantage of the potential of internet, multimedia and virtual learning systems to realize in as short a time as possible an improved and permanent education.” Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the main Lisbon goals and the population in education and training in percentage rates

Table 1: Lisbon Goals for Education 2010

Average Rate

(E.U.-25)

Greece

Goal of E.U. for 2010

Early School Leave (as % pupils)

14.9%

13%

10%

Secondary School Attainment (as % pupils)

77%

83%

85%

Basic Skills (as % pupils with low skills)

19.8%

25.2%

15.5%

Higher Education Attainment in Scientific and Technological Subjects (as % inhabitants 20-29 years)

12.5%

No available data

15%

Participation in Life Long Learning Programs (as % total population 25-64 years)

10.8%

1.8%

12.5%

Source: European Union, European Commission, Progress Report, 2006, SEC (2006)639, 16.5.2006.

Table 2: Population in Education and Training between 25-64 years (percentage rates)

2000

2005

Total

Male

Female

EU-25

7.9

10.8

10.0

11.7

Greece

1.1

1.8

1.9

1.7

Source: Eurostat (Labour Force Survey)

            

The economic aid of education and training it is possible to lead to social profit, via the reduction of unemployment, the higher attendance to workforce of and increase of productivity. In all Europe exists augmentative tendency of investments in the education.



Greece belongs in the countries with comparatively low levels of expenses for the education and the training. This low level of expenses is justified partly by the budgetary restrictions that limit the possibilities of Greek government in of placing in application the all required policies. Regarding the level of expenses per education-level, Greece falls short of the first degree and secondary education. On the contrary, the public investments in the tertiary education in 2002 amounted in the 1.28% GNP, percentage of bigger means of European percentage same period (1,14%).

We can consider the life learning as “all the activity of learning that is realised at the duration of life of person, aiming at her increase, knowledge of dexterities and his faculties, via personal, cultural, social frame and with regard to his professional prospect constitutes integral piece of educational policy of E.U. Roughly the 10% of adults in the E.U. age of 25-64 years, participate in the for Life Long Learning. Greece belongs in that countries that recently have for life established legislative frame for the learning. The following Table 3 illustrates the various general-basic and individual objectives in the strategy for the aid of for life education.

Table 3: Objectives for Life Long Learning

Fundamental Objective:

·                      Encouragement of exchange, collaboration and mobility between the systems of education and training in the interior of Community so as to they are rendered world point of report of quality

Individual Objectives:

           Improvement of quality for Life Long Learning, and promotion of high output, innovation and European dimension.

           Support of concretisation of European space for the Life Long Learning.

           Improvement of quality, attractiveness and accessibility for the occasions for the Life Long Learning between the member states.

           Aid of contribution of Life Long Learning in the social cohesion, in the active attendance of citizens, in the equality of sexes and in the personal completion.

           Promotion of creativity, competitiveness, employability and growth of enterprising spirit.

           Contribution in the increase of attendance of citizens of each age in the Life Long Learning included the persons with special needs and the social teams in unfavourable place, independent from their socio-economic background.

·                      Support of growth of pioneering content, services, pedagogic approaches and proceeding that are based on the frame of Life Long Learning in new modern thematic units, as an example the subjects of health and providence

·                      Promotion of collaboration for the guarantee of quality in the all sectors of programs of professional education and training in Europe.

The usual measures for Life Long Learning aimed solely at strengthening infrastructures and equipment, are increasingly directed towards other areas; teaching content, ensuring quality and standards, training the trainers themselves, organizational changes, the transformation of education and training processes and the training and re-skilling of public sector employees.

One of the basic formulas for the measurement of Life Long Learning us the calculation of ROI, as shown in Equation 1, is quite straightforward, the costs analyst has just to subtract costs from benefits, divide that difference by costs, and then multiply the results by 100:

                                      (Equation 1)

The term Benefits minus Costs represents the Return on the project. The investment is the costs of the project or at least the up-front costs. To complete this study and for a greater understanding of the concept of ROI, an index is provided below which makes an interesting comparison between traditional didactics and e-learning.

In many cases, there is a need for an instrument which can instantly indicate the feasibility and necessity of e-learning; events such as faculty meetings will often see a debate into the necessity and applicability of venturing into this area. Another interesting index is the e-learning Yield Index, or e-lYI, as shown in Equation 2, represents the rapport between the ROI of classic teaching programs (ROIcl) and that of the same programs in e-learning mode (ROIe-l):

                                    (Equation 2)

The Yield Index 'e-lYI' represents a valid tool of control and evaluation from the economic and qualitative point of view of the 'e-learning project', because it is based on the study of the ROI, that is a factor for a long time used to these purposes but that does not succeed in being 'absolutely' decisional for the 'process transformation'; in fact ROI does not produce a quantitative comparison among the different methodologies we can use to build a learning project. The Yield Index 'e-lYI' has been studied for doing this quantitative comparison.

             The main viable objective and the open process for Life Long Learning is not only the increase of rates of attendance in this, but also the reduction of gap of attendance in the for Life Long Learning, that they present the individuals with higher level of education in combination the individuals that have low level of education, in favour first.         The internationalisation of markets and new technologies they render necessarily the continuous renewal of knowledge and dexterities of human potential. In Greece, the General Secretariat of Education of Adults of Ministry of National Education is the main responsible institution in the sector of education of adults, that it draws, it coordinates and materialises energies, that concern in the for Life Long Learning. The Institute of Permanent Education of Adults is a legal organisation of private right, which depends in the General Secretariat of Education of Adults. The Institute of Permanent Education of Adults manages the main programs that have been assigned to him by the General Secretariat of Education of Adults. In particular including:

·    Centres of Education of Adults

·    Schools of Second Occasion 

·    Advisory Parents 

·    Education of Adult Immigrants in the Greek Language, etc.

               The basic fields of action for the for life learning are:

  Benefit of new basic knowledge and dexterities for all

  Increase of investments in the human resources 

  Growth of innovations with regard to the teaching and the learning 

  Evaluation of education 

  Revision of ways of Orientation and Advisory 

  The education it comes more near the family 

3. Conclusions

In knowledge-based economies, the efficient systems are those which combine the ability to produce knowledge, the mechanisms for disseminating it as widely as possible and the aptitude of the individuals, companies and organisations concerned to absorb and use it. The crucial factor for innovation is thus the link between research (the production of knowledge), training, mobility, interaction (the dissemination of knowledge) and the ability of firms, particularly SMEs, to absorb new technologies and know-how. The attractivity stems from three basic characteristics of the approach that deserve to be summarized here:

·    First, it places innovations and knowledge creation at the very centre of focus, and goes beyond a narrow view of innovation to emphasize the interactive and dynamic nature of innovation.

·    Second, it represents a considerable advance over the network school of innovation by a decisive shift in focus from firm to territory, from the knowledge creating firm to the knowledge-creating territory.

·    Third, it views innovation as a social process that is institutionally embedded, and, thus, puts special emphasis on the institutional context and forms [i.e. formal and informal institutions] through which the processes of knowledge creation and dissemination occur.

The five elements of quality, specifically for the improvement of quality in distance, are:

·    materials that are learner friendly, academically respectable, able to be used by the average student, interesting in content and layout, and relevant;

·    learning materials and any peripheral media or equipment that are readily available;

·    tutors and students that become familiar with distance learning methodology and practice;

·    the whole system that is managed effectively; and

·    monitoring, evaluation, and feedback that are viewed as important.

In Europe exists big fluctuation in the level of public investments in the education and the training as percentage of GNP. In Greece the public expenses constitute the 4,2% of GNP. Greece belongs in the countries with the bigger progress of proportion of students per PC. The proportion was 57,9 students per PC in 2000, while in 2003 it was limited in the 21,2 students per PC. Roughly the 10% of adults in the EU, age of 25-64 years, participation in the Life Long Learning. The rates of attendance in the Life Long Learning of individuals with low education are the much smaller in combination individuals high of education.

An open environment of learning, constitutes basic condition in the effort of Europe for quality and more efficient work via the aid of education and training. Importance does not have the for Life Long Learning of concrete teams of population, usually those that have bigger education, but the permanent attendance of all teams of population. In order to is achieved this it needs more essential briefing on the profits of for life learning and more concretely:

§    (a). Creation of “Modern Society of Learning” through the encouragement and promotion of demand of occasions and issues with regard to via-life education and the training of adults.

§    (b). Publication of Studies, Researches and Articles with regard to the education and training of adults

§    (c). Training of Proposals and Inquiring Programs with regard to the activities for the education and training of adults.

§    (d). Specialisation of Scientists and Creation of Executives with regard to via-life education and the training of adults 

§    (e). Creation of Networks between Public and Private (Government owned and Not-government owned) Organisms and Institutions with regard to the education and training of adults and

§    (i). Growth of any activities, so much in Regional, National but also European level with regard to subjects that concern via-life education and the training of adults.

References:

1.                  Allan, B. (2002). E-learning and teaching in library and information services. London: Facet.

2.                  Bracchi, G., Francalanci, C., & Motta, G. (2003). Sistemi informativi e aziende in rete. McGrawHill.

3.                  Calvani, A., & Rotta, M. (2000). Fare formazione in Internet. Erickson.

4.                  Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2003). E-learning and the science of instruction: Proven guidelines for consumers and designers of multimedia learning (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

5.                  Downes, S. (1998). The economics of online learning. Retrieved January, 20008 from the World Wide Web: http://www.atl.ualberta.ca/downes/future/economics.htm.

6.                  European Commission, Progress Report, 2006, SEC (2006)639, 16.5.2006.

7.                  Eurostat (2005) Labour Force Survey.

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9.                  Filetti, V., Marengo, A., Pioppi, A., Ropa, E., & Uscidda, R. (2002). Il progetto corano. Bocconi University, Milan. from http://www.osel.it/marengo

10.              Hall, B. & LeCavalier, J. (2001). E-learning across the enterprise: The benchmarking study of best practices. Retrieved from http://www.brandonhall.com/public/publications/benchmarking/index.htm.

11.              Henderson, A. J. (2003). The e-learning question and answer book: A survival guide for trainers and business managers. New York: American Management Association.

12.              Holton, E., & Baldwin, T. T. (2003). Improving learning transfer in organizations (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

13.              Horton, W. (2002). Designing Web Based Training. Wiley.

14.              Institute for Higher Education Policy. (2000). Quality on the line: Benchmarks for success in Internet-based distance education. Washington D.C.. http://www.eric.ed.gov/

15.              Jain, L. C., Howlett, R. J., Ichalkaranje, N. S., & Tonfoni, G. (Eds.). (2002). Virtual environments for teaching & learning. River Edge, N.J.: World Scientific.

16.              Kossmann, D. (2004). Investing in learning: Consider value, not just ROI. Retrieved from

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18.              Marengo Agostino  and Vittorio Marengo (2005): “Measuring the Economic Benefits of E-Learning: A Proposal for a New Index for Academic Environments”, Journal of Information Technology Education, Volume 4, 2005.

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20.              Miller, C. &Kulik, T. (2000). Knowledge management: Becoming an e-learning organization. New York: Conference Board.

21.              Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (1999). Guidelines on the quality assurance of distance learning

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25.              American Evaluation Association (2004), Guiding Principles for Evaluators  http://www.eval.org/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesPrintable.asp

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