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Future and Emerging Issues in TEPL - European Expert Symposium

by , 18. 05. 2006

The objectives of this symposium (Athens 19-20 December 2005) were to identify, record, discuss and analyze the emerging issues of technology enhanced professional learning and to pave the way for common future actions.
The symposium had a unique focus on the future of technology enhanced professional learning and was a two-day-event involving 67 distinguished experts representing various sectors of the European Education and Training Community. The symposium participants were engaged in highly interactive, structured sessions that have been formed around six main themes.

The working method employed in the symposium is known as “learning discussion forum” or “Learning Café which involved expert’s introductions and group discussions. The unique composition of the symposium together, with its pioneering methodology of synergy and interaction, provided and documented new ideas and concerns, which were crystallized in a series of observations, important for future planning in this field.

The dialogue resulted in the articulation of the following interesting points:

  • The vision for the future Knowledge Workers focuses on three main axes: (i) promotion of innovation, creativity, proficiency and flexibility in learning and work, (ii) maximum employability of the European labor force, and (iii) equal opportunities in education and career.
  • The management of human resources has to change and learning has to be integrated in the working and business processes.
  • Time-to-proficiency becomes increasingly important in order for the European companies to stay competitive. Therefore, there is a need to improve the conditions for individual and organizational learning significantly and systematically in order to increase the learning speed and the ability of individual workers as well as companies to change rapidly.
  • The training programmes have to be aligned with the strategic goals of the enterprise.
  • A tendency of convergence between work and personal life is observed, where the lines between learning and work, work and leisure, and also formal, informal, non formal forms of learning, are becoming more and more blurred.
  • The need of greater flexibility in professional development is a stress-inducing factor for the employees, as it creates intense feelings of insecurity towards work.
  • Greater understanding is needed on what the knowledge worker needs are and what the skills and competencies in the new knowledge society and knowledge work should be. There is also a need to identify the underlying factors that have a major impact on knowledge worker productivity, some of them being very difficult to measure, such as values, self-image, traits and motives.
  • An important change relating to the organization of jobs and company structures is emerging, which tends towards the demise of hierarchy as well as of specific titles and job descriptions, with a strong tendency towards flexible types of jobs defined by the particular “project” assignments.
  • An increased imbalance of education was identified between higher ranked and lower ranked employees, as well as between small and large enterprises. In reality, “the future is already here but unequally distributed”.
  • The most-likely-to-succeed future type of training will be the “personalized learning”, which offers to the specific person the right skills, at the right time within the specific context (work, social, technical, cognitive etc).
  • There is also evidence of increasing convergence between official and unofficial training

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EC-TEL 17-20 September 2007 Crete, Greece

Konstantin Makropoulos

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