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Appears in:
Pages: 6688-6697
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

CERORGANIC: IMPLEMENTATION OF A BLENDED-LEARNING TRAINING CONCEPT FOR OA-ADVISERS AND OA-FARMERS

M. Moises, M. Obermueller

Federal Ministry of Education (AUSTRIA)
In 2004 the European Commission launched the European Action Plan for Organic Food and Farming in order to stress the need for initiatives supporting the training and education in the field of Organic Agriculture (OA). Consequently many European countries have recently increased their efforts to establish national or regional OA-training activities. Transfer of knowledge to farmers involves training of the trainer in technical matters, understanding of targeted communication and adaptation of information technology. As a result, a farmer’s trainer is much more than a knowledge transmitter: he/she is a consultant, advisor, teacher, and facilitator, engaged in procedures that encompass a range of communication and learning activities.

The overall aim of the European Project CerOrganic (Quality-Certified Training of Farmers on Organic Agriculture) was to develop and test a quality assurance procedure for the vocational training of agricultural advisers, based on the European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF). This procedure is on one hand flexible enough to be incorporated into existing national training activities. On the other hand it provides a set of excellence to minimum criteria, which guarantee the quality of localised approaches. The second major objective of CerOrganic is to develop an international training curriculum for OA-advisers, following an innovative blended-learning design, which enables the development of collaborative training strategies. This approach is in particular valuable in organic agriculture as the farmers’ needs are highly site specific and require the close and equal cooperation between advisor and farmer (Ozkaya).

The challenge of the CerOrganic Project was to find a viable way of bundling different OA-training schemes and standards. For this purpose the five implementing pilot countries (Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and Hungary) started the project with a research of OA-training courses and competences of OA-advisers in their countries. Furthermore, they organised stakeholder meetings to identify specific national OA-training needs. This enabled the CerOrganic consortium to construct a new training platform utilising the strengths of existing courses and addressing areas that need further development and attention.

The main findings of the requirements analysis were that whilst the current level, focus, and organisation of OA-extension training differs remarkably among the partner countries, the community based training approaches facilitated by blended-learning tools and strategies provide a major common innovation benefit to OA-education across all countries.

Austria is one of the pioneers in Organic Agriculture and provides a high standard and quality of OA-formation and vocational training. During the stakeholder meetings it became obvious that CerOrganic provides the perfect opportunity to enrich well established OA-trainings with competencies in blended learning and collaboration strategies. This paper outlines the two level validation scheme, the blended-learning tools and pedagogical principles, and the localisation of the quality assurance procedure in Austria. Finally it gives an outlook to further development capacities in Europe.

References:
http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/action-plan_en
Özkaya, Tayfun (2003): Extension and Training in Organic Farming and Participatory Methods. In: Cahiers Options Méditerranéennes ; v. 61). Chania, Greece.
@InProceedings{MOISES2012CER,
author = {Moises, M. and Obermueller, M.},
title = {CERORGANIC: IMPLEMENTATION OF A BLENDED-LEARNING TRAINING CONCEPT FOR OA-ADVISERS AND OA-FARMERS},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {6688-6697}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Moises AU - M. Obermueller
TI - CERORGANIC: IMPLEMENTATION OF A BLENDED-LEARNING TRAINING CONCEPT FOR OA-ADVISERS AND OA-FARMERS
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 6688
EP - 6697
ER -
M. Moises, M. Obermueller (2012) CERORGANIC: IMPLEMENTATION OF A BLENDED-LEARNING TRAINING CONCEPT FOR OA-ADVISERS AND OA-FARMERS, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 6688-6697.
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