KEY COMPETENCES AND SKILLS FOR YOUNG LOW ACHIEVERS’: HEARING THE VOICES OF STUDENTS, TRAINERS AND TEACHERS
The Renewed Lisbon Strategy (COM, 2005) considers that the growth of productivity in the European space has markedly slowed and stresses the importance of stronger investments and use of ICT across the economy in order to regain better levels of productivity. Simultaneously the document points out that ICT technologies are the backbone for the knowledge economy but the European investment in these technologies has been “lower and later” than in the United States. Therefore, the Renewed Lisbon Strategy stimulates the use of ICT both in public and private sectors to continue the eEurope agenda.
The technological revolution which begun in the late 20th century, worldwide but at different paces, has been integrated into most aspects of work and life in the 21st century. To engage fully in day-to-day demands of work and life events, which have ubiquitously integrated Information Communication Technologies (ICT), citizens need specific set of competences and skills within which information processing, literacy, numeracy and problem solving. These concerns are stressed by European discourses, when reporting the need of LLL of citizens, particularly those considered as low achievers. Additionally it is stressed the need to promote and to master “generic” skills such as communication, self-management, critical thinking and the ability to learn, which will help citizens, better integrate in a rapidly changing labour market.
These concerns are central for the European project LIBE “Supporting Lifelong learning with Inquiry-Based Education”, that aims at designing, developing and try out an innovative e-learning management system devoted to develop key information processing skills for ICT with an inquiry-based approach to learning, in low educational achievers aged 16-24, and to produce a high level of personalization in learning.
Therefore, in the perspective of promoting a digital democracy or digital inclusion it is important to consider the specific barriers of access and the experiences quality in the ICT domain that may affect the educational and lifelong learning paths and employment opportunities of all citizens, but in particular of those subjects and groups, considered economic, social and culturally vulnerable.
In order to understand these issues, we developed 3 focus group sessions with 6 trainers, 6 teachers of low achievers students, and a focus group session with 7 low achiever students aged 16-24.
The content analysis of the sessions (which will be developed in the full paper) stress key themes such as:
• organization of the VET; low achievers characteristics – learning autonomy, motivation, low levels of literacy with consequences in understanding and integrating knowledge; impact of learning experiences in personal and professional projects (in Teachers and Trainers focus group sessions)
• low achievers characteristics – learning autonomy, resilience, self-regulation, skills, motivation (in Students focus group sessions).
This analysis grounds the development of a learning content management system devoted to information-centered courses, that will be object of a field trial, for upper-secondary school, undergraduate students and unemployed young people. These courses aim to help the most disadvantaged groups with ICT tools to reach the right levels of skills needed for employability, personal development and civic participation.