It was worth combining in a single publication the wide range of informal learning experiences achieved in recent years in the Portuguese Alentejo region because the publication of the book entitled Educações no Alentejo helps to stress the importance of new learning spaces and decentralisation of schools as exclusive knowledge and learning spaces.
What adult educators learn and experience in one part of Europe may inspire adult educators in other countries and help them improve the quality of their own offers. In InfoNet we consider it as one of our central tasks to facilitate this process of transnational exchange. In this issue community learning, motivating adults with low reading skills and intergenerational training are among the topics covered.
What happens to our past knowledge when we change our career profile and requalifiy ourselves for a new one? Can we use it to the benefit for ourselves and other people? The maker’s movement may be the answer.
We live in an environment where most of us are trying to be experts at least one thing. We develop our knowledge day after day. It may look as a virtue thing - to push ourselves through course after course, with aim to build our well honed expertise. Truth is, that our inner motivation often plays a minor role as a trigger for such efforts.
An old adage dear to me says that we must always have old memories and young hopes. I think it is the perfect context to speak about adult education and intergenerational learning.In this context of intergenerational learning, young hopes are represented by young people, and old memories are represented by old people.
Adults with low reading and writing skills rarely take the step to attend a course. They have often managed to get through life without any continuing education courses and are ashamed to speak out about their need to make changes and learn. A confidant, such as a doctor, can support them in taking the step to take part in educational offers.
A research study in nineteen selected European and non-European countries shows that the returns to adult learning are substantial and accrue to the economy, individuals and society. The analysis suggests that adult learning is even more important for innovation performance than higher education. This is explained with the fact that for example learning in the workplace through task complexity is the most important driver for innovation performance.
Investing in low-qualified employees pays off. Even short training courses taken directly at work can give them motivation, make them more open to changes and promote efficiency. The GO model provides information on the necessary educational measures and how knowledge learnt is incorporated into daily working life.
There is a gap between generations in many European countries.
Older people don’t always feel comfortable nearby youngsters in several places in Europe. At the same time young people are increasingly disoriented in society and in the labour market. A possible solution is “intergenerational education”. However, vulnerable youth and seniors are, despite their differences, “in the same boat” as both groups risk marginalization in society.
In Italy and The Netherlands adult learning professionals have developed new initiatives to create cooperation and exchange between people from these two generations. This shared knowledge benefits not only individuals but also the community.
Few countries have laws that guarantee its citizens the right to lifelong learning. Sweden is one of them. This gives certain stability to our adult education. Long processes are needed to change the law, and this is not easily done, says Britten Månsson-Wallin, general secretary of the The Swedish National Council of Adult Education. Still non-formal adult education needs to be defended as an important part of lifelong learning.
To rehabilitate more offenders it is necessary to improve prison education. Understanding the special situations of prisoners and prison officers are some of the core competencies that prison teachers need according to the partners of project European Induction Support for Adult Learning Professionals.