DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING PROJECT
Lifelong Learning is a very topical aspect of Estonia’s educational policy and pursuits. Various institutions (Universities, Colleges, High and Elementary Schools, Government Institutions/organizations, and Non-Governmental Organisations) have in one way or the other implemented the Lifelong Policy Strategy of the Government. Fulfilling the Lifelong Learning vision of the country and furthermore addressing the subject of unemployment, Töötukassa launched a “work and study” scheme that seeks to train and/or retrain citizens and legal residents of Estonia to enable them to become employable or change professions.
On a more recent occurrence, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation of unemployment (as of 11/05/2020, 2,052 people had registered as unemployed) in Estonia. Obviously, people who lost their jobs have to look out for other jobs and in many cases a better one or seek opportunities to acquire new skills. The overarching issue is that demand for Lifelong Learning for people to develop themselves in the hope of landing on new jobs or acquiring new competencies cannot be overlooked by stakeholders in education and employment. Therefore, in this project, an effort is being made to explore the unemployment issues in Estonia and how Lifelong Learning could be enhanced to meet the training and job progression needs of both the unemployed and employees - by exploring the learning experiences of the beneficiaries of the “work and study” scheme being run by Töötukassa. It is expected that at the end of this project innovative learning scenarios would be developed; with the intent that it will go to support and intervene in prevailing learning challenges and further offer, inputs towards sustaining learning progression within the framework of the Estonian Lifelong Learning Policy.
The aim of the project
The aim of this project can be viewed in three perspectives namely;
- Students will get an opportunity to get an in-depth view of labor and employment issues and practice skills on adaptive research for creating and designing solutions for unemployed.
- The academic contribution is that the project intends to investigate labor challenges owing to COVID-19; provide information and advance innovation Lifelong Learning scenarios for employee capacity development and/or skills development.
- The Institutional aim is to pursue an aspect of Tallinn University’s agenda of bridging theory and practice, through university-industry collaboration.
Specifically, the objectives of the project are as follows:
1. Explore the learning experiences of the beneficiaries participating in the work and study scheme being run by Töötukassa, and the related challenges.
2. Explore tools and resources (medium) for learning and the related setbacks in promoting seamless learning to the employees.
3. Find answers to questions related to objectives (1 and 2), and based on collected data; to connect the design of learning possibilities to workplaces, associations, start-ups etc.
4. Explore the possibilities of offering real-time statistics/information on the labor landscape in Estonia owing to the effects of COVID-19.
The project seeks to build a participatory problem-solving team from all fields of specialties - be it Technology, Education, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, or Humanities - to address socio-economic challenges facing humanity. The interdisciplinary nature of the project transcends beyond the walls of the University because it has the main stakeholders as University experts (Staff and Students), Töötukassa, selected industries/employers, and Labour Organisations.
Through the project focus is promoting Lifelong Learning and training for employability and job progression, an interdisciplinary team is needed in order to comprehend the personal, social, economic, technological, educational, and cultural needs of individuals. Practically, one's response to life's challenges is orchestrated by multiple factors. Therefore to use Lifelong Learning pursuits as a conduit to address training, employability, and job progression of people, an interdisciplinary team is an essential requirement. Therefore an interdisciplinary approach is expedient in the provision of holistic interpretation, intervention and recommendations to the needs of individuals. To this end, the project appeals to all those interested in solving mankind's real-life problems as prevailing in the society; people interested in gaining new knowledge through engaging in experiential learning; people interested in supporting Lifelong Learning with existing and emerging technologies; people who are interested in contributing to shaping the future of learning for employability and professional progression in the post-COVID-19 era.
Research base and innovation
It is expected that the project will embrace an educational research design that is organized as a design thinking approach. Key stakeholders in this project are the Tallinn University, Töötukassa, and the respective employers of sampled employees participating in the study.
Various deliverables are expected as the outcome of the project. Students are expected to focus one or more to constitute their project. These are:
Deliverable 1: A position paper based on research that offers insights into pragmatic practices of connecting companies and jobseekers for the purpose of preparing to create learning opportunities for the former to be employed.
Deliverable 2: An innovative Lifelong Learning scenarios will contribute to the sustenance of the “work and study” program that is run by Töötukassa.
Deliverable 3: Designing environments (with tools and resources) that will support the notion of learning anywhere, at any time, and whenever desired by the employee (Seamless learning).
Deliverable 4: Design portal providing contemporary information/statistics of the current labor and employment landscape in Estonia would be crafted. For instance, the said portal could be designed such that it will provide statistics/information covering the following themes:
- the stats of lost jobs and labor needs ( knowledge, skills etc).
- the reasons for losing jobs, e.g. poor health, loss of productivity,
- the desire of the employee to improve skills,
- identified learning needs of jobseekers,
- learning needs mapped to learning resources,
- training opportunities etc.
Additional information1. https://www.hm.ee/en/estonian-lifelong-learning-strategy-2020
3. https://news.err.ee/1088350/more-than-2-000-people-registered-as-unemployed-last-week 4. 4. https://www.tlu.ee/sites/default/files/TUKO/Dokumendid/Arengukava_2020-2022-EN(1).pdf
- Creating LIFE project plan with the team members
- Filling out LIFE mid-term report with the team members (by intermediate week)
- Participating in the feedback session during intermediate week
- Writing a self-reflective report about one’s role as a team member and about others’ responsibilities in project work (present individually to supervisor)
- Put together LIFE project portfolio which should include the project report, action plan, media coverage and project evaluation
- Participating as a team in the presentation day of LIFE projects and presenting the results of the activities carried out within the team
- In order to complete the independent work, students are required to participate actively in the meetings arranged within the project and to fulfil the commitments made to the team