LifeComp: Competences for life and learning in times of transition

The European Framework for Personal, Social and Learning to Learn Key Competence (LifeComp) and what it could mean for adult education and learning.

This article was first published on EPALE:

We live in a time of transition, which makes demands on us both as individuals and communities. Changes to society caused by migration, the rapid transformation of the world of work due to digitalisation, and the transition to climate-neutral economies are just a few examples. We need more than just new skills and knowledge in certain areas if we are to master and help shape the ensuing challenges. We need wide-ranging competences that equip us to deal with the most diverse circumstances.

Aims of the LifeComp framework

The LifeComp framework wants to do justice to these various challenges. It describes nine key competences, some of which focus more on inner preparedness, while others are more action-oriented. Together, they present a holistic picture of transversal competences for continuing personal and social development. LifeComp is a conceptional framework; it is neither normative nor a qualifications framework. It aims to create a shared language and structure for implementation in various contexts, regardless of age or stage of life. In this way it can provide a foundation for preparing teaching plans and learning activities and be introduced in formal, non-formal, and informal education settings.

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Critical Thinking as a competence for 21st century

In May, I had the pleasure to provide a workshop on “Critical Thinking as a competence for 21st century” for the ErasmusPlus project “TeDiCom – Teaching Digital Competences in Adult Education”.

I started with a comprehensive overview of the topic of critical thinking by embedding it in a larger framework of important competencies for the 21st century.
Next clarifying the term with examples and at the same time explaining what critical thinking is not. Finally, I gave a number of practical tips on how to promote critical thinking skills in everyday educational work with adults.

Here is the recording of my input.

And here you can find my presentation and other really recommendable workshops from the project: .

The “Digital Education Initiative”: Boost or Barrier to Adult Learning?

This article was first published on EPALE in German:

On February 22, 2021, the “Initiative Digital Education” was presented. The pandemic has shown that there is still a lot of room for improvement in the design and development of digital education, which is why the initiative wants to give digital education a boost. To this end, a national education platform and a digital education space are to be created as an “open overall architecture for digital learning,” according to Federal Education Minister Anja Karliczek 1.

The national education platform is to create secure access to a digital education space that contains a wide range of learning opportunities 2. Much remained unclear, but the platform and education space are to be combined:

  • include existing and new learning platforms and offerings
  • Provide learners with a single point of access to these offerings and platforms
  • Provide learners with individual learning paths
  • Make educational materials available
  • Store certificates centrally
  • Provide networking opportunities
  • Ensure quality of learning offerings through seals of approval and standardization
  • Regulating data security for all areas of education

Digital education: adult education also addressed

Right at the start, Minister Karliczek spoke of “learning in all phases of education,” and Chancellor Merkel, patron of the initiative, also made it clear “that digital education is not just for schools, not just for universities, but that we also want to address people of all ages.” So adult learning is explicitly addresses, and that’s very gratifying, because it’s not always part of education discussions. But was adult learning thought of, was it meant to be included?

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Lifelong learning – the end of adult education?

This article was first published on EPALE in German:

The report “Embracing a culture of lifelong learning” by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning from August 2020 describes a future-oriented perspective for education. Against the backdrop of global challenges such as the climate crisis, technological change and the Covid 19 pandemic, twelve international experts call for a fundamental shift towards a culture of lifelong learning.

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