Towards a European Dimension in Research, Practice and Development – Outcomes of ESRALE (European Studies and Research in adult Learning and Education)
Conference with experts at the German Institute of Adult Education (DIE)
The two-days final conference of the LLP Erasmus ESRALE project was held at the German Institute of Adult Education (DIE) from 17 to 18 November, 2016. with 45 participants from several member states of EU. The gathering was organised to demonstrate the results and main products of ESRALE referring to the development of curricula of MA and Doctoral studies in adult learning and education and to some additional products, like the ESRALE Summer Academies, the ESRALE on-line OLAT webinars.
In the afternoon of 17. 11. 2016, the programme started with the welcome address of Dr. Peter Brandt from the DIE
The scientific programme was introduced by the opening address of Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Nuissl on behalf of TU Kaiserslautern as chief coordinator of ESRALE on professional working and researching in Adult Education across Europe. Prof. Nuissl underlined the basic aims of the project and pointed out that the achievements, results and related products of the project.
The first part of final conference was organised to provide a short summary of the project referring to networking, tools and sustainability by Mario Ganz, Prof. Maria Slowey and Dr. Balázs Németh. Mario Ganz (TUK) pointed out the potential academic impact of ESRALE products and achieved common activities to collect and share good knowledge around studies and research on adult learning and education, while the presentation of Maria Slowey, representing DCU Dublin, stressed the challenge of exploiting results and products of ESRALE and the impact of the ESRALE Interactive Transfer Guide by which implementation of results and products will definitely raise the influence of the project. Balázs Németh, from the University of Pécs, called attention to the value of ESRALE results and products and their reflecting a joint European attempt to raise the quality and scientific value in studies and research of adult learning and education with clear references to both theoretical and practical implications.
After short break, Prof. Simona Sava from Vest University of Timisoara and Dr. Maria Angeles Serrano from the University of Barcelona presented the achievements of developments in Master level ESRALE Curriculum to represent the innovative character of the project. They both evaluated the ESRALE Masters Curriculum as a profound basis for implementation by relevant HEIs having been engaged in masters level studies in adult learning and education.
For the first part of the conference, the closing session of ESRALE final event was dedicated to VPL-focus. Therefore, Dr. Kees Schuur from VPL Netherlands summarised the role and effects of VPL used in ESRALE frame in order to provide an appropriate tool to generate learner-centred education for adults in order to improve access in adult learning. Dr. Schuur reminded his audience not to forget about the role of VPL in adult learning so as to support learning become and stay a lifelong activity.
All presentations were followed by questions and answers period to provide enough room for reflections and comments.
The second day of ESRALE final conference started with the presentation of Dr. Gaia Gioli on behalf of Prof. Dr. Vanna Boffo, representing the University of Florence, to describe the advancement of developing a model of Doctoral Studies in ALE and, additionally, to explain the roles and main focuses of three ESRALE Doctoral Manuals to support such studies and related research activities. Dr. Petr Novotny and Ondrej Barta, from Masaryk University in Brno, joined the discussion after the presentation with some additional remarks and comments, There were also further questions and critical comments to follow.
In the second half of the morning of 18 November was dedicated to a special structure of a fish-bowl dialogue where the group was given particular addresses ESRALE raised and, consequently special plenary discussion started by rotating critical talks around specific issues connected to ESRALE. This special session was coordinated by Prof. Nuissl and recorded by ESRALE coordination.
One set of discussion was dedicated on challenging issues of VPL and this talk was guided by Dr. Aleksandra Pejatovic from the University of Belgrade and joined by Phillip Assinger from Graz, Maria Slowey, Kees Schuur, Petr Novotny, Ondra Barta and others. Finally, participants of the event were also given floor to put there critical comments, remarks and suggestions.
Representatives of EAEA, DVV International and several European Universities were actively put questions and, moreover, provided critical inputs to the dialogue.
All presentations of the ESRALE final conference can be downloaded from ESRALE website together with the official programme of the event.