Posts Tagged ‘lifelong learning’

EFP Brief No. 222: The Future of Learning: A Foresight Study on New Ways to Learn New Skills for Future Jobs

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The Future of Learning (FoL) project aimed to advance the state of the art by developing a range of new and imaginative visions on initial and lifelong learning in Europe by 2025. The foresight project elaborates on six major challenges for future learning. These include multicultural integration, early school leaving, talent development, improving the transition from school to work, re-skilling and re-entry into the labour market. These challenges were elaborated as scenarios and illustrated through six different personas.

Challenges to the EU Labour Market

Europe will be confronted with new challenges arising from the changes in the labour market in the coming decade. Ageing, globalisation, migration and technology will be key drivers of change. By 2020, 16 million more jobs in the EU will require high qualifications while the number of low-skilled jobs will decline by about 12 million. The ageing of European societies means that large numbers of workers will start to retire in the coming years. Labour shortages are expected in many sectors. Dealing with these anticipated shortages and enhancing Europe’s global competitiveness while improving productivity and innovation will require a massive investment in the advancement of skills and competences of Europe’s workforce.

Many jobs will be profoundly affected by global developments and policy decisions. Key global developments include outsourcing and offshoring, which change the number, content and nature of job functions. The broad trends towards sustainable development across Europe and the world will significantly change – in the face of future energy shortages and the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – the types of products produced and services rendered as well as the way in which they are produced.

All these developments are taking place in the context of a (financial) crisis that has swept the world since mid-2008 and which is unprecedented in both its size and its effects on production and trade. Depending on the nature and duration of the crisis, the effects on employment will be profound, especially in the manufacturing sectors but with possible knock-on effects on jobs in the public sector as well.

New technologies (information and communication technologies (ICT), biotech, manufacturing) will play a major role in shaping future labour markets. They also pose major challenges for Europe’s education and training systems. ICT will need to play a role in providing education more efficiently as teachers will start to retire in large numbers in the near future. ICT will also allow education and training to become much more effective by enabling new teaching and learning methods and changing the roles of teachers and learners.

Public policies at national and EU levels will be of key importance to support the transition of the labour market towards a very different situation by the year 2025.

Creative Visioning of Innovative Learning

The Foresight on Learning, Innovation and Creativity (FORLIC) project aims to advance the state of the art in learning foresight by developing a range of new and imaginative visions on the key components of creative and innovative learning in Europe by 2020. The foresight project focuses on emergent skills and competences, related changes in roles of teachers and learners in the learning process, implications for the education and training system, the role of ICT as an enabler of change, certification and accreditation, and policy implications.

Project Approach: From Scenarios to Personae Creation

The FoL project involved a number of different activities:

  • Desk research: reviewing relevant foresight studies on learning, ICT, skills and competences, and innovation and creativity.
  • Vision building: organizing a series of online expert and stakeholder consultations and workshops for development of visions on the future of learning.
  • Scenario development: elaborating and assessing a range of scenarios illustrating key challenges identified in the visions in a variety of audio-visual and multimedia formats.
  • Developing policy recommendations: identifying strategic issues for policymakers on new ways to learn new skills for future jobs.
  • Dissemination: disseminating visions and scenarios on relevant online platforms; integrating results of all contributions in a final report synthesising visions, scenarios and key strategic issues.

The review of relevant foresights used a range of different materials including information from the European Foresight Monitoring project (EFMN) and the European Foresight Platform (EFP).

A number of different methods were used in vision building. One was a group concept mapping study undertaken by the Open University (Stoyanov et al., 2010). This method generates, clusters and rates different aspects of possible educational, technological, economic and scientific futures.

The results were used to develop a range of scenarios for initial and for lifelong learning. These scenarios were elaborated as personas illustrating a learning issue or challenge. Initially nine personas were developed (Figure 1).

The personas were used to discuss a range of issues on the future of learning through a series of online expert and stakeholder consultations. These consultations were held through the Future of Learning LinkedIn group. The group had been set up for the purpose and counted over 1100 members. The consultations involved a series of qualitative online discussions and quantitative surveys that served as inputs for elaborating the challenges and personas. Further inputs were obtained through an expert workshop.

The result of this process is a set of visions on creative and innovative learning, which can be employed for scenario-building and illustrating specific challenges. In the process, personas were used to make sure that the scenarios were concrete and embedded within a specific learning context. Different media were employed and some creativity applied in describing the persona and scenarios. An example of a persona illustrating the theme of early school leaving is given in Figure 2 below:

Figure 1: Early School Leaving

A set of policy recommendations suited to tackle the challenges was developed. Finally, six of the nine personas representing key challenges were elaborated into animated video clips, available on YouTube and on the project website.

Figure 2: Overview of Personas


Vision on the Future of Learning

The overall vision based on the group concept mapping, the online stakeholder and expert consultations, and the workshops is that personalisation, collaboration and informalisation (informal learning) will be key trends at the core of learning in the future. These terms are not new in education and training, but they will become the central guiding principle for organising learning and teaching in the future. The central learning paradigm is thus characterised by lifelong and life-wide learning and shaped by the ubiquity of ICT. At the same time, due to fast advances in technology and structural changes in European labour markets related to demographic change, globalisation and immigration, generic and transversal skills are becoming more important. These skills should help citizens to become lifelong learners who flexibly respond to change, are able to pro-actively develop their competences and thrive in collaborative learning and working environments.

New skills. The increased pace of change will bring new skills and competences to the fore, in particular generic, transversal and cross-cutting skills, which will enable citizens to flexibly and proactively respond to change and to seize and benefit from lifelong learning opportunities. Problem-solving, reflection, creativity, critical thinking, learning to learn, risk-taking, collaboration and entrepreneurship will become key competences for a successful life in the European society of the future. While mathematical, verbal, scientific and digital literacy will remain key building blocks for successful participation in society, it will become increasingly important for citizens to have a better understanding and awareness of the natural and social environment in which they live. This will lead to a new focus on nature and health, on the one hand, and on civic competences, on the other.

New learning patterns. With the emergence of lifelong and life-wide learning as the central learning paradigm for the future, learning strategies and pedagogical approaches will undergo drastic changes. With the evolution of ICT, personalised learning and individual mentoring will become a reality. Teachers/trainers will need to be trained to exploit the available resources and tools to support tailor-made learning pathways and experiences that are motivating and engaging while being efficient, relevant and challenging at the same time. Along with changing pedagogies, assessment strategies and curricula will need to change, and, most importantly, traditional education and training institutions – schools and universities, vocational and adult training providers – will need to reposition themselves in the emerging learning landscape. They will need to experiment with new formats and strategies for learning and teaching to be able to offer relevant, effective and high quality learning experiences in the future. In particular, they will need to respond more flexibly to individual learners’ needs and changing labour market requirements.

Initial education will have to address challenges of inclusion of an increasingly diverse population, to ensure participation by all, address the problem of early school leaving, and to foster a wide range of different talents. Lifelong education and training will need to address issues of matching qualifications to labour market requirements, of labour market reintegration to improve labour market participation, and of re-skilling in the face of rapidly changing job content and new technologies. These challenges are elaborated in six key personas (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Challenges and Personas


Download: EFP Brief No. 222_Future of Learning

Authors: Govert Gijsbers             

Bas van Schoonhoven    

Sponsors: JRC-IPTS in collaboration with European Commission DG Education and Culture
Type: European foresight exercise
Organizer: Future of Learning Consortium (TNO, Open University of the Netherlands, Atticmedia)

Contact: Govert Gijsbers,

Duration: 2009-2011
Budget: € 160,000
Time Horizon: 2025
Date of Brief: February 2012

Sources and References

For ongoing discussions, visit the FoL project website at

To see the persona animations, visit the project YouTube channel: Forlic2020 on:…4229.9318.0.10045.…0.0.

Redecker, C. M. Leis, M. Leendertse, Y. Punie, G. Gijsbers, P. Kirschner, S. Stoyanov, and B. Hoogveld. 2011. The Future of Learning: Preparing for Change. Sevilla: JRC-IPTS.

Stoyanov, S., B. Hoogveld and P. Kirschner (2010). Mapping Major Changes to Education and Training in 2025. JRC Technical Note JRC59079,


EFP Brief No. 160: Future Jobs and Skills in the EU

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The renewed Lisbon strategy stresses the need for Europe to place more emphasis on anticipating skill needs. Globalisation, technological change and demographic developments (including ageing and migration) pose huge challenges in that respect, comprising both risks and opportunities. At the same time, a lack of information on future skill needs has been a long-standing concern in Europe. With specific targets set in the Lisbon strategy, the need for regular forward-looking assessments has gained momentum. Subsequently, this resulted in the recent New Skills for New Jobs initiative by the European Commission, and related European projects aimed at identifying future job and skills needs using quantitative modelling approaches. While having advantages of robustness, stakeholders as well as the European Commission identified a clear need for complementary, more qualitative forward-looking analysis. Consequently, the European Commission (DG EMPL) earlier this year commissioned a series of 17 future-oriented sector studies (Horizon 2020) on innovation, skills and jobs following a qualitative methodology. The final results of these studies will become available in spring 2009, and will be followed by a number of other initiatives over the year to come and beyond.

EFMN Brief No. 160_Future Jobs and Skills

EFP Brief No. 135: Globalisation in the 21st Century: Where Optimism and Fear Collide

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Globalisation has become a keyword of the 21st century. Who are the winners and who are the losers in a globalised world? The term globalisation triggers extremely contradictory emotions among the people of Europe. One third of Europeans (33%) regard themselves as winners of this development and see globalisation as a kind of liberation from overly constrictive and outdated boundaries. In contrast, one in five citizens feels to have lost out in this process (21%). Europeans only agree on one issue: the process of globalisation can neither be halted nor reversed. These are the results of the first European representative study that asked 11,000 citizens aged 14 and above in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Russia and Switzerland about their hopes and fears for the future. The study was part of a research project by the Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen (Foundation for Research on the Future) of British American Tobacco.

Germans and Hungarians Regard Themselves as the Losers of Globalisation– Finns as the Winners

The effects of globalisation were subject to extremely different interpretations in the individual European countries: over half of the Finns questioned (51%) see themselves as winners. The Belgians (43%), Swiss (43%) and British (39%) take a similarly positive view of the future. Equally for the French (37%), Italians (25%) and Russians (24%), the hope of being able to profit from globalisation is greater than any fears they have. The Hungarians and Germans, however, are of a less positive mindset. In both countries, less than one in five (19%) believes that globalisation would have positive effects on their future. In these two countries, globalisation is evidently not the problem, but rather the degree of inequality and the subjectively perceived unjust distribution of the benefits of globalisation
between the winners and losers. Citizens doubt whether this distribution is socially just and fair.

Survey of Nine Countries

A representative face-to-face approach was used for this study. The interviewees were given a list of possible answers, which were presented in a random order. A total of 11,000 people aged 14 and above were questioned in nine countries. A sample of either 1,000 or 2,000 people was surveyed in each country. The study was conducted in Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Russia and Switzerland between 14 September and 26 October 2007. The underlying definition of Europe was not based on membership in the European Community but on geographical criteria. The countries were selected to ensure that nations from all European
regions were included in the sample. The European study was a research project of the German BAT Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen. An external market research institute GfK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung) and its partners in the various countries conducted the study.

What is the Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen?

The BAT Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen, a German foundation for examining societal expectations, promoting the scientific debate on issues determining our future and furthering approaches to a sustainable resolution of social issues of the future. Futurologists at this foundation have been examining societal expectations since 1979. The foundation acts as an independent interface between science, economics, media and politics. For many important opinion leaders, the foundation’s future research has provided support for political and social decision-making processes for decades.

Health, Family, Friendship – Quality of Life in Europe

According to the study, the most enduring and sustainable future safeguard for all Europeans is, without a doubt, quality of life. First and foremost, quality of life means one’s health (95%), family (90%) and friends (88%) – partnership (78%), nature, education and work (76% each) are rated slightly lower. Spending money and having leisure time (65% each) are regarded as important by two thirds of those questioned. Religion is mentioned by only one third of the people asked (30%) as a factor significant to personal well-being with even sports ranking higher (39%).


In this new Europe-wide study, major differences within the countries surveyed can be identified:

  • Italians love culture and are proud of their faith. In Italy, culture (76%) and religion (48%) are of above-average importance compared to the other countries; in contrast leisure time (51%) and spending money (53%) play a subordinate role.
  • For Russians, the family, consumption and money are particularly important. Russia is the only country where the family (90%) ranks first; the importance of spending money (74%) is also significantly above the average value. On the other hand, friendships (68%), education (62%) and nature (48%) are rated as least relevant compared to other countries.
  • The British attach importance to lifelong learning. Amongst all of those questioned, the citizens of the United Kingdom state education most frequently (86%) as a guarantee for the future.The Finns are nature lovers. In addition to nature (91%), leisure time (85%) and sports (71%), friendships (94%) and partnerships (84%) are mentioned as important for quality of life.
  • For the Germans, health (98%) is integral to quality of life. This nation, however, attaches the least importance to family, culture and religion of all the countries surveyed.
  • The Hungarians are seeking for consumption. In Hungary, spending money (84%) plays the biggest role compared to the other countries.
  • The Swiss count on partnerships. On average, the Swiss mentioned the lowest number of factors as important for future quality of life – this may be because many of the conditions are already in place today. The significance of partnerships is above average (83%), whilst the relevance of spending money was the lowest of all the countries.
  • The French want a bit of everything. The French mention the greatest number of factors of all those questioned. Family (95%) and culture (75%) in particular are important for quality of life.
  • Belgians set particular store by spending money (76%). Furthermore, in no other country do more respondents mention the family as significant (95%).

Europeans do not necessarily wish to improve their standard of living but rather their quality of life. Answers to the question “What are we living for?” are called for. There was agreement amongst those questioned that one’s own health is “the” prerequisite for quality of life. This is followed by family and friends in almost all countries. Alongside health, social areas are coming to the fore. On the other hand, the importance of aspects which were formerly central to quality of life, such as work, consumption and leisure time, is declining.

Crime, Aggressiveness, Lack of Honesty: Europeans’ Fears for the Future

Crime is Europe’s unsolved problem. Two thirds (66%) of those questioned from Helsinki to Rome, Moscow to Zurich and Berlin to London state that fear for their own safety was – by far – their greatest worry for the future. The majority of concerns are focused on interpersonal dealings associated with a feared loss of prosperity. Aside from fear of crime, increasing levels of aggressiveness (51%), decreasing honesty (41%), selfishness (38%) and intolerance (37%) are all causes for concern. The consequences could be loneliness (29%) or social exclusion (27%), which almost inevitably result in social conflict. The entire network that unites, keeps together and protects society is in question.

The citizens of the various countries express different fears:

  • Crime is mentioned most frequently in Switzerland (80%) and least frequently in France (49%).
  • Intolerance, on the other hand, is rated highest in France (58%) and lowest in Russia (15%).
  • Xenophobia is also not a major issue in Russia (8%), whilst for the Swiss this is particularly relevant (44%).
  • Social conflict is mentioned in Germany (42%) twice as often as in Italy (21%).
  • Envy is a far more significant issue in Belgium (39%) than in the United Kingdom (15%).
  • Lack of respect for children is hardly of relevance in Hungary (15%), whilst in Germany this is a major issue (40%).
  • Indifference as a concern for the future is mentioned by a majority of Finns (53%) compared to only a minority of the British (18%).

Social cohesion as a society’s central resource is threatened. It is being replaced by an aggregation of individuals whose behaviour is determined by short-term cost-benefit calculations and guided by the question: “How can I benefit?” Every single society requires a minimum of solidarity and feeling of community. This, however, requires that people are united and feel responsible for one another. Just as the desire for a sense of community, solidarity and security grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to satisfy these wishes. This presents a challenge to every single one of us. Politics is only in a position to provide the framework, whereas people are responsible for implementation.

Friendship, Social Justice,  Reliability: Europe’s Future Values

Europeans are just as aware of their fears as they are of potential solutions. There are signs of a positive change in values: the focus is shifting towards pro-society values, aimed at ensuring harmonious cohabitation. These values include friendship (65%), social justice (60%) and reliability (59%). There is also agreement amongst the majority of people asked about the following values: love (58%), helpfulness (55%), freedom (53%) and friendliness (50%). In response to the question which values are particularly important to the person questioned, the following rate slightly lower: loyalty (48%), conscientiousness and social responsibility (46% each).

Comparing the answers given in the various countries, it becomes clear that there are different needs and requirements. For example, helpfulness, conscientiousness and reliability are at their loudest in Germany. In comparison, in Great Britain friendliness, loyalty and social responsibility are demanded first and foremost. The Swiss wish for love and responsibility, whilst the Finns demand freedom and social justice. Europeans want to see a quick end to looming social erosion. They are willing to undergo moral renewal. Research in the nine
European countries has shown that there are signs of a renaissance of faith in the future. The citizens of Europe are becoming increasingly confident. The age of egoism is slowly coming to an end. And reliability can once again begin to take hold where arbitrariness once flourished.


First Approach for the

Future of Europe

The results of the study will be interpreted in detail and published in March as a hardcopy (about 80 pages, German and English). This publication will be sent to members of the German and the European parliament who deal with issues affecting the future of Europe. Press releases will be sent out in all nine participating countries. The study is a first approach at addressing one of the main projects of the foundation in 2008 called The Future of Europe. Members of the EFMN Network who are interested in the publication can contact the foundation by email and we will send a copy of the study (a PDF file) in the 2nd half of March 2008.

Authors: Ulrich Reinhardt
Sponsors: BAT Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen (British American Tobacco Foundation for Future Research)
Type: National foresight exercise, single issue
Organizer: BAT Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen, Alsterufer 4, 20354 Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 2007-2008
Budget: 100,000€
Time Horizon: 2007
Date of Brief: January 2008

Download: EFMN Brief No. 135_ BAT 21st century globalisation

Sources and References

EFP Brief No. 127: Malta’s Futures for Higher and Further Education

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

The main aim of this initiative was to promote more long-term futures and evidence-based approaches to governance, strategies, and policy development in the higher and further education in Malta under the aegis of the INTERREG IIIC FUTURREG Project. The FUTURREG Project (2005 – 2007) was designed to ensure that regional policies and regional development organisations were informed by high-quality futures tools and participatory processes with significant long-term impacts. This particular FUTURREG subproject/exercise focused on an urgent need to build up the strategic and organizational capacities of institutions in the higher and further education sector and to support them in using futures approaches and foresight tools in developing their strategies in Malta. The results of this work are being used by the Maltese National Commission for Higher Education to define a framework for futureoriented higher and further education strategies using futures approaches.

EFMN Brief No. 127_Education_in_Malta

EFP Brief No. 111: Horizons 2020 – Mapping the Future of Society, Economy & Government

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The report “Horizon 2020 – A thought-provoking look at the future” is a dialogue invitation rather than an attempt to provide another “traditional” strategic scenario very often aiming to lay out a roadmap for a predetermined outcome. The report in question differs from this approach in three respects. First, it aims at creating a basis for dialogue with the public at large. Second, it addresses a broad range of topics covering political, social, economical, environmental and technological issues. Third, the report offers two scenarios on the basis of an expert survey.

EFMN Brief No. 111 – Horizons 2020

EFP Brief No. 57: Greece’s Path to the European Knowledge Society

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

In the context of its four-year work programme, Analysing and Anticipating Change to Support Socio-Economic Progress 2001-2004, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions launched EUFORIA – a project on ‘European Knowledge Society Foresights (KS foresights) for living conditions, working conditions and industrial relations’. The purpose was to understand the ‘drivers’ of the Knowledge Society and to anticipate their potential impact on living and working conditions and industrial relations. The underlying aim was ‘to identify and support paths to positive transformation while avoiding unsatisfactory development paths’. Especially in the case of Greece the development of a knowledge society is considered a major challenge due to the country’s lagging behind in terms of technological development and the knowledge society indices.

EFMN Brief No. 57 – Greece’s Path to the European Knowledge Society

EFP Brief No. 48: 2020 Living in a Networked World Individually and Securely

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Our public, private and professional lives will become interrelated and dependent on technology. This will lead to a ‘networked world’ in which separate technologies will be systematically interconnected and adjusted to specific and individual needs. The Lead Vision of the German Futur initiative ‘Living in a networked world: individually and securely’ is based on an exploration of possible trajectories for these developments that take account of how the dual process of networking – networking between technologies as well as networking between human beings and machines – can be politically shaped and directed.

EFMN Brief No. 48 – 2020 Living in a Networked World

EFP Brief No. 43: Youth Foresight Germany 2020

Friday, May 6th, 2011

‘Jugend denkt Zukunft’ was setup to make this vision come true and translated directly into English it means ‘young people are thinking about their future’. This single issue foresight exercise is designed to involve young adults in the process of economic development. Together with companies, students between the age of 15 and 18 develop new products and services for the world of tomorrow. The main pillar of this program is the nature of co-operation between companies and schools. Further support comes from politics and science. Together they are strong partners for re-creating a culture of innovation.

EFMN Brief No. 43 – Youth Foresight Germany 2020