The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the delivery of Education and Training all over the world: almost 1.6 billion learners from pre-primary to tertiary education, including VET, were affected (UNESCO, “COVID-19 Impact on Education”, 2020), while education and training providers have been forced to adapt to digital tools to maintain services to learners.
Students’ engagement in learning has been seriously challenged and, worldwide, a risk of a potential hysteresis of the COVID-19 crisis in education was acknowledged (Saavedra, J., “Educational challenges and opportunities of the Coronavirus pandemic”, Worldbank Blogs, 2020), defined as a long-term learning loss due to: the erosion of students’ basic academic skills due to lack of practice; the difficulty in re-engaging with education activities; their demotivation as they fall further behind; the curbing of their educational aspirations due to the uncertainty of the learning environment (OECD, “Education and COVID-19: Focusing on the long-term impact of school closures”, 2020).
The OECD highlighted the need to focus on keeping students engaged in learning to limit hysteresis, a mission that requires education and training providers not only to adopt system and technology innovations in the context of social distance regulations and travel restrictions but also to rethink their training strategies in digital environments.
In this context, Sparks, a Partnership for Digital Education Readiness project, co-founded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Union and implemented by six organizations from Greece, Italy, Spain, Polan, Portugal and Romania, aims to develop a new Conceptual Framework for Game-Based e-Learning Programs and E-Learning platform to let VET providers deliver innovative online learning experiences with the use of gamification, and boost their learners’ motivation and engagement in learning.
Min. 600 VET teachers and trainers and 1.000 VET learners will be directly involved in producing the outputs, while min. 300 representatives of the national vocational education and training systems will be involved in Multiplier Events. The project is ultimately expected to:
Increase VET educators' knowledge and skills to create, manage and monitor their e-learning programs through innovative e-learning pedagogies;
Increase VET educators' ability to incorporate digital online technology into subject-specific teaching, training and learning;
Increase VET educators' confidence in their teaching/training practices in digital environments, motivation and satisfaction in their daily work;
Increase VET learners' attitude and motivation to learn digital and soft skills and improve their vocational preparation, achievement, and future aspirations.
Increase the attractiveness of the e-learning programs of the Education and Training providers that will endorse the Sparks digital platform and tools in their offer.
The project results have the potential to be integrated by different branches of the education systems of the participating countries, such as Higher, Adult and School Education: entities active in these fields could adopt the Conceptual Framework or use the Platform to create innovative, engaging e-learning experiences, thus contributing to a reinforced response of Education and Training systems to the current digital education challenges.READ MORE