Informal Competences Net has moved ...
ICONET has moved to DISCUSS, the European Platform for Communities of Practice on Lifelong Learning. If you should be interested in the results of our project or want to engage with us, we would like to invite you to join our community of researchers and practitioners on the DISCUSS platform.
Particularly those young people whose achievements in school are insufficient to guarantee a successful start in employment will benefit. Disadvantaged young people also acquire skills in non-formal and informal settings which are relevant for vocational education and training, but which cannot be used systematically because they are not readily apparent. Making use of these competencies requires that the learners themselves recognize these and that they can be made evident to third parties.
For this purpose the precursor project "Informal Competencies and their Validation (ICOVET)" developed an interview procedure for the validation of skills and competencies, a manual, and a programme for further training which are now to be developed further, and increasingly transferred into the support systems. ICONET is an innovation transfer project funded by the European Commission programme LEONARDO DA VINCI. It includes eleven partners from seven European countries.
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ICONET in Helsinki
ICONET just got acknowledged by the Germany National Agency as an example of best practice in the area of working with disadvantaged groups. Outcome and impact of the project as well as its policy dimension will be discussed on the occasion of the forthcoming INCLUSION seminar in Helsinki, organized by the Thematic Group on working with under represented/disadvantaged groups.
The Thematic working group is one of the four thematic groups established by the European Commission in the framework of Thematic Networking activities within the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP). The Group is managed by the UK National Agency (ECOTEC) and consists of a large partnership of 14 countries including NAs from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Finland, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK.
ICONET selected for good practice in the area of social inclusion and education
The EUROPEAN NETWORK OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION, which is an initiative under the European Social Fund recently has selected ICONET as good practice project in the area of social inclusion and education.
Following this selection our colleague Birgit Mahrle-Haas will present key results of the ICONET project on the forthcoming conference of the European network "Research on good practices in inclusive education", which will take place in Madrid, 1st February 2010. The event will be organized by Fundación ONCE, Barcelona.
Guide to transfer of innovation
Despite the official European and national government support for the recognition of informal learning, there still is little integration of such processes within formal education systems. In particular there often lacks organisations and methodologies for the “formal” recognition of informally acquired capabilities. In this situation the approach of the ICONET project has been to consider the points of contact for the transfer of methods for the validation to be at the level of practice (“de facto” recognition) and in cooperation with different initiatives (“social appreciation”). In other words ICONET has designed the transfer as a bottom‐up process. The following guide describes the transfer of innovative methods at different levels:
2. Educational institutions and administration
3. Educational policy
ICONET in small and medium enterprises - A transfer strategy
SMEs employees form a totally distinct target group from young disadvantaged people. SMEs employees belong in very different age, educational and social groups. Besides this, the difference in the size and sector of companies can have a great effect on the employees and on the settings of informal learning. Therefore, in this document, we will present a transfer methodology, that can be used in specific size, sector and location SME setting, in order to better suit its particular needs.
The ICONET methodology is based on a structured interview on a basis of a set of guidelines that aims to identify key competences acquired through family and leisure time, formal training, work experience, voluntary activities and other life situations. Adaptation of the ICONET methodology is being done at multiple levels. First the instruments itself needs to be adapted, in order to reflect particular conditions of the SMEs. The process needs also adaptation as well as the actors and the expected results. The involvement of the end-users is expected to be more active, as we are no longer talking about young people, but adults with substantial work experience.
Criteria for the identification of good practice
In the ICONET project we use the term “good practice” instead of the broader term “best practice”, since numerous approaches which accomplish good and exemplary, but not in all areas “best” work, should not be excluded. Their expertise should not get lost, but be made accessible for other projects and interested practitioners.
In the framework of the ICONET project, the transfer experiences of the project partners are prepared in a way, that they help interested actors in the support of disadvantaged to extend their practice with regard to the recognition of informally acquired competencies and to issue recommendations of action. The description was prepared in a way that the actors are enabled to deduct a strategy for their own way. According to this, good practices in the context of the project represent ideal examples of action for the transfer on the levels adaptation, transfer and implementation.
Personal development through enterprise
The University of Salford is a Widening Participation university, with a student body largely made up of ‘first generation’ students – that is, students who are the first in their family to enter higher education. For many of our students, studying for a degree is particularly challenging. Students often fail to see the bigger picture in terms of the acquisition of invaluable life-skills, preferring instead to take an assessment-driven approach where formal learning is prized (i.e. what needs to be remembered/prepared in order to pass a module) at the expense of informal learning and skills development. However, in terms of pedagogy and public policy it is increasingly acknowledged that informal skills are equally as important (if not more so) than formally learnt curricula through the course of one’s life, where participation in a rapidly changing, networked society demands significant informal competencies which lie outside of mainstream curricula. Finding ways of developing learners’ informal competencies alongside subject specific knowledge within mainstream curricula is therefore crucial.
The Personal Development through Enterprise initiative focuses on developing informal competencies alongside Enterprise within the curriculum, through nurturing reflective practice on learning that goes on outside the classroom, alongside a core suite of 21st century competencies which are recognised as being essential attributes for the successful lifelong learner. Ultimately we want to equip our learners with the skills to self-direct their learning for life, through a process of meta-learning, critical reflection, and the ability to recognise their informal skills and how these enable them to become lifelong learners. Learn more ...
The young learners of today tend to show little enthusiasm for formal schooling. This does not necessarily mean pupils are not interested in learning or developing new skills and competences. In fact, the opposite often happens in the informal settings they belong to. Finding ways of transferring pupil’s informal learning to the school setting is therefore crucial. Cartoon Planet, a set of mini activities developed at the University of Salford for ICONET, values and encourages young people’s active reflection on their informally acquired competencies through the use of web technologies.
Overview of session structure:
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