2BDigital presents its competence framework
Online courses are becoming an increasing alternative for education and training in Europe. Eurostat data show how in 2021, 27% of people aged 16 to 74 in the EU reported that they did an online course or used online learning material in the last three months prior to the survey, a 4 percentage points increase compared with 2020. Compared with 2019 before the pandemic, the share of people doing online courses or using online learning material increased in all Member States, except for Romania where it decreased (-4pp) to 10%.
It’s remarkable also, that young people aged 16 to 24 in the EU have taken more to online learning than the average adult population. In 2021, 39% of young people reported doing an online course and 49% used online learning material, compared with 23% and 27% among adults aged 25 to 34, and 20% and 23% among adults aged 35 to 44.
This tendency to the online is also shared in many countries for online Vocational Education and Training. In the case of Spain, according to the first data published for the 2021-2022 academic year, the students enrolled in distance learning increased over the previous year 10.9% in the Intermediate Degree, and 12.9%, in the Higher Degree, being women the majority.
Given this trend of increasing relevance of online learning in the recent years, especially as a result of COVID-2019, it seems increasingly important to ensure online learning and teaching methodologies appropriate to the digital environment, enabling a high quality and inclusive education.
In its second implementation phase, the Erasmus+ 2BDigital Project has launched its Competence Framework, thanks to which teachers across Europe will be able to design innovative online learning and assessment experiences that enable VET students to promote their transversal and digital competences to learn, work and live in a digital world.
The 2BDigital competence framework focuses on the online environment, consisting of five competence areas – communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and citizenship – and has been carried out by conducting prior research on the promotion of digital learning and involving stakeholders from the business world, as well as educators and students.
The aim of this digital innovation project is to support the online teaching and learning experience of VET teachers and students, especially those at risk of dropout and early leaving, in a context marked by the digital acceleration experienced in recent years as a consequence of COVID-19.
During the pandemic, the global population of students at risk of dropping out grew and the likelihood of their disengagement also increased: almost 90% of the world’s 1.6 billion students were affected by school closures. In this regard, Chrystalla Panagi, the project manager at CARDET (Cyprus), one of the entities developing the 2BDigital project, notes regarding the application of the 2BDigital competence framework in the workplace:
“Due to the pandemic I have had to adapt to remote working for the last two years and I have needed to readjust my work plan and objectives to this new environment”, while adding: “Digital tools and systems are fantastic allies to be able to keep up to date and manage your work properly. Therefore, skills such as continuous learning to know the tools that best suit your professional needs or reflecting on your own digital skills and the ones you need to acquire are essential to ensure the success of remote work”.
Barriers to internet access
The disruptions to education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a high economic and social cost, particularly for students in more vulnerable circumstances, as it impacts their motivation to engage in online learning. Barriers to Internet access translate into greater difficulties for their future, lack of confidence and problems accessing the world of work. These students are at a disadvantage in terms of employment, health or socio-cultural relationships.
For this reason, the ultimate goal of 2BDigital is for VET students to improve and develop their skills and competencies needed to work in an increasingly digital world. Thanks to this project, both students and teachers can develop more relevant, useful and meaningful curricula, learning experiences and assessments.
With this initiative, 2BDigital wants to focus not only on access to technology, but also on its use, in an attempt to prevent the increase of inequalities in education and its consequent drift towards youth unemployment and exclusion.