Agreement Number 2009-3791
Project Number 504635-LLP-1-2009-1-BE-ERASMUS-EMHE
Starting date 01 October 2009
Ending date 30 November 2011
ALLUME – From “A Lifelong Learning University Model for Europe” to “Pathways for Lifelong Learning Universities”
In view of the importance of lifelong learning (LLL) as the backbone of the European Education and Training Strategy and the contrasting low commitment to LLL by universities, the main objective of the ALLUME project and of EUCEN was to explore ways to increase the participation of universities in lifelong learning and to produce “A Lifelong Learning University Model for Europe”. This model was supposed to assist universities by providing guidelines based on the European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning published in 2008. However, during the project’s lifespan it became clear that the idea of a unique model or a one-size-fits-all approach was outdated and not adequate given the diversity of universities, environments and the heterogeneity of LLL strategies and processes.
While the challenge of making the Charter and of making Lifelong Learning Universities (LLLUs) a reality remains, the project evolved to the vision of developing flexible “Pathways for Lifelong Learning Universities” in order to tackle the diversity in LLL strategies. Thus, the objective of ALLUME was to provide to deciders, like (vice) rectors and senior managers involved in LLL, and to LLL-practitioners a set of reflexive and inspiring tools and recommendations that could help their teams to define and implement concrete actions to make the 10 commitments of the Charter a reality. ALLUME intended to contribute to this implementation process on the basis of best practices at work in universities having already built and integrated successful LLL strategies.
The project design of ALLUME combined research and assessment activities in the context of organisational development, with awareness-raising initiatives at different policy levels. This approach led to the proposition of pathways and policy recommendations and tools which were introduced to decision-makers, deciders and LLL-practitioners in universities and promoted through key European networks in Higher Education.
The project’s methodology can be divided into the following areas:
- Production of consortium case studies following a three-step methodology:
Step 1: Institutional analysis of University Lifelong Learning (ULLL) strategies in the 10 partner universities and first case study report
Step 2: Visits to the case study institutions and visit reports
Step 3: The final case study reports on the basis of the visitors’ recommendations
- Analysis of the case study results and design of draft supporting tools
- Testing visits in the form of on-site visits in six universities in European member states not yet considering LLL as a priority.
While working on the case studies and carrying out the testing visits, the diversity of the different strategies to implement a LLL University was highlighted and led to a questioning of the usability of the concept of a single set of guidelines, which would not be adequate for today’s diversity and flexibility of processes. Thus, the approach passed from producing guidelines for universities to the concept of designing flexible tools which will help universities start and support a LLLU strategy process respecting a wide range of identified frameworks.
- Discussion of the preliminary tools and results at the final event “Pathways for Lifelong Learning Universities?” in Barcelona in September 2011 with European organisations, institutions and networks
• 10 case studies presenting progress in 10 European universities in the implementation of LLL strategies in line with the 10 commitments of the Charter
• The 10 case studies presented in an analytical grid
• Discussion seminars in Brussels (BE) and Barcelona (ES)
• A highly effective proven methodology including structured peer visits
• Two publications containing the final products and methodologies
o Pathways and Policies – Recommendations (printed and on-line) including the main findings of the two transversal analyses on content and on process, as well as recommendations addressed to strategy deciders in universities like (vice)rectors and regional, national and European public authorities
o Tools and Results (on-line) including the three flexible tools for self-analysis and benchmarking, the two transversal analyses in full length and background papers addressed to LLL-practitioners
• One executive summary (printed and on-line)
Strengths of the project
• Constant interaction with LLL stakeholders and decision-makers at European level through consultation seminars and the testing process
• Strong evidence of awareness-rising among end-users
• High impact on the partner institutions who guided and hosted the visits as independent experts
o Mutual exchange of different LLL approaches and concepts
o Additional learning experience
o Highly valued benefits for both hosts and visitors
• High adaption to end-users’ needs of the final tools
• Highly positive feedback from the testing institutions about the set-up of the visits
• Confirmation of identified needs
• Visibility of impact of the project’s results and supportive character of the developed tools
o Inclusion of LLL as one of the fundamental principles of action in the draft of the West University of Timisoara’s Charter
o Embedding of University Lifelong Learning (ULLL) in the Zentrum für Lehre und Weiterbildung (ZWL) in the University of Stuttgart
o Design of concrete ULLL strategies in the University of Stuttgart
“The process of evaluation was extremely important for our institution. We discovered that we are actually better than we thought. We were able to isolate the weak points in our system and we are going to improve them. The cooperation in the international levels gives institutions new perspectives and changes the paradigms for problem solving.” (Feedback from one of the testing institutions)
For more information, please contact the project team directly via: firstname.lastname@example.org