Higher Education Institutions and employers should work together in order to reduce the training gap, so universities would be teaching students the skills they will need to succeed in business and industry. Out of these three identified important soft skills (Ability to Learn Quickly, Positive Attitude/Motivation and Loyalty), our initiation intends to provide a working solution to acquiring the skill: “Ability to Learn Quickly”. Our project aims to raise awareness of higher education institutions and their staff to this problem and find an innovative solution by assessing the learning skills of students entering higher education with the help of the Learning Skills Filter and teaching the missing skills through the Learning Skills Development built into their curricula.
In the frame of the Lisbon Process the leaders of the EU member states decided that the strategic goal for the next decade was that Europe should ‘become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs, and greater social cohesion’ (paragraph 5, European Council, 2000). The overall goal of the project initiator as well as that of the partner universities and is to become more competitive, which can be achieved through a high quality and attractive education offer and can be measured by the number of successful employed graduates. By teaching their students the missing learning skills as part of their curricula, HEIs will prepare them for the labour market and also enable them to become a great work force that has no trouble with completing assigned tasks efficiently and effectively at their workplace. This will help improving the competitiveness of local and regional enterprises, leading to national economic growth, which will result in a more competitive Europe.
As set out by the European Commission, ‘Learning to learn has become a political priority in the education context and beyond due to the link between the development of this key competence lifelong learning and the knowledge economy and social cohesion.’ It is crucial for students to be aware of the learning skills they lack, get a proper training in those skills as part of their curricula and being equipped with them upon graduation in order to become competent employees. By creating an easy-to-apply filter and comprehensive training that can be adapted anywhere in Europe, the project expands its range of target and offers a solution to other institutions.
The main objective of the project is to help equip students with learning skills needed for completing their higher education studies, and also for their future employment by building the development of such skills into the existing curricula. We aim to bridge the training gap by filtering the learning skills of students entering universities and then training them those missing learning skills as part of their subjects. Our goal is to help students find employment upon graduation and be able to keep that job by working efficiently and effectively thanks to the previously gained learning skills they have on hand.
The project objectives will be reached through the collection and analysis of good practices (O1). Based on that research the Learning Skills Filter and Training or Coaching will be developed by the Consortium (O2). The filter will be pilot-tested and after the evaluation of test results, students will undergo a two-month coaching in order to acquire the missing learning skills. With the help of the test results the Learning Skills Development, the teaching material of certain number of subjects as a test will be adjusted and the different modules of the above mentioned will be built into the existing curricula (O3). After the two-semester testing period, the LELLE Kit with all the necessary information on filtering and teaching learning skills built in any subject of any university will be compiled on a nicely packaged DVD or pendrive or other data storage device (O4).
The Consortium that will carry out all the above mentioned activities, is set up of an appropriate mix of institutions: there are traditional universities which add their expertise regarding the target groups of the project. We have is a private institute offering training, vocational qualification and career services, while a partner provides open higher distance education. They will add their expertise regarding the training to the project. The private regional development body that joined the Consortium, its knowledge on the regional development needs and its understanding of the respective region will be of immense value throughout the project, as well as after the project life cycle. Partners represent regions of Hungary, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands. The Partnership will elaborate the following activities: (i) collecting good practices on assessing and training learning skills, (ii) development of the learning skills filter and the training, (iii) building the modules of the Learning Skills Development into the existing curricula, (iv) compilation of all the materials for the LELLE Kit.
Upon the completion of our project, as main results we expect the continuation of our initiation: filtering new students entering higher education and teaching the missing learning skills as part of their curricula. Important results will be the developed learning skills of the students/future employees as well, which is important in order to find employment and to be successful in meeting new challenges at the workplace. We also expect to see higher education institutions becoming more competitive by producing competent future employees that satisfy the needs of the ever changing labour market. We anticipate employers and enterprises becoming more competitive, as well in consequence of the dynamic and productive work of their new employees.
Through this project our long term goal is to see the training of soft skills built into the curricula of higher education institutions across Europe, enabling and equipping students to make the European economy more competitive.