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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



EPALE Discussion: How can digital learning be used in the Upskilling Pathways initiative?

by EPALE Moderator


As part of EPALE’s March focus on digital and e-learning, we would like to hear your views on how digital learning can be used in the Upskilling Pathways initiative.

The discussion will be moderated by EPALE’s Thematic Coordinator for Learning Environments, Simon Broek. Don’t miss this opportunity to share with the EPALE community your experience, views and questions about digital learning.

The discussion took place on 23 March 2017 at 2:00pm CET and we covered the following broader questions:

  1. How do we ensure that digital tools have a valuable contribution in providing basic skills for all adults (i.e. making upskilling pathways a reality)?
  2. What is needed at the level of the adult learning professional, the institution level and the policy level?

**This discussion has now beel closed.

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  • Ringa Mingh's picture

    Upskilling pathways targets adults with a low level of skills, e.g. those without upper secondary education and who are not eligible for youth guarantee support. They may be in employment, unemployed or economically inactive, with a need to strengthen basic skills. Member states may define priority target groups for this initiative depending on the national circumstances. Great post. Thank you so much for sharing this information. Very useful.

  • anna uttaro's picture

    hi sjoerd and graciela!

    i agree with both of you and suggest rather to think about a







    as you well know, we should use this kind of massive education for educators also to create an environment to share knowledge among adult educators in europe, to support each other, to let someone know that some ways to teach are possible somewhere!

    Of course, this is a specific point of view from a country where adult education seems quite not to exist!

    I like very much the austrian initiative and think that in this moment it would be a fairly impossible initiative to realise in Italy. In my country there's a big discussion about using digital tools in teaching but without any focus or attention on adult education! just imagine that we have a national plan about digital schools (PNSD) where there is no word about adult education, even if our law about adult education allows to give up to 20% of classes' timetable using online tools.

    Well, exchanging best practices among european adult educators would be a good way to cross-fertilise and develop knowledge, as we are currently experimenting in a couple of erasmus+ projects (here just another example besides the already quoted Breaking barriers). Why don't we think about it? ;)

    (teaching technology in a CPIA - center of adult education- in Rome, Italy)


  • Fabrizio Pivari's picture


    I'm from Italy. I'm a consultant of internet communication.


  • I agree Graciela with your points.

    To add:

    • We need to ensure teaching staff within all learning environments have the competences to use the tools to deliver the learning experience and know how to adapt those tools to an individual learners needs.
    • Remain observant that digital learning doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be ‘online’ or need the use of the internet/app to gain/upskill your digital skills. Within the workplace here in the UK it is common practice that employees need to be competent in using programmes such as Excel and word.
    • Internet usage – chance to highlight the following publication: ‘Communication – Connectivity for a Competitive Digital Single Market - Towards a European Gigabit Society’ – Better connectivity across Europe. 
  • Just to say thanks again to Elaine and Mahira for a very engaging webinar on Wednesday!

  • Hi Graciela,

    Apologies all for being late on the conversation!

    Just a thought I wanted to share in response to your comment:

    In the UK the office for National Statistics in 2016 published statistics on internet usage amongst adults in Great Britain. In 2016, 70% of adults accessed the internet ‘on the go’ using a mobile phone or smartphone. Mobiles and smartphones continue to be the most popular device to access the internet. With this in mind and in relation to your comment it is also important to understand what activities are undertaken when accessing the internet using mobile phones and smartphones.

    Of the internet activities surveyed in 2016, the most popular activity completed online by adults was sending/receiving emails (79%). Around 65% of adults aged 16-24 uploaded content created by them to a website (highest percentage by age group) with less than 20% of those aged 65+ doing the same activity.

    By understanding how we use the internet, the activities undertaken, the better place we will be in to adapt the online learning experience.

  • Thanks Brian,

    I agree with your point that we need to take in account the wide range of learners and considerable individual needs regarding access to tools and services. This includes basic access to the internet: In a recent Ofcom report in the UK one in five people with disabilities still lack internet access; older people, and those with disabilities or low incomes are still facing online barriers. Despite an increase in individuals with disabilities using smartphones and tablets up to 57% (2016) this is considerably fewer than individuals without disabilities. It is evident we need to consider the initial access available.

    There is an interesting blog post by Lisa Featherstone on JISC that may have already came across: ‘How can you make resources accessible for those with disabilities?’ It was interesting to see the short video on ‘Accessing Text’ – conveying information other than by text. There are many best practices that providers can take on board to make there learning environment more inclusive and plenty of digital tools to support them. An example could be by installing and supporting accessible content creation tools like Xerte Online Toolkits which allow tutors to create visually rich learning resources.



  • Inez Bailey's picture

    Hi Simon and colleagues

    Very sorry to have missed the real time virtual gathering this afternoon. A quick read through though has given me plenty of ideas so thank you for sharing your thoughts and projects.

    A couple of comments to offer over and above the blog on referenced on p2.

    Its important to consider digital in its widest sense and see how content can be repurposed across many platforms, some very cheap and accessible. In Ireland we have found that TV producers (like us all) must find ways to do more with less and through collaborations with NALA and others, it has been possible to explore linking basic skills content to nature programmes, health programmes, consumer programmes. Think Open University for upskilling but financed through State support for public broadcasting. Its a very attractive hook that can ease access to more formal learning. We will be looking at it in relation to how it might address letting the nation know about learning opportunities.


    David Puttnam, a man who knows a lot about this area, is Ireland's digital champion and you can hear his views on the subject in an excerpt from a recent 4 part documentary NALA contributed to called Making Ireland Click 





  • Elena Galifianaki's picture

    Thank you for hosting such a vibrant discussion! 

    A lot of the comments can be found on EPALE's official Twitter and Facebook accounts.

    Feel free to browse and share!






  • Graciela Sbertoli's picture

    I agree that Blended Learning is a very adequate approach for the target group of the Upskilling Pathways.

    As always when addressing Adult Learning, we are talking about a heterogeneous target group, multiple needs and a variety of situations.

    What we need, I think, is to be aware of the possibilities, guide the teachers to choose the best alternatives, and keep a flexible approach. 

    And let us not forget that Adult Learning is about enabling the learner. What better enabling than teaching them to use tools that help them learn by themselves?