EU Science Hub

ELLI-Index: a sound measure for lifelong learning in the EU

The European Lifelong Learning Indicators (ELLI) project is an initiative led by the Bertelsmann Foundation, and one of its aims is to develop, test and pilot a new aggregate measure, the ELLI-Index, for country-level assessment of lifelong learning in the EU Member States. The conceptual framework for the ELLI-Index is loosely based on the UNESCO's International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century and the four major dimensions of learning identified: (a) Learning to Know (includes acquisition of knowledge and mastery of learning tools such as concentration, memory and analysis), (b) Learning to Do (concerns occupational, hands-on and practical skills), (c) Learning to Live Together (concerns learning that strengthens cooperation and social cohesion), and (d) Learning to Be (includes the fulfilment of a person, as an individual/member of a family/citizen). The JRC analysis, which was based on the recommendations of the OECD (2008) Handbook on Composite Indicators, suggests that the 2010 ELLI-Index classification provides a reliable picture of the situation at the national level in the EU and can be used to generate a discussion about what policies contribute to lifelong learning, to study the association between lifelong learning and other concepts, such as competitiveness, innovation, and to provide insight into the nature of relevant policy challenges at the EU scale. Besides some fine-tuning issues which were spotted in the ELLI model (see Sections 3 to 5 for detailed discussion and summary in Table 17), this JRC report shows that the ELLI-Index is built according to a sound statistical methodology, its dimensions are well balanced and country ranking's dependence upon input assumptions does not exhibit any of the pathologies which at time affect composite measures. The main recommendation of this study is that the ELLI-model could be simplified into the classical equal weighting approach within and across pillars, without losing any of its quality features.