On behalf of the local organising committee, we want to introduce to you the theme of the EAPRIL 2022 conference “From formal education to continuous learning: learning as a collaborative interaction between learning professionals, research education & the workplace”
Do you remember your first personal computer? A large apparatus that weighed a ton. And a screen that hardly fitted your desk? Your first internet connection that started with the long beeeeeeeep and that kept our telephone line busy. If we tell this to our kids, they are joking about the stone age we grew up in. Wasn’t there a cloud? And what on earth is a floppy disc?
What we thought was incredibly new, is now considered too old fashioned to even think about. Just an example how fast our world is changing. And why it is important to keep up, learn new skills and adjust to what the job market demands (Bennink, 2020). And not only in the field of technology. Also, when it comes to learning in general, approaches are changing, focus points shift, soft skills are unmistakably necessary, and entrepreneurship is key by now.
But how do we support continuous learning as practitioner researchers? In many school systems and societies, the focus on official diplomas and degrees stays. In many fields in the contemporary work force, merit is weighed upon ‘objectively’ measurable achievements. The concept of meritocracy, which is known in many societies our EAPRIL-members are part of, infused our view on what is important to succeed and made us keep focusing on formal education.
But when it comes to our fast-changing world, we cannot close our eyes for the value of informal learning anymore. Already in 2006, Koopmans stated that informal learning processes fit the dynamics of organizations better and enhances more natural and logical learning processes that show what is really needed in practice. So, sticking to traditional learning pathways is not feasible anymore. And luckily, we feel supported by an increasing number of scholars and practitioner researchers that prove the value of continuous learning processes, either within established educational institutes, in collaboration with the workplace or even broader. Learning is everywhere, starts at the youngest possible age and keeps on going until…. who knows?
Let’s meet at the EAPRIL conference next November and share thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on continuous learning. Let’s learn from each other, formally during the conference or informally during the social activities. We are looking forward to meeting you!
For more information on the conference and conference activities click here.