Increasing the participation of adults in lifelong learning activities up to 15% has been set by the European Union as a target in the frame of its Education and Training Strategy. However, discrepancies remain between EU Member States and regions. European lifelong learning and non-vocational adult education strategies are not sufficiently integrated, especially at the regional level, which limits the policy potential to respond to current structural challenges such as rising unemployment, socio-economic instability, social exclusion and the effects of COVID-19.
The COMORELP project (“Collaborative Monitoring of REgional Lifelong learning Policies”) builds on the existing collaboration framework among key regional actors in Europe, with the view to expanding the partnership and developing a transnational interregional Policy Lab (the COMORELP Policy Lab Platform). The Policy Lab included educational and training organisations and networks and aimed to assist and encourage transnational exchange of know-how in the design development and evaluation of lifelong learning initiatives/approaches integrated within Lifelong Guidance (LLG). It focused on the role of Lifelong Learning (LLL) to support regional education and training policies that are aimed at socially inclusive economic development with a particular attention to disadvantaged adult groups. The project capitalised on the results of previous initiatives and EU Projects, developing a coherent conceptual and operational framework.
The concrete objectives of the project are the following:
- To conduct a longitudinal review of LLL policies in each participating region, including a multi-stakeholder self-assessment exercise;
- To review and synthesise existing contributions on regional lifelong learning and “Learning Regions” approaches to develop a new context-sensitive comparison/benchmarking platform/tool;
- To pilot a data collection approach to feed and validate the system among the pilot Partner Regions;
- To organise regional and European inter-regional Round Tables to exchange and reflect upon practices in the field of Lifelong Learning and lay the foundations for inter-regional cooperation and common LLL policies;
- To promote participation of new regions in the COMORELP Policy Lab Platform and to develop a sustainability action plan.
- To draw lessons from the process, both in terms of quality assurance and in terms of policy recommendations.
The target groups of COMORELP were practitioners, education and training providers and employment centres, as well as policy makers (regional and local administrations). Through the networking exercise, all the lifelong learning (non-formal and informal learning providers, social partners, NGOs, cultural institutions, professional associations, etc) within each region will be identified and invited to participate in the Policy Lab.
The expected results, impact and longer-term benefits were to increase participants’ awareness of regional lifelong learning policies and increase their capacity to make comparisons to rebuild or reorganise their own policies by detecting deficiencies or gaining alternative perspective from other contributors such as stakeholders, other regions or policy makers. Existing data collected on the platform will be the starting point for further developments and extensions by the participants. The COMORELP Policy Lab Platform aims to evolve after the end of the project and build a broader community of users, coming from all other European and Third countries, stakeholders and regional bodies not originally involved in the project.
The main deliverables of the project can be found below:
Read the Report on Distance and Online Learning Practices : The report was developed jointly by all regional partners to explore the dimensions of the rapid global transition to distance and online learning during the pandemic, an extraordinary evolution in our education systems. The report derives essential conclusions from participating European regions: Malopolska (Poland), Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (France), Wales (UK) and Istanbul (Türkiye). The report presents insights that underscore the need for targeted interventions and puts forth recommendations to harness the potential of digital lifelong learning while mitigating challenges.
Read the Regional Reports: The Reports explore in depth the state of play in the participating European regions acting as a compendium of regional LLL policies, and especially the innovative changes made recently and the trends for the future. The regional reports were fed by the work of each partner in the regions including meeting with stakeholders, the Round Tables and the implementation of the self-assessment methodology making use of the COMORELP benchmarking tool.
Explore the COMORELP benchmarking tool: This tool can also be found in the project’s website and it is currently available in English and Polish. The self-assessment tool aims to support policy makers and stakeholders to determine the current stage of development of lifelong learning policies in their own region. By engaging with stakeholders and organising regional roundtable discussions, regional LLL laboratories can be established. In the COMORELP project the approach to benchmarking does not have a competitive sense: benchmarking primarily serves as an opportunity for mutual learning, sharing best practices, and inspiring one another through comparisons between regions.
Stay tuned for the upcoming deliverables:
- General Report: A key aspect of the COMORELP project is the mutual learning among different European regions. In this line, a General report will be published containing elements of comparative analysis among the different regions that took part in the project, drawing from the Regional reports.
- Guidebook to implement self-assessment: This document aims to be a practical guide to creating regional LLL laboratories developed based on the COMORELP project experiences. Based on these experiences, tips and recommendations are presented to inspire and help policy makers and stakeholders across Europe to conduct the self-assessment process of LLL policies in their own regions.
- Policy recommendations: The report exploits the lessons learnt throughout the COMORELP project, both in terms of lifelong learning policies shortcomings and improvement opportunities, and in terms of measures suggested to base future regional lifelong learning policies on better access to evidence and participatory monitoring of results. The Recommendations are the result of interaction within the regional Policy Labs that took place in 5 European regions in the first project phase, and of the EU policy labs events that took place later and that aimed to connect regional stakeholders at EU level. The EU policy labs took place during LLLP’s Lifelong Learning week 2022 in Brussels, online in March 2023 and the Final Conference in May 2023.
Explore all Resources in the project’s new website hosted by the Jagiellonian University, it features the different publications developed by the partnership as well as the practical tool for inter-regional comparison and learning or ‘COMORELP benchmarking tool’.