WP5. TEL Community Level Capacity

The approach adopted in STELLARnet draws heavily on the successes and lessons learnt from both Kaleidoscope and Prolearn in relation to promoting and engaging a wider external community. The overall objective for WP5 is to augment & strengthen the value of interactions between European research TEL leaders (as represented in the STELLARnet membership) and those engaged more widely in related research, policy and practice as well as in commercial or open development of technology for learning. Essentially, this work-package has the function of translating research results into the stakeholders’ language and implementation area to help stakeholders understand the potential of innovation in their field of application. It must also translate to the TEL community in the other direction, drawing commercial and especially SME stakeholder problems and supporting a kind of ‘consumer’ view on research. It should showcase results in an understandable, clear way on regional, national, and international level and special stakeholder events. It is intended to act as a national showcase of labs for stakeholder workshops, industry days for problem presentation, online knowledge directory of best practices, and an online showroom for European TEL to our wider stakeholder community. WP5 will link to all other WPs through its management and co-ordination of the process of stakeholder engagement; its Integration funds will be managed by a Stakeholder Capacity Committee and will be used primarily to drive presence at events that will draw key classes of stakeholders into our work, and integrate them into the Network. The WP will bring together a Stakeholder Panel to coordinate the views of each different class of stakeholder; and to help to form a Stakeholder Advisory Board that can connect directly with the STELLAR Executive Board and provide input about the direction and progress of the Network itself.

While WP2 will engage with policymakers and key opinion leaders in the TEL community across Europe, WP5 will complement this aim by engaging with the broader range of TEL representation in both public and private sectors in Europe, such as training organisations and providers, the range of curriculum and qualification agencies, and content developers and publishers. Two main instruments will deliver this function: 1) Stakeholder Panel; 2) Synergetic Activities.

TEL-related associations and networks are increasingly represented across Europe as developments emerge and mutual interests are explored. Over thirty EU-based groups are listed at http://www.know-2.org/index.cfm?PID=163 cutting across academic, work-related and other communities. In addition, there are other networks known to colleagues. The collective memberships of these organisations represent a significant proportion of the target communities which STELLARnet aims to reach. This is a wide ranging constituency comprising: organisations engaged in providing technology and/or services for education and training; those whose primary activity involves technology creation, design and consultancy services (e.g. mobile phones and phone services) though they may not see learning as being part of their core business, or they may see themselves as platform providers on which others build services; other organisations for whom TEL is an enabler for internal staff training and provision of external services within organisations. Associations may have personal or institutional memberships, but even in the latter case, it will be those individuals within member organisations who have a vested interest in TEL that typically join an Association. STELLARnet project partners are already familiar and have links to such entities, (e.g. the EDEN association, the Learnovation Stakeholders Club, the European Foundation for the Quality in e-Learning, ELIG the European Learning Industry Group, the MENON network, the EIfEL association, the EADTU association, the EFODL association, EENet, European Schoolnet (EUN) and beyond Techology Enhanced learning, the EUROPACE network, the OECD; the IPTS; UNESCO; EURYDICE; EUROSTAT).

We have identified 5 possible stages to relationships that we might have with individual stakeholders and organisations. We can envisage a matrix based on two key dimensions:

  1. Nature of relationship (how strong – from little awareness/ contact (Emerging ) through to sustained, strong performing partnerships (Strategic)
  2. Nature and evidence of knowledge exchange (e.g. how to measure success)

The aim at each tier is to deepen the outputs of activity and move organisations ‘up’ the “engagement ladder” encouraged greatly by presence of the TEL Science 2.0 concept. The role of Associations in fostering and providing a platform for STELLARnet activities is critical. We may run single events, but we will have streamed/ differentiated activities to target specific cohorts. The table below uses the above associations as an example of this 5 stage grid of activity.

Nature of relationship Indicator of evidence Aims
Strategic
(e.g. International)
Evidence of sustained activity (e.g. shared projects; student work; contracts etc) with more than 1 STELLARnet partner or whole grouping Maintain a high-level pattern of partnership.
Links at senior levels of the organisation
Collaborative
(e.g. National/ international)
Evidence of sustained activity (e.g. shared projects; student work; contracts etc) with 1 STELLARnet partner (perhaps can only operate at the national level if SME etc.) Seek to deepen relationship:
• with corporate/ large organisations: seek opportunities to widen influence to other countries where STELLARnet and organisation are co-present
with SMEs: look for opportunities to either foster new activities or deepen current ones.
Occasional
(e.g. Regional/ national)
At least one recent example of activity with a STELLARnet partner (e.g. project) • Build confidence in value and use of TEL research and deepen relationships
• Showcase other examples of TEL research proven benefits
Early stage
(e.g. Regional/ national)
Some form of contact exists (often on a personal / individual level) but has not matured into actual activity • Establish contact with senior decision-makers in organisations (if not already)
• Demonstrate the benefits of TEL research capacity for their markets/ services etc
• Build confidence in their use of TEL research
Emerging
(E.g. inter-regional)
No formal contact exists. Likely to be SMEs. Focus of work is in TEL related areas but little evidence of cooperation with research sector • Raise awareness of role of TEL research in generating better products/ services
• Raise interest in knowledge exchange activities with TEL researchers
• Reduce barriers for this group

The value added of STELLARnet is the aim to become a sustainable network of these and other networks, so to work strategically across membership organisations and develop a shared agenda for TEL future research, policy and practice. The European Association of Technology-Enhanced Learning (EATEL) has been set up by (initially) Prolearn partners to promote education and to support research in the TEL area.

TELEARC is currently being established bringing together core research labs represented in Kaleidoscope and a Stakeholder Community of 160 members encompassing both private and public concerns. The links to EATEL and TELEARC will provide an initial base of interest, and act as exemplars, but our aim is to support European Community Capacity Building more broadly by engaging with a greater number of existing associations and networks. The aim is to (a) access proven mechanisms for engaging with a wide range of stakeholders; (b) raise the profile of STELLARnet’s work; (c) provide access to resources and services within STELLARnet of interest to the wider community. Most active and successful networks will be awarded for their effort regarding community building in TEL.

Synergetic Activities. By working closely with TEL Associations, STELLAR will also seek to promote TEL research directly with members of the external community. For the larger and more appropriate groupings, we expect to have a presence at their respective annual conference/symposium. We expect to participate in 6-8 per year. The principal conferences, for which we already have established links, will be the EC-TEL Conference (an outcome of Prolearn which supports the sustainability of the project, once it is over), the ONLINE EDUCA Conference, the EARLI Conference series, and the EDEN Conference.

National awareness and integration activities. WP5 will organize several events for the problems identified in the stakeholder analysis and associated problems on a national level, for the given problems in the description of work of WP5 STELLARnet will organize national teacher education events in which international policy makers, best practices, and supporting SMEs are invited. Accordingly events for the industrial sector should target national problems but select and demonstrate international solutions as best practices. The events should bring together, researchers, high level industry representatives, and SMEs related to the value chain of the corporate and international industry partners.