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Adults education is considered one of the less structured, ill-defined fields in terms of practices and competences that professionals should behold to operate within. This is particularly the case of …

Adults education is considered one of the less structured, ill-defined fields in terms of practices and competences that professionals should behold to operate within. This is particularly the case of intergenerational and family learning; the problem of the “private” sphere of learning, as well as the very informal nature of this type of learning requires more research to understand how to shape practices and which skills the educators should have. In this initial phase of our research, we contend that Learning Design, as practice that supports educators in capturing and representing the own (situated) plans of action within educational interventions, can be a key element to develop educators professionalism, towards quality and effectiveness of adults’ education. We support this assumption with the introduction of our training approach, where adults’ educators are invited to implement a creative/reflective process of five stages; every stage introduces tools for representing as part of the Learning Design approach; furthermore, trainers are encouraged to go beyond representing, by sharing and commenting other trainers’ designs. According to this approach, two elements of professionalism are promoted: At the level of the single educator, and at the at the level of the community of adults’ educators.


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  • 1. AbstractAdults education is considered one of the less structured, ill-defined fields in terms of practicesand competences that professionals should behold to operate within. This is particularly the caseof intergenerational and family learning; the problem of the “private” sphere of learning, as wellas the very informal nature of this type of learning requires more research to understand how toshape practices and which skills the educators should have. In this initial phase of our research,we contend that Learning Design, as practice that supports educators in capturing andrepresenting the own (situated) plans of action within educational interventions, can be a keyelement to develop educators professionalism, towards quality and effectiveness of adults’education. We support this assumption with the introduction of our training approach, whereadults’ educators are invited to implement a creative/reflective process of five stages; every stageintroduces tools for representing as part of the Learning Design approach; furthermore, trainersare encouraged to go beyond representing, by sharing and commenting other trainers’ designs.According to this approach, two elements of professionalism are promoted: At the level of thesingle educator, and at the at the level of the community of adults’ educators.hase DescriptionUnderstanding thecontext of practiceObjective: to collect information and reflect about the driving forces in the context of educational practice.Tools to represent/think about the design approach: Design Narratives and Force Map1.Design thinking to provide solutions for...: The context as changing, fluid space of learning. The enlarged context oflearning in the intergenerational case: adults’ goals of learning and children/teen goals of learning differ, but candialogue in an enlarged context of learning.Representing theeducational processObjective: Plan the intervention beyond the procedures, reflecting on the pedagogy.Tools to represent/think about the design approach : The Four Leaves taxonomy and its 4 steps (information, laboratory,assessment/evaluation, personalization).1Design thinking to provide solutions for...: a clear and concise representation as part of the process of Learning Designto allow discussion and peer-reviewing on the quality of approaches before putting them into practice.Implementingpractices andnetworking toimprove theeducationalsustainabilityObjective: A process of implementation that is continuously monitored from peers, participants and externalstakeholders (institutions engaged in the practiceTools to represent/think about the design approach : Check-lists, mental maps, blog and private trainers’ log.1Design thinking to provide solutions for...: ability of telling a story that makes the whole approach accountable andshareable.Evaluating practices Objective: A participatory approach to understand learning achievements and the educational impactTools to represent/think about the design approach : the learning/key competences map.1Design thinking to provide solutions for...: understanding effectiveness as part of the educational process.Making the approachtransparent: openingpracticesObjective: To understand the importance of Open Educational Resources in strengthening the pedagogical and designthinking.Tools to represent/think about the design approach: templates and a virtual platform to shape/upload the own educationalwork.Design thinking to provide solutions for...: sharing educational practices in search for quality within the educationalprocess.Table 1 – Promoting design thinking along an educational intervention as creative process: phases and elementsBackgroundThe quality of adults’ educators practices is a challenge,that requires high skills and professionalism, as well asmore emphasis on the definition of the areas ofintervention of adults’ education. The foundational worksof Knowles, Freire and Mezirow (Raffaghelli, 2013),which theoretical efforts went into the direction ofdefining adults’ education as field of practice, emphasizedthe idea of adults’ education as conversational practice,based on learners’ reflection to transform the ownconditions of life; this means that adults decide to learnwhen there are significant events in significant contexts.The educators’ professionalism, or the capacity to react inuncertain situations according to expert patterns of action,should harness the potential of a conversationalapproach, mainly informal.In this initial phase of our research, we contend thatLearning Design, as practice that supports educators incapturing and representing the own (situated) plans ofaction within educational interventions, can be a keyelement to develop educators professionalism, towardsquality and effectiveness of adults’ education.ConclusionsIn our approach we attempt to develop design thinkingskills, as the result of exploring forms of capturing andrepresenting plans and practices. The five phases ofadopting conceptual and procedural tools, as part ofdesigning for learning, should hint adults’ educators intheir efforts to provide solutions to ill-structurededucational problems; this is the individual side ofprofessionalism. However, we go a step beyond,targeting also the process of representation asopportunity to peer-review and learning with impact onprofessionalism (as field of practice). Lastly, in ourapproach, technologies (the adoption of transmedia tomake the own practice accountable and shareable, fromthe virtual learning environment to the blog and theproduction of an open educational resource) mediatethe whole process of Learning Design. Whether thisapproach will succeed in tackling the complex issues ofthe adults educators professionalism, will be the nextstep of our empirical study.The Case: atransnational projectA case study is a methodological approach that aims to deepen theunderstanding on the developments of a situated phenomenon, seenin its uniqueness and originality, as an “individual unit” (Stake R. ,1994) or what has been later called a “functioning specific” or“bounded system” (Stake R. , Qualitative Case Studies, 2008). Thevaluable contribution is hence the thickness of descriptions andinformation obtained regarding the problems posed and thedevelopments of the situation. The boundaries of our case are givenby:a) The educational process and strategies to improve adults’education, in the context of the LLP-GRUNDTVIG project“Adults Learning for Intergenerational Creative Experiences” ;b) The transnational and eLearning approach. 6 institutions fromIT, RO, UK, EL, CH built a course and an educationalenvironment (on moodle) provided the space to reflect aboutpractices and share ideas, during 6 months of implementation.c) A professional learning community composed by 23 adults’educators and a team of 6 adults’ education institutionsattempting to shape new approaches (Adults Learning PilotProgrammes or ALPPs) to promote the idea of adults aseducators as well as the value of creative languages to mediateintergenerational/family learning.In this setting, we will focus the instruments adopted to promote theeducators design thinking, which is composed by five phases. Alongthese phases, the educators were invited to adopt tools to representand understand the creative process. Table 1 shows this approachthrough its elements, while Figure 1 represents the process along atimeline.The relationship between design thinking andprofessionalism can be depictured as follows:a) At the level of the single educator: The more theeducator improve her skills for design thinking, themore she will be able of planning and intervening inill-structured problems, providing creative educationalsolutionsb) At the level of the community of adults’educators: the more educators are able of designingfor adults learning, the more they can adopt tools torepresent, share and discuss the own practices,reinforcing a field of professional practices, which isalso part of the adults’ educators professional identity.Technologies are a mean in the process ofFigure 1 – connections between the phases as part of an approach to professional developmentThe educational intervention as creativeprocess requiring design thinking skills[Learning Design] is amethodology for enablingteachers/designers to make amore informed decisions inhow they go about designinglearning activities andinterventions which ispedagogically informed andmakes effective use ofappropriate resources andtechnologies (Conole, 2012:8)Analisysa) Trainers’ Competences Map ascounterpart of the adults KeyCompetences/Learning Mapb) Trainers’ Logc) Social media as collectors of evidenceon the ongoing practicesd) The crystallized practice: an OpenEducational Resource within the fieldof adults educationReferencesBeleid, R. V., & Plato. (2008a). Adult Leaning Professions in Europe, a Study on Current Situation.Zoetermeer: Research Voor Beleid.Botturi, L., & Stubbs, T. (2008). Handbooks of visual langiages for instructional design: Theories andPractices. Hershey: IGI Global.Buiskol, B., Broek, S., van Lakerveld, J., Zarifis, G., & Osborne, M. (2010). Key competences for adultlearning professionals. Contribution to the development of a reference framework of key competences foradult learning professionals. Final Report. Zoetermeer, Netherlands: Research vor Beleid.Conole, G. (2012). Designing for Learning in an Open World. London-NY: Springer.Cross, N. (1982). Designerly Ways of Knowing. Design Studies, 3,4: 221-27.Kali, Y., Goodyear, P., & Markauskaite, L. (2011). Researching design practices and design cognition:contexts, experiences and pedagogical knowledge‐in‐pieces. Learning, Media and Technology, 36:2, 129-149.Loewen, J (1996) Intergenerational Learning: What If Schools Were Places Where Adults andChildren Learned Together?, Research Report. Retrieved fromhttp://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED404014.pdf , 5 Dec 2011Margiotta, U. (2012) Adults Learning for Intergenerational Creative Experiences: building theLifelong Learning Society, A.L.I.C.E. Newsletter Nr 1 (1) 1-5, retrieved online at http://www.alice-llp.eu/file/1CIRDFA_1.pdf , February 2013Margiotta, U. (2012). Dal welfare al learnfare. In Baldacci, M., Frabboni F., & Margiotta U.,Longlife/Longwide Learning. Per un trattato europeo della formazione (p. 125-157). Milano-Torino:Bruno Mondadori.Miller, R., Shapiro, H., Hilding , Hamman, K. (2008), School’s Over: Learning Spaces in Europe in2020: An Imagining Exercise on the Future of Learning, Report for the European Commission,Institute for Prospective technological studies, EUR 23532 EN – 2008Newman, S. (2008), Intergenerational Learning and the Contributions of Older People, AgeingSUPPORTING DESIGN THINKING AS A BASEFOR ADULTS’ EDUCATORS PROFESSIONALISMJuliana E. Raffaghellij.raffaghelli@unive.itSCIENTIFIC COORDINATION: PROF. UMBERTO MARGIOTTAInternational Center for Educational Research and Advanced TrainingDepartment of Phylosophy and Cultural HeritageCa’ Foscari University of Venice - ItalyRaffaghelli, J. (2012), An European strategy to implement adults’ informal learning activities forintergenerational creative experiences, A.L.I.C.E. Newsletter Nr 1 (2) 6-11, retrieved online athttp://www.alice-llp.eu/file/1CIRDFA_2.pdf, February 2012Raffaghelli, J. (2013). Designing for Adults Learning. In A.L.I.C.E. Project, Handbook for training oftrainers: adults learning for intergenerational creative experiences. Venice: Ca Foscari University ofVenice - International Center for Educational Research and Advanced Training - Collection of OpenEducational Resources - http://cird.unive.it/dspace/ February 2013.Stake, R. (1994). The art of case study research. Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage.Stake, R. (2008). Qualitative Case Studies. In N. Denzin, & Y. Lincoln, Strategies for qualitativeinquiry. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.