Capacity Building as a part of Lead3.0 Academy
The Web is entering today a new phase of development, evolving from Web 1.0, to Web 2.0, to the forthcoming Web 3.0. To be able to set up and to manage businesses one necessarily needs a particular set of skills, including not only technical capabilities but also soft and leadership skills performed in a digital environment. One of the major challenges the EU is facing today is the gap between academia-industry on e-leadership skills gained through education and the skills required in today’s highly competitive job market. Within the framework of the project Lead3.0 Academy, such skills have been denominated as strategic e-leadership skills.
The objective of Lead3.0 Academy is the creation of a Knowledge Alliance between academy and industry to widespread the use of Web3.0 Open Educational Resources (OER) by trainers, in order to develop the strategic e-Leadership skills that are required by the labour market in the Digital Era. In Lead3.0 Academy, Web3.0 is considered as a set of tools, as “virtual space” for learning and working, and as methodology for e-Leadership; it is a driver for re-thinking, design and implementation of the new leadership paradigm, both in terms of skills set required as well as of teaching and learning process.
Designing the Capacity Building Sessions
As a central part of the project, the consortium set up national Capacity Building Sessions (CBS) to “train-the-trainer”. Capacity Building for Lead3.0 Academy is considered to be more than just a training, and includes understanding the new work scenario; supporting skills and access to information; deepening knowledge and its application; thus enabling them to perform effectively in the digital environment. Münster University of Applied Sciences, leading partner for CBS execution, designed seminars and teaching material that were adjusted by partners to fit their specific needs in terms of contents and vehicle.
The class-based session aimed at providing trainers with an understanding of the new leadership paradigm and skills set needed to deal with the rapidly changing digital ecosystem. The specific objective was to show them how to raise those skills by web enhanced learning through Web 3.0 and innovative teaching strategies. The online block supported the participants in using the Academy and understanding the web enhanced learning process by experiencing it directly. Participants were asked to work on a collaborative project work to assembly at least two training courses, respectively for managers and students, making use of OERs and designing appropriate e-tivities. The Community of Practice was the virtual space for on-going communication, co-creation and sharing ideas and experiences.
Each CBS addressed trainers and practitioners with teaching experience, both from corporations and academics. Each partner was responsible of delivering the contents and set the schedule.
Running the CBS
Between November and December 2016 five CBS took place in Germany, Italy, UK, Portugal and Poland. The sessions kicked-off simultaneously by two face-to-face workshops in Germany and Italy on the 4th of November.
Each project country partner was entitled to design their own CBS in the most appropriate format for their context and needs. German CBS has been delivered in a form of three-weeks online block and an intensive one-day course devoted exclusively to the exploration of the Academy supported by provision of the online back-up material, Italian partners have additionally implemented a series of webinars on a span of 6 weeks. The sessions in UK and Portugal were arranged in 2 days of class-based workshops and 3 weeks online for collaborative group work for creating the courses. The Polish CBS group managed to create their courses in 3 weeks. Overall 8 courses for students and managers have been created by 107 facilitators coming from 6 European countries.
What to keep and what to improve
To assure an high level of quality and to improve both the Academy and the Community of Practice, CBS participants and trainers from all countries were asked to evaluate the platforms and the overall execution of the sessions. In general, the CBS and the platforms were perceived very positively. Even though the trainers had different familiarity and experience with blended training and learning, they highly appreciated the flexibility of this approach and stressed out the importance of face-to-face moments to keep participants engaged and motivated.
The main recommendation by participants and trainers was to merge or at least link the Academy and the Community of Practice. According to them, keeping them separate might jeopardise their use in the future and hence the sustainability of the overall project initiative. Furthermore, the major part of respondents is considering gamification as an important driver, which also might improve the overall Academy performance.
Right after the implementation of the suggested improvements into the Academy and the Community of Practice, we are going to launch the pilot test. That means that the courses created during CBS will be attended by students and managers. Each partner is going to direct the pilot test in its country during March and April, followed up by the next evaluation round devoted to the quality assurance with respect to the academy as well as to provided courses.