What does resilience actually mean in adult learning and education? Photo: Shutterstock

Elm examines learning resilience with OEB

For the final theme issue of 2021, Elm Magazine partners up with Online Educa Berlin.

01.11.2021

For this year’s final themed issue, Elm Magazine will examine what resilience in adult education means right now and in the future.

For the November issue, Elm partners with Online Educa Berlin (OEB), the annual global, cross-sector conference and exhibition on digital learning and training. The OEB 2021 theme, “Learning Resilience”, reflects a world changed by a global pandemic.

We talked to Channa van der Brug, the programme director of OEB, about developing this year’s event and topical phenomena in online learning.

How did you choose the theme ‘Learning Resilience’ for this year’s event?

We believe that the two words we have chosen represent one of the most important issues that educators, trainers and students have faced in recent times – and are still facing.

It is not just about learning to be more resilient but also about making learning more resilient. Many workplaces, schools, colleges and universities have encountered enormous challenges as a result of the impact of the pandemic and have needed all the resources available, both systemically and on personal levels, in order to respond, recover and learn.

We see this type of cross-sector collaboration as vital, because it is the only way to develop comprehensive ways to overcome the multifaceted challenges education is facing.

I believe, however, that ‘learning resilience’ goes beyond this. To me, resilience also means having the capacity to reflect, to improve and to develop oneself, one’s situation and one’s environment, while learning from the past and envisioning the future.

What did you want to highlight in the programme and through your speakers?

Our participants join to celebrate the use of technologies for learning but also to investigate complexities related to the use of technologies. In addition, they also come to OEB for a learning and networking experience. These ‘requirements’ of our audience are at the forefront when we develop the programme.

Channa van der Brug is the programme director of Online Educa Berlin.

OEB revolves around the future of learning and training, but sometimes selected keynote speakers might not come from the education sector and instead will address broader societal and economic challenges.

One of the invited speakers this year is Perttu Pölönen. We are also excited to welcome Fons Trompenaars, an organisational theorist; Marleen Stikker, leader of a social enterprise for creative technologies and social innovation and Sina Fäckeler, Head of People Development & Wellbeing at AXA, to name but a few of our speakers.

What trends are particularly visible at the event this year?

The trends that we are focusing on are not only the latest buzz themes such as AI-driven analytics, micro-credentials, hybrid learning, digital education ecosystems, and self-directed learning. We will also focus on trends based on best practices and understanding what works.

I would say that one clear phenomenon is that the pace of change in classrooms across the world has quickened during the Covid crisis. So, one major focus will be on how schools, colleges, institutes and businesses have initially coped with the need to expand virtual learning and how they are now managing to extend its reach further.

The most valuable technological learning innovations are currently being optimised ‘for the long run’ and for scale. But we do not want to lose sight of the importance of social connectivity and face-to-face engagement in and for learning.

Online Educa Berlin has been organised since 1995. This year’s event examines learning resilience.

The use of technology and blended learning now seems to be an expected part of most learners’ experience. At the same time, learning professionals are struggling to get to grips with so many issues with teaching online, such as learning design in online learning scenarios, which EdTech to choose from, or the use of data to accelerate learning.

Their role as a teacher, trainer, coach, mentor or Learning & Development professional is constantly evolving and changing, and they are in need of more sustainable methods, systems and technologies.

Why did you want to collaborate with Elm Magazine?

We see this type of cross-sector collaboration as vital, because it is the only way to develop comprehensive ways to overcome the multifaceted challenges education is facing.

Obviously, there are also serious “disconnects” between sectors too, which can only be examined critically together.

The participants at OEB from the different sectors and countries are facing similar challenges and are all looking to share and learn from solutions and best practices.

Obviously, there are also serious “disconnects” between sectors too, which can only be examined critically together.

There is a great need to adapt and enhance adults’ skills to ensure that no-one will be left behind. Lifelong learning is one of OEB’s thematic focal points – we will be bringing together policymakers, L&D professionals, data and skills analysts and non-formal education experts to discuss issues around access and skills-development for adults.

OEB takes place in Berlin on 1.-3. December 2021. The Elm theme issue, Resilience in Adult Education, will be published the week commencing 22. November.

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