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Web 2.0 Technologies and Net Collaborating Practices to support Informal learning in Small and Medium European Enterprises / NetKnowing2.0

Background

According to the latest survey of the Observatory of European SMEs (2007), the lack of skills in the enterprises is considered an important barrier to their innovation and sustainability. But the smaller entrepreneurs, directive staff and decisions makers of SMEdon’t participate regularly in formal training courses and, consequently, rely more on workplace training. 
Managers are always busy and time is one of their scarcest resources. But, as the majority of European adults, they obtain their skills mostly outside of organised education, mostly through learning-by-doing, self-studying and researching or by informal assistance (Eurostat, 2007). They also visit expos and trade fairs, read professional literature, attend specific conferences, etc.
Within these informal learning activities, Web 2.0 technologies and Net collaborating practices are offering interesting collaborative learning environments for SMEs, where contribution and participation are replacing consumption and passive involvement. Web 2.0, such as weblogs, wikis, social networking, communities of practices (CoP), bookmarking rools, e-collaborative tools, eGroups, Groupware, social software, podcasting, publishing platforms or RSS Feeds combine the easy creation of contents with web sharing and delivering features. They allow SMEs to develop collaboration and knowledge sharing networks at internal level, and to create links at external level with other SMEs, organisations, customers or suppliers to exploit market opportunities.
They allow managers and workers both the individual and collective creation of contents and enable everyone to be learner and trainer in the same time.
Moreover, they allow to share critical information and knowledge, to exploit expertise and pool resources for the collective and corporate benefit.
In other words, they can support corporate informal learning systems and process in SMEs.

Main activities of the project

  • Analysing the transferability of products and results of SIMPEL, eWork LearNet and other related experiences, results or products existing in the partnership and agreeing the transfer strategies.
  • Identifying transfer requirements: national contexts, specificities of target group and competencies to be addressed by the didactical package. The results of the research of SIMPEL and the Standard of Competencies of eWork LearNet will be used as starting point.
  • Elaborating the training curriculum (taking account available products of SIMPEL and e-Work LearNet)
  • Elaborating the Training Package and implementing the e-learning platform
  • Developing a Community of Practice CoP (continuing/based on the SIMPEL CoP) as supporting/coaching to help SMEs having less experience and resources to solve practical problems in using e-learning, experimenting networking practices, using/implementing Web 2.0 technologies to support knowledge management and informal learning systems.