Facing the Demographic Change in European Societies: A Semantic-based Learning and Knowledge Platform for Ageing Workers

By Anne Carina Thelen, Sven Trantow, Anja Richert and Sabina Jeschke.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Modern economies currently face rapid changes with regard to their social structure and work environment. Declining fertility rates and increasing life expectancy lead to the overall trend of the demographic change. As a consequence, domestic labor forces are ageing with the prospect of shrinking. The upcoming labor shortage cannot be compensated by immigration solely, but rather through lifelong learning and continuous development of competences to secure lifelong employability. Modern societies can no longer afford to exclude ageing workers from the labor market, e.g. through methods like early retirement policies. To cope with the demographic change and to face the shortage of skilled workers, the employability of ageing workers has to be secured through demographic-sensitive learning offers. Striking and alerting in this context is that the participation rate of low-skilled and ageing workers in further education lags behind other groups of learners, and nearly no learning offers exist which are directly targeted to this group and their special learning needs (cf. chapter 1). The learning and knowledge platform RELOAD, which was developed by IMA/ZLW & IfU of RWTH Aachen University, Germany and funded by the European Leonardo da Vinci program, is such a demographic sensitive learning offer especially dedicated to low-skilled and ageing workers in the Do-it-yourself sector (cf. chapter 2). The main innovations of the RELOAD learning and knowledge platform are short learning units, so called Microtrainings (cf. chapter 2.1) and the usage of a semantic net (cf. chapter 2.2). Thereby, they are individual, self-directed and continuous learning processes. Furthermore Microtrainings can be easily integrated into the work life.

Keywords: E-Learning, Microtraining, Semantic-based Knowledge Platform, Demographic Change, Low Skilled and Ageing Workers

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp.149-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.122MB).

Anne Carina Thelen

Research assistant, Institute for Information Management (IMA), Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Anne Carina Thelen studied sociology with a focus on empirical methods as well as educational and organisational sociology. Since 2009, she has been working as a research assistant at the Institute for Information Management (IMA) and the Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW) of RWTH Aachen University. Currently, she is involved in different national and international research projects. Her main research focus is on E-Learning and the support of educationally disadvantaged learner groups by means of demographic-sensitive learning offers. Furthermore, she is responsible for a vocational training program, dedicated to university staff to secure the quality of academic teaching.

Sven Trantow

Research Group Leader "Innovation Research and Futurology", Institute Cluster IMA/ZLW & IfU, Institute for Information Management in Mechanical Engineering (IMA), Center for Learning and Knowledge Development (ZLW), Institute for Management Cybernetics (IfU), RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany

Sven Trantow is a Research Group Leader of “Innovation Research and Futurology” as well as a Project Leader of “International Monitoring” at the Institute Cluster Department of Information Management in Mechanical Engineering, Center for Learning and Knowledge Development and Institute for Management Cybernetics (IMA/ZLW & IfU) of the RWTH Aachen University. His current research focus lies in analyzing trends and dilemmas in the economic environment of high-technology countries, identifying strategies to increase organizational and social innovative capability, and developing concepts for knowledge monitoring. Sven Trantow lectures on the topic of communication and organization development and has consulting experience within the scope of innovation workshops with various German SMEs.

Anja Richert

Manageress of Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW), Institute for Information Management (IMA), Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW), Germany

Dr. Anja Richert studied communication sciences, psychology and company pedagogy at RWTH Aachen University. She received summa cum laude for her doctorate “Influence of Learning Biographies and Subjective Theories on Self-directed Learning by means of E-Learning” in 2007. Parallel to her doctoral studies, she worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Information Management (IMA) and Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW) between 2004–2008. Anja Richert became head of the department “Knowledge Management” at the Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW) in 2008. Among other projects, she was coordinator of the RELOAD project. In February, 2011, Anja Richert became CEO of the Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW). Currently, she is working on her habilitation thesis concerned with “Agile Learning and Knowledge Processes in Knowledge Intensive and Technology Oriented Organisations” in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineerig.

Prof. Sabina Jeschke

Head of Institute, Institute for Information Management (IMA), Center for Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW), RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Since June 2009, Professor Dr. Sabina Jeschke has been the Director of the Institute Cluster IMA/ZLW and IfU at the RWTH Aachen University. Before, she was Professor for IT Service Technologies (IITS) and Director of the Central Information Technology Services (RUS) at the University of Stuttgart. She took this position after being a Junior Professor for “Media in Mathematics and Natural Sciences” at the Technische Universität Berlin for two years. Sabina Jeschke received her doctorate in “Virtual Knowledge Spaces in Mathematics” in April 2004 and has studied information technology, physics and mathematics at the Berlin University of Technology. Some of her research interests are: complex IT-systems (e.g. cloud computing, green IT & ET, semantic web), robotics (e.g. heterogeneous and cooperative robotics, partly/autonomous transportation systems) and virtual worlds for research co-operations (e.g. virtual and remote laboratories, intelligent assistants, semantic encoding of subject-specific content).

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