While the players in public service have different solutions when it comes to learning, it is clear that e-learning is not sufficiently exploited. "Our goal is consequently to develop an e-learning approach and a platform seeking to facilitate collaborative knowledge sharing focusing on issues of interest to public-sector employees working in smaller municipalities", sums up Eric Ras, a researcher at LIST.
To build this project, a major study was conducted beforehand in the four countries involved with implementing the EAGLE approach, namely Germany, Montenegro, Ireland, and Luxembourg. The study aimed to analyse learning practices on the ground and to identify needs as well as obstacles, whether political, technological or personal, which could hinder the rollout of this e-learning platform or stem its use by the target audience concerned. In the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the aim of EAGLE is not to in any way replace the training courses offered by the National Institute for Public Administration (INAP), which is one of the project's associated partners. It involves using new technologies to develop complementary IT and training tools. "It's a type of learning best done in the workplace itself and can instantly provide answers to any questions that a municipal employee might have", notes Eric Ras.
The first phase of the project dealt with defining the "Open Educational Resources" which enable content to be shared as text, images, or video. "This approach is very pragmatic and practical. Specifically, a municipal employee who needs to know which procedure has to be followed to authorise the installation of scaffolding needs to be able to find the answers to this query in a very straightforward way. Another example: a local municipality employee who has just acquired a new mower is able to share a video taken with their mobile phone, to highlight any weakness in the machine and thus notify their colleagues in another municipality who are thinking about investing in the same equipment", explains Eric Ras.
In addition to providing information which, for some topics will be updated by being validated, it is also a question of defining the educational approach. This will help to specify which solutions are to be implemented in order to motivate users to use the platform and to contribute to it so as to promote the emergence of a community while at the same time allowing users to train themselves in how to use it. On a different note, another priority is to support change. "The introduction of EAGLE will change learning attitudes, procedures, and practices. This new kind of learning will have an impact both on conventional learning methods and on careers. Changes will have to be made", notes Eric Ras. 2015 will be dedicated to defining the teaching concept and change management. Only then will the platform go live in local municipalities. A monitoring phase will then begin in order to optimise the quality of the EAGLE service. If the system will be common to all of the countries involved in the project, the approach, the platform and the content will naturally be able to be customised for the different cultures, management, or security systems of every partner.
LIST plays a central role in the project in that it has acknowledged expertise in the field of computer-assisted skills assessment. This is confirmed in particular by the development of a TAO® open-source e-assessment platform, set up in partnership with the University of Luxembourg. Marketed by LIST's spin-off, OAT (Open Assessment Technology SA), this skills-assessment tool is notably used in the framework of the PISA(Program for International Student Assessment) study which aims to assess student skills within OECD. TAO® will also be integrated into the EAGLE platform in order to automatically generate self-assessment tests. LIST is also in charge of change management.