Workshop on regional and transnational learning

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Facilitators: Lenny van Onselen and Evelien Ketelaar

Vocational education needs to be adjusted to the skills needed for this energy transition and improved to educate professionals with the required skills. Learning on this matter across Europe and within local ecosystems seems a promising way forward. The CoVE SEED team participated in the train-the-trainer workshop on regional and transnational learning. The training was based on the insights from WP3. In the research of WP3 (Van Onselen et al., 2024), we retrieved three insights:

  1. Inter-CoVE learning is a two-way street between transnational and regional meetings and occurs through sharing expertise and knowledge.
  2. Transnational learning is about learning new ways of working and teaching practices to strengthen CoVEs.
  3. A key enabler in learning within regions and across borders is presence and commitment on an individual and group level.

We used the boundary crossing theory (Akkerman and Bakker, 2011) and knowledge brokering (REF) as a basis for the training. Boundary crossing competency is a way to find solutions, using the learning that takes place at these boundaries (Akkerman & Bakker, 2011). According to Akkerman and Bakker (2011) the literature identifies four potential learning mechanisms that occur across boundaries:

  1. Identification: The process of becoming aware of one’s own beliefs and identity and how they might differ the way others see the world
  2. Coordination: Finding ways to collaborate in a productive way
  3. Reflection: Trying to see reality, and one’s own practice, through someone else’s perspective
  4. Transformation: Changing a way of working or action by bringing together (elements of) the different perspectives so that it becomes a new practice.

Knowledge brokerage is a dynamic set of actors, actions and motivations for exchanging, transforming and communicating knowledge and practices to build bridges between disconnected individuals (Rechsteiner et al., 2023). Brokers can have different roles, e.g. as linking agents or facilitators (Bovens et al., 2022).

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First, the participants reflected on their personal competence and experience as boundary crossers within CoVE SEED. They filled out three templates on personal competency, methods for brokering, and the boundary-crossing journey. After this, the partners shared their personal competencies and some challenges that they experience as boundary crossers.

Second, the participants discussed in small groups what competencies boundary crossers need to develop. The:

  • Be persuasive, using a vision for the region to attract (potential) public and private partners, and clearly communicate what’s in it for them.
  • Have an overview of existing practices and questions to see possibilities to make connections.
  • Perspective taking and perspective making.
  • Be proactive and persistent.
  • Use a “new object” (e.g. a machine) as a tool for boundary crossing.
  • Use students (our golden tickets!) to reach companies.

Finally, we presented the literature review conducted in WP3. However, little is known about how regional and transnational learning interact with each other (Mierlo et al, 2020). What is known, is that transnational and regional learning is a challenge, as each region and organisation has its own set of practices, governance and (learning) culture (Keay et al., 2017)

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