B-LEARNING IN THE CONTEXT OF LIFELONG LEARNING

ABSTRACT

In the last few decades the lifelong learning has acquired particular importance with the need to obtain or upgrade skills motivated, on the one hand, by the problems that Europe is facing namely unemployment, lack of skilled labour, aging population, and on the other hand, at a global level, the generalization of the use of digital information and communication technology that showed a lack of expertise in this field.

Furthermore we assist in this context to a change in the teaching – learning paradigm, where students are digital learners and therefore occupy a central role, demanding greater autonomy for their learning.

Recognizing this panorama, which transforms the training of teachers and the development / improvement of their skills in an urgent need, training courses in blended learning modality were developed in the context of the Management Partnership established between the Portuguese Government and the European Commission. Such training courses aimed, on the one hand, the acquisition/deepening of knowledge about the European issues, and on the other hand, the use of Web 2.0 tools in order to encourage teachers to use them in their teaching practices.

The present investigation had as its main goal the study of the achievements from the training courses mentioned above and intends to justify its eventual continuity to the European Commission, based on the opinions of teachers who participated in the training courses in blended learning modality. 121 teachers participated in a questionnaire drew up for the study. The main questionnaire results sustain that the courses have been translated into an added value for teachers, with highlights to updated / enhanced knowledge about the European Union; use of new tools for learning and teaching, with particular emphasis on Web 2.0 tools; learning / sharing among peers; cost savings, time flexibility, reconciling personal and professional autonomy of the learner and learning throughout life; due to the modality of formation in b-Learning.

The results of the investigation lead us to defend the continuity of the courses in a perspective of lifelong learning, which we see as crucial in the teaching profession.

KEYWORDS: Lifelong Learning, e-Learning, b-Learning, Web 2.0, Teachers Training, European Union.