xFORMAL: Informal and non-Formal E-Learning for Cultural Heritage
The xFORMAL project aims at verifying the impact that informal and non-formal learning and knowledge may have on students and citizens of every age and, with this in mind, a tool will be constructed with which to provide an insight into how people learn non-formally or informally in both cultural real and virtual space.
In contexts where formal education may have limited relevance to likely future livelihoods and employment or in contexts where particular groups, based on wealth, ethnicity, location, or gender, may have denied or have very limited access to formal education, people may be motivated to seek out and engage with informal learning, out of their perception of the necessity to learn and when presented with the opportunity to do so. In contexts where formal education is entirely lacking, difficult to access, of poor quality, or is not seen as useful for future ambitions, young people may approach informal education for pragmatic reasons, as a matter of necessity.
– to provide education, where formal education may not be doing so or may simply not exist.
– to encourage citizens to establish and build personal learning environments
– to define and reproduce people’s being and becoming place in society, as well as their own developing subjectivities.
– to meaningfully participate in the real social and cultural life of their communities
– to encourage researchers and experts to cross the boundaries between the SSH and ICT areas and to improve the cooperation between academic and non-academic sectors
The project strategy is based on a number of cornerstones aimed at the discovery and enhancement of Europe’s cultural heritage at the dawn of history, before the advent of Rome.
Choosing the past of the pre-Roman European history means including the minorities of the past, means to discover a part of the European history, which is usually neglected by citizenship and in many school curricula. Yet the populations that inhabited Europe in the first millennium BC shared a lot in cultural, technological, religious and linguistic features. They represent the unity in fragmentation and diversity, which is a strong reminder for our society in the present and in the future. Selecting this period of the history for the project, has a double advantage: on one side the scenarios on cultural heritage can be easily built, on the other side citizen are led to discover an unusual part of their cultural landscape, which reminds them the common European history.
Choosing landscape as environment plays an important role in constructing social and personal identities. The landscape with its cultural heritage is conceived under this perspective as the medium which conveys information, rather than an objectified container. In the cultural landscape the visitor becomes a social actor.
Choosing the heutagogy to promote and sustain lifelong learning as learners acquire competencies and the capability to learn in new and unfamiliar environments.
Choosing an E-game to transfer informal and non-formal knowledge to the citizenship has solid reasons, falling under the methodology of Game-Based-Learning (GBL), which offers learning in a playful way and harnessing the intrinsic motivation of games. The game can contribute to citizens and students to build a closer contact with science and develop scientific methods and tools for critical reasoning. The game, composed of a main narrative, adventure and several minigames, consists in the tip of the iceberg that, built on top of an information system, provides an informal learning environment that people can carry with them. Games are unique and special environments for learning and enjoyment.
Choosing a cross-disciplinary and intersectoral approach as general working framework enables citizens and students to benefit from different and complementary learning and analysis methodologies.
The activities carried out during the project – staff exchange, workshops, seminars, networking, conferences – will have a positive impact in enhancing research and innovation capabilities of individuals in several ways, depending on their activity:
Museums, Science animators and communicators will have the opportunity to work in other countries and sectors and will be engaged in new environments and educational sectors. They will be enriched by the knowledge on new methods, which they can transmit to their own institutions. They will also enhance the scientific methodology focused on observation, report and analysis, and will implement new methods for social research, included for aspects such as integration and inclusion.
SSH researchers will confront to a new methodology, integrating different methods and a new perspective on the field. Although there is usually an inter-sectorial collaboration between academic and non-academic experts on social research, science, humanities and cultural heritage, this project opens all of them the ability to work on two levels: individually through the secondments, and collaboratively in the analysis and consolidation of knowledge and experiences
School-teachers and educators, who usually focus on formal learning, will benefit of the broader perspective of non-formal and informal learning in integration with school education curricula. Also, their collaboration will be fundamental for the identification of new methods and techniques to develop in future projects.
ICT researchers and engineers will have the opportunity to better interact with social and humanities experts, and with the driver of the different domains, better understand the requirements for the products they develop using ICT, concerning gamification and digital platform for the cultural heritage.
Policymakers, school directors, museums, cultural heritage institutions will have an opportunity to define clear objectives in managing their territories and their cultural heritage, by establishing priorities of the needs of the collective, and a acquiring better knowledge of the existing and feasible solutions. This will allow to delivering concrete proposals and action plans to develop in their organizations. Individually, the expertise acquired through knowledge sharing will enrich them with new methods and skills.