Deutsch Intern
    International Winter School: Comparative Studies in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

    Comparative Group 10: Soft skills for Adult Educators’ Professionalisation

    learning action, soft skills, knowledge production

    The  focus of the comparative group work is on the soft skills of adult educators. This is an important issue as long as we narrow and define what we mean by “soft skills” referred to such a delicate and important professional role. The importance is to be considered in connection to the new models of production, new organisational issues, new job schemes and contexts, new HRMS-Human Resources Management Systems’ policies. Comparative studies and research are called to investigate on defining who adult educators are in the new productive era and how they can support processes of knowledge production.

    The starting point will be the analysis of the main theories referring to the knowledge production processes (the endogenous and exogenous ones) and the role adult educators (at different levels) can play in them – from the strategic, management and operational level) (European Commission, 2013). Students will develop the study on different roles adult educators can play when dealing with:

    exogenous processes of knowledge production and related impact (teaching and training roles, innovative methods, innovative learning objectives). This has mainly to deal with transmission of knowledge that is already encoded

    endogenous processes of knowledge production and related impact (innovative learning methods aimed at enriching the learning contents of everyday life). This has to deal with creating new knowledge via the daily life and work

    Comparative research question

    1. Who are adult educators in relation to the human resources management policies in your country? 

    2. What is the role adult educators can play with vocational training, performance assessment, supportive management policies and creation of opportunities for informal learning?
    3. According to the national level, which are the challenges for educational and training systems posed by new forms of production systems and organisational models?
    4. Which are the soft skills, knowledge, attitudes that support adult educators in their innovative role?
    5. Which kind of soft skills are needed to adult educators in managing learning processes that take place outside classrooms?
    6. Which are the soft skills needed to adult educators as to support citizens in classrooms, daily life, working place in order for them to be employable?
    7. Which kind of learning actions do you know that may support adult educators in better playing their role towards learners?

    Context of comparison

    The comparison will deal with educational and learning policies and strategies that are developed at a global, national and local level to promote the development of soft skills of adult educators. Comparison will also study on the kind of soft skills adult educators need in relation to the new production and employment systems as well as to the new life contexts, i.e. transdisciplinarity skills, results and impact-oriented skills, organisational skills, sense-making ability, social intelligence skills, innovative and adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competencies, computational thinking competencies, critical thinking skills, etc. (Davies et al., 2011).

    These will be studied with a pedagogical perspective and students will be asked to answer to some questions in order to understand if the comparison is possible.

    Categories of comparison (selection for the transnational essay is based on participants research interests)

    We will consider the soft skills category in relation to different profiles of adult educator and the way they are implemented in the national context of students: Expert in contents/discipline, Expert in adult learning processes, Expert in Services Management, Leader/Manager in Adult Learning and connected services

    We will investigate on adult educators’ soft skills in relation to their field of work (formal education/training, companies, social public policies, third sector, etc.)

    Practices and case studies will be discussed considering some adult educator professions and the specific contexts they work in, also looking at the international and national debate on their skills and role (ie adult educator in prison, adult educator in innovative organisations)


    Boffo, V., Federighi, P., Torlone, F. (2015). Educational Jobs: Youth and Employability in the Social Economy, Florence University Press, Firenze.

    Davies, A., Fidler, D., Gorbis, M. (2011). Future Work Skills 2020, Institute for the Future for the University of Phoenix Research Institute, California.

    European Commission (2017). Review of the 2006 Framework of Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. Consultation Strategy, European Commission, Brussels, ec.europa.eu/education/sites/education/files/key-competences-consultation-2017-strategy_en.pdf (05/2017).

    European Commission (2016). A New Skills Agenda for Europe. Working together to strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, European Commission, Brussels, ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp (05/2017).

    European Commission (2013). Adult and Continuing Education in Europe. Using public policy to secure a growth in skills, European Commission, Brussels, ec.europa.eu/research/social-sciences/pdf/policy_reviews/kina25943enc.pdf (05/2017).

    Hall, V. (2004). We Are All Educators Now: the implications of adult learning theory for continuing professional development of educational leaders and managers. In Research in Post-Compulsory Education, Vol. 9, Number 1, 2004

    OECD (2010), Innovative workplaces: making better use of skills within organisations, Paris, OECD Publishing.


    Dr. Francesca Torlone, Università degli Studi di Firenze, ITALY

    Dr. Francesca Torlone, University of Florence, Italy earned her PhD at the University of Florence-Department of Education and Psychology (April 2012).Her current research activities that were and are being developed on a national and international levels are concentrated in four areas: 1) Adult education, embedded learning processes as part of the workplace learning; 2) institutional learning and policy transfer processes strictly linked to the learning policies/measures analysis; 3) training needs analysis processes; 4) matching between the training needs and learning actions.

    Nicoletta Tomei, Università degli Studi di Firenze, ITALY

    Nicoletta currently is a PhD student at the University of Florence and the University of Würzburg

    Data privacy protection

    By clicking 'OK' you are leaving the web sites of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and will be redirected to Facebook. For information on the collection and processing of data by Facebook, refer to the social network's data privacy statement.

    Data privacy protection

    By clicking 'OK' you are leaving the web sites of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg and will be redirected to Twitter. For information on the collection and processing of data by Facebook, refer to the social network's data privacy statement.


    Universität Würzburg
    Sanderring 2
    97070 Würzburg

    Phone: +49 931 31-0
    Fax: +49 931 31-82600

    Find Contact

    Sanderring Röntgenring Hubland Nord Hubland Süd Campus Medizin