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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Barriers and drivers regarding adult education, skills acquisition and innovative activity

Alternative title: null

Awarded: NOK 10.5 mill.

The relationship between adult learning and innovation is studied by Dorothy S. Olsen in "Are There Learning Agents in Innovative Firms? A Study of the Potential Role of Human Resource Managers in Learning and Innovation" in Journal of the Knowledge Economy (2015). It analyses the literature on adult learning in organisations and how it relates to studies of learning in innovative firms. The article concludes that HR-departments contribute to innovation in several ways, but that there is a potential for greater involvement. In the article "Adult Learning in Innovative Organisations" in the European Journal of Education (2016), D. S. Olsen asks if innovative firms are aware of the relationship between innovation and learning and which of their activities indicate interactive learning. All the firms in the study expressed a commitment to developing their employees. There was a clear division between management training (where HR were involved) and thematic training, which was more often in the hands of external actors. In the report "Innovative learners at work", by Liv Anne Støren, innovativeness is defined in terms of actively seeking and utilizing new knowledge. It is considered that the worker possesses a high degree of innovativeness if his/her job largely involves keeping up to date with new products or services, and to a large extent involves learning-by-doing from the tasks he/she performs, and if the respondent scores high on a set of active and creative learning strategies. This is examined by use of the international PIAAC database, with a special focus on four countries; Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Norway. The proportion of employed that score high on these indicators was highest in Finland. Norway and Denmark had medium scores and the Netherlands lower. The purpose was i.a. to investigate the factors that promote innovativeness at work. Attending work-related courses increases the likelihood of being innovative. The different work profiles were particularly important. They refer to aspects such as information exchange; flexibility and autonomy; the ability to negotiate, to influence and advise people, and being independent. Some of the results in the report are further handled and presented in the article "Factors That Promote Innovativeness and Being An Innovative Learner At Work. Results From PIAAC", in European Journal of Education (2016), by L. A. Støren. The study also covered differences between industries. This was followed up in a study of training and innovativeness in the health sector (L. A. Støren, Forskningspolitikk), which showed that the health sector in Norway scored lower than Denmark on both. The article "The Relationship between Training and Innovation Activities in Enterprises" in International Journal of Training and Development (2017) by Pål Børing, examines the relationship between training and innovation activities using data of 5200 Norwegian enterprises. Here, training is linked to actual innovation activities. The study shows that a significant relationship between training and innovation activities depends on enterprises? innovation strategy and the enterprises? use of brainstorming sessions and/or work teams to stimulate new ideas or creativity among their staff. A paper by Elisabeth Hovdhaugen (Dublin, 2016) shows that the demand for further training is higher among highly educated than among low educated, and that the demand among highly educated is fulfilled to a great extent, though not completely. Further, there are more immigrants than non-immigrants who have not participated to the extent they want. In two studies by Richard Desjardins, Norway is included in cross-country comparisons of adult learning systems (ALS) and policies and participation rates in adult learning, cf. the book "Political Economy of Adult Learning Systems. Comparative Study of Strategies, Policies and Constraints" by R. Desjardins in 2017, and the article "Cross-National Patterns of Participation in Adult Education and Policy Trends in Korea, Norway and Vietnam" in Prospects in 2016 by Desjardins, Melo & Lee. The article studies differences in participation rates in more than twenty countries. The three countries Korea, Norway and Vietnam are studied further concerning policy-related trends in adult education (AE). One of the conclusions is that for Norway, despite an advanced ALS, improvements are needed to increase participation among low educated/marginalized groups. Desjardins (2017) shows that the Netherlands and the Nordic countries have highest participation rates in AE. Other countries, especially the UK, have also experienced an increase. In the US, participation has increased, but US struggles with a large segment of its population who are in low-skill production, combined with insufficient public investment to boost skills. Too little public funds to develop the ALS further, and high levels of inequality in access to AE, was also pointed out for Germany and Korea

The aim of this project is to develop new knowledge into the relationships between adult learning and national systems of education and training and organisation of work. It is as international comparative projects that shed light on the impacts of adult learning across sectors, branches of industry and countries. Central to the project is the study of different forms of learning; formal, non-formal and informal learning, and one important question is how motivational factors for training and drivers link ed to the national institutional frameworks interact and affect the differences in training rates and skills levels between four North-European welfare states. Further, the project aims at contributing to an explanation of seemingly puzzling findings at t he national level concerning adult skills, participation in adult learning and the rate of innovation output in firms/organisations. PIAAC data, especially from Norway, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, will constitute the main source of data. It wil l be supplemented with other comparative data, such as Community Innovation Surveys (CIS), as well as qualitative data. The study involves participation from international scholars. The project includes four subprojects: skills levels and skills acquisiti on; participation in adult learning; training, skills and innovation, and learning processes in enterprises.

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren