From February 12th to 13th 2020, the eLene partners came together in Bremen, Germany for the third transnational partner meeting of the eLene4Life project. The meeting was hosted by ZMML, the centre for multimedia in teaching at Bremen University.

This meeting comes at the half-way point of the 36-month eLene4Life project, which is exploring cross-fertilisation between the higher education and corporate sectors to foster greater uptake of active learning approaches for soft skills development.

During this meeting we not only celebrated a very positive and encouraging evaluation of our progress report for the first half of the project, but also the 16th anniversary of the second-ever meeting of the eLene group, which took place in Bremen back in 2004! It’s amazing to realise that after all this time (and 5 projects already completed) the historic partners METID-Politecnico de Milano, AUNEGe and ZMML-Bremen are still present, joining forces with new members over the years, currently Fondazione Politecnico di Milano, European University Colleges Association (EucA), Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (LUMSA), Warsaw University of Technology and the University of Dundee. What’s interesting about the evolution of the group is that sometimes it’s the people who stay the same, bringing in new institutions when they change jobs, or new people from existing organisations join the team, and very quickly absorb what we call the ‘eLene spirit’ of collaboration, mutual respect, commitment and creative thinking.

So, where are we now with the project? We have produced two in-depth reports on active learning for soft skills development, one for the HE sector, one for the corporate sector. We have produced digests of these in the form of short presentations, and the first Lessons Learned Kit. We have also developed a Dynamic Toolkit, in the form of guidelines for 30 different active learning methods to support teachers. These are currently being piloted in 5 countries. We have also set up and begun to populate the online spaces which support the growing Community of Practice and have organised national events for teachers, trainers, human resources managers and students to engage in discussion and collaboration. We presented eLene4Life at the 2019 EDEN Annual Conference in Bruges and the ICDE 2019 World Conference on online learning in Dublin, as well as at many other national and international events, helping us reach over 600 people already.

And so, what’s next? A series of further events in Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom. The development of a discussion-based MOOC for teachers drawing on the results of the pilot projects. The production of two more Lessons learned Kits. And the continued development of the Community of Practice, including the opportunity for guest blog posts right here on the elene4Life hub.

We have our work cut out for us over the next 18 months, but I’m confident we will achieve our goals thanks to the high level of commitment of all involved, and the growing interest from all the people who’ve attended our events.

Deborah Arnold
eLene4Life coordinator
National and international projects coordinator
AUNEGe – digital university for management and economics, France