Multiplier Event

eLene4life Knowledge Exchange: Enhancing soft skills through active learning for education and employment

27th May 2021
10:00 – 17:00 (CEST)

eLene4Life supports curriculum innovation in higher education (HE) and the corporate sector through the development of active learning approaches for transversal skills, with the ultimate aim of improving students’ employability.

Conference themes

  • Active Learning
  • Soft Skills
  • Employability.

Thursday 27th May
CEST 10:00 – 17:00 (1 hour ahead of BST)

Principal of the University of Dundee

Presenter: Professor Iain Gillespie


Opening Remarks

Presenters: Deborah Arnold and Christophe Fournier


10:20 – 11:20
Plenary session 1

An osmosis between HE and the corporate sector on the edge of active learning: analysis between these two worlds

Presenters: Matteo Uggeri and Mirela Mazalu

This session will present the results of an analysis that captured the state-of-the-art of innovative methodologies and activities that can foster the acquisition of soft skills in the Corporate field, and explores their transferability into the Higher Education context.

Based on more than 40 face to face and online interviews done between 2018 and 2019 (so without the “Covid bias”), it provides universities with examples, scenarios and good practices for the improvement of soft and transversal skills training that are used in corporate training.

Moving active learning online: tools and tips for teachers

Presenters: Magdalena Jasinska and Maria Cinque

This session will present the tools and resources of the Dynamic Toolkit.

Basing on the Transnational Analysis on Innovative Higher Education Learning Models on Soft Skills and the Transnational Analysis of the Transferability to Higher Education of Corporate Active Learning on Soft Skills, the eLene4Life partners have selected 30 active learning methods for soft skills development, described in practical terms in the eLene4Life Dynamic Toolkit.

These methods have been piloted in five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom) and the session will also illustrate the results of the pilots carried out between September 2019 and 2020. Due to the pandemic, some of the pilots, that were initially planned face to face, had to be adapted rapidly to an online modality. This challenge helped us gather relevant information for teachers. In fact, over half of the methods described in the Dynamic Toolkit had been tagged as being relevant for, and possible in, an online learning context. Consequently, it was not difficult to adapt them for online classes.

Keynote 1: Institutional approach to adopting Active/Collaborative Learning in HE

Presenter: Richard Beggs
Ulster University, chair of the ALT Active Learning SIG

This session will explore Ulster University’s Learning landscapes activities as it moves towards an Active/Collaborative approach to learning and teaching across its campuses. Richard Beggs, Learning Landscapes lead at Ulster University will give a brief overview of the Learning Environment plan, the Ulster context and the learning and teaching initiatives, such as Apps for Active Learning, Active Learning Champions and Student Learning Partners that have facilitated this holistic approach to embedding active and collaborative learning in academic practice.

Morning Coffee Break
11:50 – 13:00
Lightning Talks 1
  1. Paolo Gondoni, Matteo Bozzi & Maurizio Zani, Politecnico di Milano
  2. Gosia Mitka – University of St Andrews
  3. Marc Beutner – University of Paderborn
  4. Clare Robertson-Hunt – University of Dundee
  5. Domenico Brunetto – Politecnico di Milano

Afternoon Sessions

Plenary session 2

The eLene4Life MOOC on Active Learning for Soft Skills Development (Valeria Baudo / Ale Tomasini) and the Community of Practice (Deborah Arnold)

This session will explore the design choices in developing the eLene4Life discussion-based MOOC aimed to guide the learner in discovering how an active learning method, i.e. any instructional method that engages students in the learning process, can effectively be designed and implemented in a curricular course to support students’ in their soft skill development. It also presents preliminary results coming from data analysis and interviews with learners.

In order to foster conversations around active learning and soft skills development, eLene4Life has set up a series of social media spaces which bring together diverse groups of stakeholders. In this session we will be looking at ways to support the development of a self-sustaining Community of Practice, considering the needs of both the HE and the corporate sectors as well as the potential for, and barriers to, cross-fertilisation.

Keynote 2
Attitudes to active learning: A global comparison

Presenter: Professor Bart Rienties, Open University

Learning in the 21st century is undergoing both subtle and radical transformation as a result of the impact of digital, networked technologies. Open learning gives unprecedented access to knowledge, information and education and provides support to learners across the globe. However, it is not the technologies themselves that represent the biggest change, but the opportunities for openness that flow from their thoughtful application, in the form of availability of and access to formal and informal learning. Indeed our research at the Institute of Educational Technology and the Open University shows that several groups of learners appreciate and benefit from working with active learning approaches, while others struggle. In this keynote I will critically discuss some of the common approaches of active learning, while also highlighting which groups of learners might be left behind by some of these active learning approaches.

Afternoon Coffee Break


15:00 – 16:10
Lightning Talks 2
  1. Beth Hannah – University of Dundee
  2. Matteo Bozzi, Maurizio Zani – Politecnico di Milano and Juliana Raffaghelli – Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  3. Alicia Binning, Abigail Johnston, Cara Richardson and Dr Fiona Muir – University of Dundee
  4. Claudio Pensieri – LUMSA (Libera Università degli Studi Maria Ss. Assunta di Roma)
  5. Golnar Nabizadeh, University of Dundee
16:10 – 16:40
Panel Discussion & Closing Remarks
Lessons Learned and the way forward

Lessons Learned and the way forward (Moderator: Deborah Arnold, joined by Yildiray Ogurol, Matteo Uggeri, and members of the eLene4Life Board of Experts)

Our Project Objective

eLene4Life supports curriculum innovation in higher education (HE) through the development of active learning approaches for transversal skills, with the ultimate aim of improving students’ employability.


Erasmus+ logo

This project has been funded by Erasmus + programme of the European Union.

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The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

This project No. 2018-1-FR01-KA203-047829 has been funded by Erasmus + programme of the European Union.