Bildungshäuser of the Future – Perspectives brochure published
"Bildungshäuser of the Future - Needs-oriented Learning Space Concepts in Adult Education" was the proud name of the Erasmus+ project that ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich recently completed together with four other institutions from Austria and Germany. The results have now been published in a "Perspectives Brochure" online (PDF or ISSUU) and in a limited printed edition.
What is it about? The project in brief
Gaby Filzmoser, Managing Director of ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich (ARGE BHÖ), has been thinking for a long time about what Bildungshäuser can, want, should or even must look like in the future. An Erasmus project finally seemed to her to be the optimal format to delve deeper into the topic. New places of learning such as "third places", coworking and makerspaces, FabLabs or repair cafés are an expression of contemporary "educational freedom". The main objective of the project was therefore to analyse these modern learning space concepts. The aim was to find out which possible development potentials for adult education - especially for educational institutions in German-speaking countries - were hidden. The results of this investigation were finally to be published in a perspective brochure in order to provide an impulse for the sustainable further development of Bildungshäuser. "Bildungshäuser face the challenge of reflecting on their identity and raison d'être. They describe themselves as places of encounter and exchange and are challenged to renew their structures and concepts so that they remain so in the future. The development of needs-oriented learning space concepts is leading the way here," explains Gaby Filzmoser.
Project partners from Germany and Austria on board
As "lead partner" and initiator, ARGE Bildungshäuser Österreich was mainly responsible for the project. Thanks to the networking spirit of ARGE BHÖ, motivated partners were quickly found: The Katholische LandvolkHochschule Oesede (D), the Landvolkshochschule Freckenhorst (D), the Schwäbische Bauernschule Bad Waldsee (D) and the SPES Zukunftsakademie (A) offered their active support. The Federal Institute for Adult Education (bifeb) also provided staff resources.
Broadening horizons thanks to excursions and research
In four project meetings, innovative projects that have already been realised were researched, analysed and ideas were developed on how to transfer them to educational institutions and to adult education. During excursions, organisations and places were visited that are not always associated with classical adult education: The spectrum ranged from coworking spaces to industrial enterprises; from universities of applied sciences to makerspaces. The project group quickly realised: "Even our institutions offer many good examples of new learning space concepts!" These should also be taken into account in the perspectives brochure.
Of course, the theoretical aspect of the topic could not be neglected: In order to record the current situation in Bildungshäuser with regard to the framework conditions and challenges of new learning space concepts, a target group survey among 15 Bildungshaus managers in Austria and Germany was carried out.
Highlight of the project: A somewhat different multiplier event
Inspired, impressed, enthused, surprised and motivated by the many impressions of the excursions and research, the project team gradually realised that they could not preach water and drink wine. The classic presentation format originally planned for the multiplier event, with speakers on the one hand and listeners on the other, was thrown overboard without further ado. In order to make even a fraction of the collected experiences tangible for outsiders, worlds of experience were needed. These were finally created on 6th and 7th July 2022 in the form of an innovation workshop at the Bildungshaus St. Hippolyt in St. Pölten. Almost 50 people from German and Austrian Bildungshäuser took part in the 2-day hybrid event. In a very open format, they thought about the future of Bildungshäuser. The first day was designed as a bar camp (= an open discussion format). In six sessions, essential questions were raised and mostly answered. Experiences were exchanged and initial ideas rolled out. The second day was dedicated to trying things out and creating pilot projects together. Five areas had previously emerged as the main topics: The Bildungshaus of the future, the future educational programme, the learning spaces of the future, the reception area and the catering (kitchen and service). To this end, the participants worked in groups to build prototypes of future-oriented ideas: Lego, play figures, paper, stickers, building blocks, furniture - anything that was not nailed down was allowed to be used in order to immediately put the creative solutions into practice in miniature. Experts from the fields of architecture, PR, design thinking, e-learning, cardboard furniture design and innovative learning were available to provide impulses and be sparring partners. Since pictures are worth a thousand words, the results were not only recorded in writing in the perspective brochure, but also summarised in a video documentary.
Publication on the project: the Perspectives Brochure
From the presentation of best practices, the results of the target group survey, the success factors of the excursion goals, the innovation workshop, diverse impressions to theory and history, the perspective brochure spans a broad but clear arc over the topic of new learning space concepts. It is intended to serve as an impulse. The project team does not only want to point out ideas, but to encourage adult education institutions to go in search of "other" learning spaces and possibilities for their organisation themselves, to use the already existing fund of knowledge and experience and to open up something new.
If you would like to be inspired as to what the Bildungshaus of the future could look like, you are invited to browse through the online version (PDF or ISSUU). In keeping with the motto of ARGE BHÖ Chairman Erich Wagner-Walser, we invite you to "see, try and choose for yourself!