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Talent in Biodiversity. Innovative education and new skills to increase engagement in Science.
Start date: Sep 1, 2016, End date: Aug 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The EU 2020 Strategy aims to create smart, sustainable and inclusive growth designed to develop a high employment economy, while addressing major environmental challenges, including biodiversity loss. The message that green economy is an important area for job growth has been reiterated in various EC initiatives. The 2012 ‘EU biodiversity objectives and the labour market’ report points out that mapping skills shortages and training needs in biodiversity-related employment has only just begun in some Member States. A more strategic approach to training opportunities is needed. However, it sees important potential benefits for the labour market with a good number of higher-skilled, knowledge-intensive jobs required to meet biodiversity targets.The Convention on Biological Diversity considers the need that people become fully aware by 2020 of the value of biodiversity by integrating awareness and understanding of biodiversity and its values into national educational curricula, taking into account approaches related to Education for Sustainable Development.Based on these priorities, BIOTALENT will develop a multilingual blended e-learning biodiversity training programme. Biodiversity and its protection is tightly linked to a societal change, which can only be achieved by a strong investment in environmental education. The right training and capacity building need to be provided today to improve competences of teachers, educators and other professionals in the sector and to improve quality of biodiversity education, effective at raising the level of biodiversity literacy for teachers and students, motivating them to learn about biodiversity and to engage in conserving Europe’s biodiversity. Teachers and other educators who are innovative and who can make the difference are needed to attract young students to Science studies/careers or to STEM at large. The innovative education will not only ignite students' passion for Science but also those of nature guides, museum educators, rangers etc.BIOTALENT objectives to achieve this aim are:- develop a blended learning model for adaptable modular training courses;- establish an open source virtual learning platform to deliver the e-content of the course;- deliver a pilot multilingual blended e-learning on biodiversity;- train tutors and project Partners in the use of blended and e-learning techniques.The blended e-learning course is specifically targeted at practicing biology teachers and trainee teachers from secondary education and educators of educational services in science museums, botanical gardens, science centres and nature organisations. However, professionals such as biologists, rangers and conservation managers at nature reserves, national parks and civil organisations in the field of biodiversity conservation seeking to improve their competences on the topic will also benefit from the course. It is also of relevance to young unemployed professionals of the above mentioned categories to provide them with the necessary competences to be successful in finding employment or to improve their position in the labour market. In addition, the course is open to anyone interested in the topic wanting to partake in continuing professional development.The implementation of the project is accompanied by a professional project management, a sound elaborated quality assurance and validation plan, an evaluation strategy and a wide-ranging coordinated dissemination and exploitation strategy. The project’s success and the delivery of a high quality blended e-learning programme will rely upon the expertise, experience and resources brought to the Strategic Partnership by each Partner. The project will offer learners a unique transnational access to a range of facilities and expertise present in the Strategic Partnership hardly found jointly elsewhere.Through the established Strategic Partnership, the BIOTALENT e-learning platform will continue to run beyond the project’s term with new courses offered. Furthermore, the pilot course will have provided the baseline for a comprehensive and accurate development of future e-learning and training programmes, thanks to one of its major related outcomes, a model of best practices for the implementation of e-learning courses beyond project lifetime and this also in the wider sector of STEM.
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