The Case of Italy

Developing a Continuing Training System for Trainers

Rome (IT), November 2007 - Sharing expertise within Europe's Teacher Training Networks is one theme of this year's Online Educa Berlin Conference. Dr. Claudia Montedoro and Dr. Saverio Pescuma from ISFOL (the Italian Institute for Vocational Training) will present the Italian Online Project SPF (Xformare). CHECK.point eLearning spoke with Dr. Saverio Pescuma about the biggest public On Line Continuing Training System ever created by the Italian Ministry of Labour.

Could you please give us an outline of the SPF (Xformare) project?

Dr. Saverio Pescuma: The human resources development policies in the Italian VET system are included in the framework of national and regional working programmes ESF, Objectives 1 and 3. SPF online is an eLearning permanent training service promoted by the Italian Ministry of Labour and carried out by ISFOL in order to contribute to the competences re-qualification of human resources working in permanent training, employment services, continuous training, apprenticeship, compulsory training, post-diploma training, higher training, accredited agencies, and certification.

It aims to enhance, qualify, and develop human resources work in the public sector and the integrated Education-Training-Job system by using the new opportunities offered by ICT.

What were the major challenges in developing the training system?

Dr. Saverio Pescuma: SPF on line aims to connect over 400,000 users distributed throughout the entire country. The goal of the Permanent Training System is to move along the implementation of the reforms consistent with the Lisbon goals through experimentation with a continuous e-training supply dedicated to qualifying /re-qualifying human resources and disseminating ICT.

It aims to increase the ICT competencies and the culture of the use of technologies in Italy. Furthermore, it seeks to promote the philosophy of virtual learning communities as a working method.

How has the acceptance of the SPF On Line Project been so far?

Dr. Saverio Pescuma: Even though the system is already active, we are still in an experimental phase. At this moment, we are still testing the system with a restricted number of users in order to improve the platform's performance and the andragogical method. The project includes a monitoring pool constituted by ISFOL researchers, and we are waiting for a first report that will provide us information about the acceptance of SPF Online.

What will be the next steps in your project?

Dr. Saverio Pescuma: Actually, the future choices about the project could be done solely on the basis of the feedback we will receive after the experimental phase. We will certainly have to improve the management of the aspects related to tutoring activities and LMS tools. And a high number of users will require additional human and technological resources.

Besides, once the system is working at full performance, we aim to certify the learning paths of the users in order to allow the inclusion of their eLearning experience in their professional curricula.

What can other countries learn from your experience?

Dr. Saverio Pescuma: Any country has his specific cultural conditions and rules. Even in Europe, we are still far from having an integrated system of certification of competencies. But I think this experience shows that a public free eLearning system is possible, and we have to work specifically in this direction if we want to provide equal opportunities to European citizens.