International Review of Education

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 521–538 | Cite as

An analytical quality framework for learning cities and regions

Article

Abstract

There is broad agreement that innovation, knowledge and learning have become the main source of wealth, employment and economic development of cities, regions and nations. Over the past two decades, the number of European cities and regions which label themselves as “learning city” or “learning region” has constantly grown. However, there are also pitfalls and constraints which not only hinder them in unlocking their full potential, but also significantly narrow their effects and their wider impact on society. Most prominently, learning cities and regions manifest serious difficulties in rendering transparent the surplus value they generate, which is vital for attracting investment into lifelong learning. While evaluation and quality management are still perceived as being a bureaucratic necessity rather than a lesson one could learn from or an investment in the future, it is also true that without evaluation and quality assurance local networks do not have the means to examine their strengths and weaknesses. In order to design strategies to maximise the strengths and effectively address the weaknesses it is necessary to understand the factors that contribute to success and those that pose challenges. This article proposes an analytical quality framework which is generic and can be used to promote a culture of quality in learning cities and regions. The proposed framework builds on the findings and results of the R3L+ project, part-funded by the European Commission under the Grundtvig (adult education) strand of the Lifelong Learning programme 2007–2013.

Keywords

Learning Cities Learning Regions Lifelong Learning (LLL) Evaluation and Quality Assurance Europe 

Résumé

Cadre d’analyse de la qualité pour les villes et régions apprenantes – Il règne un large consensus sur le fait que l’innovation, le savoir et l’apprentissage sont devenus les principales sources de richesse, d’emploi et de développement économique des villes, des régions et des nations. Au cours des vingt dernières années, le nombre de villes et de régions européennes qui se déclarent « ville apprenante » ou « région apprenante » a constamment augmenté. Mais elles rencontrent aussi des pièges et des contraintes, qui non seulement les empêchent de déployer tout leur potentiel, mais réduisent en outre sensiblement leur influence et leur impact plus large sur la société. En premier lieu, les villes et régions apprenantes connaissent de sérieuses difficultés à rendre transparente la plus-value qu’elles créent, ce qui est décisif pour susciter les investissements dans l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie. L’évaluation et la gestion de la qualité sont encore perçues comme une nécessité bureaucratique, au lieu d’un enseignement à tirer ou d’un investissement dans l’avenir. Il est pourtant vrai que sans évaluation ni assurance qualité, les réseaux locaux n’ont pas les moyens d’explorer leurs forces et leurs faiblesses. Pour concevoir des stratégies visant à maximiser les atouts et à traiter efficacement les points faibles, il convient de cerner les facteurs qui contribuent au succès et ceux qui posent des défis. Cet article propose un cadre analytique de la qualité, qui est générique et peut être utilisé pour promouvoir une culture de la qualité dans les villes et régions apprenantes. Il s’inspire des résultats et conclusions du projet R3L+, cofinancé par la Commission européenne dans le cadre du programme Grundtvig (éducation des adultes) du programme pour l’éducation et la formation tout au long de la vie 2007–2013.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.P&W Praxis und Wissenschaft Projekt Gesellschaft mbHIngolstadtGermany

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