Broader purposed, holistic learning is needed now more than ever

The ongoing European Year of Skills has put skills and the surrounding discussion into the spotlight. The new paper “Basic skills and Bildung” proposes that we should adopt a more holistic understanding of basic skills and rethink the teaching and learning approaches.

With our world growing increasingly complex, we are required to have adequate skills to lead satisfying lives and be able to adjust to new realities. The new paper “Basic skills and Bildung” challenges us to rethink the concept of basic education and what are considered necessary basic skills. It reflects on the possibility of using a more holistic approach and widening the scope of basic skills to life skills. The Bildung approach adds to this by emphasising individuals’ ability to develop their potential and make a contribution to society.

In the Erasmus+ project “Building inclusive lifelong learning systems by developing a European Understanding of Bildung for the Next Generations”, the concept of Bildung is defined as “An individual maturing process connecting education, upbringing, knowledge, culture, and personal responsibilities towards humans and our globe.”

The new paper puts the Bildung in the frame of life skills and considers the possibilities it offers in empowering learners not only to learn “things” but also to become more self-aware, motivated and responsible towards others and the world we live in.

The presented four best practice examples illustrate how learners participate actively in shaping their learning journey, make learning a personal process, and connect new learnings with their realities. The examples also demonstrate how to foster different skills and capabilities simultaneously in the learning process, encourage peer learning and promote active citizenship.

The concept paper includes recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders aiming to support inclusive adult learning systems to empower people to be more autonomous and capable of taking action.

The paper is co-written by Nina Hjelt & Sari Pohjola (Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation) and Anna Delort (ACEFIR), with the collaboration of Joan Tanyà and Mar Montoya. Summaries of the paper are available in several languages.

Basic skills and Bildung


The Bildung project contributes to the innovation of the European adult education sector by adopting the holistic concept of ‘Bildung’ and exploring its political and practical potential for adult learning and education. Follow the project on social media: #BildungALE

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