Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

FP7

LLLIGHT'in'Europe Streszczenie raportu

Project ID: 290683
Źródło dofinansowania: FP7-SSH
Kraj: Germany

Final Report Summary - LLLIGHT'IN'EUROPE (Lifelong Learning, Innovation, Growth and Human capital Tracks in Europe)

Executive Summary:
The skill of complex problem solving drives innovativeness, which drives higher productivity which drives higher incomes, higher profits and higher welfare. Complexity resolution therefore makes a particularly valuable target for lifelong learning activities. Skills in general are even more valued in the labor market than was suggested by previous empirical evidence. To be able to learn such skills not only in formal education during childhood and youth, but also to acquire skills in various circumstances of lifelong learning is therefore of growing importance. Fortunately, there is various evidence, that these skills are learnable and trainable throughout a working life biography.

LLLight research shows that persons who are more exposed to complexity, and have more capacity to solve this complexity, experience higher incomes. This should not be coincidence. The skill to solve complexity is critical for being more innovative, for increasing productivity, and for strengthening value creation. Individuals profit from this skill with higher income potential, companies achieve higher profitability, and regions increase the welfare of their residents. Using and strengthening complexity resolution skills should therefore be a vital component of any innovation and growth strategy.

The pathway between complexity resolution and income rise is to decrease the investment costs of innovation, which in due course leads to higher productivity.

The returns to skills of complex problem solving (CPS) are 11% for every standard deviation of performance difference. This makes CPS an important measure of human capital, equal to years of schooling or work experience for instance. Furthermore, the returns to CPS skills seem to be rising since several decades, and can be expected to continue to rise.

Complex problem solving skills can be reliably assessed with a psychometric instrument. The LLLight database now has benchmark data available for CPS for occupations, industries and companies.

Entrepreneurship is an important contribution to modern economies. Promoting entrepreneurship outside of established companies, and intrapreneurship inside enterprises is therefore a frequent and well-deserved policy objective. Successful entrepreneurship is closely linked to opportunity identification competence (OIC). CPS skills are an incremental predictor of such OIC, and by extension appear to promote entrepreneurial success.

Enterprises can be understood as learning organisations, with different feed forward and feed back learning cycles. Employees who experience high levels of individual and feed forward learning, get more innovative ideas adopted by the management. This is evidence that particular types of learning activities contribute stronger to innovativeness of enterprises than others.

Enterprises play a central role in providing directly and indirectly the opportunities for lifelong learning. They are the organizer of the work place, and thus determine to a large degree the learning-by-doing opportunities of the job. Enterprises are also significant investors in skill investments of their employees in non-formal training or arrange the circumstances in which their employees can engage in lifelong learning. For those enterprises who understand their contribution well, the reward is a work force with strengthened capacity to be innovative and entrepreneurial.

The existence of large differences across countries in the circumstances and prevalence of lifelong learning, suggests that policy frameworks play a major role in shaping the lifelong learning habits of their citizens. At the same time, their impact is felt mostly indirectly and remotely. A stronger engagement of the public sector in partnership with enterprises to work towards skill development via lifelong learning promises more effectiveness and efficiency in the future.

Project Context and Objectives:
82.8% of all 24-65 year old Europeans with a tertiary educational degree are working. 68.3% of those with a secondary schooling degree are working, and only 46% of those with no secondary degree (Labor Force Survey Data 2009). If Europe wants to be working, the route to competitiveness is apparantly in higher educatedness. Since this is not only true for the future worker generations currently in school, but also for those in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s of today, the solution to continued employability must be lifelong learning. Indeed, all evidence points towards the higher employment success of higher educated people to be primarily due to them remaining more engaged in lifelong learning, and thus in on-going upgrading of their knowledge for on-going competitiveness in the global market place. This much we know. Unfortunately, beyond understanding the overwhelming need for lifelong learning, our knowledge peters out rapidly as to evidence-based whens, wheres, whos, whats and hows of lifelong learning.

The recent and coming years have been and will be an exciting time for human capital researchers of all stripes. Richer datasets and much improved methodologies are becoming available that will be able to answer urgent questions. The LLLightinEurope project aimed to employ these new data and methodologies to answer the following questions:

1. How do successful enterprises actively employ LLL for their competitive advantage?
2. Which public policy environments facilitate LLL for such enterprises and entrepreneurs?
3. How does LLL interact with and promote innovativeness on the enterprise level?
4. How much of which skill do European adults actually have?
5. What are the actual learning mechanisms in adult life that lead to these skills?
6. What are the causal effects of these skills on growth, competitiveness and social cohesion?

In particular, the project approached the question of lifelong learning from a particular angle, namely the role of ever-increasing complexity in work- and everyday life, and the ability to solve such complexity. We therefore focused much of our research work on the question of how Complex Problem Solving Skills impact, and are impacted by Lifelong Learning activities, and how this skill relates to personal success, business success and also economic success of regions. Each of the above six questions had corresponding research objectives:

Obj. 1 Understanding LLL strategy in 50-60 successful enterprises across several EU countries and industries
Obj. 2 Understanding LLL policy in 15 “public policy trails”: which created those LLL institutions which were used by the above enterprises in those EU countries..
Obj. 3 Understanding the relationship between LLL and innovation in companies, in particular via the link of employee-driven innovation and entrepreneurship, and opportunity-identification competence..
Obj. 4 Understanding the skill of Complex Problem Solving (CPS) in depth
Obj. 5 Understanding the sources of such CPS skills and understanding circumstances of their trainability
Obj. 6 Understanding the outcomes of skills on a personal, business and regional level.


Project Results:
The project created a Synthesis Report with all project results and created with professional layout and relevant graphical illustrations, which we recommend to the reader as the main synopsis of the project results. The report is here attached, as well can be downloaded from our website www.lllightineurope.com. The following is the extended summary from the report, with each paragraph corresponding to one chapter. For each chapter there additionally exists also a policy brief report which can also be downloaded from our website.

LLLightinEurope research shows that persons who are more exposed to complexity, and have more capacity to solve this complexity, experience higher incomes. This should not be coincidence. The skill to solve complexity is critical for being more innovative, for increasing productivity, and for strengthening value creation. Individuals profit from this skill with higher income potential, companies achieve higher profitability, and regions increase the welfare of their residents. Using and strengthening complexity resolution skills should therefore be a vital component of any innovation and growth strategy.

The pathway between complexity resolution and income rise is to decrease the investment costs of innovation, which in due course leads to higher productivity.

The returns to skills of complex problem solving (CPS) are 11% for every standard deviation of performance difference. This makes CPS an important measure of human capital, equal to years of schooling or work experience for instance. Furthermore, the returns to CPS skills seem to be rising since several decades, and can be expected to continue to rise.

OECD’s PIAAC data shows that the returns to general numerary and literacy skills are higher and longer lasting than suggested by previous evidence. On average they are 18% for every one of the five proficiency levels in PIAAC. Returns to skills in a country seem to be negatively affected by high union density, strong employment protection legislation and a large size of the public sector.

Complex problem solving skills can be reliably assessed with a psychometric instrument. The LLLight database now has benchmark data available for CPS for occupations, industries and companies.

CPS skills are at least partially trainable. CPS incorporates a significant element of solution strategies. The selection and application of such strategies can be trained both formally and informally. The extent to which cognitive elements of reasoning can be trained or at least reinforced, requires further investigation of the constructs surrounding problem solving.

OECD’s PIAAC tested for Problem Solving in Technology Rich Environments (PSTRE). Careful comparison of these scores with national introduction rates of high speed internet, shows that the citizens of countries with earlier internet introduction, score higher on PSTRE. This, however, is not true for first-generation migrants, who are unlikely to have acquired their skills in the PIAAC test country, which suggests that the results are not just driven by country idiosyncracies. This is clear evidence for informal lifelong learning.

To be changing occupations is a frequent occurrence in modern labor markets. Each such change is an opportunity to learn new skills. Occupational switchers who use this opportunity to upskill, shift to a new learning curve, acquire new skills, and over time earn more than before. Downskilling on the other hand results in income losses that on average is never recovered over the career lifetime. This skill mismatch investigation is further evidence for the effective existence of lifelong learning.

For special historical reasons, China’s education system offered massive opportunities for working adults to obtain tertiary education degrees while remaining fully on-the-job during the 2000’s. This created a unique dataset to compare the effectiveness of formal education before work with formal education while working. On-the-job formal education delivers positive returns, but much lower than before-the-job education. The difference cannot be attributed to student’s aptitude, quality of the degrees or age of the students. This suggests that lifelong learning activities are either perceived negatively by the labor market, or that institutional circumstances prevent the proper recognition of lifelong learning.

Migration of the workers across national borders can have several positive effects for the individuals as well as the recipient labor market, because such a change can be a trigger for lifelong learning, and more optimal allocation of human capital resources. However, such migration necessitates the transfer of the migrant’s human capital. US PSID data shows that language skills are a critical mediator for enabling the transfer of human capital. Every degree of language capacity improves the returns to human capital in the recipient labor market.

Enterprises are a major investor in the lifelong learning market. They trigger and (co-)finance formal and non-formal education, and provide the work place arrangements for informal on-the-job learning. However, the full potential of enterprises as lifelong learning investor cannot be realized since unilateral action by the enterprises may strengthen the competition rather than oneself. This condition can be overcome with pre-competitive cooperation arrangements.

Entrepreneurship is an important contribution to modern economies. Promoting entrepreneurship outside of established companies, and intrapreneurship inside enterprises is therefore a frequent and well-deserved policy objective. Successful entrepreneurship is closely linked to opportunity identification competence (OIC). CPS skills are an incremental predictor of such OIC, and by extension appear to promote entrepreneurial success.

Enterprises can be understood as learning organisations, with different feed forward and feed back learning cycles. Employees who experience high levels of individual and feed forward learning, get more innovative ideas adopted by the management. This is evidence that particular types of learning activities contribute stronger to innovativeness of enterprises than others.

Company data from China show that the more education, and the more tenure the general manager possesses, the more innovative is the company as measured by patents received. Thus there is a clear link between educatedness in formal education as well as lifelong learning through experience, and the achievement of innovativeness. Applying this insight to OECD’s PIAAC data, it shows that the larger portion of this human capital is due to cognitive and non-cognitive skills, instead of the educational degree. This is further evidence that it is skills which promote innovativeness.

Enterprises are a major investor in lifelong learning, both directly and indirectly. It is the human resources function which is the primary actor within enterprises in this regard. Human resources’ core role is to support and bolster access to knowledge and social communities where the know-where to find solutions on-demand has primacy over the know-what.

The most effective tool for triggering lifelong learning in enterprises is to structure incentive systems. These follow classic patterns: extrinsic incentive systems are important to have, but the intrinsic incentive systems are determining the results. Sizes of organizations leads to different degrees of systemization of incentive systems, but not necessarily to different effectiveness of outcomes.

Work place design and work arrangements may very well be the most important creator and trigger of lifelong learning. Hierarchy, bureaucracy and status distinction pose challenges to lifelong learning; they can encroach on feelings of belonging and may stall performance. On the other hand, punctuating routine work with something different and/or challenging is motivating and sharpens higher-order skills.

An integrated flexicurity approach is the prevailing policy of the European employment strategy. Flexicurity at the EU level includes giving recognition to the need to invest in lifelong learning for workers. With a focus on skilling, reskilling and upskilling, lifelong learning is understood to play a key role in securing employment and in ensuring an adequate adaptation of companies to rapid change of business circumstances. Public investment in educational and training programmes that encourage partnerships with companies and build lifelong learning within companies is recommended. The role of the state as a regulator of this kind of partnerships is highly important for addressing the risk of specific business interests dominating these relations.

Empirical evidence on circumstances of lifelong learning documents dominance of non-formal learning activities. In the EU on average at least one in 3 adults undertook some non-formal learning in 2011 while only about 1 from 15 adults engaged in formal learning activity (Figure 19.1). By country, the overall learning participation ranged from more than 60% in leading Sweden to less than 10 % in Romania. No clear pattern is observable in connection between the amount of formal activities and overall lifelong learning practice and developments over time.

There are strong links between employability, lifelong learning and social cohesion. Participation in lifelong learning in form of training is highly relevant directly for improved employability, as well as indirectly via contribution to skills upgrade. LLLight observes that most of the outcomes of non-formal trainings are recognized by the participants to have had positive effects on employability. Participants report in most cases that the non-formal education activities have resulted in finding a job or a new job or in improving their salary.

Potential Impact:
Our main dissemination device has been the publication suite which we created. The publication suite consists of our carefully prepared Synthesis Report, which summarized all of our findings. We created six thematic reports, and 21 policy briefs which are logically structured according to themes and objectives. Each of them is done in professional layout. For each of them we also created a Youtube video which is accessible on our Youtube channel LLLightinEurope.

We also created a MOOC – mentored open online course – on Solution and Innovation Skills, which we ran once in autumn of 2014, and which we anticipate will be conducted again in several circumstances.

We held a final dissemination conference in Brussels on September 22nd 2015, where we invited policy makers and practitioners to listen and debate our findings. Around 80 participants took part in the conference.

We created feedback reports to the companies and organizations with whom we collaborated, and in several cases we also had feedback workshops with them. We also created such feedback reports for the individuals who participated.

In Luxembourg and in Beijing China we created a CPS testing laboratory, so that CPS tests can be and will be conducted in these places in the future as well, for research and commercial purposes.

Below is a list of public policy recommendations which we distilled from our research results. The impact of our project will come from policy makers and researchers to pick up our findings and integrate them into their continuing work of evidence-based policy implementation.

1. The skill of resolving complexity is a key driver for higher innovativeness and higher productivity, leading to higher incomes for individuals, higher profits for companies and higher welfare in regions. It is moreover apparently a skill that can to some degree be acquired and trained in lifelong learning activities. Public policy should take the importance of this particular skill in its sights, and seek to promote the creation of this skill in its programs and projects.

2. While much could already be learned and measured about complex problem solving skills, there remain many unexplored angles around the construct. Encouraging and supporting more research on the construct family of problem solving are likely to yield important insights in how this skill can be created, and how it contributes to value creation.

3. Beyond the capacity to solve complexity, skills in general are even more valuable to economic value creation than suggested by previous evidence. Policy should aim to encourage skill development in all stages of people’s biography, from early childhood learning foundations, in formal child and youth education, and also in the many contexts of lifelong learning. Skill development should have precedence over the generation of degrees, as the evidence points towards skills, and not formal degrees as being decisive.

4. High union density, strong labor protection regulation and a large public sector are related to lower returns on skills. Policy needs to carefully weigh the intended benefits from these three labor market characteristics, against the reduced returns on human capital investments that are related to them.

5. The ability to function in ICT technology rich environments can be promoted by providing access to this technology. To the degree that ICT competence enables socially desirable developments (overcoming digital divide, social inclusiveness, jobs of the future, etc), policy should aim to increase accessibility to internet infrastructure for disadvantaged groups of society.

6. During occupation switches, voluntary or not, it is important to create access to new jobs for which an upskilling is required, in order to maintain or increase income potential. Beyond securing a job at all, policies which promote upskilling during occupational switching are strongly preferred.

7. Formal education in lifelong learning circumstances may be suffering from reputational or institutional restraints, which reduce its returns, and therefore its comparative attractiveness to before-work formal education. Where such restraints can be identified, policy should work to reduce or eliminate them, in order to encourage more participation in formal lifelong learning activities.

8. If migration of work force across national borders is favoured or accepted, then it becomes critical that the migrant’s language skills for the recipient countries are present or fostered. Every degree of language proficiency increases the transfer rate of human capital from one labor market to the other. In migration scenarios, policy should strongly encourage and support the learning of languages at all proficiency levels.

9. Enterprises are a significant investor in lifelong learning activities, both by (co-) financing directly in formal and non-formal education, and by providing indirectly for informal learning at the work place. Policy can play a central role in supporting enterprises reach-out to employees and increase access to training and lifelong learning. Such policies should take into account the internal and external conditions and the interactions with different actors in the training market. To exploit the potential that enterprises can give to facilitate access to training, policies should target both HR function and key leadership roles in an enterprise because they all contribute to support access and reach out to employees. Moreover, policies should support the role that union and workers representatives can play by expanding their expertise and knowledge base on training issues. Finally, the creation of regional, local and industry-based training schemes among companies can help reduce the costs and risks that each single one bears and thus increase the overall investments and the inclusiveness of the initiatives.

10. Skills and learning are also positively related to entrepreneurship, though some skills more than others. Where policy is focusing on fostering and encouraging entrepreneurship, its effort should be accompanied by highlighting these particular skills and work organizations which are beneficial to entrepreneurship. A particular noteworthy skill is opportunity identification competence, which also seems to be related to complex problem solving skills.

11. The key decision maker in enterprises for lifelong learning activities is the human resources function. HR management is therefore the contact partner for policy makers to engage with, when lifelong learning activities should be coordinated or jointly designed with enterprises.

12. Lifelong learning matters for the impact of policies across many areas. When planning, it is important to be aware that encouraging lifelong learning among key groups may make the difference between success and failure. Public investment in educational and training programmes that encourage partnerships with companies and build lifelong learning within companies is recommended. The role of the state as a regulator of this kind of partnerships is highly important for addressing the risk of specific business interests dominating these relations.

13. The pattern of participation in lifelong learning is very different across European countries. Participants to lifelong learning everywhere confirm that they engage in non-formal and informal lifelong learning in order to improve their employability. Given that lifelong learning appears to have substantial impact on incomes of individuals, enterprises and regions, there is substantial room for improvement in the institutional and socio-cultural context to increase participation in lifelong learning in many European countries.

List of Websites:
www.lllightineurope.com
On Youtube we arranged our own LLLightinEurope channel, where each of our 21 policy briefs and 6 thematic reports is summarized in a brief video.
Attached is also a document with details of the more than one hundred different events, conferences, and other publications where we disseminated findings from the project.

The project director of the project Prof Dr Peer Ederer can be reached under: peer@innovationgrowth.com. Other main researchers of the project can be identified on our website and be contacted.

Powiązane informacje

Kontakt

Peer Ederer, (Head of Center for Human Capital, Growth and Innovation)
Tel.: +49 7541 60090
Faks: +49 7541 60091299
Adres e-mail
Numer rekordu: 183850 / Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2016-06-03
Źródło informacji: SESAM