The project is based on synergies between three different partners, from different countries, all of them engaged in training for farmers, and leaders in this field.
Different national pictures as well as different needs and technologies led the partners to develop training systems based on a common strategy, that is, distance learning. A number of separately conducted experiments provided a considerable amount of information which resulted in the adoption of different methods and technologies. All this needs to be enhanced, thus leading to the creation of European programs that are not limited to a mere translation of systems, but contribute to the development of training projects in line with the European requirements.
The general objective is to develop new applications to increase knowledge and create the conditions for a real European market in multi-media distance learning for farmers and people in rural areas.
The major product has been the development of a prototype common system for flexible distance learning, harmonising of training courses, the production of resources, setting up of interactive video-conferencing, teacher training and evaluation. The project demonstrated interactive video-conferencing across four sites using native languages which were shown to be a powerful means of focussing the trainee's attention on the European professional dimension and the benefits of inter-cultural exchanges. It had a major impact in three areas: teacher training, language and audience issues, and the wine growing/producing sector. The project also identified several key conditions for the adaptation of training materials from one country to another, which could considerably decrease costs.
There are two ways to constitute a European market:
1. How to export a national course in other countries?
2. How to produce a European course for all countries?
To explore the first way is very useful for the second, so we have chosen to begin by the first one.
Simultaneously we try to builD national networks along the first way and interconnection along the second way.
The main assumptions about flexible distance learning for farmers are:
farmers training depends firstly on trainers and training Centers (public or private)
the definition of the public and the analysis of it's needs is also a crucial point consequence of the extreme heterogeneity of farmers population in relation with climates, soils, structures of production, market organization by product, familial characteristics of 90 % of farms
cultural aspects are to be taken in to account in technical and technological aspects as well as in social and traditional aspects
the technological equipment (available in farm-house) is determinant to flexible distance learning, as well as a resource-Centre proximity.
We expect three types of output; prototypes and commercial types guidelines and networks.
Prototypes and commercial types; 7 prototypes, some of them of commercial types (concerning farm management and green pruning), and particularly a common training system (concerning quality standards for wine or vegetables and fruits.All the prototypes will be available in 1993.
Guidelines are expected in two fields: how to analyze and to realize the transfer of a flexible distance learning course in European countries and how to analyze and when to realize a European flexible distance learning course
Networks: 3 national networks will be built (1993) and interconnected (l994), in the perspective of a European network for farmers and rural flexible distance learning. These networks between Institutions and private firms will take in charge: information of course availability, resources analysis, transfer capacities, analyzing and producing capacities for European resources based on farmers needs and information on trainers training capacities in Europe.
The market is divided two parts, narrowly linked: farmers and trainers. For reaching farmers, it is needed to address the trainers needs. The basic concept is to offer both training resources and training services. So we intend to provide trainers (generally to training Centers) with resources and services useful for their own training practice, and to provide farmers with learning resources. Then, trainers will be able to provide farmers with resources and services.
So the sectors more concerned are: studies and research (farmers needs resources conception), production (of various training resources), dissemination in training centres (which will have to disseminate to farmers), and information through the networks.
The success of the project will be assessed though:
the number of consultations of the networks system
the number of resources and services exchanged between European countries
the number (particularly relative number) of involved training Centers
the number of resources sold to trainers and to farmers.