Erasmus+ KA2 Strategic Partnerships
diLILAC project is addressing Erasmus+ Horizontal priority of “Innovative practices in digital era” as it aims to enable digital transition of Lithuanian language and culture courses – delivered through a long standing traditional global face2face training programme – to be equally engaging and attractive as well as accessible online, both in times of pandemic and for more participants with fewer opportunities.
Lithuanian language and culture (LCC) courses started in 2001 and are an inspiration for other LCC educators worldwide. The intensive programme is dedicated for 4 target groups: (i) incoming Erasmus students who will study in Lithuanian HEIs; (ii) foreigners (students, teachers, researchers) willing to learn Lithuanian language; (iii) people with Lithuanian descent; and (iv) students and teachers from Baltistic centres. Almost 1500 students, university lecturers and researchers from 32 countries have taken part in the programme so far. Since 2004, up to 800k eur has been granted by Education Exchange Support Foundation to VMU Education academy (former University of Educational Sciences) to organise annual LCC courses (incl. scholarships to ~1000 participants) with additional 96k eur dedicated to Erasmus+ students to study Lithuanian language as part of their preparation for studies in Lithuania. Moreover, only 30% of all applicants for the LCC courses at VMU used to get scholarships, which exhibit great interest in the course and opportunities to expand the capacities through digitalisation.
The pandemic of 2020 forced a sporadic transfer of the LCC course to be held online, which was a challenge in terms of both methodologies, tools and content. While the majority of participants reported to be satisfied with the course, the feedback from 130 participating students and 25 teachers highlighted the following problems: too many different tools / channels for communication with some of them being inaccessible (e.g. Facebook or Youtube in China); difficult to track progress of learning; complicated communication with the mentor and administrators of the course among others. Analysis of popular research on online training confirms that the major challenges compared to in-class training are lack of interpersonal interaction; hard to keep focus / motivation; lack of clarity in process / follow up and time management. The growing popularity of learning Lithuanian language (LCC course in 2020 had twice as many participants as in previous years) is driven by studies, jobs, mixed families and research subjects, while Lithuanian language and culture educators in Europe lack high quality digital education content and tools to respond to the demand.
Thus, the overall aim of diLILAC project is to strengthen the capacity of Lithuanian language and culture educators in HEIs across Europe to provide high quality interactive and inclusive digital education. The following specific objectives are outlined to reach the aim of the project:
- Develop digital pedagogical competence of Lithuanian language and culture teachers in Europe;
- Support educators with high quality digital content and training materials;
- Facilitate digital mechanisms to deliver the training course(s).
The 6 intellectual outputs developed by the project will focus on adapting methodology for digital training, assessment and recognition of learning outcomes gained through online course (IO1), mapping the most suitable digital training tools (IO2), developing open educational resources for Lithuanian language (IO3) and culture (IO4) training as well as launching an online student-teacher-mentor collaboration platform (IO5) and a trainer’s manual for the use of all the intellectual outputs (IO6) to deliver the training programme digitally. Even though the focus of the intellectual outputs is the LCC training course delivered by VMU Education academy, the outputs will be available for all Lithuanian language and culture educators worldwide. This is especially relevant with the growing number of Baltistic centres around the world as the intellectual outputs of diLILAC can become the networking platform of such LCC educators. The intellectual outputs are also relevant to Lithuanian language schools in Europe which often lack resources to innovate. There is 1 face-to-face project meeting planned in Wroclaw, Poland, to be organised in May 2022 together with Baltistic Congress, which will be dedicated to the project topic.