Lifelong Learning Programme

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Project Partners

Name of the organisation: Universal Learning Systems
Address: 34 Charleville Road,
Phibsborough,
DUBLIN 7,
Ireland.
Tel: +353-1-838 0970
Web site: www.ulsystems.com
Name of the contact person: Dr. Alan Bruce
Function: Director
Address: 34 Charleville Road,
Phibsborough,
DUBLIN 7,
Ireland.
Tel: +353-87-249 8791
E-mail: abruce@ulsystems.com
Type of organisation:
  • Private research and training agency
Fields of action:
  • Universities
  • Equal opportunities
  • Schools
DESCRIPTION
OF THE ORGANISATION
ULS is an educational, training and development consultancy working in the area of research, evaluation, course development and educational access. ULS undertakes projects in the educational, development and management sectors. It operates in Ireland, the Czech Republic, United Kingdom and Finland. Its focus is on professional development with a particular emphasis on work based learning. ULS works in Ireland, Europe and the United States with a wide range of clients including universities, open learning institutions, employers and community associations. It has a particular expertise in learning around vocational training, e-learning, diversity, interculturalism, immigration and strategic management. ULS has extensive experience of promotion of educational and learning innovation and works closely with adult education and employer networks. ULS has specialized experience with post-graduate distance learning initiatives in change management and sustainable professional development. It is centrally involved in work based learning initiatives that promote employee growth and competence. ULS promotes pro-active strategic planning for innovative learning and is actively involved in a wide range of evaluation projects.

ULS has significant research expertise and a long track record of publication and research excellence in innovative learning (including academic and work-based learning linkage) as well as learner support. ULS concentrates on robust analysis of leading academic and applied trends in creative learning initiatives benchmarked against established models of best practice. ULS has strong experience in development of pedagogical materials and methods through its collaboration with the National University of Ireland Galway and its Open Learning Centre. ULS has developed an extensive range of e-learning courses in the security and pharmacy sectors in Finland in association with its partner company, Changelearning. ULS has particular expertise in research, project management and innovative initiatives on migration, intercultural training and conflict transformation – with a strong track record of program development in Kosovo, Euzkadi and Northern Ireland.

Specific ULS research materials, projects and publications include: Engaging Vision: the opportunity of diversity for a changing County Meath, Meath County Development Board (2008)
Labour Market Inclusion of People with Disabilities (2003-08), Equality Authority, Dublin
TRED EQUAL Project (2003-07) Training Responses for Equality and Diversity (Academic Coordinator): with Enterprise Ireland, NUIG, Waterford Crystal, FAS.
Consultancy with Immigrant Council of Ireland (2007-11)
Garda National Diversity Strategy Board (member 2008 - present)
Migrant Led Churches in Ireland (AICCMR, 2009)
Waterford Wedgewood: development of in-company equality and diversity policies and training (1997-2004)
EXPERIENCE OF THE ORGANIZATION IN PREVIOUS EUROPEAN PROJECTS The experience of ULS in European Union innovative projects dates back to the early 1990s, when it was involved in the deign, development and writing of project proposals with a particular focus on disability and the training of trainers. ULS worked closely with agencies both public (FAS, Health Boards, Equality Authority), community (Irish Wheelchair Association, Enable Ireland, Disability Federation of Ireland) and academic (UCC, NUIG, Tipperary Institute) to develop, write and submit a range of successful project proposals under various EU strands – including the Lifelong learning Programme and its predecessors.

ULS has extensive experience of promotion of educational and learning innovation and works closely with adult education and employer networks. ULS has particular experience with post-graduate distance learning initiatives in change management and sustainable professional development. It is centrally involved in work based learning initiatives that promote employee growth and competence. ULS promotes pro-active strategic planning for innovative learning and is actively involved in a wide range of evaluation projects. ULS has significant research expertise and a long track record of publication and research excellence in innovative learning (including academic and work-based learning linkage) as well as learner support. ULS is able to contribute significant inputs on valorization through publications, papers, presentations and PR using extensive ULS professional networks. ULS has a leading profile in EU distance learning and e-learning, innovation, academic and VET networks. ULS has developed an extensive range of e-learning courses in Finland in association with its partner company, Context Learning Finland.

ULS is centrally involved in a number of networks at European level. These focus primarily on academic innovation, applied research, Vocational education/training, community empowerment and transformative learning in contexts of social inclusion. ULS has established linkage and engagement with a wide range of partner agencies and associations – and for many of these has collaborated in developing and writing project proposals for the EU Lifelong learning programme.

Relevant projects and links include:
  • 2009: HOPE – Hands On Peer Education project, Dublin. Evaluator.
  • 2009: PSNI Historical Enquiries Team – diversity program. Research and training design.
  • 2009: Expac Conflicts of Interest (EU Peace III): Conflict transformation training design and delivery.
  • 2008-2010: IARD Italy/University of Edinburgh. Research and academic evaluative review: SPEAK project (EU Comenius).
  • 2008-2011: University of the Basque Country. Creanova LLP Transversal Research project. Evaluation and research partner.
  • 2008: Durham County Council/University of Edinburgh: Persistent and Prolific Offender Rehabilitation Scheme. Evaluation.
  • 2008: Directory of Migrant Led Churches in the Republic of Ireland (with Meath Cultural Solutions), AICCMR. Co-author and researcher.
  • 2008: Engaging Difference: Meath Migrant Research Report: Meath County Development Board/CIB. Author.
  • 2008: Liberties Recycling Project/LDTF, Bluebell, Dublin. Evaluation.
  • 2008: Bradóg Regional Youth Services, Dublin: Evaluation and Strategic Review. Author.
  • 2005-2007: CATIT Project (Leonardo da Vinci): Adulta: Helsinki, Finland. Evaluator.
  • 2007-2008: Conflicts of Interest (EU Peace II): Expac. Research and materials author.
  • 2007: Aontas youth arts project: Dublin City Council. Evaluator.
  • 2007: An Garda Siochana: strategic consultancy on Cultural Diversity Awareness Training (ongoing).
  • 2007: Police Service of Northern Ireland: consultancy and training delivery on diversity and equal opportunities policies (ongoing)
  • 2007: Research and course development on interculturalism, NCCRI.
  • 2007: MABS, Dublin: strategic plan and review.
  • 2007: Research project on migration and integration in Scotland, CERES, Edinburgh (ongoing).
  • 2005-2007: Diversity Works (EU Peace II): An Garda Siochana/PSNI. Academic evaluator/materials author.
  • 2004-2006: Waterford Crystal/Department of Enterprise, Training and Employment/National College of Ireland (In-Company Training Measure). Evaluator.
  • 2006: Strategic Plan: Trocaire (Education and Campaigns).
  • 2006: National Review - FAS/Department of Justice Workshops. Evaluator and author.
  • 2003-2005: Co-Guide Project (EU Leonardo da Vinci): Enable Ireland, Cork. Evaluator.
  • 2005:You Are Equal project (EU Equal 2): Galway City Partnership. Development of project action plan.
  • 2005: University of Memphis: strategic plan and review for international studies programmes.
  • 2002-2005: TRED (Training Responses for Equality and Diversity) project (EU Equal 1): Trainers’ Network. Project action plan; transnational partnership; course development.
  • 2005: University College Cork: evaluation and strategic review of services for students with disabilities.
  • 2005: Longford Community Resources Ltd.: strategic action plan/evaluative review.
  • 2005: Africa Centre, Dublin. Strategic action plan.
  • 2004: KOVO project (EU Equal 1): Adulta, Helsinki. External evaluator
  • 2004: FAS Community Services: Strategic Review of Community Employment Places for National Drugs Task Force. Author and evaluator.
  • 2004: Irish Wheelchair Association: development of National Strategic Plan. Author.
  • 2003: FAS/Canal Communities Partnership: Review of the CE Scheme in the Canal Communities Area.
  • 2002: Tipperary Institute: Evaluation report, Social Inclusion and Educational Provision.
  • 2002: Musical Minds project (EU Culture 2000): Galway City Partnership. Evaluator.
  • 2001: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: research study and evaluation: International Comparative Job Standards (Disability Research Institute).
  • 2001: IDP Barcelona and Comune di Biella, Italy, Combating Social Exclusion (EU Grundtvig). Report author and evaluator.
  • 1997-2003: Waterford Crystal: management, development and evaluation of various EU projects: Employment-Horizon (CODE), Adapt (Voltaire) and Leonardo da Vinci (Sesame; Wicca; Prospero).
  • 1999-2001: BOOST – Building on Our Strengths Together project (EU Leonardo da Vinci): Cerebral Palsy Ireland, Cork. Evaluator.
  • 1999-2001: Social Empowerment-Enterprise Development project (EU Leonardo da Vinci): Southern health Board. Evaluator.
  • 1998-2000: Enable II (EU Employment Horizon): Lavanagh Centre/Cork City Council. Evaluator.
  • 1999-2000: Building on Success (EU Horizon): Disability Support Service, University College Cork. Evaluator.

ULS has structured relationships with the following agencies in terms of collaboration or successful EU project networking:
  • NUI Galway: Open Learning Centre
  • University College Cork: Department of Adult Continuing Education
  • NUI Maynooth: Department of Adult and Continuing Education
  • Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (Helsinki, Finland)
  • VOX (National Adult Education Agency: Oslo, Norway)
  • EuroEd (Adult Education Institute: Iasi, Romania)
  • NIACE: National Institute on Adult Continuing Education (England)
  • Westminster Adult Education Services: London, England.
  • University of Edinburgh (Department of Educational Studies)
  • Intrasoft (Luxembourg)
  • Platon School (Katerini, Greece)
  • Ellinogermaniki Agogi School (Athens, Greece)
  • Conseil Régionale Aquitaine (Bordeaux, France
  • CEFAS Institut (Thuringen, Germany)
  • ICWE (Berlin, Germany).
  • Eurinform (Sofia, Bulgaria)
  • Universiteit Twente (Twente, Netherlands)
  • NCRE: National Council on Rehabilitation Education (Chicago, Illinois)
  • EDEN: European Distance and E-learning Network (Budapest, Hungary)

ULS is or has been involved in the following EU projects over the past 10 years.
Starting Year Programme or Initiative Identification number Contracting organisation Title of the project / network Website
2011 LLP 519242-LLP-2011-BG-KA2-KA2MP Eurinform Bulgaria LANGO
2011 LLP Comenius 517748-LLP-1-2011-1-IE-COMENIUS-CNW Enable Ireland FIESTA
2010 LLP 511641-LLP-1-2010-1-RO-KA3-KA3MP EuroEd MyStory www.mystories.eu
2008 LLP Grundtvig Partnership GR2008-028P VUC-VS Denmark Mentor: Sink or Swim www.vuc.dk/sinkorswim
2008 LLP transversal research 143725-LLP-1-2008-ES-KA1-KA1SCR University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU Creanova www.creanova.ehu.es
2008 LLP Comenius 142447-2008-LLP-IT-CMP Fondazione IARD Speak www.speak.it
2006 LLP Minerva 229413-CP-1-2006-1-GR-MINERVA-M/2006 Platon School Educonlinux www.educonlinux.eu
2005 Leonardo da Vinci FI-05-B-P-PP-160601 Adulta, Finland Catit www.catit.fi
2005 EQUAL2 IE-05-EQ2-19-EBM Galway City Partnership You Are Equal www.youareeqaul.ie/gcp
2003 Leonardo da Vinci IE-03-B-F-PP-153101 Enable Ireland, Cork Co-Guide www.coguide.ie
2002 EQUAL IE-02-EQ1-23-E NUIG/FAS TRED www.tred.ie
EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE OF THE ORGANIZATION IN THE PROJECT’S SUBJECT AREA Through its expertise on migration and interculturalism, ULS has developed robust evaluation and quality assurance approaches that are based on individual and community learning and development needs – particularly in a time of challenge and socio-economic crisis. ULS in its evaluative work defines indicators that allow measurement of ways in which creative competencies of people are improved using different innovative pedagogical methodologies. This reinforces academic comparison of different best practices as well as defining better their potential applicability in varied contexts. A key issue in the preparation of citizens for the challenges of life and the globalized labor market is improvement of creative competencies. Through its expertise on migration and interculturalism, ULS has developed robust evaluation and quality assurance approaches that are based on individual and community learning and development needs – particularly in a time of challenge and socio-economic crisis. This reinforces academic comparison of different best practices as well as defining better their potential applicability in varied contexts. A key issue in the preparation of citizens for the challenges of life and the globalized labor market is improvement of creative competencies. ULS has worked with projects regarding diversity, language competence and intercultural competence over many years. ULS plays a noted role at national level in Ireland regarding policy and research in migration and equality best practice. ULS is a research consultancy for the Irish national Equality Authority and an expert agency for diversity strategy for agencies in the public sector.
CONTRIBUTIONS THAT CAN BE PROVIDED TO THE PROJECT ULS will contribute to a number of key activities throughout the project. This will include general actions to advance project management and development as contributing partner. ULS will contribute significant inputs on valorization through publications, papers, presentations and PR using extensive ULS professional networks. ULS has a leading profile in EU distance learning and e-learning innovation networks and will utilize these for the project. ULS has particular experience in project evaluation and quality assurance. ULS in its evaluative work defines indicators that allow measurement of ways in which creative competencies of people are improved using different innovative pedagogical methodologies. ULS will provide research expertise, advisory inputs and quality perspectives designed to maximize value and contribute to the longer term sustainability of the projects outcomes. ULS adopts a strong focus on the value of formative evaluation methodologies. It also contributes significantly to international linkage through its professional activities and experience.
REASONS OF INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROJECT ULS bases its work on the development of key challenges and opportunities for innovative learning competence to address future challenges. These challenges of the future have been extensively outlined in the academic literature (Supiot, Handy, Illich, etc.). Identifying need has to be complemented by definitional clarity and methodological application. Capturing this innovation has become a key focus for ULS projects in recent years around advanced technologies and their application to human learning needs. This project presents an opportunity to extend ULS expertise and to contribute within its frame of reference: transformational learning that offers real alternatives in a time of crisis.
CONTACT PERSON’S EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE Dr Bruce is Director of Universal Learning Systems – an international consultancy firm specializing in research, education, training and project management. He is a sociologist who studied in Los Angeles, Galway, Amsterdam and Hull. He has lectured in universities in France, England and Ireland and worked in policy research for the European Commission in Brussels. In Ireland he was responsible for national initiatives in professional development in the disability sector. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Counseling with the University of Wisconsin-Stout and an adviser on international relations to the University of Memphis. He teaches for the National University of Ireland Galway on learning policy, diversity and systematic training. He is Academic Adviser and course development specialist for equality and diversity training developed for An Garda Siochana and the Police Service of Northern Ireland under the EU Peace II initiative. He has extensive involvement with conflict transformation training and applied learning in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Kosovo. He has written and published extensively on innovative and applied learning supports. He is Senior Research Fellow with the University of Edinburgh with responsibility for educational social inclusion and innovative EU projects.

Dr Bruce has lectured and published widely on the social impact of disability, labor market policy, innovative education, distance learning, social inclusion, conflict transformation, strategic change and managing diversity. He was elected Fellow of the European Distance and E-Learning Network in Naples in 2007 and Vice-President of EDEN in 2010. He has written policy and conducted research for Irish government agencies with particular reference to community employment, best practice and labor market outcomes for marginalized groups. He has lectured and published widely on the social impact of disability, interculturalism, migration, integration, labor market policy, innovative education, distance learning, social inclusion, conflict transformation, strategic change and managing diversity.

Selected recent publications:
  • Open Classroom: Vision, Challenges, Perspectives, EDEN: Athens (October 2011)
  • International Crisis – Global Opportunity: diversity, inclusion and best practice in European rehabilitation, IARP: Scottsdale, Arizona (February 2011).
  • Learning for New Identities, New Security Forum, Berlin (December 2010).
  • Transformational Learning: theory, practice and policy in the construction of strategic innovation and creativity, UPV-EHU, San Sebastian (July 2010).
  • E-Learning Innovation and the Challenge of Change, with T. Patala, in “Diversitate si Identitate Culturala in Europa”, 7/1, Bucharest: ELMR (2010).
  • Virtual Deserts and Real Learning: the XT-learning Concept in an integrated work-life knowledge matrix, with T. Patala, EDEN, Valencia (June 2010).
  • Engaging Inclusive Learning, in “Equality in a Time of Change: mainstreaming equality”, Dublin: Equality Authority, 2010
  • Discovering Vision: theoretical foundations for innovation and creativity in lifelong learning, EHU/UPV: San Sebastian (2010).
  • Preparing Pupils for a Changing Planet: learner empowerment and cultural competence through innovative best practice, with A. Papdopoulis, Universidade Aberta de Portugal, Porto (October 2009).
  • Embracing Change: developing staff competence in responding to diversity, equality and inclusion needs of visually impaired client, with T. Forristal-Barrett, ICEVI, Dublin (July 2009).
  • “Beyond Barriers: Intercultural Learning and Inclusion in Globalized Paradigms”, in Szucs, A. et al (eds.), Distance and E-Learning in Transition, London: Wiley (2009).
21 December 2014

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