National Case Studies on targets’ needs in rural sector
One of the major difficulties in design and implementing training programs in the rural sector is the vast variety of educational background of the trainees. Especially during the recent years in many countries there is a return of young people possessing university degree to primary sector activities. Thus arises the necessity through Project implementation to define the EQF levels of possible project end users, to design and provide an appropriate training system and training material according to EQF requirements.
This intellectual output is a desk research, in each partner country, aiming to collect current information about the state of the art and analyze it, in respect to the following key issues:
- State of art for organic cultivation of medicinal plants in partner’s countries, and description of possible areas (mountain and semi-mountain appropriate for implementation of such cultivations via GPS data.
- Present situation in rural sector education status at national level with emphasis on the capacity of this sector to adopt new ICT technologies in education and training, including comparative review of national competence standards, NQFs, EQF and ESCO.
- The responsibility to apply into practice European/national policies for rural development and the necessity for project target groups proper education.
- The necessity for expansion in new markets, possible limitations for further development and threats; possibilities for further growth promotion: “new skills for new jobs” strategy implementation and shift from “knowledge” to “competence”.
Interactive Web Platform
An interactive web platform including the three core elements of the Project’s innovative character.
- The Total Business Plants Virtual Tool: The trainee is able to open the Total Business Plants Virtual Tool in order to:
- take a virtual tour through the plants that can be cultivated accordingly to specific geographic latitude
- open specific category of plants to see images with individual plants
- take more specific information on: plant’s name, cultivation requirements temperature, humidity, substrate, growing seasons, the certification procedure required, possible markets for the harvest and the possible income.
- The Total Business Plants Training Material and E-learning: The training material, based on EQF principles, is offered in 3 modules:
- organic cultivation
- harvest treatment and certification
- market implementation of the product
Trainee is able to create a personal dossier for training and with the completion of the training cycle a certificate of accomplishment will be purchased. Once the dossier is opened with individual choices of plants, a calendar of actions is created on which the trainee have to perform actions, gained through the training, in order to successfully cultivate the plants of his choice, implement the harvest treatment and certification and boost his product to the market.
The aforementioned steps create a personal training cycle and when the user accomplishes parts of the circles, he gains a successful training certificate.
- The Total Business Plants Open Learning Recourses:
Within the Virtual Plant tool a useful data base is created, presented as open resource tool, offering information to visitors who wish to gain certified knowledge about the use of healing plants, but not to take the whole training. This data base is prepared in a form of online database/catalogue, equipped with a searching engine that will allow visitors to quickly locate plants of their interest.
A core project objective is to offer integrated professional training in the sphere of healing /medicinal plants. To reach this objective project partnership have developed innovative VET training content dedicated on the following main topics:
- Organic Cultivation of medicinal plants
- Methods for harvest treatment
- Quality assurance of the final product
- Business startup in the sector of medicinal plants
- Extended use of medicinal plants
The Total Business Plants multilingual joint study programme is realized through blended modes of competence-based education and training. It is grounded on recognizable EU tools for EQF/NQF and ECVET implementation with the aim to contribute in achievement of transparency of learning outcomes in project economic area; increase the opportunity of work-power mobility throughout Europe and help to further development of the new European Common Agricultural Policy.
The Total Business Plants project offers an Innovative training system based on improved accessibility that provides academic content, practical activities and functional experience. This training system encompasses establishment and functioning of a competency-based joint training curriculum for organization and operation of a process that promotes learning integration of end-users with targeted professional portrait suitable to the area of healing /medicinal plants.
In order to endorse accessibility and to fit trainees’ background, the project’s innovative training system operates through personalized Modular learning, called here Customized Training Modules (CTMs). The CTMs comprise collection of learning resources, the Learning Outcomes (LOs) that are used as main building blocks of the CTMs. Each LO is independent, self-content and capable of combining to other learning outcomes resulting in the formation of a defined CTM.
The CTMs are offered through different modes of learning/training: distance and part-time, both accessible after registration by the potential users. The common features of these modes of training are focused on:
- Variety of skills levels they cover;
- Operation at both education institution and work-place context;
- Offering of training to both workers and unemployed;
- Flexibility – relative independence of training in respect to time and place;
- Comprehensiveness – access to all training materials in a high quality;
- Support – possibility for mediation of the training process by tutoring/coaching, offered by qualified tutors/mentors;
- Social effect – possibilities for communication among the trainees via participation in virtual training networks, courses, forums, tutorials, etc.
The distance learning specific features are related to the offer of study possibilities towards qualification to trainees who want to study at their own pace, space and time. Its training methodology include video- and audio-conferences, virtual learning environment, tel./e-mail contacts, etc.
The part-time training also offers study possibilities towards qualification but at more flexible schedule. The learning and assignments completion, and exam passing are offered for a prolonged duration at fixed time-periods with a training methodology that includes for instance evening-classes, weekend-sessions, 1 week-training, etc.
In this way, the training system integrates trainees facing distance obstacles, or lack of free time (common problem of working force). Its potential users are those who have some experience and knowledge on healing /medicinal plants but also trainees who need a basic understanding of the Total Business Plants core elements. That is why the training panel displays CTMs purposefully arranged to offer general and complementary training to targeted trainees depending on their professional background and educational needs.
The use of medicinal plants in healing but also in improving people’s health status is well known from ancient ages, but now days become a popular manner again. Evidence to this is the plethora of information that can be found in contemporary literature and the web about healing properties of herbs. Often this information is considered to be uncertain and can become dangerous when used by untrained people or prescribed by insufficiently trained professionals. Therefore the provision of certified knowledge about medicinal plants in a way that can be easily understood by the end users has vital importance. For the reason the Online Plant Encyclopedia is prepared in a form of online database, allows visitors to find relevant information regarding specific plants, or diseases. Also there is presented information about the medical use of specific plant, dosage and mode of application, combinations & contraindications according the recommendations of human regulatory of the European organization ema.europa.eu.
The Total Business Plants project through the online plants encyclopedia aims to offer an Interactive Tool that can be used both by medical doctors, pharmacists, and other healing practitioners wishing to get certified knowledge about medicinal plants and to amplify their everyday practice, but also by people wishing to improve their health status safely. In the same time is provided information about the recognized ethnobotanical use of each medicinal plant and the kind of products present at the market, and therefore the online plants encyclopedia can be used as a tool for promoting medicinal plants sales so to improve economic growth in the sector.