Bridging the gap between research and education for the circular bioeconomy

Newsletter Learning Goals

31 October 2023
The strategy for the Baltic Sea includes many challenges and the focus of the project is policy area bioeconomy. As the research for advancing new technologies and solutions to current and future challenges is moving fast, educating, and equipping the agricultural sector with new knowledge and skills is lagging. This is why one of the goals in BREC is to develop new educational materials for agricultural schools in the partner regions.
Technical details
In spring we gathered the teacher reference group in the project for the first competence development webinar. The researchers then provided educators with theoretical knowledge surrounding bioeconomy solutions and technologies. Based on this knowledge the group then proceeded in developing learning goals for future educational materials that can be used at upper-secondary vocational schools as well as higher (vocational) education centers connected to the project regions. Some of the questions asked before undertaking the work included:

What age group are we targeting? What do we want the students to know after the class? Which concepts are important for agricultural students to have a solid understanding of? And finally, what skills and abilities should they possess afterwards?

Based on these questions the learning goals were developed. We used a visual tool to fill out a “bioeconomy knowledge and skills tree”. At the roots we lay the knowledge. In the tree trunk we foster understanding. In the crown of the tree new skills will grow.

The lesson goals are now set, and we work further in developing lesson plan(s). After the study trip which connected Norwegian and Swedish teachers, we got valuable feedback from further discussions. We wanted to use the teacher’s perspective to know how the teaching materials could be integrated in the existing curriculums and courses, to move faster with disseminating important knowledge to students. There we found out that knowledge of the bioeconomy, both general and  specific surrounding technologies and solutions can fit in a wide spectrum of course. From biology and chemistry to agricultural machines, as well as civics (societies in transition) and entrepreneurship (innovation, design thinking, new business models). It was suggested that the lesson plans should have set knowledge, though they would be much better applied if divided in modules, so that teachers from both vocational agriculture courses and the compulsory courses could pick out relevant materials and use them in their classrooms.

The next activity for the teacher reference group in all regions will be a virtual study trip at German plants, organized by the University of Rostock on the 2nd of October 2023 and on the 17th of October 2023 the group will travel to Finland for the first physical study trip and workshop that all of the participating regions were able to attend. The activities in Finland will conclude the competence development goals for the group, and soon after we will move towards building content for the educational materials.