Author: Juan Francisco Martínez Cerdá
Programme: Doctoral Programme in Education and ICT (e-learning)
Language: English, Catalan
Supervisors: Dr. Joan Torrent Sellens
Faculty / Institute: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. eLearn Center (eLC)
Key words: E-learning, online education, employability, empowerment, information and communication technologies (ICT), lifelong learning, media literacy, skills
This research studies the viability of empowerment-based online education as a way to improve employability in the 21st century. Specifically, through an implementation of human capital theory based on: 1) lifelong learning through online media; 2) online education based on the socio-technical pillars that are systems that integrate the actions of people and technologies; 3) an education that must deliver people who are ready to work but are also active and socially emancipated citizens; and 4) a consideration of the states of liminality existing in students, according to their different individual circumstances regarding access and use of multiple digital devices in a ubiquitous and uninterrupted way, that is in spaces, places, times and moments appropriate to their needs. The research shows that this type of education provides positive results in three areas which are not always closely linked: 1) economics: contributing to employment contracts, job stability and job security; 2) social: considering media literacy as a path towards empowerment and social inclusion, with the development of skills that encourage active citizenship and liberation; and 3) socioeconomics: combining the two previous dimensions, and providing education in accordance with the values, knowledge and techniques needed for students to acquire skills relating to readiness to work, knowledge management, media empowerment, collaboration, digitization, and awareness as regards future labour market trends. Scientific evidence shows that online education valid for employability must have a strong social orientation and be based on students having a role of citizens who are active and responsible as regards their future professional lives. Education of this kind will be able to solve the Gordian knot of employability, understanding it as a continuously fluid capital with which the labour market can be freely navigated.