The project idea is based on the assumption that distance education is instrumental in connecting peripheral regions closer both locally and to the outside world. Paad wants to demonstrate that to be “present” in important developments in the modern world, it is not always necessary for people from the peripheral areas to come to the cities.
All partners in Paad have worked with distance learning for many years and have carried out several successful development projects in sparsely populated areas. These projects have clearly led to development in many of those. The aim of Paad is to map, document and analyze the long-term impact of short-term projects and to identify what conditions and elements in distance learning which can cause/lead to successful long-term effects. The purpose is to describe and disseminate the experience to current and future projects for the common benefit of all outlying areas in the Nordic countries.
In a two year NVL project in 2011-2012, several of the partners in PaaD were successful in identifying projects which focused on using distance based educational initiatives for supporting development in sparsely populated areas. The project highlighted several external factors, which, in addition to directly educational ones, should exist to ensure a sustainable success. The report developed in the project, has been an important tool for a large number of stakeholders after it was published.
However, as the project described ongoing projects, and it was thus not possible to evaluate and describe the long-term impact. The PaaD project wants to extend the report from 2013 with these valuable long-term results. Paad will examine how previous projects have contributed to the development and dynamics in sparsely populated areas. The projects we will analyse have all been evaluated continuously and after
completion, but in Paad we will analyse and document the long-term impact of the projects.
Nordic/Baltic added value
Most of the Nordic Countries have a very similar history in relation to the use of distance-based learning in sparsely populated regions. In most of the countries, the distances are great and most of the inhabitants’ income has been dependent on staying in the rural areas far from the major cities.
Nowadays, that factor is not so important and that accelerates the trend of people moving to the cities, leaving the rural areas in danger of depopulation, leading to a lack of new initiatives, young people and an active business climate. In 2009 – 2012, the partners identified successful educational initiatives, which had reversed that development, and an update of the findings with long-term impacts will be a valuable tool for all Nordic Countries in the coming process of supporting the development of rural areas.
Two year project
The project team will meet seven times during the project, for project work and dissemination: During all meetings, partners will coordinate the mapping and analysis of findings as well as disseminate results and create dialogues with local actors in distance learning in each place, thus strengthening connections between key stakeholders in Nordic rural areas. During webinars which will be held as warm up activities
for the seminars, players in all the rural areas can come in contact with players in other Nordic rural areas.