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Project context & Goals

The iRead4Skills – Intelligent Reading Improvement System for Fundamental and Transversal Skills Development is a Research & Innovation Action project funded by the European Commission, Grant number: 1010094837, Topic: HORIZON-CL2-2022-TRANSFORMATIONS-01-07 – Conditions for the successful development of skills matched to needs.

Why reading skills are important

Reading skills are essential to acquire technical and scientific knowledge. This is especially relevant in the context of formal education and training contexts, as Adult Learning (AL) and Vocational Educational Training (VET), and in practical and empirical work contexts, such as when companies provide written information or instructions to their workers. People with low literacy skills are less capable to acquire and maintain transversal and durable skills needed to stay apace in a changing job market and to lead meaningful and complete lives. However, promoting and motivating reading habits and skills in adults is quite challenging due to the lack of dedicated and/or adequate reading materials.

What we want to achieve

Supporting the adoption and diffusion of innovation in adult training, the iRead4Skills project aims to promote the development of reading skills through an innovative intelligent system that evaluates texts complexity and suggests reading materials adequate to the user reading level, which can also be used by trainers in the creation or adaptation of texts with the appropriate level of complexity for their individual students. This means contributing not only to upskilling and reskilling people, to developing their flexibility and adapting abilities, including staying apace with new skills related to technology, but also to new educational strategies related to formal education, responding to individual and social needs, and boosting adults’ motivation and participation. Finally, iRead4Skills will contribute to innovative and inclusive education systems, using digital technologies to provide quality training.

How we are innovating

By combining an interdisciplinarity team covering different fields of expertise such as ICT, Linguistics, Economics and Education, and by bringing together governmental entities, tech companies and research institutions, the iRead4Skills project will provide groundbreaking research and innovation, going beyond the current state of the art in several key areas:

Assessing the response to specific needs from the AL communities involved and devising ways to evaluate results to inform proposals for employers and policy makers.

The training difficulties of adult learners can range from basic reading skills to motivational factors. The development of the iRead4Skills system goes beyond existing studies and tools due to its cooperative nature. Based on input from end-users and covering their real needs, the project will provide a new way to assess the response of individuals, skill development institutions, and employers to issues on reading skills and to gather data to inform policy makers on the conditions for the successful development of skills.

Developing new complexity measures and base data sets.

iRead4Skills solution goes beyond existing systems by developing and testing a language-designed system based on the direct input from AL trainers and learners. This means that actual end-users will provide the base classification of texts according to their sensitivity to complexity, and that new complexity levels and features are to be researched from these new and valuable data sets. This also means new complexity measures based not on proficiency levels of a second language, but on issues of complexity for native speakers, which can be drastically different.

Testing and developing Natural Language Processing systems directly with end-users.

iRead4Skills innovates the current paradigm for developing machine-learning systems, devised and tested only on data sets. Current systems produced in academia are not developed nor tested in real case scenarios, where end-users evaluate their usability and utility. In the iRead4Skills project, we will go the extra mile, and test the system directly with specific end-users (i.e., low literacy adults). This will allow us to devise an intelligent tool, attuned to the user, but also to gather solid evidence to assess its impact.

Promoting the use of Art and Culture to develop fundamental and transversal skills.

By including reading materials from a wide range of domains (literature, history/social studies, science, etc.), iRead4Skills provides a foundation of knowledge that will help adult learners to be better readers in all domains. In addition to professional and scientific training, the project will contribute to raise interest in humanistic, scientific, and technological knowledge of adult population, to bring adult readers closer to literature, culture, and general information, and to improve communication and educational practices for all.

What we will produce

Besides the publication of objective results concerning the relation between the improvement of reading skills and other fundamental and transversal skills, we also expect the production of new fundamental knowledge on complexity analysis, within the different key areas coverage by the project (Linguistics, Natural Language Processing, Education, Socioeconomics), usable in many other contexts. The major and more tangible result is, however, the development of the iRead4Skills system – a new ICT system, open access web system, that is able to provide: – reading suggestions according to their complexity level, – analyses of the complexity of texts, – assistance in the simplification of texts. The successful achievement of the iRead4Skills project contributes in a significant scale to enable policymakers to better understand, measure and reduce skills gaps, resulting in policy recommendations towards learner-centered flexibility in AL and VET contents and training materials, and towards a generalized use of these type of systems in cooperation with the culture and science actors. Using and disseminating information on the complexity (and lack of it) of existing and new literature and other reading materials in libraries, book covers, newspapers, etc., would immediately open a whole new world of information for a still excluded part of the population.


Team

NOVA University Lisbon (coordination), Portugal

Raquel Amaro
Susana Correia
Ana Leite
Maria Leonor Reis
Michell Moutinho
Ricardo Monteiro
Sílvia Barbosa

Ministry of Education, Portugal

Regina Duarte
Isabel Marques
Mónica de Oliveira

Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium

Thomas François
Alice Pintard
Cédrick Fairon
Rodrigo Wilkens

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Xavier Blanco
Roser Gauchola Gamarra
Angels Catena Rodulfo
Dulce Tienda Martagón
Joaquín Gairín Sallán
Julio Murillo Puyal
Lorraine Baqué Millet
Rafael García Pérez
Yauheniya Yakubovich

INESC-ID – Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores: Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa, Portugal

Jorge Baptista
Nuno Mamede
Eugénio Ribeiro

University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Marcos Garcia González
Pablo Gamallo
Alejandro Catalá Bolos
José María Alonso Moral
Sandra Rodríguez Rey
André Bernárdez Braña

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Luxembourg

Franz Clément
Laetitia Hauret

Mindshaker Serviços Informáticos, Lda, Portugal

João Almeida
Luís Correia
David Soares
José Novais
Miguel Neves
Sofia Domingues
Vasco Martins


Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is composed by experts of different fields that will provide assistance and facilitate the decisions to be taken in the project.

Luís Rothes

Coordinator of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), OCDE, in Portugal

João Queirós

Subcoordinator of PIAAC, OCDE, in Portugal

Cäcilia Märki

Head of Basic Skills Department from SVEB FSEA, in Switzerland

Anne Mességué

National Coordinator of ANLCI, in France


Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee is composed by experts of different fields that will provide assistance and facilitate the decisions to be taken in the project concerning Ethical Issues.

TBA soon


Sister Projects

MEGASKILLS – MEthodology of Psycho-pedagogical, Big Data and Commercial Video GAmes procedures for the European SKILLS Agenda Implementation

MEGASKILLS is a project whose main objective is to help bridge these gaps between education and the labor market through the research and design of an innovative and affordable methodology for training and evaluating soft skills through 3 main research tasks to figure out how to: 1) reach a consensus pact for soft skills taxonomy and normalization based on the manifest needs of industry and education; 2) training and evaluation techniques through the use of the massive amount of data from the interactions of players with their favorite video games (considering the very high penetration of video games among working-age citizens in Europe) and the use of AI and machine learning algorithms and 3) implement methodologies and educational designs that will build an affordable strategy for the new educational-labour paradigm at a European level. (retrieved from https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101094275)
https://www.megaskills.eu/

SKILLS2CAPABILITIES

The Skills2Capability project is about understanding how skill systems across Europe can reduce the level of skills mismatch in their labour markets. It is recognised that future labour markets will be more mobile with more people moving between jobs, employers, and sectors more often. This poses a problem for training systems insofar as employers may be much less willing than in the past to fund and provide training because their chances of appropriating the return will have been reduced. The study is concerned with understanding how skill systems can better respond to meeting skill demands in a more fluid labour market environment. (retrieved from https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101094758)
https://www.skills2capabilities.eu/

Disclaimer: Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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