Horizon 2020 - ENLIVEN

Encouraging Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive and Vibrant Europe

Calling for workshop contributors: Developing IDSS: Societal Challenges and Technical Strategies

This workshop brings together the ideas and ways of thinking of two University of Nottingham colleagues, Sharon Clancy from Education and Claire Palmer from Computer Science, who are working on the development of an Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) within the context of the Enliven project which is aimed at examining policy making in the context of lifelong learning, and particularly for disadvantaged young adults.

The main social science theory underpinning Enliven is that of bounded agency which recognises the complex interplay between personal/individual motivation and the broader structural and cultural conditions in which a person has been raised – specifically the institutional and labour market settings and the social support available. The theory argues that such factors are as important in shaping a person’s decision to engage in lifelong learning/adult education as their individual drive or motivation (‘agency’).  An IDSS system “uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, taught algorithms and data analytics to help support decision-making in real-time, by setting out possible courses of action and evaluating the likely results of these proposed actions” [1] . It will suggest types of action which have been previously employed and enable them to be assessed against suitable criteria.

The workshop will focus on determining how these two theories might meet the needs of policy makers and other end users of the research and, crucially, how it can meet the needs of our “messy, fuzzy, anarchic field of practice” [2] , and with sufficient emphasis on the young people who are its chief stakeholders.

Consequently, our focus has become one of knowledge democracy and we are keen to explore the ontological differences between data expectations at policy maker level and at target community level and how data can serve knowledge creation for those most excluded in society.

Please follow this LINK for more details of the workshop.


[1] Field, J., the Learning Professor, blog, Mechanising education policy with intelligent decision support systems, Posted on January 18, 2015, Accessed 20 September 2017).

[2] Field, as above

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