Maribor AEC is involved in an exciting project that has boldly tackled the field of AI in education. It has attempted to merge two seemingly incompatible areas – AI and social-emotional learning. The project mentioned above is the project SETCOM, with its full name being Supportive Environments to Enhance Transversal Competencies in Education.

The main goal of the project is to develop synergies between social-emotional learning and literacy in the field of AI in education.

Impressive results

The two-year project concluded at the end of April 2024 and boasts commendable results. Numerous educators have undergone training to strengthen the competencies of social-emotional learning and AI. Examples of good practices, new approaches in education, professional contributions and a scientific monograph have been produced. Equipment and tools for the use of AI systems have been purchased, and effective inter-institutional cooperation has been established. The SETCOM Competence Centre continues to pursue and develop the project’s vision even after its conclusion.

Learning community

At regular pedagogical meetings, a learning community of educators from diverse backgrounds was established. We presented examples of good practices, tested them and adapted them to the conditions in our institutions. Through mutual learning, we developed new teaching and learning content and practices. Four educational modules were created to develop selected transversal competencies in the areas of social-emotional learning and AI, along with a Catalogue of Innovative Pedagogical Approaches and a Catalogue of Literature on these competencies.

Students – future teachers, educators, primary and secondary school teachers, university professors, NGO professionals and non-teaching staff from educational institutions – participated in the educational modules. An added value of the project was the study visit to our Norwegian partner, NORD University. We explored the Norwegian education system and visited various educational institutions, including an ALE organisation. The exchange of experiences and comparison of systems proved to be very valuable, as social-emotional learning is a part of the regular curriculum in Norway.

Maribor AEC professionals also actively participated in the pedagogical meetings. We shared experiences, developed and tested new pedagogical approaches, explored the possibilities of using AI in ALE, received training and strengthened competencies in both areas. We also contributed our example of good practice. We developed a learning workshop titled Respect in Communication, which includes the use of AI, and it was tested in the PLYA+ programme. We tested ChatGPT and found that it can be used as a tool for learning communication skills and as an advisor for relationship and communication issues. We explored the differences between interpersonal communication and communication with a chatbot. Ethical aspects were also addressed. Additionally, participants at the Faculty of Education had the opportunity to try virtual reality glasses in an exciting AI workshop.

SETCOM Competence Centre

In the future, the SETCOM Competence Centre, one of the primary and sustainable products of the project, will play an essential role in promoting the use of new teaching and learning practices and building inter-institutional and interdisciplinary cooperation. Since November 2023, it has been operating at the Secondary School of Economics and Gymnasium Maribor. Available equipment includes a humanoid robot, virtual reality glasses and a 360° camera, which teachers can borrow for use in their pedagogical work. In return, teachers contribute examples of good practice and reflection.

The concluding event of the project was an international professional conference titled Synergies of Literacy in Artificial Intelligence Systems and Social and Emotional Learning in Education. Nine research papers and eight examples of good practice in the fields of AI and social-emotional learning were presented, including achievements from the competition organised by the SETCOM Competence Centre.

Participants in the project and those involved in the training strengthened their digital competencies and dispelled initial prejudices about using AI in education by learning about and testing AI systems and tools, as well as new pedagogical practices. We discovered that AI can be an effective tool for enhancing human potential, creativity and resourcefulness. However, it is crucial also to strengthen social-emotional competencies to support the meaningful and ethical use of AI and prevent misuse. More information about the project is available on the project website and the SETCOM Competence Centre website.

Klavdija Mirič (, Maribor AEC

© 2017-2024 Slovenian Institute for Adult Education

​The publication is co-financed by the Ministry of Education.

ISSN 2630-2926

Slovenian Institute for Adult Education
Ministry of Education

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