The COVID-19 crisis led to more and more people questioning their career. Especially for disadvantaged people who found themselves deprived from their main source of revenue. As a matter of fact, a bigger demand for training and education arose. It has been found that people coming from a disadvantaged background or that are remote from learning have more difficulties owning their learning, they need empowerment and encouragement. This makes participatory methods an innovative way to get them to be involved in their learning and to make sure they feel at ease while learning.
The Erasmus project PARTICIPATE aims to develop a model for participatory approaches in adult learning, empowering learners to engage actively in their own learning. Through the organisation of focus group in Germany, Spain, Romania and Greece, we had the opportunity to talk with adult learners, about their expectations regarding participatory methods in adult education. The majority of the participants believed that it is better for the learner to be involved in the design of the training course. However, one prerequisite to do so would be for the learner to « have at least some basic knowledge on the subject ». When asked what they expect from their participation in the design of a training course, one participant expects to be fully involved in designing learning outcomes while others expect to be involved in secluded parts of the designing of the course (tailoring of the course; designing a course with multiple paths that can address different learning needs; gathering new knowledge from the process; contributing to the whole experience of the other participants).
The results from this focus group show that there is a demand to actively contribute in the courses and to claim them for oneself. These results also join Paulo Freire’s point of view who advocates for an education that is either an instrument to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or a "practice of freedom", to allow men and women to deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. Our case falls into the first scenario. Through participative education, adults with little educational background can integrate the functioning of the present system and therefore create their own space within this system.
Through a survey carried out in 2020, we aimed at capturing examples of participatory approaches, tools or instruments that have been effective in allowing the participant to have an input into their learning pathway. The results of the survey showed that the principal characteristics of best practices to involve learners were a course or group design flexible enough to take participant feedback into account and participants being involved in identifying their own learning needs. The courses were also designed in a way to include active learning methods such as group projects, role-playing games and workshops.
Following, these results, we could propose Malcolm Knowles’ Andragogy method as a participatory practice to implement in adult education. This method is based on the learner’s readiness for learning. There is no hierarchical organisation: the trainer and learners are equal, the trainer’s role is only to facilitate interaction, exchange of experience, etc. The whole training is based on people’s experience and knowledge, it is constructed as a moment for sharing and of mutual enrichment.
To conclude, implementing such methods can have many beneficial effects on learners. Indeed, the results of the survey show that it encourages universal participation, helps learners detect their needs and expectations from participating in the program, favours positive response and stimulates motivation, etc. Participatory methods create an environment that encourages initiative and empowerment for people that are not used to a scholarly environment.
More information on PARTICIPATE project at https://www.participate-project.eu/
The European Digital Learning Network – DLEARN – is a non-profit association aiming to embrace the challenges brought by the digital transformation in terms of digital skills mismatch and digital learning opportunities. The 47% of Europeans is not properly digitally skilled, yet in the near future, 90% of jobs will require some level of digital skills. We believe in the value of SHARING, CONNECTING, MULTIPLYING and ENHANCING the potential of our members, local territories and people.
As part of our activities, at DLEARN we undertake research, surveys, studies, and more, with the aim of continuously boosting European education and enhancing the awareness of European citizens towards the impact of digitalisation in their daily life.
Currently, DLEARN is conducting European research aiming to investigate the barriers that persons with disabilities face to enter or stay in the labour market and whether digitalisation could contribute to reducing the gap between the employment of persons with and without disabilities. This research is supported by the European Commission in the framework of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition (DSJC).
The German Institute for Adult Education is organising a European conference in Bonn on 25 September 2018. The conference is titled "Course planning and course evaluation - two unjustly neglected key competences for teachers and trainers in adult education". It is organised in the framework of the project DEMAL.
The conference addresses two professional tasks of adult teachers which tend to attract less attention than the “actual teaching”. However, planning and evaluation of adult learning activities are of equal importance for the quality and the success of these activities. At the conference new European approaches to define and develop these two key competences will be presented and further development needs will be discussed. Besides a general introduction to the topic, three aspects will be explored in greater depth in parallel workshops:
The conference targets practitioners and researchers in the field of adult learning and education. No conference fees will be charged. Travel grants are available to a limited number of participants from Europe. If you are interested, please contact the organisers.
The Erasmus+ project "OpenITup" aims to extend and develop educators' competences in the effective teaching of literacy, digital and entrepreneurial skills to vulnerable groups of adult learners, by making use of effective new tools and technologies. The learners will strengthen their language competences (B1-B2 levels) and their entrepreneurial skills and will feel confident to turn their business ideas into successful start-ups. The e-course "Start your own business" will be soon available in English, Bulgarian, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Turkish.
For more information you can visit the website: www.openitup.eu
This year, the EAEA Grundtvig Award will be given to a project successful in engaging new groups of learners.
One of the key challenges in adult education is often described as the “Matthew effect” – those who have will be given more and those who don’t will have less. This means that those who already have higher levels of education are more likely to participate in adult education. Partly this is due to the fact that they are more likely to be in the kinds of jobs where their employers offer training through their companies, but also because they more likely have positive experiences with learning and are therefore more likely to participate voluntarily.
The Award will celebrate educational practices from all over Europe that can demonstrate the use of creative and inclusive learning methods with outstanding results and the potential to be replicated and/or of inspiring others. The Award is not limited to a particular sector; lifelong learning covers education and training across all ages and in all areas of life be it formal, non-formal or informal.
The Erasmus+ partnership ON THE MOVE just released a best practice guide on how to reach out to and include persons from vulnerable groups in the world of Lifelong Learning. The publication is based on reviews of more than 100 European projects, providing outreach educational guidance and low-threshold learning opportunities.
A major aim of the project is to make staff in counselling and educational institutions in Europe aware of "alternative approaches (predominantly of the outreach kind) bringing educationally remote and low-qualified people to further education and will implement these in their countries".
Urban populations have been growing more rapidly than ever in recent years: more than half of the world’s population nowadays lives in cities, and the number is expected to rise to 60 percent by 2030. Cities become increasingly influential in national and world affairs as they expand. However, this expansion is also presenting municipal governments with multiple challenges relating to social cohesion, economic development and sustainability.
USR-NET promotes the incorporation of University Social Responsibility (USR) in University curricula and synergies among the Universities community and other stakeholders. The project is developing a learning guide of transversal contents for USR along with awareness raising actions.
LOCATE aims at building platforms of local community learning, media and participation to help develop community capacity and stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship and capacity for change by encouraging the discovery and use of untapped potential from within communities and territories.
Summary of the Learning Café on 'Social Inclusion and Economic Cohesion', which was conducted during the Final Conference of DISCUSS at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany in October 2015.
Social Inclusion can be described as the “provision of certain rights to all individuals and groups in society”, such as Education and Training (E&T), employment, adequate housing, health care, participation in sports and cultural activities etc. Social Inclusion is also a “term that can be used to describe a series of positive actions to achieve equality of access to goods and services, to assist all individuals to participate in community and society, to encourage the contribution of all persons to social and cultural life and to be aware of and to challenge all forms of discrimination. By ensuring that the marginalised and those living in poverty have greater participation in decision-making which affects their lives, will allow them to improve their standard of living and overall well-being.”
Economic Cohesion in turn, often used in combination with Social Inclusion “is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union. This means balanced and sustainable development, reducing structural disparities between regions and countries and promoting equal opportunities for all individuals.”
RISE aims to remove the gaps in key competencies that create barriers to employment for refugees, by developing the focussed curriculum and accompanying learning materials, including interactive desktop and mobile games based learning resources, which are engaging and accessible to the target groups.
The RISE partner organisations worked with refugees and employers to identify the gaps in key skills that create barriers to employment for refugees. Workshops were held with groups of refugees from the three partner countries, to establish their support needs. There then followed a process of co-design with our end users, which confirmed the RISE project end products.
The Australian Learning Communities Network Inc (ALCN) was formed in 2001. ALCN is a network of leading edge practising agencies building sustainable communities using learning as the key driving element.
It now has a membership comprising around 38 learning communities around Australia, represented by lead agencies such as local government, Adult Education Centres, Private Organisations, Libraries, Community Centres, Universities, Charitable Organisations, Peak Learning Bodies, Youth Agencies and Technical and Further Education Institutes. The lead agencies have formed, within each learning community, a network of partnerships comprising business, local government, education, government authorities, community interests, libraries, and support services agencies.
The ALCN recognises that the aims and goals of most organisations/groups cannot be achieved in isolation and there is a need for partnerships within the community. The emphasis needs to shift to strategic alliances and partnerships, improved linkages between stakeholders such as education, vocation, technology, employer groups, government agencies and regional development.
Bologna's Mayor Merola about to give civic collaborators keys to the city at the recent Civic Collaboration Fest:
It all began with park benches. In 2011, a group of women in Bologna, Italy wanted to donate benches to their neighborhood park, Piazza Carducci. There was nowhere to sit in their park. So they called the city government to get permission to put in benches. They called one department, which referred them to another, which sent them on again. No one in the city could help them. This dilemma highlighted an important civic lacuna -- there simply was no way for citizens to contribute improvements to the city. In fact, it was illegal.
Fast forward to May 16, 2015. The mayor, city councilors, community leaders, journalists, and hundreds of others gathered at the awe-inspiring MAST Gallery for the opening ceremony of Bologna’s Civic Collaboration Fest celebrating the one year anniversary of the Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of the Urban Commons, a history-making institutional innovation that enables Bologna to operate as a collaborative commons. Now Bologna’s citizens have a legal way to contribute to their city. Since the regulation passed one year ago, more than 100 citizen-led projects have signed “collaboration pacts” with the city under the regulation to contribute urban improvements with 100 more in the pipeline.
The 13th PASCAL International Conference, Learning Cities 2040 - Global, Local, Connected, Sustainable, Healthy and Resilient, is taking place from June 3rd to June 5th, 2016 at the University of Glasgow. It is will focus on future directions for Learning Cities at a time of considerable challenge and opportunity for cities, with significant development in their role and contribution to learning. Following soon after the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) 2nd International Conference on Learning Cities in Mexico City with the inauguration of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, the UN Paris conference on climate change, and UN decisions on sustainable development goals, the conference provides opportunities to share ideas and experience on the development and role of Learning Cities in this challenging context, with opportunities for fresh ideas and innovative forms of partnership.
Two years ago Prof. Michael Osborne asked me to contribute to a special issue of UNESCO's international review of education, dedicated to the topic of learning cities & regions. The publication should shed some light on quality in developing learning cities & regions, based on knowledge gained from EU sponsored projects and my evaluation work in the field. The following reflections build on the arguments already brought to the fore, and take those a step further by raising 8 fundamental questions towards building successful learning cities & regions.
In order to make lifelong learning reality, EU member states over the past two decades have promoted structural change in order to make their educational systems more flexible. More recently, national governments have started to decentralise the design and provision of adult education from the higher levels to local or regional governments, and to stimulate the building of local networks for lifelong learning. It is supposed that those networks are in a better position to react rapidly to changes and match learning needs with demands. Moreover, stakeholders on the micro-level are expected to bring learning closer to home but also closer to the situations in which it is applied (work, family, care, hobbies etc.).
One of the big talking points at last weeks DISCUSS conference in Munich was the current influx of refugees into Germany and the challenges for public services. It seems up to 5000 refugees are arriving daily at Munich’s main railways station.
Most participants at the conference would agree with Marcel Fratzscher, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), who is reported in today’s Guardian newspaper as saying the hundreds of thousands of newcomers this year as well as the hundreds of thousands more expected over the coming years, are a major opportunity for Germany and that its strong financial position makes it ideally placed to welcome them.
In 2013 around 34 million persons born in a third country (TCNs) were currently living in the European Union (EU), representing 7% of its total population. Integrating immigrants, i.e. allowing them to participate in the host society at the same level as natives, is an active, not a passive, process that involves two parties, the host society and the immigrants, working together to build a cohesive society.
The University of Glasgow is the leading partner in the consortium of universities that have developed this Erasmus Mundus Internationals Masters programme in Adult Education for Social Change.
The other universities are University of Malta, Open University of Cyprus, Tallinn University and Universiti Sains Malaysia. A distinctive feature of this programme is the connection between theory and practice, gained through focused placements and mobility periods between the partner universities. It draws together the recognised strengths of the consortium partners into a relevant, joint degree that engages with and responds to such issues as social inequality, migration and intercultural cooperation.
A number of recent events have highlighted the importance of lifelong learning in the promotion of integration of refugees and migrants in Europe.
On October 21, the Lifelong Learning Foundation of Finland brought together stakeholders in the area of adult education in Europe. Dr. Katarina Popović, Secretary General of the International Council on Adult Education focused on the importance of sustainable development goals in the field of adult education and learning in working with refugees, and on the theme of immigration. The President of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), Paludan Hansen, addressed one of the key trends of 2015, in relation to the integration and lifelong learning of refugees and migrants. through strengthening adult education opportunities, life skills for individuals, active citizenship in democracy and better sustainability can be achieved.
Susannah Chambers, NIACE in her latest vlog is discussing the positive contributions and valuable skills Community Learning can bring to learners and society. Underpinning research evidence is presented to support the call for there to be national investment in a radical new vision for Community Learning.
The learning city concept can contribute greatly to lifelong learning objectives within a community (rural area, neighbourhood, city or region). However, it must be well planned, engage stakeholders from across different sectors and most importantly provide a mechanism for monitoring progress.
I define lifelong learning using the PASCAL definition ‘structured, purposeful learning throughout the lifespan, from cradle to grave’. This links with the UNESCO definition of a Learning City, which feature the mobilization of resources for some broad goals to do with individual empowerment, economic and cultural prosperity, social cohesion and sustainable development. The resources include formal education, workplace learning, community and family learning, technology, ensuring a quality experience while developing a culture of learning within a community.
The MMS project is developing tools to assist migrants and minority communities to be part of the society and community in which they are living. Its aim is to provide a practical approach to addressing the reality within migrant and minority communities of being at the margins of society. One of the fundamental principles of Europe is the freedom of movement as exampled in the European Year of Workers Mobility 2006. There are many studies and research papers which demonstrate the economic benefits which derive from mobility.
The project developed a pan-European Internet Radio platform, incorporating Web 2.0 functionality, linked to innovative community based pedagogies – addressing employability, inclusion and active citizenship in an original and exciting way. The Internet Radio provides an innovative way to engage, retain and develop those who are excluded or at risk of exclusion, and its low-cost, extensibility and sustainability, compared with fm radio for example, is a key dimension in ensuring the success of this project.
Work-based and work-related learning in higher education for adult learners is seen as crucial to address labour market skills gaps predicted in European policy documents. It is also relevant to debates on work-related learning and upskilling that were identified in the Leitch Report produced in the UK.
The LETAE project funded by the EU under its Lifelong Learning Programme is concerned to identify good practice in partnerships and collaborations between enterprises, work organisations and employer groups and higher education institutions. It builds on the THEMP (Tertiary Higher Education for Mid-life People) project which concentrated on pedagogical issues related to adult learners in higher education; while in LETAE we are more interested in the work-based/-related elements of such programmes with a focus on partnerships and collaborations.
Main challenges of the ageing knowledge economy are constant upgrading of the skills of the active population and mitigating new and old social risks. In the aging society and the globalised knowledge economy, the people in mid-life are increasingly exposed to social risks of exclusion from the labour market. They are also excluded from formal Lifelong Learning (LLL), specifically Tertiary Lifelong Learning (TLL). The access of mid-life learners to TLL and their retention in the system have an increasing relevance for the socio-economic sustainability of the ageing European knowledge society.
Over the past decade, the Learning Region has become a widely adopted concept in European education policies. However the concept has taken different forms and has been reflected in a variety of network figurations. From different departures points and though various pathways many projects have developed domain specific knowledge in the area of social capital building, governance and institution building, stakeholder collaboration, public-private partnerships and transversal cooperation. The basic intention of the R3L+ project was to capitalize on this diversity by bringing together actors from our respective countries in order to learn from each other and jointly elaborate a common quality framework for the development and management of cooperative learning arrangements among educational providers, SMEs and public agencies.
EUROlocal is the European storehouse on the local and regional dimensions of lifelong learning. EUROlocal reinforces the EC policy on lifelong learning regions by collecting the tools, strategies, learning materials, reports and everything concerned with their development. EUROlocal represents an easily-accessible resource for local initiatives to the collective experience and knowledge resulting from these pan-European efforts.