“Adult learning: it is never too late to learn” communication from the EC outlined that adult learning is a key issue to handle as the “essential contribution of adult learning, through the acquisition of key competences by all, to employability and mobility. Aligned with this idea, Eurostat recent data1 on “Adult Learning Statistics” remarks the fact that “adults with a low level of educational attainment and a lack of skills are more likely to earn lower than average wages and are more vulnerable to the precarious nature of the labour market. These individuals often suffer from a lack of basic skills that are increasingly considered as essential for a modern-day economy: literacy, numeracy and technological skills (‘digital literacy’).”
Within this context, the App4Skills project was designed to contribute to the development of adult learners´ basic skills (mainly numeracy, literacy and digital skills) through the implementation of a set of proposed activities. The core approach of App4Skills has to do with the use of a webapp that offers adult learners the opportunity to engage on leisure activities in three specific areas: cooking, gardening and environment protection, and DIY – “do it yourself” and handcraft.
More than 60 activities on those areas are published, based on 3 levels of difficulty. Each activity is explained in a step-by-step format, and includes reference to the specific area, competence(s) addressed, language, difficulty level, additional examples and estimated implementation time. Users can select the preferred area, language and activity, and respond to the proposed challenges to gain points in an international competition. The best performers are listed in the leaderboard section. But App4Skills counts on also with some interesting features. Users can rate activities, share them through the social media, take the challenge or add their own activities. The webapp is a very versatile tool that can be used both by the professionals that work in adult education, who can use it to reinforce in a playful way the knowledge and competences they work with in their classes; as well as for those adults who wish to improve their basic skills on their own. App4Skills webapp contributes to:
The tool, which is free, was tested by more than 30 adult trainers and more than 120 adult learners in the project partners´ countries. This testing phase provided very useful feedback, so improvements are implemented in the final version. App4skills final webapp is available in 5 languages (English, Spanish, Italian, Finish, Turkish and Polish) at http://app4skills.fundacionjuandelostoyos.org from August 2019.
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One of the priorities of ET2020 is the professional development of staff working in the adult education sector, with a view to improve the quality and efficiency of adult learning. Following this priority in 2010 a framework for “Key Competences for Adult Learning Staff” has been launched, which defines the generic and specific competency profile for professional staff working in adult education.
Starting from the Education and Training 2020 strategy whose objective is the improvement of quality and efficiency in education and training among professional staffs, five organizations with valuable experience in the field of adult education from five different countries (Germany, Greece, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria), representing both private and public as also profit and non-profit sectors, have created a partnership to launch DEMAL project.
The “Designing, monitoring and evaluating adult learning classes – Supporting quality in adult learning” (acronym DEMAL) project is funded by the European Commission through the ERASMUS+ K2 Programme which enhances and promotes cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices. DEMAL intends to implement two key competences which, according to the 2010 “Key Competences for Adult Learning Professionals” framework, should advance adult training staffs and improve quality in adult learning. These two competences are:
The new 2 years Erasmus+ project Walk & Talk promotes non-formal learning of Europeans 65+, along with physical activities taking place outside the classroom. While the seniors are walking, they will learn about the interrelation between physical activity and active and healthy aging. They might learn a new language, discuss local culture and history, traditions, use apps etc. Senior learners can meet outside the centre of their home towns, in nature, or within their own surrounding or neighbourhood, which will be easier for the seniors living in big cities.
The DAVE project has produced an adult education trainer competence profile and a methodology for validating competence of Adult Education Trainers (AETs), called Expertise Check up. The competence profile is based on desk research on existing competence profiles at OECD level and on a need analysis carried out in a number of adult education providers including the partners.
Many experienced, knowledgeable and competent adult educators have no formal teaching qualification. If this situation applies to you, then the Toolkit will help you get recognition for what you have learned so far as an adult educator, by universities, colleges and employers. The resources can also be used to help you make plans for your professional development, with a view to achieving excellence in the practice of adult education.