Connectivity is a KA2 Erasmus+ Adult Education project which focuses on developing a method of sustainable inclusion for unemployed adults through educational outdoor activities. While developing the project idea we approached organisations that work already with this specific target group through non-formal tools and can bring a wide variety of ideas and experience along. Each of our partners has a different working environment, therefore their method and impact are also different from one another, still, they all share the need of creating outdoor activities that hold educational value and could stimulate motion in their local communities and beyond.
Creating an accessible learning frame for disadvantaged groups is a common challenge throughout Europe, especially when it comes to adults. There is a growing interest in working with youth and supporting it through various activities and opportunities, but offering the same to adults seems to be more difficult. One of the main reasons for this is that these adults are less likely to participate in such events, in most cases the participants are people who already take advantage of many learning opportunities. Also, this is the target group that has difficulties in adjusting to the formal educational system, thus losing connection with education in any form. This often results in social exclusion and borderline behavior.
On one hand, there are many organizations that focus on this target group and create various activities for support (such as biking, city safari, etc.), still, in many cases, these events have no educational value and no long-term impact.
On the other hand, even if the organized activities do have an educational purpose, they serve as a one-time experience and they hardly create a difference in the long run.
Through this project, we would like to offer a solution to this challenge by improving and extending the supply of high-quality learning opportunities tailored to the needs of individual fewer opportunity adults so that they enhance their key competencies and have higher chances to enter the labor market. Together with our partners and staff members, we plan to develop a sustainable method of inclusion that has a long-term impact not only on the affected individuals but also on the organizations and on their local communities. By creating an innovative playground and engaging persons with limited formal education not only in the activities of the organizations but also in the work of these organizations, inclusion will happen on a much bigger scale and will serve as a way to tackle unemployment.
Our approach is based on three main principles: experiential learning, outdoor education, and process-based methodology.
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I understand.
This quote well represents the core of experiential learning, which is a process through which people develop knowledge, skills, and values directly from personal experiences, through the analysis of, and reflection on, the activities they are involved in. Experiential learning is, quite simply, learning by doing. It requires personal involvement and offers tailor-made learning processes.
Outdoor education can be defined as experiential learning in an outdoor context. The term 'outdoor education', however, is broadly used to refer to a range of organized activities that take place in a variety of ways in predominantly outdoor environments.
Why did we choose outdoor activities? Based on our experience activities organized in an out-of-the-door context are simple, easy to access, and effective, regardless of the social competencies or background of the target group. These can be short games, walking, biking, or any other activities which create a learning frame. By choosing this method, we change the context and create a setting that stimulates learning and progress, especially for those who experience difficulties when it comes to fitting into the formal educational system. Through outdoor games and activities, we aim to create a non-formal playground for the target group in order to make learning accessible for the involved individuals.
In order to meet the project objectives and planned results, we use the process-based methodology, which is in line with Andrew McCoshan’s EPALE Thematic Coordinator. Andrew indicates, that one of the challenges in adult learning is moving towards inclusiveness in a context where hard-to-reach learners need intensive and tailored interventions.
In the review he identifies the following steps:
- reaching out to the target;
- identifying their set of skills;
- designing programs appropriately and choosing the most suitable pedagogies;
- supporting the non-learning issues;
- giving follow-up support.
Throughout our learning, teaching, and training events we take these steps into consideration and support the staff members of our partner organizations in developing a suitable method of inclusion.
Erasmus+ is an EU Program in the fields of education, training, youth, and sport. Education, training, youth, and sport can make a major contribution to help tackle socio-economic changes, the key challenges that Europe is facing, and to support the implementation of the European policy agenda for growth, jobs, equity, and social inclusion.
Fighting high levels of unemployment - particularly among young people - is one of the most urgent tasks for European governments. Too many young people leave school prematurely running a high risk of being unemployed and socially marginalized. The same risk threatens many adults with low skills. Technologies are changing the way in which society operates, and there is a need to ensure the best use is made of them. EU businesses need to become more competitive through talent and innovation.
Another challenge relates to the development of social capital among young people, the empowerment of young people, and their ability to participate actively in society, in line with the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty to "encourage the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe". This issue can also be targeted through non-formal learning activities, which aim at enhancing the skills and competencies of young people as well as their active citizenship. Moreover, there is a need to provide youth organizations and youth workers with training and cooperation opportunities, to develop their professionalism and the European dimension of youth work.
Connectivity is a KA2 Erasmus+ project funded by the Dutch National Agency. KA2 projects are international projects that aim to create Strategic Partnerships that support the development, transfer, and/or implementation of innovative practices and joint initiatives that promote cooperation, mutual learning, and exchange of experience at a European level.
What are the activities supported in a Strategic Partnership?
Over the lifetime of a project, and depending on the type of Strategic Partnership, projects may typically realize a broad range of activities, for example:
- activities that strengthen the cooperation and networking between organizations;
- testing and/or implementation of innovative practices in the field of education;
- activities that facilitate the recognition and validation of knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired through formal, non-formal, and informal learning;
- activities of cooperation between regional authorities to promote the development of education;
- activities that support learners with disabilities/special needs to complete education cycles and facilitate their transition into the labor market, thus combating segregation and discrimination in education for marginalized communities;
- activities to better prepare and deploy the education and training of professionals for equity, diversity, and inclusion challenges in the learning environment;
- activities to promote the integration of refugees, asylum seekers, and newly arrived migrants and raise awareness about the refugee crisis in Europe;
- transnational initiatives fostering entrepreneurial mind-sets and skills.
Strategic Partnerships may also organize transnational learning, teaching, and training activities of individuals, as long as these bring added value in the achievement of the project’s objectives.
We started this project all together in Bergolo, Italy
First training meeting
We meet again in Ommen, The Netherlands for our first Training course.
Each partner organisation performs activities in their local community connected to the project
Second training meeting
Ommen, The Netherlands
First multiplier event
In each partner country
Third training meeting
Ommen, the Netherlands
In each partner country
Fourth training meeting
Ommen, The Netherlands
Second multiplier event
In each partner country
The objectives of the project are several:
Extending and training the competences
Extending and training the competences of our partner organizations when working with fewer opportunity adults (designing activities, creating a sustainable relationship with the target group, offering different learning opportunities within the organization, encouraging the active participation of unemployed adults within society)
Improving and extending the supply
Improving and extending the supply of high-quality learning opportunities tailored to the needs of individual fewer opportunity adults so they enhance their key competences;
Disseminating the project results
Disseminating the project results, inside and outside of the participating countries with the support of the associated organizations during and after the project duration;
Ensuring the step-by-step evaluation of the project through transnational meetings, training events, Europasses and learning questionnaires
Creating a sustainable partnership of complimentary parties.