How to reach out to potential learners? How to convince stakeholders of the benefits of lifelong learning? How to raise awareness for adult education? OED Network's publication "Engaging New Learners in Adult Education – Short guide for policy makers and adult educators" answers these questions.
The publication presents useful tips and recommendations coming from three successful European projects and aims at linking the OED network results to other innovative practices in the EU.
OED: Finding the learners
One of the objectives of the Outreach Empowerment and Diversity project (OED) project was to tackle the need for outreach to disadvantaged groups for the development of more diversity in adult education, and especially the inclusion of learners' voices. Non-formal adult learning is key in reaching out to potential learners, especially the underrepresented ones. To ensure this, the OED consortium believes that learning needs to be adapted to the learner's requirements. How can this be achieved? By adopting learner-centred approach, using innovative and empowering methodologies and strengthening more inclusive adult education structures.
Best practices show many innovative ways how to reach out and work with different learners, but adult education providers will need support for implementing new ways of working – especially from policy makers, who are asked to make outreach and empowerment a policy priority.
BeLL: Proven effects of lifelong learning
Adult education affects people's lives in ways that go far beyond what can be measured by labour market earnings and economic growth. Adult learning plays a significant role in promoting personal, social and economic well-being and value. Benefits include areas such health, civic engagement and social cohesion, attitude change, (educational) progression, crime, parenting and poverty reduction. The data collected in the framework of BeLL project show that adult learners experience numerous benefits from liberal adult education and those are much more evident in learners with a disadvantaged background.
BeLL – Benefits of Lifelong Learning project investigated the benefits to learners of participation in organised non-formal, non-vocational, voluntary adult education in Europe. The study was carried out by a consortium of partner organisations from nine EU Member States plus Serbia as a tenth associated partner.
Decision-makers tend to underestimate the possibilities of non-formal adult learning and adult education providers are still not enough aware of the potentialities of the BeLL research for the sector.
ARALE: Promoting adult learning
All over Europe adult education organisations and providers are striving to raise awareness for adult learning and education. Campaigning for adult learning is a key priority at national, regional as well as European level. This might include taking politicians on a bus tour, producing TV-ads that motivate adults to learn basic reading and writing or organising a learner festival. The ARALE project collected awareness raising and advocacy activities for adult education in Europe directed at the general public, at specific target groups and at policy-makers and provides a lot of good hints for adult educators that want to start such an adventure.
EAEA believes that this brochure will be useful both for adult education providers and policy-makers who want to make real progress in engaging new learners into adult education, and thank in advance those who will decide to take this long road.
The OED final brochure "Engaging new learners in adult education" is available at the OED website.