Thu 01 Dec 2016 01:00:00 PM EET
Online tools or kilometres between learners are not obstacles in creating a sense of community in learning. The AE-PRO project demonstrates that committing people to online adult learning can be done if there are motivated learners and enough interaction.
The AE-PRO project partners and course participants met in Brussels in October.
"The most rewarding thing for me was gaining more global European perspective on adult education. I learned a lot during the AE-PRO course, met new people and gained more experience in the field. Now my head is full of new ideas that I would like to see realized one day in the future," says Martina Karásková, one of the learners of the AE-PRO e-learning platform.
Martina participated in the course “Adult Learning in the 21st Century” in 2016. The AE-PRO project, which is coming to an end in December 2016, activated hundreds of adult educators around Europe to strengthen their professional capacities and to network within them. During its implementation phase, the project organised two large online courses for professional adult educators.
Trainer Nikola Koruga (on the right) presents the results of the roundtable discussions at the project's final meeting.
The project partners and the most active participants of the courses met in Brussels in October to reflect on the project and share feedback on the courses. The most underlined finding by both learners and trainers was that a vivid community of adult professionals was born through the project.
”The most valuable outcome was the community of adult learners formed in the project. I’ve never seen such motivated and proactive e-learners,” says Nikola Koruga, from AES in Serbia, one of the trainers in the AE-PRO courses.
The project managed to commit learners for a period of two years as many of the learners participated in both adult education courses. Long period engagement is not a given especially in distance learning.
A group of AE-PRO trainers and learners discuss the ways to develop the courses further.
This was possible not only because of the motivated learners participating in the course but also through its careful planning. The webinars enabled the participants to discuss the topics instead of just reading course materials. The participants were also being activated through assignments and by encouraging them to interact on social media.
”The learning processes were designed to enable exchange of experiences, reflection and creating of knowledge. Bearing in mind that we worked with experienced adult educators from different background everything was based on mutual interaction,” Nikola Koruga says.
The AE-PRO project is approaching its end but the success of the project demonstrates that there is plenty of interest in capacity building for adult educators as well as exchanges.
"Adult education professionals can continue the discussion on the Younger Staff in Adult Education Facebook group. To promote learning mobilities between adult education organisations, the organisations can sign a public commitment to support common standards and values of mobilities, set out in Adult Education Mobility Charter," Gina Ebner says.
EAEA will also publish a toolkit for online course providers, based on the lessons learnt from the AE-PRO training. On the AE-PRO e-learning platform there will be a course available about using digital tools for adult education purposes hosted by an EAEA member organisation Learning & Work Institute. EAEA is currently also looking into the options for running a new AE-PRO course.
AE-PRO, European Adult Education (Young) Professionals Learning Platform (2014–2016) is an EAEA coordinated project. The project is funded by the European Commission.
Text and photos: Helka Repo