Development of Online Consumer Education Tools for Adults

The project was put out to tender by DG SANCO, The Health and Consumer Protection Directorate of the European Commission, and awarded to EUCEN (European Universities Continuing Education Network) in 2003. The aim of the project was to develop interactive web-based tools for consumer education.

Objectives:

The objectives of the project are to assist in raising the level of awareness and understanding of European consumer rights in the Member States and to develop interactive web-based tools for consumer education. The project supposed to produce and disseminate on-line learning material, to provide useful information, to develop various skills, and especially to make people aware of their rights and responsibilities as citizens, in terms of consumers.

Target groups:

The target groups of Dolceta project are primarily schoolteachers, professors, trainers and adult educators in educational institutions, government bodies with consumer responsibilities, consumer associations etc. and secondly, individual consumers. The issues highlighted in the Dolceta modules mainly strive to improve the situation of vulnerable consumers -that is to say individuals who meet at least one of the following criteria:
 Low income,
 Non-native speaking background,
 Intellectual, psychiatric, physical, sensory or neurological disability,
 Serious or chronic illness,
 Poor reading, writing and numerical skills,
 Homeless,
 Very young/ old age,
 Indigenous background,
 Originating from a remote area.

Outcomes:

The project offered attractive, accessible and interactive on-line learning material to teachers in the primary, secondary, and high school, as well to trainers in adult education in “Teacher’s corner”. All the modules was developed by all the partners of Dolceta project, in their own manner, but taking in consideration a common framework, delivered by an international / European team, which designed the template of each module.
Partners: The project was managed by EUCEN (European Association for University Lifelong Learning) in cooperation with EAEA and national teams in all the 27 Member States of the European Union involving universities, consumer associations, and adult education associations. EAEA was responsible for testing of developed materials with real users in real educational environment as well as the overall coordination of the work flow within the development of new modules and maintenance of the existing once. The project ended in June 2011.

Products:

The web site www.dolceta.eu is available in all official EU languages and has been tailored to national legislation and culture of the 27 EU Member States. It comprises information, advice and training for consumers giving them the necessary skills:
 to compare products and services on the market,
 to decide on purchases,
 to defend their rights as consumers.


The web-site contains modules covering different topics. The modules themselves are not conceived as a whole course, rather as additional resources for specific issues. From 2003 to 2006 DOLCETA produced 8 modules:
• Consumer rights
• Financial services
• Products safety
• Teachers’ corner
• Sustainable consumption
• Services of General Interest
• Financial Literacy
• Food safety
Each module is:
• accessible and user friendly
• available in all the official languages of the 27 Member States
• created by experts in the consumer protection, law and regulation at European and national level for each topic, in pedagogy and in on-line learning
• tested with a mixed group of around 10 learners and/or teachers in each Member State, drawn from the target groups
• reviewed and evaluators by international experts
• supported by an on-line users’ guide, web links, contacts and other sources of further information