Slovenian non-formal educational training programs are systematically focused on gaining basic skills, which are based on eight key competences, developing general literacy and re-evaluating the meaning of learning and education by adult learners, especially those in vulnerable or marginalised groups of adults (with lower levels of education, mostly unemployed and inactive on the labour market or excluded from the processes of decision-making at the local levels).
Didactically, they are designed in such way that the educator chooses from the model of the program which is most appropriate and adjusts the program to the needs of participants. The current needs of the participants are the key, as the response to their needs ensures motivation. When a key change is caused by the education and active participation of a participant, a new educational need arises. The educator can choose a new program to continue working with participants who have strengthened their need to continue their education or, if they met for the first time, according to their desire for continued education. This continuation can lead to empowerment for independent action and learning.
The programs consist of basic building blocks. Learning is considered successful if the learners actively participate in all the phases of learning – from the selection of topics to planning, carrying out the project, monitoring and evaluation of learning. As a result, variegated and multi-layered learning is embedded throughout the project work, which encourages people to cooperate with each other, take responsibility and identify with the rural community. Participants therefore learn to define problems by themselves and search for appropriate solutions to upcoming issues during the learning process, while reflecting on the decisions made. Teachers help them with their activities and individually support their development in numeracy, literacy and ICT skills.
Literacy teachers in the programs are trained and must have a ‘licence’ in order to teach in those programs. In each group of mostly 12 participants, two pair-teachers teach at a time. The main method of work is project work, which emphasizes the learners’ needs and interests and does not follow the subject-organization of a formal school curriculum. The whole curriculum is learner centred and negotiated. As citizenship education is an integral part of the literacy programs in Slovenia, literacy teachers are trained to incorporate citizenship education in the programs according to the participants’ needs.