The representatives of DomSpain are talking about their experience with the project as they receive the award
26.07.2019

EAEA Grundtvig Award winner: developing entrepreneurial skills with online courses

In June EAEA and its members celebrated the winners of GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2019 in Copenhagen. The winner of the European category, project OpenITup, addresses a very topical and hot issue of today’s’ job market: unemployment. The project promotes the idea of entrepreneurial thinking and self-employment as a solution to the high demand for jobs and low job market capacity. The project partners found a way to teach entrepreneurial skills through a humanistic approach, making learning comfortable, convenient and personally relevant to different categories of people, including both educators and adult learners. In this interview, the partners of the project give more insight into its agenda and what it has achieved so far.

What was the main purpose of this project?

“OpenITup: Boosting Adult Educators’ Competences to Upskill Pathways of Adults Learners” aims at extending and developing educators’ competences in the effective teaching of literacy, digital and entrepreneurial skills of vulnerable groups of adult learners, by making use of new effective tools and technologies.

“OpenITup” is an opportunity for both educators and adult learners to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be self-employed, a very challenging goal that seems almost impossible without basic skills, such as literacy and – in the world of global digitalisation – digital skills as well as basic knowledge of entrepreneurship concepts.

During the project, we developed materials both for educators and learners, including online courses, business idea cards, videos describing EU start-ups, and so on. Partners also created a resource library and webinars for educators.

How did the project foster the life skills approach?

“The main purpose of the project was to support educators involved in teaching vulnerable adults, providing them with teaching tools and materials tailored to the special needs of their learners with the ultimate objective to reinforce life skills of adults. To this end, partners developed a wide variety of teaching and learning resources designed to improve the language and communication skills, digital literacy and entrepreneurship mindset of adults, for them to later apply the skills acquired in their daily life and at work.”

The project aims at improving learners’ entrepreneurial skills through accessible and easy-to-use digital tools

What was the impact of the project?

“The main impact of the life skills approach is that learners have increased motivation for language learning through innovative teaching methods and better links to the practical use of language skills required by the labour market. After the project, those adult learners who have a business idea will have more capacity and support in bringing it to life, thanks to the development of new skills and competences.

The long-term impact of the project on participating organisations is to improve their capacity of development of international educational programmes by increasing their administrative potential and strengthening their management and organisational competences. They will be able to better identify and recognise both the needs and the skills and qualifications of their learners and, thus, to adapt and tailor their educational programmes to their more specific target groups (low-skilled and low-educated adult learners).”

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?

“We have asked our project partners what they consider as the best project practice and all the answers can be summed up as follows:

● Effective cooperation and collaboration between the partners based on the experience and knowledge gained while working together in other projects and building a good team.

● A teaching process embraces two groups: teachers and learners. Having in mind both adult educators and adult learners while planning and developing the project outputs was very challenging but also rewarding.

● The creativity that all partners have put together to design the online course has been a very inspiring experience, which led to a very vivid course that any adult learner can feel identified with because units unfold themselves in a story of a character a learner chooses at the beginning of each course. Both educators and learners have enjoyed the process itself, not only the result.

We have learned how to work efficiently with people from different cultures and organisational structures. We have also learned to be proactive and constantly looking for ways to make the project better

OpenITup is an example of how collaboration can foster creativity and greater outcomes

OpenITup

Category: European projects
Coordinator: DomSpain
Country: Organisations from Spain, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Turkey, the UK.
Focus: Literacy, digital and entrepreneurial skills
Life Skills approach: online courses for adult learners and teachers
Resources: project’s website with access to the learning materials

Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: EAEA, Project partners

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