What was the main purpose of the initiative?
“The aim of the project was the inclusion of the less-involved adults in learning”, says Ena Drenkhan from Estonian Non-formal Adult Education Association, Vabaharidus. “The goal was that at least 75% of the graduates get a positive learning experience and get informed about future learning opportunities. As a result, we increased their motivation to learn and also raised awareness about the need for lifelong learning among these adults.”
How does your project foster the outreach and access approach?
“The project was supported by the European Social Fund and that made offering the training free of charge for all the learners possible. That way, the trainings were more accessible for people from different social groups and parts of the country, especially for people with lower income. All study groups were planned quite small (10-12 people) and that, allowed the trainers to dedicate more time to each learner and use their ideas and questions to make the study group more personal and relevant for the group.”
What was the best practice learned from this project that you would like to share?
“Most important is the personal approach. Several times during the project we noticed that for the target group, for the people who are currently less involved in lifelong learning, it is quite important to have an individual and personal approach to learning first of all from the trainer, but also the whole organizing team. For example, there were several cases where people registered for the course but didn’t show up to the training day or stopped coming at some point. When we contacted the learners to ask them why this happened, we heard a variety of reasons; they forgot about the training, they didn’t have free time or decided at the very last minute that felt they weren’t ready to study again.
We found it was very important to talk to everybody individually and to persuade, to explain, and most importantly, to support them throughout this process. Doing all this repeatedly gave good results, and most people we talked to eventually ended up continuing their studies.”
Text: Dimitris Charmpis, EAEA. Photos: Estonian Non-Formal Adult Education Association
Development of key competences in Estonian non-formal education centres and folk high schools
Category: National and Transnational initiatives
Coordinator: Estonian Non-Formal Adult Education Association
Focus: Inclusion of less-involved adults in learning
Outreach and access approach: Trainings for underrepresented adults through a learner-centered approach
Resources: Vabaharidus.ee website