SAE project partners

New educational models for the digital era

Smart Adult Education (SAE) project has enhanced adult educators skills in designing effective interventions aimed at bridging the relational and social gap imposed by the pandemic.  The initiative took part in EAEA Grundtvig Awards 2021 and was granted a highly commendable mention.

What was the main purpose of the project/initiative?

“The main purpose of the SAE project was to promote the social and employment inclusion of vulnerable adults by strengthening the skills of educators and teachers who work with them daily, says Valeria Ferrarini from Aretés società cooperativa, the coordinating organisation of the project. 

Funded by Erasmus+, SAE provided educators and teachers with digital tools, open-source learning resources,  learning methodologies and practical and operational assessment tools to support them in their work.

SAE has developed a Web App ( containing a Digital Learning Toolkit for building learning pathways and an Assessment Competences Toolkit for assessing adult competences. These innovative digital tools enable educators and teachers to design personal growth paths based on a professional assessment of the basic and soft skills of learners.

The two Toolkits are based on a methodological system organised in four functional areas: work, logical thinking, communication, and democratic culture. Each area is made up of three competences which, together, make up a set of 12 competences related to the Key Competences of Lifelong Learning (literacy, multilingual, STEM, digital, learning to learn, citizenship, entrepreneurship, intercultural) and the so-called soft-skills (creativity, negotiation, team work, expressive ability). SAE has been evaluated as Good Practice by the Italian Agency INDIRE.”

How did the project foster digitalisation and democracy?

“SAE project has supported the professionalisation of educators and teachers working with vulnerable adults by providing them new tools and working methods. This meant first of all raising awareness among teachers about the need to pay great attention to the creation of digital relationships with vulnerable people.

Fragile adults often have a weak support network, a low level of skills and a disrupted educational pathway. Due to the impact of Covid-19, these people’s living conditions have deteriorated significantly, increasing the risk of marginalization. SAE has been an important opportunity for educators, operators, and teachers to enhance their digital skills to design new and effective interventions aimed at bridging the relational and social gap imposed by Covid-regulations. Supporting the growth of vulnerable people helps them to become protagonists of their own life experience, both personally and at a community level.”

What was the best practice learnt from this project?

“The SAE project has provided a new approach to partner organisations by promoting digital as a simple, accessible and daily way to build effective relationships with vulnerable adults. SAE has helped to introduce a new digital culture within partner organisations, thereby qualifying their professional competences, training provision and relationships.

The best practices learnt from this project are:

1) How to design personalised competence training pathways using digital tools. Teachers, educators and trainers can offer their adult learners digital training pathways based on effective non-formal learning methodologies. The Digital Learning Toolkit offers 40 platforms and digital work tools, selected from the most effective international Web Apps, containing concepts, exercises, quizzes and games to build lessons or design learning paths.

2) How to design personalised competence assessment using digital tools. The Assessment Competences Toolkit provides tools that can measure the “health” of the frail adult’s competency system, leading them to reflect on their own potential and helping them to identify the areas on which growth and change are needed. The Toolkit is built on the theoretical perspective of Luhmannian sociology which is strongly based on the centrality of communication.”

Text: EAEA, Smart Adult Education project. Photo: Smart Adult Education project


Smart Adult Education

Name: SAE – Smart Adult Education
Category: Transnational initiatives
Countries: Italy, Spain, Romania, and Greece
Coordinator: Aretés società cooperativa (Italy)
Contact: Valeria Ferrarini, valeria.ferrarini(at) or aretes(at)
Partners: CPIA Napoli (Italy), Studio Erresse (Italy), Fundación Cibervoluntarios (Spain), EOI – Do Mundo Lume (Spain), Association for Education and Sustainable Development – AESD (Romania), Dafni Kek (Greece), University of Patras (Greece).
Focus: Building soft skills with digital and participatory methods

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