Fostering change-oriented adult education – now it’s time to act!

The FutureLabAE project provides educators and providers with the knowledge, expertise, and tools to become more change-oriented in their adult learning provision and practices. The consortium has just published the final outputs of 33 months of intense work: the FuturelabAE guidelines and policy recommendations.

The final project outputs’ call for action

The guidelines aim to support adult educators, community developers, civic activists, and adult education providers in designing and implementing change-oriented adult education. They can be used in the individual, community, and social development fields. Being structured by real questions that educators asked, the guidelines are very concrete and straightforward. They also include enriching examples and references to the theoretical background of the FutureLabAE project.

The recommendations aim to make change-oriented adult education promoted and sustained by policymakers at various geographical levels, especially related to digitalisation and democracy. The document includes quotes from the final conference and concrete cases taken from the FutureLabAE repository of good practices and tools.

The documents have been developed taking into consideration what the consortium has been discussing with and collecting from the project participants during the whole FutureLabAE’s lifespan.

Achieving our goals through uncertainty

The consortium is proud of what has been achieved in the last two and a half years and is thankful for the great interest shown by the adult education and learning (ALE) sector. The project has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis that started right in the middle of it. Positively at first, because when the pandemic hit, the consortium was about to launch an online course on digitalisation and change-oriented adult education, which was a success. Then negatively, because autumn 2020 was hectic for the whole ALE sector and thus the online course on change-oriented adult education and democracy gathered fewer participants than foreseen. Moreover, due to the continued travel restrictions, it became clear that none of the many face-to-face meetings and events could take place. After trying to postpone them in the hope of better times, the consortium did a great job organising all events online – managing the technical issues while putting participants and learners at the centre. As a result, the satisfaction rate of all of them has been very high.

The pandemic has also provided more motivation to the consortium and the whole ALE sector to fight against inequalities and shape the society we live in. The project addressed two challenges that got even more compelling in the last years: the situation of democracy in Europe, where an increasing number of citizens, discontent with the political establishment, start leaning towards xenophobic and populist parties or choose not to vote at all; and the alarmingly high number of people in Europe who lack basic skills, especially digital skills, leaving parts of the population unable to benefit from the digital transformation.

Being more prepared for, proactive with, and change-oriented towards these challenges is a forward-looking strategy for providers and educators and a way to reconnect with the roots and history of adult education. The FutureLabAE project has provided all that is needed to make this become a reality.

Text: Francesca Operti, EAEA


The guidelines and recommendations will be published in several languages. Currently, the guidelines are available in English and Finnish, the recommendations are available in English. The language versions are available on the project webpage.