“Learning Saturday” is a one-day version of the Adult Learners´ Week. Its first objective is to make the broad spectrum of learning possibilities for adults known to a wider audience. Its second objective is to form local partnerships between adult education providers (both non-formal and formal) in the local communities. Its third objective is to build Learners Saturday (later Learning Days) into a well-known national event in five years. 2012 welcomed the second edition of this event. For its last edition, on May 25, 15 cities in Denmark participated in the event.
On the national level, the DFS made a partnership with other national umbrella organisations working with adult learning, most notably the national organisation for public libraries. Funds for the event were raised on a national level, for local event-makers to apply for. A common logo was produced. A call for videos with learners’ own stories were made and a jury selected the best one – and awarded the winner with a week-long course in a residential folk high school. The primary aim of this competition was to give the local events a national identity and to provide national media back up.
On the local level providers established festival-like events with talks and showcases of their learning activities. This happened in town halls, town squares, shopping malls, libraries, cultural centres and – in one city – in a former church. All events took place at locations where ordinary citizens would pass by. In most cities there was local media pre-coverage and some organisers placed adds in local newspapers.
What was achieved?
A good number of citizens learned about learning activities in their city. Our objective was to have activities in 10 cities. With 15 cities involved, it was a major success. The scope of the events and the number of citizens participating varied greatly from city to city.
Also, local partnerships between providers of all kinds were established. In some cities, the new partnerships live on and are used for additional purposes, like providing the basis for the follow-up event Learners’ Week 2013. Learning Saturday is a stepping stone in the five year long building of a truly nation-wide event.
Local media covered the events both before and after the day of the event. The local media in the city of the winner of the video competition covered it big-time. However, national media almost ignored the video competition and the Learning Saturday event as a whole.
Which were the key elements of success?
On the national level we established a framework – and some funding – that the local providers could use as they liked. A large degree of freedom for the local organisers was important for the relative success of the initiative. We did not succeed in making the video-competition national media news – even though a famous TV host was in the jury – so the national video-event did not support the local activities. The focus on national and local partnerships, with a broader group of providers than the non-formal providers of DFS, was important for the 2012 events as such, but especially for the project of building something bigger in 2013.