FutureLabAE project addresses two main issues: the situation of democracy in Europe, where an increasing number of citizens, who, 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. Adult education has a role to play in supporting societies and individuals to cope with these two issues.

Challenges for adult education organisations and providers (including trainers) and possible solutions:

  • Adult education organisations are often compelled to be reactive rather than pro-active and change-oriented; education can have a three-way relation to change through:
    • a reactive activity – helping adults, organisations and society to adapt in the changes that has already taken place;
    • a proactive activity – helping to anticipate future situations, or
    • a change oriented activity – helping to create new competences and practices which are a necessary condition for any change and/or development to take place.
  • Adult education staff and trainers are frequently themselves not prepared for changes in societies. They are often busy to adapt to changes in society and have little resources and competences that are needed to reorganize training provision in a more change oriented way.

Aim and objectives of the project

FutureLabAE will provide adult education organisations, staff and trainers with:

  • resources
  • a space for discussing with and learning from each other
  • knowledge, expertise and tools to become more pro-active in order to develop innovative, change oriented provision which will have, on a medium-term, an extremely positive impact on low-skilled learners and the society as a whole.

Partners will develop very concrete recommendations that will allow policy-makers to support the AE sector in the challenges above mentioned as well as to draft policy initiatives on digitalisation and democracy more coherent and impactful.


  • Increased knowledge on the challenges linked to digitalisation and democracy among AE organisations, trainers and policy-makers
  • Improved methodologies and practice of AE organisations and trainers
  • Improved advocacy capacity of adult education providers and organisations
  • Increased and improved involvement of providers and organisations in the shaping of policies at the European, national, regional and local levels
  • Strengthened cooperation among providers, organisations and policy-makers within Member States and across Europe.


  • A collection and analysis of resources on change-oriented practice in the fields of digitalisation and democracy, which will be a source of inspiration not only for AE organisations, staff and trainers, but also to policy-makers at different levels
  • Two online courses (which include live and interactive webinars) on digitalisation/democracy and adult education addressed to AE organisations, staff and trainers
  • Two hands-on methodologies for change-oriented workshops on digitalisation and democracy
  • Project conclusions and recommendations for policy-makers and stakeholders (on European, national, regional and local levels)
  • Guidelines for AE organisations and staff on how to work more pro-actively and more effectively with the topics, in order to successfully reach out to and support people with low digital and civic competences


Two workshops are foreseen:

  • Workshop on digitalisation and Adult Education – Helsinki (Finland) – 11th of December 2019 (More info will be available soon)
  • Workshop on democracy and Adult Education – Dublin (Ireland) December 2020

Two regional meetings are foreseen:

  • Central-Eastern Europe regional meeting in Bratislava (Slovakia) –  April 2020
  • Southern Europe Regional meeting in Portugal – March 2021

A final conference on the project result is foreseen in Brussels (Belgium) in June 2021, back to back to the EAEA General Assembly.

Change oriented adult education

One of the tasks of FutureLabAE project is a collection and analysis of change oriented adult education practises in the fields of digitalisation and democracy.  Change oriented adult education aims at changing individuals and/or society, not just to helping them adapt in the current situation.  The collected practices will be a resource for AE organisations, staff, trainers and policy-makers at different levels.

How do we define adult education?

We are interested in all practices (courses, learning communities or other learning environments) and tools (books, games etc.) that help adults to learn new skills, attitudes, ways of thinking and behaving – in a more change oriented way. Learning is the key point, no matter whether the learning process is planned or naturally occurring, formal or nonformal, work related or non-vocational.

How do we define change oriented?

A good guideline are the following two types of change orientation (Picon 1991), describing two alternative change oriented roles adult education may have:

  1. Improve the society, community and individuals and make the necessary adjustments for more equity and better society. For example course “How to become a critically aware social media user” aims giving the participant a deeper understanding of how Facebook algorithms work and strengthen the “bubbles” people live in, and learn to change own behavior accordingly.
  2. A more radical structural transformation leading to considerable different new ways of thinking and acting (at individual level) and/or bigger change in community and society, whether by progressive steps or radical changes through “revolutionary” (but not violent) processes. For example: Social movement where citizens and social media experts develop a new type of social media, which works the opposite way than Facebook – helps to break the bubbles and engages people in authentic dialogue in social media.

What type of resources are we looking for?

We are looking for courses, seminars or webinars, informal learning practices (learning communities, discussion groups), community development programmes, training and learning methods, learning tools (games, apps) and materials. Please contact Riccardo Gulletta for more information.

You can suggest a change oriented practice by filling in our online resource collection form. Deadline for collection of practises is 12.4.2019.


The Future-Lab consortium is composed of 9 partners from 8 countries.


Institut National de Formation et de Recherche sur l’Education Permanente (INFREP) – France

  • European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) – Belgium
  • National Adult Learning Organisation (AONTAS) – Ireland
  • Asociacia institucii vzdelavania dospelych v Slovenskej republike (AIVD) – Slovakia
  • Kansanvalistusseura (KVS) – Finland
  • Itä-Suomen yliopisto (UEF) – Finland
  • Amar Terra Verde, LDA. (EPATV) – Portugal
  • Die Wiener Volkshochschulen GMBH (VHS) – Austria
  • Swiss Federation for Adult Learning (SVEB) – Switzerland –> Joined thanks to national funding