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 change-oriented practises  in the fields of digitalisation and democracy, which is 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:

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. The collected practices will be a resource for AE organisations, staff, trainers and policy-makers at different levels.


The outcome of the Intellectual Output 1, resource collection and analysis report “Change-oriented adult education in the fields of democracy and digitalisation” by Jyri Manninen, Anna Jetsu & Irena Sgier has been published.

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.

You can suggest a change oriented practice by filling in our online resource collection form.


Adults and digitalisation of our society – How can we manage the challenges of digitalisation by using change oriented adult education?

Adult education and digitalisation workshop will be organised in Helsinki 11 December 2019. The workshop will showcase change oriented adult education practices and tools, and give a chance to reflect how adult education can take a more proactive role in the digital transformation of our society.


Time: 11 December, 9.00-16.30
Location: G Livelab, Yrjönkatu 3, 00120 Helsinki, Finland

The workshop is built around the following questions:

  1. What kind of challenges and problems digitalisation causes for adults, communities and society?
  2. What is change-oriented adult education?
  3. What examples there are of change-oriented adult education?
  4. How can we use change-oriented adult education as a tool to solve these challenges?

The workshop will use interactive methods and digital tools to reflect upon how adult education can help to manage the challenges of digitalisation, and discuss how these practices can be transferred to participants’ organisations and countries.  At the end of the day, the participants will have an understanding, what is change-oriented adult education and how to use a change-oriented approach in teaching and learning provision, and how it could be taken into account at the policy level.

Workshop agenda updated (pdf)

Information about travel and accommodation in Helsinki (pdf)

Registration to the workshop latest 2.12.2019: Registration form

The workshop is organised by the Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation (KVS) in cooperation with the FuturelabAE project consortium.

Additional events in Helsinki 12 December


On Thursday 12 December 9.00 – 11.00 a study visit will be organised to XEdu. xEdu is a business accelerator for educational technology startups creating transformative learning solutions with pedagogical impact.


In the morning 12 December there is a discussion event focusing on climate change, activism and the future of Europe:

We Europeans share a great, common task – our goal is to make Europe a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, civilised society. Can we, as citizens and nations, still find the right track? The bilingual discussion is held in English and Finnish and follows a constructive discussion method called Timeout. More information on the discussion event

Study visit and discussion event are for maximum 15 participants each. If there are more than 15 people interested, priority is given for participants travelling to Finland with Erasmus+ KA1 mobility grants. Registration is with the same form as for the digitalisation workshop (it’s also possible to participate only in Thursday’s events.)

Further information on the events in Helsinki:



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