Putting down roots: establishing e-learning opportunities in informal adult education

This article was published on EPALE (en): https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/blog/wurzeln-schlagen-digitale-lernangebote-der-non-formalen-erwachsenenbildung-etablieren and you may read it there. Here is a short excerpt with reference to the main contents:

It had to be done and it was done quickly: as educational establishments closed due to COVID-19, digital modes of education were set up at short notice. It was a major achievement by all involved, some of whom were rewarded by large numbers of participants.  However, even in cases where the response was low, many learning providers are considering adding more e-learning opportunities to their programmes in the long term.
To do this, it is helpful to address the particulars of planning, structuring and providing e-learning opportunities in informal education and training.

First I give an overview on fundamental features of e-learning opportunities. The article goes into more detail on these aspects:

  • Target group analysis: who do I want to reach and who can I reach?
    • Learning support and structural guidelines
    • Learning time
    • Media access
    • Language skills, writing and reading ability
  • Structuring the learning process
    • Fundamental educational setting
    • Time budget
  • Designing e-learning opportunities: success factors
    • Organizing communication and collaboration
    • Using the shared time
    • Webinars
    • Visualisation
    • Assignments
    • Designing the environment
  • Online education also means online marketing

Advocacy: Giving adult education a voice and face

We can expect fewer educational opportunities and fewer providers; it looks rather gloomy. Do we have to accept this or do we find ways to prevent the educational landscape from becoming desolate?

This article was first published on EPALE: https://epale.ec.europa.eu/en/blog/advocacy-der-erwachsenenbildung-stimme-und-gesicht-geben

We do not need to read tea-leaves to foretell how difficult it will be for adult education in the future, because the first consequences of the coronavirus are already becoming apparent. Some educational providers are already insolvent, because they could not cope with the losses caused by the closures. Other providers will probably have to follow or at least reduce offers because:

  • A higher rate of unemployment leads to less money in households and can mean a decline in registrations and thus in income.
  • Municipal funding will be significantly lower, as municipal revenues from taxes etc. will fall and at the same time the spending, e.g. on social assistance, will increase. As a result, more offers become more expensive, which can also have a negative impact on the number of registrations. It is foreseeable that very few municipalities will recover from the crisis in the next twelve months. The same can also be assumed for state funding.
  • Funding is often based on the hours worked in the current year and in 2020 there will be significantly fewer hours due to closures.
  • As long as the distancing rules must be followed, many face-to-face sessions will no longer be able to take place with the calculated number of participants, which also leads to financial losses.
  • New funding pools, whether from federal, state or EU funds, are only likely for vocational education and training because all institutions are spending a great deal of money to combat the immediate consequences of the crisis. Money that will be lacking to further promote adult education as a whole.

In short: We can expect fewer educational opportunities and fewer providers; it looks rather gloomy. Do we have to accept this or do we find ways to prevent the educational landscape from becoming desolate?

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The big changes are yet to come: how has digitalisation changed education providers?

As part of EPALE’s focus on digital adult learning, I listened to the podcast “How has digitisation changed adult learning providers?“.

To anticipate: The participants (David Mallows, Markus Palmen, Simon Broek) had a broad, forward-looking and consructive view on the topic. I enjoyed it!

I liked that right at the beginning it was emphasised that digitalisation is a reality. It is here and it cannot be stopped. It can have a positive influence on adult education because digitalisation opens up more possibilities for us and because offers can become more attractive. My impression was: It is not that Palmen and Broek do not also see problems; but these are not reasons for them not to deal with it constructively.

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