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EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe


Erasmus+ KA3 project GOAL Wave 1 Evaluation

Language: EN

Posted by Nadia Reynders

GOAL “Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners” is an Erasmus+ KA3 project (Policy Experimentations) funded by the European Commission. This three-year project, which started in February 2015, is a multi-country policy experimentation focusing on the further development of guidance services for low-educated adults. Field trials have been set up in 6 countries and are evaluated under the coordination of the Institute of Education (University College London). Visit the project website for more information:

In November, the Institute of Education published the Cross-Country Report Wave 1, presenting the interim findings of the GOAL Wave 1 evaluation for all six partner countries combined. The evaluation is based on quantitative data collected in field trials, conducted between April 2015 and May 2016, and qualitative interviews and focus groups carried out in April and May 2016. 

The quantitative data provide information to outline the profile of clients involved in the guidance programmes in relation to their socio-demographic characteristics and educational and employment background. Qualitative data show that GOAL clients need a custom-fit service tailored to their unique and often complex needs. This results in highly personalised counselling processes.

Below are some of the most notable interim cross-country findings related to the different intervention strategies that are applied:
  • The main objective of improving and developing local partnerships is to increase referral and participation: i.e. finding low educated adults and getting them involved in adult education and training. Clear communication on the purpose and value of the guidance together with cross-organisational trust in the process are crucial in developing sustainable partnerships.
  • Emphasis is placed on the importance of personal skills of guidance counsellors providing educational guidance to low-educated adults. Resulting from the complex lives that people in the target group are often confronted with, a counsellor’s ability to understand, to empathise, and not to be judgemental is critical to the guidance process.
  • Outreach activities aimed at increasing the amount of referrals focus mostly on employment services, welfare services and educational institutions. The effectiveness of outreach strategies depends heavily on the degree to which referral partners are familiar with the GOAL service and the added value it can bring to their own service users.
  • Service users provided overwhelmingly positive feedback on the quality of the guidance sessions, which indicates that for most clients the GOAL counselling met, or even exceeded, their expectations. However, caution is needed regarding these early findings: positive experiences do not necessarily mean that clients will achieve their desired outcomes, as for many clients there are significant barriers – attitudinal, situational, and more – to overcome.
  • As most clients were still involved in guidance, exit data were limited at the end of the wave 1 data collection. Therefore, no conclusions on the service outcomes could be made at this phase of the project. 
What’s next?

The field trials remain ongoing and will continue until the spring of 2017. A second evaluation process will lead to a final project evaluation report, to be published in January 2018.

The final findings and policy recommendations will be presented at the closing conference of the GOAL project which will take place in Brussels in early 2018.


For general questions or questions about GOAL in Flanders, please contact the project coordinator (Department of Education and Training Flanders):

Questions regarding the evaluation and the methodology may be directed to the Institute of Education:,

For country specific questions, please contact:  
Resource Author(s): 
Publication Date:
Thursday, 22 December, 2016
Language of the document:
Type of resource: 
Studies and Reports
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