Literacy in adult education… let’s start with the best practices!
If andragogy, the adult learning theory, is widely considered as one of the most complex and heterogeneous fields in the area of education sciences, then the concept of literacy perfectly reflects its complexity at an applied level. It demonstrates the multidimensional and transdisciplinary essence of guidance and learning provision for adults with low basic skills. Although we usually define literacy as “the ability to read and write” (for more details on the debate about the definition of literacy read the article published by David Mallows on EPALE the 1st of September 2017), the same term is commonly paired with another noun to express competency in a specialised field. The introduction in 2016 of the adult education flagship initiative Upskilling Pathways, and its subsequent adoption and promotion by all EU Member States, has formally included literacy, together with numeracy and digital skills, among the priorities of the educational policy planning of the Union with the aim of supporting adults who are struggling with basic skills and who are at risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. Therefore we want to recognise the efforts of the Erasmus+ community in achieving this objective by presenting projects which stand out for their impact, contribution to policy-making, innovative results and/or creative approach which have led them to obtain the “Success Story” label from the European Commission. It is hoped that they may be a source of inspiration for others:
- IDEAL - Integrating Digital Education in Adult Literacy The main overall objective of the IDEAL project was to provide guidance and training for adult educators across Europe on how to use ICT tools and digital methods to better deliver basic skills education. This was done through an integrative approach in collecting, sharing and disseminating innovative and inclusive teaching and learning practices using ICT tools and digital methods. Check out the useful good practice guidelines and the video tutorials.
- Incorporate Non- Formal Methods into Language Education for Adult Immigrants The project’s methodology has focused on three main areas: ongoing dialogue and exchange of information between the working groups, cooperative learning and, finally, active participation of the target group in all the activities. The principle results of the proposed project is the booklet (available in English, Greek and Spanish), the enhancement of the skills of adult educators and institutions working in the field, an increased understanding and cooperation between educators in formal and non-formal education and more positive attitudes towards non-formal learning methods.
- I-POOL - Interactive Pool of tools for enhancing basic skills and key competences of adults The main objective of the project was to increase the level of proficiency in basic skills among lowly educated adults by meeting the following operational goals: gathering, analysing and categorising existing OER tools and good practices supporting the education of low skilled adults and developing an Interactive Pool (on-line database) of tools allowing for categorisation and assessment of existing tools and the addition of new tools.
- VALMOPRIS - Validation and Motivation for (in)formal Learning in Prison The project published a number of resources with the aim of promoting learning in prisons and validating this informal and non-formal learning. It also aimed to provide a consistent approach for both the delivery of competencies and the measurement of learning outputs. These resources are currently being promoted through three ongoing European projects focusing on the prison sector, which are coordinated by Euro-CIDES/FR. More information about these ongoing projects is available on the EPALE Resource Centre.
- TELL through Music - Technological, emotional and linguistic literacy through music With the aim of furthering the motivation of adult learners to develop core competencies (IT and English language) by using music as a didactic tool, the project has developed a Handbook, a teachers’ training programme and an interactive tool aimed at seniors and adults with intellectual and hearing impairments.
- On the move - Best Practice in Outreach Educational Counselling and low-threshold learning opportunities The project seeks to identify and disseminate successful approaches to improve the integration and support of adult citizens who have little access to educational opportunities. Staff in guidance/counselling and educational institutions across Europe learned about alternative approaches for the general public, low-skilled workers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, which are clearly described in six documentary videos available online.
- ALL-SR - Autonomous Literacy Learners: sustainable results Drawing on established and emerging research on how to support literacy and language learning beyond the classroom, the project complements and reinforces existing investment in formal literacy learning. The model of learning proposed by the project is cost-effective and sustainable and it can be explored through a set of theoretical and practical resources in Dutch, English and German.