Learning Lab(oratory): quality non-formal education in the digital world

11.2021 – 2.2023

 The idea

With the Learning Lab(oratory) project, we aim to improve the quality of non-formal and informal learning aspects of volunteering activities in our organisations, in both physical and online formats.

We are a partnership of 9 organisations: SCI Austria, CVS Bulgaria, SCI Belgium, SCI Germany, CID North Macedonia, SCI Poland, Para Onde? Portugal, VCV Serbia, Zavod Voluntariat – SCI Slovenia.

Why do we do it?

  • we all want to maintain a high quality of our non-formal activities (workshops, webinars, workcamps…);
  • for this, we need to ensure constant training of less experienced volunteers and activists;
  • our organisations are learning how to adapt to the new world of digital education and volunteering;
  • we want to better include persons with fewer opportunities in our activities – also through the new online formats.

 

The activities

The project has 5 main components:

  1. Three thematic webinars (5-10.2022) on visual facilitation for boosting learning (17.05), impact measurement of educational activities (13.06) and inclusion of persons with disabilities into non-formal learning (24.10).
  2. Learning Lab(oratory) Training Course (7-14.07.2022, Bulgaria) on organising and running high-quality learning activities in both in-person and online environments.
  3. Learning Lab(oratory) Pro Training Course (27.10-3.11.2022, Poland) – getting more in-depth on the topics of inclusion and new tools and trends in learning and development.
  4. Practice time (7.2022-2.2023) – organising learning activities on a local level.
  5. Publishing resources for educators (11.2022) – Facilitator’s Cards and Infographic for Inclusion.

 

Learning Lab Pro training course on quality learning

The “Learning Lab(oratory) Pro” Training Course took place between 27.10 and 3.11.2022 in Poznań, Poland.

It was organised for youth workers, trainers and educators, who:

  • were interested in non-formal education,
  • were willing to develop their facilitation skills,
  • wanted to learn more about how to provide high-quality non-formal activities (workshops, webinars, workcamps, training courses…),
  • were motivated to explore more about online facilitation and digital tools,
  • were committed to organising more inclusive educational events,
  • wanted to make new friendships with people from 9 countries and get inspired by their ideas and projects.

At the training course, the participants:

  • understood better what quality non-formal learning is, what its elements are and how to provide such learning experiences to all young people,
  • learned innovative methods for enhancing the learning processes directed toward young people,
  • explored tools for supporting digital learning and online volunteering,
  • found creative and engaging ways for turning regular educational activities into an online format,
  • discussed how to provide more inclusive and versatile learning opportunities for young people, including such with fewer opportunities,
  • exchanged ideas, good practices, inspirations, and share resources,
  • planned a follow-up action to take place in your local community upon the course completion.

The resources

We are working on 2 resources for educators and volunteer coordinators that will support high-quality, inclusive learning processes in your projects.

  • Facilitator’s Cards – a checklist on how to organise a good learning process. They will include important/key aspects of organising any learning process (from needs analysis to concrete activities and evaluation). Each card will tackle a different step of the process. There will be some useful information on the card topic, and a possibility to write personal notes. The cards will be laminated and envisaged for multiple usage thanks to the wet-erasable technology used.
  • Infographic on Inclusion – it will tackle the topic of how to make our non-formal learning activities more inclusive. It will collect and summarize the practical information and tips & tricks shared during the project activities and will give specific advice on how to equally include participants with fewer opportunities.

We will launch these resources during the Open Webinar in December 2022.

 

Results

The planned results of the project include:

  • 56 trained educators, volunteers and youth workers, with knowledge and skills allowing to conduct high-quality educational activities, also in remote and hybrid modes;
  • increasing the potential of 9 project partner organisations, developing their network of international contacts and possibilities of joint projects;
  • at least 100 European youth organisations will use our Facilitator’s Cards and Infographic in 2022 and 2023 or take part in webinars organised within our project.

Additionally, thanks to new opportunities offered by remote education and new technologies, we will be able to involve more persons from rural areas and representatives of groups with fewer opportunities in our activities. We will enable them to organize international meetings and cross-border cooperation in a formula that was not possible a few years ago!

The Learning Lab (oratory) project will support the development of civil society, with people who can learn from each other and want to share their knowledge for the benefit of others – through high-quality non-formal education.

 

The team

Gośka Tur - project coordinator

Gośka Tur - project coordinator

Sociologist and educator, a certified member of the Polish Association of NGO Trainers. In the years 2015-2020 she was the International President of SCI.

Natalie Jivkova - project coordinator

Natalie Jivkova - project coordinator

Facilitator, trainer and coach from Bulgaria. Leader of international educational projects on learning, peace and diversity. With SCI since 2002.

Elvira Amatuzzi - support volunteer

Elvira Amatuzzi - support volunteer

Italian by origin, since March 2022 supporting our project as an ESC volunteer.

You can contact the coordination team at learning@poland.sci.ngo.

 

The donor

Our project is co-funded by the European Union. We are very thankful for making our idea possible to realise thanks to this support!

Project number 2021-1-PL01-KA153-YOU-000018791