Between 2017 and 2019 an ERASMUS+ ‘Competitive Regions and Employability of Adults through Education’ (CREATE) project aimed to enhance performance and efficiency in adult education by addressing the gap between EU/national strategies and local/regional implementation at adult education policy level. CREATE identified a lack of policy tools and resources to evaluate the impact of adult education (AE) interventions, policies, and initiatives across Europe. This gap was particularly acute within regions tasked with AE policy formulation and implementation to progress towards the EU pan-European target of 15% AE participation. A second project, the CREATE2Evaluate project, was supported by ERASMUS+ from 2020 to 2022 to progress these findings.
The Create2Evaluate project and Partners
The Create 2 evaluate project is a transnational and multi-agency collaboration seeking to enhance the efficacy and valorisation of adult education at policy and governance levels. The primary aim of the project was identifying reliable tools for adult education evaluation at various layers of governance. The project has eight organisational partners from seven countries (Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Spain) committed to identifying and operationalising these tools.
Click here for more information on the Eight collaborative partners
The first meeting of the partners, hosted by the German partner lead AEWB, took place online via teams on the 12th and 13th of November 2020. The project ‘Kick-Off Meeting’ discussed the overall project implementation of the defining timelines, respective duties and activities that will take place in the following months.
A snapshot of the first Create2Evaluate partners meeting
The eight partners researched and mapped their current adult education policy landscape regarding evaluation, assessment, and monitoring. Primary and secondary research was undertaken. Twenty-seven stakeholders in the field of adult education were interviewed and a key stakeholder survey was disseminated to provide thirty-six additional responses. The project partners mapped and identified tools, methods, and resources employed to evaluate adult education programmes and initiatives throughout their regions. A mapping press release went live on the 03-03-2021.
Stakeholder collaborative conversations in action at Maynooth University.
Mapping and research enabled the CREATE2Evaluate partners to identify the lack of a centralised systemic evaluation framework, common definitions and standards. Feedback indicated that current evaluation policy is primary focused on quantitative outputs and student specific learning outcomes, and inconsistencies were apparent among targeted groups and in non-formal evaluation provision. Additionally, it was evidenced that although copious and significant qualitative evaluation is conducted across adult education centres, this data remains relatively difficult to access due to a lack of centralised systematic overarching analysis and learner protection requirements. Thus, it is very challenging for policy makers to assess the effectiveness of their adult education policies. To view result of the consolidation of findings stemming from the mapping at country and EU level performed by partners click here (full IO2 report)
In response to the IO2 findings the partners collaboratively collected and developed helpful tools for the evaluation of adult education at various layers of governance. The CREATE 2 Evaluate ToolBox was conceived to ensure that local and regional policy makers from across Europe will be able to use the policy tools to better plan, design, implement and monitor AE policies with a clear vision of sustainability of public funding in AE. The selection of tools takes into account different purposes of evaluation (e.g., process, persuasive, symbolic, instrumental) as well as their place in the policy cycle. The tools are free, easily accessible and multilingual. The toolbox invites users to adopt the tools to their work realities with ease.
The Toolbox is structured in six different areas, each with specific resources and references that sustain local policy makers in better strategizing the alignment, consistence and coherence of local lifelong learning plans to EU horizons. There are a total of 42 tools; 4 best practice recommendations; 5 networks/ Forums; 4 networks/platforms, and a collection of policy documents and strategies are available. The toolbox was officially released on the 26-09-2022.
Overview of the Toolbox sections and tools
Click each area to view the distinctive tools and resources
1. Consistency of the objectives and outcomes
- Checklist to assess consistency of the objectives and outcomes of the AE trainings and programmes with the overarching strategies and agendas adopted by the EU
2. Programme creation at the policy/public administration level
- Checklist for providers: Evaluation of provider inclusion in Adult Education Policy Making
- Evaluation of Creativity in Adult Education Policy Making Matrix
3.Inclusivity of AE policies and availability of AE programmes
- Checklist to assess: Inclusivity of AE policies and availability of AE programmes in geographically excluded areas
- Dimensions of Diversity in Adult Learning
4. AE trainings and programmes delivery
- Individual Interview with participant:Methods, equipment and personnel in Adult Education and adjustment to the target group.
5. Value added stemming from the participation in AE
- Measuring the Wider Benefits of Adult Learning – Focus Group Guidelines for Learners and Training Providers
- Value added stemming from the participation in AE.
6. Continuity of programme evaluation and use of its results to improve AE policies
- Valorisation and Follow-Up to Evaluation. Some Success Factors
- Critical Success Factors: A Case Study
- Tips for policy makers seeking stakeholder engagement
To view the full toolbox and additional resources click ToolBox.
The CREATE2Evaluate implementation Package and Green Paper are the final two components of the CREATE2Evaluate project. These two deliverables were consolidated, and the press release went live on the 19-10-22.
The CREATE2Evaluate implementation Package consists of a training suite for the policy making target groups. It is provided as a guide, with step-by-step procedures on the use and implementation of the tools to evaluate policy interventions in the domain of AE. The Training Suite includes user-friendly and flexible training resources for policy makers. Included are guidelines on the policy evaluation tools, scenario setting and profiling tools and a users’ manual and Introduction CREATE2Evaluate ToolBox
The CREATE2Evaluate Green Paper advances the debate and stimulates the discussion on policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation of adult education. It provides incite into the challenges and drivers that contributed to the project and the final output of the CREATE2Evaluate Toolbox.. Additionally, it considers the marginalisation of adult education and considers the context in which policy is developed and implemented in adult education, thus enhancing the awareness of the issues evident across the EU adult education landscape. Importantly it offers a critical analysis of the current landscape of adult education from the perspective of the stakeholders and considers the position of the learners. The CREATE2Evaluate resources and CREATE2Evaluate Green Paper should stimulate policy dialogue and exchange on how to advance adult education for socio-economic development and integration.
All CREATE2Evaluate results are available in multilingual versions, free and without restrictions through the dedicated open educational resource (OER) platform. To know more about the project, the organisations involved and all resources available, please feel free to consult the Open Education Resource Platform of Create2Evaluate: www.create2evaluate.eu
Michael Kenny is a lecturer in the Department of Adult and Community Education. He is co-director of the Higher Diploma in Further Education (HDFE), and the director of the post graduate Certificate in Programme Design and Validation (PCPDV). He is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) on 6 Erasmus+ Projects, including the CREATE2Evaluate project.
Margaret Nugent is an associate academic, researcher and lecturer with Department of Adult and Community Education. Margaret is research associate on the Diversity and several European projects. She is a specialist in engaged methodologies, conflict intervention and peace pedagogies.