The real experts on widening participation in Erasmus+ are those that see the difficulties and find innovative, creative and sometimes very simple approaches to really make Erasmus+ accessible to everyone. In other words, the real experts are you – the project coordinators.
At our Widening Participation event that took place on 28 June 2019, we invited those with an interest in #InspiringInclusion to get together and share practice – whether that was good practice or the difficulties faced that the group could help with.
From this session, the group found common issues and suggested solutions collaboratively. Read on to discover the tips and tools they highlighted and how you could get involved.
A new approach to evaluation
How do you motivate disengaged young people to share their thoughts and experiences in evaluation? Paper-based questionnaires might tick the box, but are you really getting the most valuable information from the learners? Does ‘satisfied with this experience’ really help you spark the interest of a young person who doesn’t think Erasmus+ is for them?
Some tried-and-tested tools for innovative evaluation methods that the group shared were:
- Empowering, task-based evaluation carried out by participants, such as peer interviews or creating videos;
- Kahoot! – a free online quiz creator;
- Padlet – a free online platform where responses can be added in real-time;
- Art as a means of evaluation;
- Long table method;
- Two stars and a wish method; and
- Gamification – motivating young people using small prizes.
Evaluation isn’t the only area where it can be difficult to engage people. Some organisations noted that they found it hard to get staff on-board to accompany the participants, something that is even more important when dealing with young people with fewer opportunities.
To tackle this, the group suggested opening the opportunities up to part-time or support staff, who may not usually get these opportunities. Catering staff, for instance, may think they don’t have the relevant experience. But by being a familiar presence on their placement they can provide immense amounts of support to anxious learners.
Who faces barriers?
A clear issue the group raised was that potential participants tend not to identify themselves as ‘young people with fewer opportunities’. So promoting the support on offer to those with fewer opportunities may not reach your intended audience.
This group found that the best way to reach the right people was quite simply through personal and direct contact with staff. Staff are in the best position to see who could benefit most and who may need additional support.
A direct conversation with a member of staff they trust will have a much stronger impact on a young person than any promotional poster or newsletter ever could.
Widening Participation was our first Learning Networks event of the year. If you would be interested in taking part in our upcoming Employability or Project Management and Implementation events, then sign up to our mailing list to be the first to find out when the dates are announced.