Evaluation, support and guidance services for projects in education
There are many challenges and obstacles involved in project work and having an objective input from a "critical friend" can help enormously. GLPM is a consortium of experts working in the field of transnational cooperation work in the field of education and training who provide a range of support to organisations running projects.
Gareth Long has worked on behalf of the European Commission in the Technical Assistance Office in Brussels as Project Officer for the Socrates Minerva action and now specialises in evaluation work as well as being an expert assessor for the EACEA for its e-Learning, Minerva, Grundtvig, KA1, KA3, Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, Transfer of Innovation, ECET and Jean Monnet actions.
He has been asked by the Commission to present an expert view of the assessment and evaluation of projects at the Erasmus co-ordinators meeting in Brussels in 2010 and was also invited as an expert to shortlist best practice projects in the field of social inclusion. In 2013 he prepared and submitted a successful tender for a three-year evaluation contract with EUN Schoolnet for external evaluation of projects.
Çınla Akdere is lecturer of history of economic thought at the Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University and researcher at the labaratory Philosophie, Histoire et Analyse des Représentations Economiques (PHARE), Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is presently scientific committee member of The Summer School on History of Economic Thought-Economic Philosophy-Economic History and member of ESHET (The European Society for the History of Economic Thought), Charles Gide Association for the Study of Economic Thought (ACGEPE) and Turkish Economic Association (TEA).
She received her B.S. in economics from the the Department of Economics of Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara University, B.S. in general and comparative literature from Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris III, M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne. She has previously worked at the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Université de Cergy Pontoise and Université Paris VIII Vincennes – Saint-Denis as economics teaching assistant.
Çınla is currently working with Gareth on the evaluation of the Amgen Teach initiative.
Andrina Granić holds a Doctorate degree in Computer Science. She has more than 20 years of experience from the Croatian educational system currently working as Full Professor teaching courses for the computer science curriculum and more than 10 years of experience from implementing and evaluating national and international projects. She has been an expert evaluator of projects for the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) and the Research Executive Agency (REA). In addition to the Lifelong Learning Programme, she has worked in projects funded through the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes. Her main research interests are presently focused on Human Computer Interaction (HCI) field and Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL).
Latest evaluation work - a review of the "Pelican Active Learning System"
Copyright © GLPM 2016
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Given the extent and breadth of innovative learning solutions resulting from transnational collaborative initiatives, new approaches can often be lost in the sea of publications and circulated papers. The Pelican Active Learning System stands out however for a number of reasons, associated with both its quality and substance and its central focus on the learner and learner preferences. The results of this are a system that is based on such responsiveness and upon anticipation of the personal, professional, environmental and behavioural challenges faced by (especially mature) learners seeking a work / life / study balance.
The Pelican Active Learning System actively draws from and was based upon several successful transnational initiatives: Pelican Active Learning System was formed during the international research projects Don’t Give Up Web2Learn, aPLaNet, VIDEOforALL Pools3 . GLPM was involved extensively in the Pools-3 project as external evaluator, a role also undertaken in several of the other Pools initiatives all located in the same URL. The experience gained from this involvement resulted in significant insight into how innovative learning methodologies such as CLIL can most effectively be implemented. Similar experience with regard to how best to implement IBSE has been gained from the external evaluation role in the Amgen Teach initiative and so GLPM has significant experience in assessing the impact of new learning models generally and in the context of language learning specifically.
Keywords: innovative learning solutions, learner preferences, CLIL.
Outline of the Pelican Active Learning System
The Pelican Active Learning System is a language learning method based on the experience with the on-line system of education and development of audio-visual material during international projects. The method fosters and promotes activity, creativity and independence in students. It speeds up Language Acquisition, i.e. the process of learning and using lexical and grammatical forms intuitively thanks to Language Immersion and Communicative Language Teaching. Various forms of Computer Assisted Language Learning, i.e. audio-visual technology and multimedia, are used for Language Immersion (again see the Pools series of initiatives) and students’ exposure to a target language in a correct and authentic form.
Keywords: promotes activity, independence in students, language immersion.
Piloting of the Pelican Active Learning System
The evaluator followed the course over a number of weeks in May-June 2016. The registration and log-in process was straightforward and each subsequent log-in was also problem-free. Whilst this is a technical aspect it is an important one as one major cause of loss of motivation is difficulties or inconsistencies in accessing content. Furthermore, the evaluator, as a test process, sent a request for help email even though access was not a problem and received a helpful response within one hour.
The content and language (CZ) was essentially at A2 level throughout, although with some variation driven by a logical sequencing of mainly video-based support materials. For example, paying at a restaurant preceded ordering at a restaurant as it involved essentially more simple language. Further materials were accessed involving checking-in at an airport, asking for directions, shopping and paying for goods. The emphasis on basic understanding and encouragement of dialogue increased confidence and as important, willingness to make an error. This latter aspect certainly was one of the identifiable positive elements especially in comparison to traditional language learning methodologies in the UK. The social dimension of the learning was appreciated very much and during testing the content and materials, the balance between humour and serious learning was correct and motivational.
The starting point should not be that students sit at computers to learn a language. The starting point should instead be that students are learning a language and as part of that process sometimes sit at computer or use their mobile apps.
Keywords: encouragement of dialogue, social dimension, humour.
What makes the Pelican Active Learning System Effective?
The strength of the system is the focus on learning challenges – and these challenges influence extensively the form and content of the system as well as the way in which the system is promoted. This latter aspect is especially important as it indicates early to the interested visitor to the system the emphasis on overcoming challenges and is therefore immediately of reassurance to both potential learner and potential learner provider.
Four key challenges are identified: irregular attendance, loss of motivation, failure to finish homework and insufficient progress. For each, causes and solutions are provided and these reflect the factors that are driven by the learners as well as their environments and this is the key to the system – not only the tools and content but the responsive structure and in-built means to anticipate and address issues prior to them having their potential negative impact on the learner and their learning. For example, with regard to homework difficulties, the emphasis is on preparing the correct environment prior to the allocation of tasks. So, initial facebook or skype space or provision is created and the learner has the option of partner, peer or group learning. Video instruction forms the basis of most homework tasks; therefore the medium provides the learning content as well as the task explanation, with again links provided for effective additional resources.
A further important element is the social aspect behind many of the learning resources; they are designed not only to be clearly instructional with carefully-planned progressive language content, they are designed to be invitational to the learner in nature with effective use of humour and social contextualisation which provide further anticipatory responses to the often-cited isolation experienced by the learner using primarily CAL methods.
Keywords: focus on learning challenges, irregular attendance, loss of motivation, failure to finish homework, insufficient progress, task explanation, humour and social contextualisation.
Gareth Long piloted the Pelican Active Learning System May-June 2016. Gareth has Masters and BA(Hons) Degrees in History and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning Online. He has been an expert assessor of project applications and reports for the European Commission for ten years and has perfomed the external evaluation of over 40 funded education-based projects.
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