Discover what Erasmus+ is
Erasmus+ is the European Union program in the fields of education, training, youth, and sport for the period from 2014 to 2020. The program aims to make a positive change in Europe by offering learning and cooperation opportunities. People and organizations from the European Union and other partner countries can take part in a variety of activities funded by Erasmus+.
One part of Erasmus+ is dedicated to the youth field, supporting projects focusing on non-formal education, youth policy, and other youth-related matters. Meaning that it concerns a wide variety of educational organizations outside the formal school program. Young people aged 13-30 and adults supporting their learning can use the support of Erasmus+ Youth. It’s expected that more than 500 000 young people will benefit from this program!
Funding for youth activities under Erasmus+ aims to improve different competencies and improve the employability of young people, promote young people’s social inclusion and well-being, and foster improvements in youth work and youth policy at local, national and international level. One billion six hundred million Euros is allocated to support projects within the Youth field of the Erasmus+ program over the seven years.
The Erasmus+ program is structured into three key actions:
- Key action 1 is the learning mobility opportunities for individuals: both young people and youth workers.
- Key action 2 focuses on strategic partnerships, aiming at innovation and quality and strengthening cooperation among different sectors and actors (private, public, non-governmental, and others) in the field of youth work.
- Key action 3 offers opportunities for young people to influence policymaking and reforms by entering into dialogue with policymakers.
There are many great possibilities under each Key action. This MOOC will focus on the options under Key action 1.
Understand why there is a program for youth?
Hi, my name is Corinna, and I work at the European Commission as a national expert. I would like to tell you something about the new Erasmus+ program and especially about the new Massive Open Online Course developed by SALTO participation and 9 Erasmus+ national agencies.
Where the current young generation is, in general, the best-educated age ever there are still vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in every country of the European Union.
Especially the current socio-economic situation created more challenges for young people. It is vital to Europe’s future that young people have their place in the labor market and be able to participate in society.
A Europe where education fosters personal development, where active citizenship is promoted, and critical but creative thinking is encouraged.
The recent tragic events in Paris and Copenhagen at the beginning of 2015 have shown us in the hardest way the devastating impact of non-participation and alienation of young people from shared values and fundamental rights like respect for diversity and freedom of expression.
To reach out to a much larger number of young people in all corners of the European Union and of all possible backgrounds are, therefore, a significant priority. Information and the possibility to participate must reach a diversity of youth and be open for all regardless of their cultural and social background when we have asked young participants in our youth programs what they got out of it. They overwhelmingly said they have learned about planning and organization, about turning ideas into action, thinking logically and drawing conclusions, developing future opportunities, and even about budget planning.
Evidence shows that getting a job is not just about having the right diploma; employers are increasingly looking for skills acquired actual non-formal learning experiences.
With the new Erasmus+ program for education, training, youth, and sport, we recognize the importance of non-formal learning. We are therefore happy that the new Erasmus+ program offers increased learning opportunities also in the youth field. That particular effort will be made to promote social inclusion and to the participation of young people with special needs or with fewer opportunities.
The new Erasmus+ program primarily supports capacity building of youth workers and mobility opportunities across the European Union and even to or from non-EU countries to allow youth workers to learn about cultural diversity and different practices in youth work in other countries.
One tool to learn more about the new possibilities of Erasmus+ is the newly developed Massive Open Online Course, coordinated by SALTO participation and 9 Erasmus+ National Agencies Massive Open Online Courses the so-called MOOC’s are new forms of practical learning modules for the future. They enable the involvement of a broad audience and increase outreach. Young people from all over Europe can take part wherever they live and learn about the possibilities of the new Erasmus+ program. Don’t hesitate, be part of it too!
Explore the Objectives and Priorities of Erasmus+ Youth in Action
There are four main OBJECTIVES
The European Commission has set four main objectives for the Erasmus plus program in the field of youth. The objectives are linked to the values and issues that are important for all young people living in European Union member countries and beyond. So they are quite broad and, of course, common but should, of course, be understood within each local context.
Every project needs to aim to answer at least one of these objectives.
1.Growing and learning through mobility
The projects should provide opportunities for young people to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes in areas such as participation, social skills, solidarity, easing the entry to the labor market, and to participate as citizens in today’s Europe.
- Better youth work through international cooperation
Projects should give the possibility to increase the cooperation between organizations, working with young people. The projects should enable organizations to learn different methods and techniques from each other, find solutions for common problems, and exchange good practices.
- Young people are actively participating in creating policies that affect them.
The projects should provide the space for meetings and reflections that will improve policies concerning young people at a local, national, and European level. It is done to make sure that young people have a say in what concerns their lives and that the learning that happens outside of schools gets the recognition it deserves.
- Lots of opportunities even beyond the EU countries
The projects should enhance and increase international cooperation between the EU and neighboring partner countries. Such collaboration should enable young people, youth workers, and their organizations to increase their capacity for higher quality youth work.
Besides the objectives, the European Union also sets priorities that are linked to the current situation of young people.
- Exploring unemployment issues and working towards solutions, especially involving young people facing unemployment and other financial, social, geographical, or cultural obstacles.
- Promoting a healthy lifestyle, fighting addictions and obesity through outdoor activities, sports, cooperation activities, and enabling young people to feel more included and better in a group, in their life and their body.
- Providing opportunities for young people to get to know, reflect and understand about policymaking in the EU, their place in the EU, the chances the EU offers, and also the responsibilities that being part of it includes. It also wants to promote alternative forms of participation, not only voting.
- Working in creative ways with young people on essential competencies they need in life, like languages, taking the initiative, and working with computers. The idea is that young people can learn these competencies by doing it in a way that is adapted to their way of learning.
- To support youth work in entering the digital world, learning how to use a wide variety of tools and programs in a competent and adapted way—learning how to use these tools respectfully and adequately so they can also support the learning of young people and youth workers.
- Different countries have various tools that recognize the learning that occurs outside of the school environment—acknowledging that this learning is essential in the lives of young people for their employment and their social lives. A priority is given to projects that aim to involve people, public institutions, and non-profit and private organizations in the promotion of existing tools and for the development of new ones.
Learn about Non-Formal Education
“Every individual has to learn and practice what they want to achieve perfection of” were the famous thoughts of Socrates. Learning, in general, can be defined as a long-term process that changes and influences your knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
Modern European educational terminology divide learning into three categories: it’s formal, informal and non-formal learning, which are all well defined and explained in a video “The three whales of learning”.
Formal learning is something that takes place in the school’s environment: the situation is planned and purposed. And that is on through national curriculum, and the subject and school syllabus is the teacher’s work plan.
For example, a traditional math class where a student is doing their workbook exercises is formal education. It is also assessed and evaluated through exams and placement tests.
Informal learning is the opposite. It is something that happens in everyday situations. It is the Saturdays that you hang with your friends or the evenings that you spend with your parents or family. It is something that is educational and might change your values, but the results are viewable much much later.
Somewhere between those two is non-formal learning. It is something that happens or takes place in different situations and environments. It is purposed and might be planned like formal education. But it is more flexible and available to everyone. And most importantly, it should happen voluntarily.
Non-formal education is both social and individual learning. It is something that you can do extracurricular activities or subjects where you use active and interactive study methods. It is also personalized learning. Your idea and aim to educate yourself. For example, you are learning a new skill, like playing guitar through YouTube videos.
For the studying places it is to be more enjoyable and fruitful we need to combine those two. Something that is set by the national curriculum and also more flexible and innovative, like the non-formal learning process.
Learning takes place when something is exciting for the student or pupil. It is something that can influence you, something that brings out emotions and allows yourself to find answers to specific questions that you are looking for, requirements that you want to fulfill. For that to happen, you need to have belief in yourself and your self-esteem that you can manage to obtain that value.
Formal learning focuses mainly on that particular value – the value of the subject and what you are particularly learning. Non-formal education, on the other hand, focuses on the process, the emotion that it brings out in you, and how you are learning. That’s why it is said it’s essential to use your more creative side.
Learning is meaningful because, through that, we learn new things, skills and can change our attitude. It is rather pointless if we do it only up to the exams or if we forget about the items next week.
It is said that on average, a person can think about 800 words a minute. But we can only speak about 120 words per minute. Therefore it is evident that there is enough free energy and time for a listener to not only pay attention to what he said but, at the same time, make connections and think about how to implement what he said in the real-life.
The practical value of learning is something that non-formal education forces. More and more attention is put on non-formal education in a young person’s development. Consciously learning to learn is something that can help you map your skills and knowledge, help you self-define as a citizen.
These key competencies include ‘traditional’ skills such as
1 – communication in one’s mother tongue,
2 – foreign languages,
3 – digital skills,
4 – literacy, and necessary skills in maths and science,
as well as horizontal skills such as
5 – learning to learn,
6 – social and civic responsibility,
7 – initiative and entrepreneurship,
8 – cultural awareness and creativity.