Innovative Digital and Experiential Blended Learning Non-Formal Programme for Community Animators: Lessons learned

Δημοσιευμένα: Dec 9, 2021
volunteers youth blended learning social inclusion action research digital education
Remos Armaos
Joe Cullen
Anna Tsiboukli

An innovative blended learning non-formal programme was launched in 2018-2019 for professionals and volunteers, who were encouraged to develop their own social competences in order to work directly as community animators with vulnerable groups and promote social inclusion in Greece. The intervention, which lay within an ongoing experimental European project, COMANITY, was built upon the challenges emerged from harsh economic restraints, rising demand, restricted supply and diminishing resources in our society. Within this context, youth services are urged to increase their efficiency and effectiveness, encourage civil society to fill the gaps in service provision left by ‘mainstream’ supply and try to support young people to ‘help their peers’ by getting more of them to volunteer. Community Animator’s non-formal blended learning training programme was carried out online programme delivered to 109 participants out of 947 who applied and through an experiential face to face workshop that was delivered to 14 unemployed women aiming to raise awareness and critical understanding of the concepts of democracy, equality, advocacy, human rights and social cohesion. Peer learning methods and an action research methodology were employed in order to enhance young participants to act as agents for change and develop a holding environment for those youth at risk to be marginalized. By working on their own capacities and motives, personal attitudes and possible dysfunctional assumptions, young participants actively shared and confronted critically their views and concerns, realized the impact of space and time on their civic engagement and organized themselves in social action. The present study discusses the profile and satisfaction level of participants in the online digital programme and the profile and satisfaction level of participants on the blended learning experiential programme. The data suggests that blended programmes are necessary for developing action research skills and enhancing the role of community animators, even though online programmes on their own can also assist in raising awareness about the role of community animators.

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