Upskilling Adult Learner Digital Competencies: DELSA Project training Materials Launched

The DELSA (Digital Education to Upskill Adults) ERASMUS+ project drew on the experience of 5 European partners to:

  • Assess specific capacity and training gaps in digital skills for low-adults, and
  • Develop an Open Educational Resource (OER) Platform for FREE and OPEN access to digital skill learning for adults deficient in digital skills and competencies.

Project outputs

The DELSA Project partners have just released (30th October 2020) a list of free and open courses ( prepared by the project partners to make digital upskilling resources available to those working with adult learners of varying needs.

The resources are:

1A Using the internet and managing information
We will learn what the internet is and how to use it to improve our daily lives. Exercises will help us learn to use the internet and to find information that will help us in our lives. … Go to course
1B Using the internet and managing information
In this is the second part of the course we will find how to manage information from the internet so it can be useful to us. We will receive some tips about how to find documents on the internet and how to save them. We will learn how to save documents that are attached to Emails We will learn how to create folders so we can save documents and other files and be able to find them again when we need them. Exercises will help to find and store … Go to course  
1C Basic computing, using the internet and managing information
This section of the DELSA programme deals with the very basics of computing and shows how to turn on a computer, how to use a mouse and a keyboard. It also shows participants what hardware and software are. … Go to course  
1D Basic computing, using the internet and managing information
This section of the DELSA programme deals with setting up an email account which may be used in some of the exercises in the rest of the DELSA Programme…. Go to course  
2A Digital Technologies for Communication and Collaboration
This module introduces the main technologies used for communication and collaboration between individuals: WhatsApp for messaging, Outlook for emails and Skype for video chats. In each of these platforms and tools, it is necessary to maintain a correct behaviour, illustrated by the netiquette discussed in Unit 2. In Unit 3 the functioning of the main Social Media is dealt with in detail (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube). Finally, the topic… Go to course  
2B Digital Citizenship
In this module you will learn how to apply digital citizenship to oneself. Engage positively, critically and competently in the digital environment Able to practise forms of social participation that are respectful of human rights and dignity through the responsible use of technology List ways digital literacy adds quality to your life … Go to course  
3A Developing digital content – Integrating and re-elaborating digital content
In the first part of the course, we will help you to create a word document. At the end of the course you will find a website that can help you further. In the second part of the course we will help you to create an excel spreadsheet. At the end of the course you will find a website that can help you further. In the third part of the course we will help you to create a Power Point Presentation. At the end of the course you will find a website that… Go to course  
3B Using the internet and managing information
In this module you will learn how to use apps that will assist you in your daily life. You will learn how to set up accounts on Skype, Twitter and Facebook as the main social media apps that are in use today. … Go to course  
3B2 Using the internet and managing information
In this module you will learn how to use apps that will assist you in your daily life. You will learn how to set up accounts on Skype, Twitter and Facebook as the main social media apps that are in use today. Finally, you will look at specific subjects (travel and language) and learn how to put the skills that you have learned into practice. … Go to course  
4A Protecting devices
In this course, we will learn how to install and configure an antivirus in PCs with Windows, MacOS or Ubuntu. We will find some guidelines to increase the security in the operative system in both smartphones and PC. We will receive some tips about how to keep the integrity of our computer with a set of simple actions. We will finally install different antivirus in several mobile systems. … Go to course  
4B Protecting Personal Data and Privacy
This unit indicates the main topics on digital privacy, digital safety and digital privacy normative… Go to course
5A Solving technical problems: Identifying needs and technological responses
In this course we are going to learn how to distinguish among different failures or errors that an OS can present. We will learn several methods to correct them as long as possible. We will also learn some apps that help improve our PC’s efficiency. … Go to course
5B Identifying Alternatives: messaging, email, video chat
This unit indicates all the alternatives to communicating applications and platforms used for online communication. When it is not possible to use WhatsApp for messaging, Outlook for emails and Skype for video chat, various alternatives are available: Viber, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Hangouts Meet…. Go to course  
Additional Module: Common online misinformation related to COVID-19:
Overview of fact-checking and debunking the hoaxes
Go to course

Readers are invited to:

  1. Use the DELSA project resources.
  2. Distribute information about the resources to colleagues. I would be delighted if you would pass this on to colleagues or other potential interested parties.
  3. Note the resource in your organisation, agency, or ETB newsletter.

The EC Europe 2020 plan includes a digital single market strategy as one of its top 10 political priorities. The strategy seeks to promote better online access to goods and services across Europe, create an optimal environment for digital networks and services, and to take full advantage of the digital economy as a potential driver for growth. Europe is experiencing a digital job shortage, increasing at 4% per year, and there is a gap between the demand for digital skills and the actual skills among European citizens. This gap is primarily due to low digital competence levels, since connectivity and access to basic ICT infrastructure is widely available Europe-wide. Over 219 million EU households (99.9%) had access to at least one of the main fixed or mobile broadband access technologies according to the Broadband Coverage in Europe 2017 Report. In contrast 17% of the EU population have no digital skills (2017), and the share of EU citizens without basic digital skills is 43% according to the Digital Skills Indicator, a composite indicator based on the Digital Competence Framework for Citizens. These figures imply level of digital exclusion risk for 43% of the EU population in a context of rapid community and economy digitisation. Further, 35% of the EU labour force did not have at least basic digital skills (in 2017) which are now required in most jobs, predominantly because they did not use the internet. (Excerpt from the Executive Summary of the `Mapping of Digital Skills & Competences for Digitally Upskilling Adults` Report

For further information contact Michael Kenny, lecturer, Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University and DELSA project participant at


Maynooth University Launches Diversity Project Online Survey.

DIVERSITY – Including Migrants through Organisational Development and Programme Planning in Adult Education

DIVERSITY – is an ERASMUS+ project involving seven partners from six countries, (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy) that aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities arising from migration related diversity.
  • Explore how the EU Adult Education system can shift from focusing on migrants as a separate target group for education to mainstream provision that sensitively prepares migrants for integration into their new society
  • Equip managers and planners with the skills needed to sensitise adult education providers to migrants as a part of a regular adult education target group

The project invites educators and trainers who engage with adult migrants to:

  • Complete an online survey available here, or
  • Provide suggested survey contacts to Michael Kenny, Lecturer, Department of Adult & Community Education, project principal investigator at

Also, the project researcher, Michael Kenny, wishes to speak with migrants who want to or have taken education and training. Please contact

For further information on DIVERSITY visit the DIVERSITY Website: or the Department of Adult & Community Education website at

Transnational Virtual Meeting of DIVERSITY Project May 2020

The Department of Adult & Community Education at Maynooth University took part in the Transnational Virtual Meeting of DIVERSITY, an Erasmus+ Project.

On May 28th and 29th The Department of Adult & Community Education joined the 2nd Transnational Virtual Meeting of DIVERSITY, a Project co-funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Commission which involves a Consortium of 7 Partners from 6 countries. The meeting, originally planned in Maynooth, IE, has been realised in online mode due to the COVID related restrictions.

DIVERSITY – Including Migrants through Organisational Development and Programme Planning in Adult Education – aims to:

  • Raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities arising from migration related diversity.
  • Explore how the EU Adult Education system can shift from focusing on migrants as a separate target group for education to mainstream provision that sensitively prepares migrants for integration into their new society
  • Equip managers and planners with the skills needed to sensitise adult education providers to migrants as a part of a regular adult education target group

The project consortium involving seven partners from six countries, (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy) will work together under the leadership of the principal partner Agentur für Erwachsenen- und Weiterbildung (AEWB), based in Hannover Germany will work together to attain the project outcomes

 The DIVERSITY project will develop training resources to enable adult education providers to graduate from the contingency approach and move towards an operational model for a more diversity-informed AE. This process of “normalisation” will require adult education systems across the EU to readjust their current strategies and to create a new model of adult education providers planning and provision more open to the diversity of migrants and refugees. In a revised mainstream migrants and refugees are not viewed as special cohorts of participants but as a regular target group of an increasingly more diverse audience for adult education.

The Department of Adult & Community Education at Maynooth University represents Ireland in the partnership and brings its expertise as the only dedicated academic adult education Department in a university in the Republic of Ireland.

For further information on DIVERSITY visit the DIVERSITY Website: or the Department of Adult & Community Education website at

Call to 2020 Review Study of the Diploma and BSc Degree in Rural Development 1996-2016

Summary: The Review Study Steering Group want to hear from graduates of the Diploma and Bachelor (BSc) Degree in Rural Development by distance learning programme delivered between 1997 and 2015. The URL link to provide graduate contacts see


Working in partnership with its four constituent universities (UCC, UCD, NUI Galway and Maynooth University), the National University of Ireland (NUI) is sponsoring a review of the collaborative Diploma and Bachelor (BSc Rural Development) Degree programmes in Rural Development by distance learning delivered between 1997 and 2015.

This collaboration emerged from the recommendations of the Teagasc Rural Action Training and Advisory Committee (RUTAC) in 1992. RUTAC’s brief was to identify the training needs of rural populations and how to service those needs through academic course provision.

The aim of this NUI review study is to assess the outcome of the universities’ collaborative initiative, including its impact on multiple stakeholders, and to capture lessons learned that may be useful for both academia and policy-makers, in the context of future rural development education and related public policy development in Ireland.

Background and Context

In line with its mission to serve the interests of its member institutions and its strategic goal to act as a forum for collaborative activities and shared learning, NUI’s role in relation to the Diploma and BSc Degree in Rural Development by distance learning was one of active encouragement and support for the collaborating academic departments of the four constituent universities. To facilitate the four university partners, NUI provided a convenient city-centre Dublin location for meetings of the Steering Group and Extern Examiner meetings on the programmes. Latterly the NUI offered a €2,000 student scholarship in Rural Development, recognising the achievement of the top student on the BSc (Hons) programme.

This study seeks to review the outcomes of the Diploma and BSc degree programmes, and the collaborative partnership between the universities and wider organisational stakeholders that delivered the programmes. This study seeks and to capture lessons learned that may have wider applicability for Irish Higher Education and related rural development public policy today and in the future.

The terms of reference for this study are to review and make recommendations on the following:

  1. The inter-institutional partnership model between the universities and government departments, state agencies, LEADER Local Action Groups (LAGs), and other community and voluntary organisations that were involved in programme delivery;
  2. The student and graduate profile on the programmes, progression and completion rates;
  3. The student experience of the Diploma and BSc Degree programmes;
  4. The personal and professional impact of the programmes on the alumni and the rural communities where they lived and worked;
  5. The impact of the programmes on rural development policy formulation.
  6. The funding model for the programmes;

It is envisaged that the research will be  completed by January 2021.

The Study Steering Group, working with the study consultants, are:

The url link to provide graduate contacts is Contact Michael Kenny at #BScNUI2020

Pedagogies for a new PC (Post Covid19) World

Educators are seeking ICT adoption models for educational settings in our new PC teaching world. One that appears potentially relevant is the SAMR model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. Designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, the SAMR model categorises four different degrees of classroom technology integration to support teachers to design, develop, and integrate learning technologies to support high levels of learning achievement.SAMR Model

Currently, I have migrated my teaching and student support online using MoodleMS Office 365, Outlook, and TEAMS. However, this is no more than substitution – the ‘S’ in SAMR – at short notice.

I have tried to augment the online teaching by inviting students into tutorial groups and adding online content – the ‘A’ in SAMR. I do not have the time to make modifications at this time as we are near the end of the semester and students have encountered enough change due to the virus.

These are efforts to enhance our learning delivery for the benefit of students. It is not a model for longer-term delivery.

SAMR Model with Tech

If we have to adopt social distancing and a radically new way of engaging with students at higher education levels in the 2020-2021 academic year we need to move to transformation of our delivery model.

SAMR Model Transformation

In the SAMR model Modification – the ‘M’ in SAMR – requires us to redesign educational delivery to meet learner and learning needs. Redefinition – the ‘R’ in SAMR – requires us to re-imagine tasks in previously inconceivable ways.

SAMR Model Redefinition

The 4-minute Introduction to the SAMR Model video is very helpful in explaining this redefinition.

I am concerned about how I match my teaching delivery to existing content. The following text from Dr.  Puentedura’s 2014 article “Find out how you can use technology to engage students in rich learning experiences” on constructing a simple SAMR ladder that is coupled to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy is helpful.

“The goal for the teacher is to construct a simple SAMR ladder that is coupled to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy — i.e., as the task moves from lower to upper levels of the taxonomy, it also moves from lower to upper levels of SAMR. The two Enhancement levels of SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation) are associated with the three lower levels of Bloom (Remember, Understand, Apply), while the two Transformation levels of SAMR (Modification, Redefinition) are associated with the upper levels of Bloom (Analyze, Evaluate, Create). In turn, within each grouping a similar ordering occurs — e.g., Remember-type tasks are primarily associated with S-level uses of the technology, Understand-type tasks are associated with either S- or A-level uses of the technology, and so on. The following diagram illustrates this association.”

SAMR Model and Blooms Taxonomy

Diagram Source

Feedback or comment welcome below.

Michael Kenny, Department of Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University. (Contact:

Saolta Development Education partnership with MU Adult and Community Education Department

The Irish Aid funded SAOLTA partnership programme seeks to enhance development education in the Irish Adult and Community Education sector


The Development Perspectives team including new members who will work on the new ‘Saolta’ programme.

Drogheda based NGO Development Perspectives will lead a consortium of organisations who are selected by Ireland’s official international development aid programme, Irish Aid, as new strategic partners for promoting development education in the Adult and Community Education sector in Ireland.

The partnership, which includes organisations such as the Irish National Adult Learning Organisation (AONTAS), Concern Worldwide, Irish Rural Link (IRL) and the Maynooth University Department of Adult and Community Education will be delivered over 30 months and will be called “Saolta.”

Saolta, an Irish word meaning ‘Worldly Wise’ is the perfect title as the programme that will explore a variety of global issues with stakeholders from the Adult and Community Education sector and encourage action across Irish society on issues such as poverty, inequality and climate change. Development education feature wider world issues strongly through community engagement


The SAOLTA programme will target the Adult and Community Education workers in a variety of ways including interactive workshops with Further Education and Training (FET) Institutions and Public Participation Networks (PPNs) across the country. ‘Saolta’  will increase awareness of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)and the SAOLTA  advocate programme will offer active citizens an opportunity to represent their community by becoming one of Ireland’s positive changemakers.

Other facets of the programme will involve coaching and mentoring, webinars, networking meetings and teh production of a library of resources over the next 2.5 years.

The Development Perspectives team is excited at the possibilities this innovative new partnership will present. Bobby McCormack, Co-founder and Director of Development Perspectives, says:

“Education needs to be transformative in order to be truly effective – this is what we will offer through Saolta. We believe that informed and engaged citizens are best placed to address complex social, economic and environmental issues and working with a variety of multipliers throughout Irish society is the best way to create these active citizens.”

The new programme – SAOLTA – will offer participants an opportunity to become one of Ireland’s positive changemakers

For more information visit:

Adults with Lower Levels of Education and ICT – A Conundrum


While we congratulate ourselves on increasing numbers of people in life-long learning there is still a big group of people out of learning. As with all contradictions in life the ones out of education are the ones that need it the most. These are predominately lower skilled or lower educated individuals. For these people education is a barrier due to complex social and economic barriers, but also due to inner fear and a sense of not being as good as others – the imposter syndrome. Bringing increasing numbers of educationally disadvantaged learners into learning is the great challenge for the adult education practioner, the adult education policy maker and the adult education programme designer.

ICT, or Information Communications Technology, and Digital Skills provide an exiting – still to be exploited – route for new learners into a new phase of life long learning. With digital skills a wonderful library is available in multiple media – written, aural, static or mobile visual or visual graphic delivered to a digitally connected device near you.

There is much talk of lack of internet access, the cost of access and the way the disadvantage of rural or remote communities is compounded by poor access to faster broadband connectivity. The DELSA project ( digital skill mapping report 2019 ( provided data that shows that connectivity access is an issue for a very small number of adults, less than 1%, in the EU area. Cost is a challenge in some member states but there is a push to provide supports to disadvantaged groups to gain digital access.

The DELSA project report shows that people who want digital connectivity get digital connectivity – fixed or mobile. The greater challenge is that those who do not have basic digital skills – 43% of the European population – are also the least digitally connected. That is understandable. Why seek to be digitally connected if you don’t have the skills to use the digital connection? This is a conundrum – those that would benefit from connectivity do not seek to connect.

Motivation is also a challenge. If you are not digitally connected you are not aware of the services and opportunities that you could more easily get. THE DESI (the Digital Economy and Society Index, report for Europe shows a correlation between poor digital skills and poor motivation to become digitally connected.

One of the EAEA (European Association for the Education of Adults, 2019 GRUNDTVIG Award 2019 participants (, the LearnersMot project (, strives to help low-educated adults develop their primary motivation to get involved in learning through the use of ICT tools and modern teaching methods. The Erasmus+KA204 “How to Trigger Primary Motivation for Learning in Low Educated Adults Using ICT Tools” project, based in Spain uses an “educational film has been produced with the main aim of enabling adult educators to better motivate the learners to enrol and remain in education, using situational learning based on life skills.” ( The project seeks to help adult educators identify, understand and support low-educated functionally illiterate employees, and to bring education to them through a variety of channels.

For more information see Resourceswebsite

Country: Organisations from Spain, Italy, Slovenia, and Cyprus.
Focus: Adult educators’ professional development
Life Skills approach: Increasing low-educated adults’ motivation to involve in education for wider career opportunities

LearnersMot Coordinator: Edensol


Estonians’ participation in adult learning at all-time high – EPALE Post

AE Estonia

The participation rate in adult life-long learning has risen to an all-time record level. According to the latest data, 19.7% of Estonian citizens aged 25-64 participated in adult learning last year, which is 2.5% more than in 2017. This placed Estonia fourth among European Union member states.

Ten years ago, Estonia’s participation rate in life-long learning was below 10% and five years later it rose to 12%, which makes the current indicators the highest in the country’s history. Estonia is ahead of the European average when it comes to the number of both women and men participating in life-long learning.

Estonian Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps was positively surprised by the results. “Together with the European Union we have made great investments in adult education. We know that education policy is the best economic policy. Creating retraining and refresher training opportunities and related communication is the main guarantee in our efforts to help people find suitable jobs and reduce unemployment.”

“We are very close to achieving our goal to increase participation in life-long learning to 20% by 2020,” said Terje Haidak, head of the Adult Education Department at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research. “We have a great number of very good instructors who have set high standards for themselves and value constant self-improvement. This provides us with the certainty that people will find their way to life-long learning in the coming years as well,” she added.

The most successful European Union countries were Sweden (29.2%), Finland (28.5%) and Denmark (23.5%). However, some countries show negative trends – in Denmark, the participation rate dropped by 3.3% year-on-year compared to 2017.

The Eurostat data can be explored in detail here.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Education and Research

AE Estonia1

Humans of Dublin – Wonderful Project

Humans of Dublin

A page full of life. Here is an excerpt from …

“You have to be open to learning new things. Last year one small decision changed a big part of my life. I was going to National Concert Hall to collect tickets for my daughter, and the lady at the box office asked me: ‘Have you ever thought about joining an orchestra?’ I said, ‘I never really thought about it, I can’t really read music… But we do actually have a violin at home. We’ve had it 40 years and nobody plays it.’ I never really turn down an opportunity, so since last year, I’ve been learning music. I’m no expert; I mean, I can play a few tunes. But for me, it’s more like gardening. I love gardening. My garden is not a very structured one, it looks more like someone threw a bag of seed mix on it, but I love to spend every minute tending to it. People often end up forgetting the real purpose of learning something new. It’s not about being an expert after the first week, but simply the joy of creation.”


What are Adult Educators doing in digital media literacy education? Portugal


What’s up in digital media literacy education?


To find out what adult Educators are doing in the field of digital media literacy, conducted a small comparison between three European countries. The reported experiences are different – but also the same.

Here’s the third of three case studies: Portugal.

Michael Sommer Photo Pexels

“It is already clear to many training and non-formal education operators that the development of digital skills for the elderly should not be built up in a school model context.

However, it should be insisted upon that some sort of approach, whether methodological or organisational, be generalised to answer the need.

In Portugal, there are many creative practices that can inspire anyone who wants to adopt this line of action. One of them is called “Keys for Life”. The programme, held in the region of Coimbra, uses alternative approaches in pedagogical, spatial and curricular terms.

I have followed the evolution of this pioneering initiative and concluded that it integrates the essential of what must be an effective solution, not only pedagogically but also in the scope of citizenship and local development. Its enrolment as a case study by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in 2018 also suggests that it will certainly be an inspiring example of digital literacy education.

In the “Keys for Life” workshop, digital skills training includes the use of social media, gadgets, email communication, editing electronic texts and photographs and Internet search. Learners practise digital skills for different purposes ranging from the use of news portals to using online health services. Also, a closed Facebook group for the learners has been created and on it the learners interact and exchange ideas with other learners.

The planning of all the learning activities was flexible and specific to each group of learners. Generally, the approach is also participatory; stakeholders, learners and facilitators work together. Curriculum design starts with learners defining their learning needs and goals. They also participate in defining the learning strategies and themes for the sessions.

The learning takes place in a peaceful and friendly atmosphere, where the learners feel welcomed, valued and loved by the team and peer learners. The learning space is enriched with books, newspapers, dictionaries and other auxiliary materials – including flowers on the table! Facilitators show that they value the experience, cultural background, knowledge, needs, interests and life stories of each learner.

So, in addition to the concrete conditions of the elderly participants, other success factors could be considered when planning media literacy activities:

– learning spaces and tools could be diverse, in order to ensure the freedom of choice of each participant;

– learning facilitators, complementing the training staff, could be skilled volunteers running professional and cultural activities at a local level;

– training could be held in collaborative learning spaces that are welcoming, linked to everyday life and facilitating an open and informal interpersonal relationship;

– a dynamic of co-management and active participation could be allowed in the workshop in order to create empowerment and a feeling of control of the process in the participants;

– communication initiatives involving local press and social media about learning activities, could valorise the individual and collective participation and reinforce the learners’ self-esteem.”

Carlos Ribeiro

  • is manager in Caixa de Mitos – Social Innovation Agency;
  • Portuguese EPALE Ambassador for non-formal and informal education;
  • AGRI Magazine Editorial Coordinator;
  • Online and social media contents developer and manager.

Carlos Ribeiro