From Tuesday 6th to Thursday 8th October 2020, EPALE hosted an Online Community Conference with thousands of attendees from across Europe. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event took place in an online format, allowing participation from a broad group of stakeholders, from a range of sectors and countries in Europe and around the world.
AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, are proud to manage and implement a range of European projects in Ireland, as well as partnering with other adult education organisations across Europe to share learnings and develop best practice. Adult learning plays a central role in supporting individuals to engage in society and learn the skills required to benefit from digital transformation and overall civic participation.
On Monday, 12th October, over 110 participants across the lifelong learning sector gathered online to take a ‘virtual visit’ of community education, highlighting the vital work that is taking place across Ireland. We were delighted to have Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS), Simon Harris TD and Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS in attendance, giving them an opportunity to hear first-hand the unique contribution that community education groups are making at a local level.
On Wednesday, 16th September, Marian Hennessy of AONTAS member organisation and AONTAS STAR Award winner 2020, the Cope Foundation, delivered a presentation at our weekly membership update and engagement webinar on how they have continued to support their learners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact on the provision of learning, AONTAS members have expressed the need to learn new teaching methods and best practices for engaging with learners and supporting peer collaboration during emergency response online teaching. In a recent weekly membership webinar AONTAS Head of Advocacy, Dearbháil Lawless, outlined innovative activities for delivering programmes online while staying focussed on the principles of adult learning. 78 members from adult education organisations nationwide joined us to share creative ideas for teaching and learning online.
On Wednesday, 23rd September, over 80 participants gathered online to celebrate the launch of the 34th issue of The Adult Learner journal. Since 1985, it has been the only peer-review journal focused on adult, community and further education in Ireland. This special edition brought together a range of perspectives on adult learning to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the English language version of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
Each Wednesday, AONTAS members meet for a membership update and engagement webinar. This blog post shares some key takeaway points from our 20th webinar in which Clare Local Development Company, an AONTAS member organisation, shared a presentation highlighting SICAP (Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme) in Co Clare. Their input focussed on how they have continued to deliver their courses with a learner centred approach despite the COVID-19 restrictions, and showcased collaboration in their community.
On Thursday, 20th August, AONTAS and EPALE came together to host an online workshop on why Black Lives Matter still matters, and why it matters in Ireland in 2020. The workshop was delivered as part of the ‘Adult and Community Education: Supported Learner Pathways 2020-2021’ project under the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL), funded by SOLAS and the European Commission.
Part of AONTAS’ communications with members since the move to remote working includes a weekly membership update and engagement webinar. This offers a space for shared learning and regular feedback. This blog post shares some takeaway points from our 19th membership webinar on the use of social media for course promotion and the recruitment of learners.