ACT! Active Citizenship Training

Measuring the Impact of Informal Learning on Active Citizenship

The project ACT (Active Citizenship Training), funded by the European Commission from 2005 to 2007 aimed at evidencing the impact of informal learning on Active Citizenship competences.

For this central purpose a comprehensive evaluation system was developed especially taking into account the demands of grass-root organisations that deliver citizenship competences to non-mainstreaming societal target groups. The developed approach is treading new trails since it rather relates to the required citizenship competences of the beneficiaries in their living context than to politically determined learning objectives concerning Active Citizenship.

On the basis of a comprehensive European stock taking in regard to European citizenship education a comprehensive explanatory model was developed to visualise Active Citizenship competences (The ACT-Cube).

This model has been the foundation of a complete evaluation procedure that is on the one hand standardised and on the other hand enables grass root projects to establish an individualised reference system for assessing and evidencing relevant competences of their beneficiaries in a process orientated way. The function of the system allows users to evidence the impact of their work according to a standardised procedure while at the same time keeping up their individuality concerning informal learning projects in their specific contexts.

In the past these opponent goals, standardisation vs. individuality, were the major obstacles in regard to a validation of informal learning: When evaluating competences in not formalised learning contexts the uncountable variety of learning offers, contents and very often a lack of specified learning objectives are limiting a standardised, traceable and transferable evalua-tion and validation.

In an intensive 2 year development process an interdisciplinary team of experts from 9 coun-tries developed a full fledged evaluation procedure which was successfully tested European wide in 23 grass-root projects.

On the basis of the model and the evaluation procedure an interactive evaluation and evidencing software was programmed the so called ACT Impact Assessment System (IAS). With the help of the IAS grass root projects can self-evaluate and evidence the impact of their learning offers.

This central ACT-product has been valorised together with a profound consulting and training concept via a sustainable European ACT-Network structure.