The power of non-formal education
The Εrasmus+ youth exchange ‘Finding N.E.M.O’ followed the learning methodology of Non-formal & Informal Education.
Non-formal learning refers to the learning which takes place outside formal educational curriculum. It has a participative and learner-centred approach; it is carried out by learners on a voluntary basis and therefore is closely linked to young people’s needs, aspirations and interests (European Commission).
Informal learning refers to the learning in daily life activities, in work, with peers, etc. It is mainly learning by doing. In the youth sector, informal learning can take place in youth initiatives, in peer group discussions, through voluntary activities and in a variety of other situations.
The variety of approaches (learning by doing, by observing , by working with different methods) in non-formal and informal education ensures participants to acquire cognitive, emotional and specific competences and skills, helps to identify and trust their instincts as well as develops confidence in their unique learning process. (European Youth Portal). These essential competences contribute to their personal and socio-educational development and foster their active participation in society, thereby improving their employment prospects.
The high-quality non-formal and informal learning dimension is a key aspect of all youth projects supported under the Erasmus+ Programme. This high quality can be assured when the Principles of a non-formal learning tool are taken into account. (Tools, studies and research, Salto-Youth)
• To be easy to use by all, not be exclusive
• To use non-specialised but never the less precise language that provide clear and
• To allow for additions, modifications, appropriations and adaptations by everyone
• To be attractive, interactive and dynamic
• To facilitate the “voyage”, the transformation
• To provoke and force learners out of their comfort zone
• To destabilise without being frightening
• To search for balance and an individual and collective under standing
• To give a sense
• To do and make done to be seen as a “tool for learning”?
• To engage participants in the learning process
• To provide a possibility for participants to identify their own learning
The non-formal & informal learning tools we used during ‘Finding N.E.M.O’ that documented learning in a field-oriented way were the following:
- energizers/ warm up activities
- intercultural dialogue/ round table discussion
- outdoor activities
- working group,
- peer learning
- creative presentations,
- role plays,
- study visits
- learning by doing
- learning by participating…
All participants and involved members received by the mayor of the town the Youthpass Certification, which recognizes their non-formal and informal learning outcomes during the youth project.