Ensuring quality in non-formal adult education

Do you wish to develop both your non-formal adult education organization, and the activities you host? To define which parts of your organization you would benefit from developing, and which parts to maintain, a thorough evaluation is necessary.

Midtfyns Husflid - one of the examples in the collection of best cases.
In cooperation with EVA, The Danish Evaluation Institute, The DAEA has developed a self-evaluation tool that will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses , evaluate your workflow and develop your organization. In properly evaluating your organization, you will gain the tools needed to ensure the well-being of your staff of employees and volunteers, and to ensure that your members reap the benefits.

The benefits
1. You establish the time and calm environment necessary to reflect on the issues at hand
2. You will identify both your strengths, and which places your organization would benefit from developing, and
3. The model is adaptable to any organization, regardless of structure, size or purpose.
You will find sample exercises, a list of strategic questions to help you along the way, and a comprehensive description of the values in question, within the instructions.
The three-pronged approach to this process is, although very simple, a powerful tool. It does, however, require reflection, and you should therefore print the instructions, set aside the time and ensure active participation before beginning.

The process
The process revolves around identifying, defining, developing and maintaining 6 key quality parameters in your organization. These are:
• Teacher/Instructor/Activity leader: The teacher is a representative of the organization, responsible for social and personal development
• The physical framework: The rooms and surroundings that lay the framework for your activities and encourage participation.
• Communication:  Provides fertile ground for debate and reflection, builds respectful relationships
• Content: The “common third”, the mutual interest around which the activities and participants centre.
• Organisation: A democratic construction for the values reflected in, and by, its activities and participants
• Participant/member/volunteer:  A diverse group of people involved in the organisation’s activities, strengthening content and sense of community.

The steps
1. Describe your practice. How is your workflow? Be specific and honest. Dwell on the concrete workflow of your organization. Describe what is important to maintain, and what should improve.
2. Evaluate your practice. Define as a group your strengths and weaknesses, and what you would want to change. You may find someone with a talent for employing the skills of your participants. In this case, consider using this trait throughout the rest of your organization.
3. Develop your workflow. Gather the points from the previous phases and identify areas you should improve in. Your goals may be minor or major but must be realistic within your organizational framework. You should also make sure that you start with the most important parts first, lay out a specific plan of action, and set a specific date for evaluation.

What is non-formal adult education?

Non-formal adult education is, in this respect, understood as any organization that occupies itself with the non-curricular, educational community activities. 

Further reading
To fully benefit from the tool, visit the publications linked below, print the relevant amount of materials and set aside the time required to follow the steps. We hope the insights gained from this model will help develop your organisation and ensure the quality of your educational services.

The comprehensive instructional

Quality parameters and best cases

The participant's booklet

The original site in Danish (including sample videos in which Christina Laugesen of EVA describes, also in Danish, the benefits and the essential 3 points of this strategic evaluation approach)