As the pandemic struck, many courses headed online to educate. We speak to Youth-MOOC, one start-up now making big waves in youth work.
Youth-MOOC is a platform where young people can find free online courses which are the results of European projects and which aims at supporting the youth field in Europe.
The platform makes the results of the European projects even more sustainable, since in this way, with no additional costs, anyone at any time can keep learning.
All of the courses are organised via thematic modules, and learners can access content which is relevant for them only, following the principles of self-directed learning, or follow the whole course, which will grant them a certificate of attendance once they have completed their work.
Aga Byrczek, Project Manager in Cazalla Intercultural, a Spanish non-governmental organisation based in Lorca, Murcia, which has launched this platform speaks to Youth Time sharing more about how young people are benefiting from Youth MOOC, and how the COVID-19 has impacted online learning.
The platform offers youth work orientated e-courses around topics, such as gender and action against gender-based violence, inclusion, invisible racism, global education and youth participation.
Byrczek elaborates how this is going so far, how they are targeting participants and what are the key learning that the participants get from these e-courses.
In this piece, you will also read participants’ impressions and see how you can enrol on the courses.
Celebrating a Great Beginning
When Youth-MOOC launched their new course, they first run it in the specific time frame with the instructors present and with additional perks like additional live webinars, which participants can join and have the possibility to interact with other participants.
“So far we are very satisfied with the impact and participation in general, although since all the learning is remote, it might be sometimes challenging to properly evaluate the impact.
“After each course we always ask for feedback and sometimes we receive emails from participants telling us about their experience with the courses,” Byrczek says.
In general, they are very satisfied with the results.
On average the courses are evaluated with a score of 4.7 out of 5 in terms of overall experience, and they have a 30% completion rate, which is very high for the MOOC, since many platforms claim the completion rate on average around 10%.
“As well, from time to time we receive emails from participants telling us a bit more about the impact, and concrete follow up actions. Like for example one participant from Portugal, who joined the training on invisible racism, got so motivated that she had prepared her own Erasmus+ project on that topic.”
She was part of the MOOC – Make it Visible – and found it powerful.
“I have learnt a lot about invisible racism and micro-aggressions and how sometimes we are being racist without even realising.
“It made me not only rethink my personal actions but also my role as youth worker and how I could connect my learning to the action of our organisation.”
Online Learning as a Beneficial Tool
Online learning is gaining more popularity, and it has a lot of benefits.
Here, Byrczek shares her opinion regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic was an incentive for the popularity of online learning.
From what they have observed, the possibility of online learning improved access of youth workers to training.
“Let us be honest, it is not always easy to leave for a week and attend these sessions. First you need to find time and it is always challenging in our profession, and then get permission from your institution.”
According to her, there are some types of work, like teachers for whom it is even more challenging to join residential activities which are not in the summertime.
“For some, having a family might be an important factor. And then there are people like me, who did not join any learning opportunities for the past 10 years, because I had already travelled too much due to the role of trainer or project manager.
“No matter the reason, remote learning improved accessibility to the training for many.”
Just to give an example, before the pandemic, they were struggling for more than a year with implementing the national training course for the volunteer’s managers.
“Although it was requested by the community, when we announced the residential activity, the number of inscriptions was so low that we were cancelling.”
Until COVID-19 came and they had to move their activities online.
“Within the week we were over flooded with people interested in the training.”
Nevertheless, she stresses online learning should not replace the residential activities, especially if they are targeting young people.
“What we are trying to do is to offer online learning, but at the same time still continue with the residential activities.”
Although Youth-MOOC is a platform created from scratch, it already has nine courses uploaded with more than 8,000 users.
Byrczek tells us why this has been so successful.
“In the beginning since the platform was completely new we have invested a lot of time and effort for its promotion. Later, I hope to believe that due to the high quality of courses and the topics covered, the number of participants started increasing.”
Many participants have recommended the platforms to others. The beginning of the pandemic has also played an important role, since in the beginning there were not so many activities online, like right now.
Below are some anonymous testimonials Youth-MOOC has collected them from their evaluations:
This platform allowed me to have enough tools to fight against racism, helped me to encourage to speak out and bring awareness around it
If you are a youth worker, or a young adult involved in the educational field, I’d highly recommend you to follow this course. Thanks to the multimedia contents, you can get new ideas and tools for fighting racism in every aspect of 21st century society.
This Youth-MOOC course is recommended because it not only provides the necessary theory to understand what racism is and how to work to end it, but it also provides a lot of useful tools such as videos and dynamics to work with young people on this topic.
This course helped me to improve my critical opinion and to rethink everything I’ve known about this topic before this course, so it’s very useful and interesting.
Join Youth-MOOC Now
It is very simple for youth who want to join online courses.
“We are currently working on the new courses, one on creative writing as a tool of activism and other on coaching in youth work.
“Both courses will be implemented within the framework of the approved Erasmus+ strategic partnerships.”
Stay in touch! Like Cazalla Intercultural on LinkedIn.
Cazalla fights invisible racism, and marking the 21st of March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, they spoke to Youth Time about their work:
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