Month: February 2023

EBI joins the FIRST Network

EBI joins the FIRST Network

A Leap Forward for Collaborative Learning

The European Initiative for Education (EIE) has recently announced its membership in the First Network, a groundbreaking educational network developed due to a collaborative EU-Project. This new partnership marks an exciting step forward in promoting innovation, cooperation, and exchange of best practices among educational institutions across Europe.

Webpage FIRST Network
Screenshot of the FIRST Network webpage

Background on the First Network

The First Network (“First International Realisation Support Team Network), established through the joint efforts of five European institutions, aims to revolutionize education by fostering a culture of collaboration, creativity, and shared learning. By bringing together a wide array of academic institutions, educators, and experts, the network creates a dynamic environment that encourages the development of innovative teaching methodologies and learning experiences.

Founding members of the network and project partners

European Initiative for Education’s Role

As a member of the First Network, the European Initiative for Education will play a crucial role in promoting cross-border educational collaborations, and by doing so, contribute to the overarching goal of improving education standards across the continent. The EIE will leverage its expertise in educational policy, research, and development to identify and address critical challenges facing the sector.

Benefits and Opportunities

Joining the First Network presents numerous benefits and opportunities for the European Initiative for Education and its partners. By tapping into the extensive network of European Adult Education organisations, the EIE can effectively share resources, knowledge, and ideas, leading to a more cohesive educational landscape. Additionally, the partnership will facilitate the exchange of best practices. This enabls educational institutions to learn from one another and adapt successful strategies to their specific contexts.

Moreover, the collaboration will open doors for developing joint projects, research initiatives, and grant applications. That is an issue which can significantly enhance the quality and impact of the work carried out by the EIE and its partners.

Future Prospects

The European Initiative for Education’s membership in the First Network is a testament to the organization’s commitment to driving progress and innovation in education. As the network continues to grow and evolve, it is expected to foster even more meaningful connections and collaborations. Ultimately, the network will contribute to a more robust and inclusive educational landscape across Europe.

The partnership between the European Initiative for Education and the First Network is a promising development that will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for the future of education in Europe. By working together, these organizations can pool their resources and expertise to create a more interconnected and innovative educational environment, benefitting students, educators, and institutions.

FIRST Network members

Here is a list of the currently registered members. You are welcome to join the network. Contact: Agnieszka Dadak (Poland).

Link to the webpage:

About Ethical Values

During a project meeting, EBI had a discussion with the partners about currently implemented courses and the situation after COVID-19. The partners agreed that they made a similar observation and there was obviously some change visible. This article is a summary of the observations, followed by a case study about ethical values.
The ethical norms and values of a society are constantly evolving, shaped by various factors such as technological advancements, political and economic changes, and shifts in social attitudes. In recent years, the rapid growth of digital technologies and the increasing prevalence of online communication has had a profound impact on the way in which ethics is perceived and practiced in society.

One of the most notable changes is the rise of hatred and bigotry on the internet. The anonymity and distance provided by the internet have enabled individuals to express harmful opinions and engage in abusive behavior without fear of consequence. This has led to an increase in hate speech, cyberbullying, and harassment, particularly targeted at marginalized communities based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identity factors.

Social media play a big role in daily life. Especially during various lockdowns, people used social media to stay in contact. Nevertheless, bad behavior became an issue too.

Another change in ethical norms can be seen in the lack of togetherness and community that exists in many societies today. The increased use of technology has led to a more individualistic and fragmented society, where people are less likely to engage in face-to-face interactions and form close relationships. This has contributed to a decline in empathy and a decrease in social support networks, which can further exacerbate issues such as discrimination and prejudice.

Social distancing: Technology became important to keep contact.

Discrimination and prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identity factors remain prevalent in many societies. Despite advances in equality and human rights, many individuals continue to experience discrimination, bias, and stigma based on their identity. This can lead to social and economic inequality and can have a profound impact on the well-being and opportunities available to marginalized communities.

Influence of COVID-19

Video conferencing became a mainstay of both professional and private interaction during the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on society and has brought many ethical challenges to the forefront. In terms of hatred on the net, the pandemic has led to a significant increase in misinformation and conspiracy theories, which have fueled further division and mistrust among individuals and communities. This has contributed to the spread of hate speech and online harassment, particularly targeting marginalized groups, such as those based on race, gender, and sexual orientation.

In terms of lack of togetherness, the pandemic has resulted in social distancing measures and lockdowns that have limited face-to-face interactions and increased feelings of loneliness and isolation. This has highlighted the importance of community and social support, and has also led to increased efforts to maintain connections through virtual means. However, it has also revealed the challenges of digital communication and the limitations of virtual interactions in fostering meaningful relationships.

Discrimination and prejudice have also been amplified during the pandemic. Marginalized communities, such as those based on race and ethnicity, have been disproportionately affected by the virus, leading to further disparities in health outcomes and access to resources. Additionally, the pandemic has led to increased xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments, particularly aimed at those perceived as being carriers of the virus.

The case studies

The EBI has undertaken a Case study “About Ethical Values” at two different levels:

(1) European Adult Education Organisations

The EBI undertook a survey among friendly educational institutions in the field of adult education in Europe. More than 40 organisations were contacted, and we received feedback from 23 of them (14 different European countries: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain). The results are visible in the following slideshow.

(2) Planning for a new project

During the last visit of Peter Mazohl, President of the EBI, to the University of Málaga, the plan was born to start a project on this topic. Together with 4 partners, the planning is currently underway. A survey of the future project partners showed a similar picture as in the case study with 23 European institutions).

Here you see the asked questions. Click on the open icon to see the graphic data evaluation.

1. Our trainers/we as an organisation/I as a person have noted various societal problems, such as hatred on the net, lack of togetherness, discrimination, and prejudice based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and similar.
2. Our trainers/we as an organisation/I as a person have been observing an inevitable decline in values in society lately, like hatred on the net, lack of togetherness, discrimination, and prejudice based on race, gender, and sexual orientation, which worries them.
3. Our trainers have recently observed a decline in moral principles among learners, like missing respect, lack of togetherness, discrimination, and prejudice based on race, or gender.
4. Our organisation seeks to provide trainers with a uniform basic attitude toward ethics and morals.
5. Our organisation aims to positively impact learners through a unified ethical stance and thus have some influence on the positive development of society.
6. For our organisation, a uniform ethical attitude within the team is essential.

7. In the future, our organisation wants to offer training and education on moral principles in specific areas (e.g., behaviour on the net, green values).

Personal statements

Personal statements and specific feedback were appreciated and will be used in the further development of the project’s application. Here are interesting answers:

  • Among our adult students, we only observe less interest in each other in recent times.
  • People need the training to raise awareness of their behaviour, and green values
  • Good values and ethics are the backbones of a healthy society
  • All people need to raise awareness


The ethical landscape of society has changed significantly recently, with the rise of digital technologies having a particularly pronounced impact. However, despite these challenges, it is important that individuals and communities work together to promote equality, empathy, and respect for all. This can be achieved through education, community-building efforts, and the promotion of positive and inclusive online behavior.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the importance of ethical values, such as empathy, inclusiveness, and equality, in society. It has also highlighted the need for individuals and communities to work together to address the challenges posed by the pandemic and promote a more equitable and inclusive society.

A Casual Learning Space

The EBI has held various courses despite Covid. Before the Covid-19 crisis, we only held cooperative and group-based training. During Covid-19, this was not possible: “Social Distancing” (which should have been better called “Physical Distancing”), the wearing of masks and other restrictions threw us back to the level of lecture teaching, with a classical classroom structure and a lecturing teacher/trainer. We have recognized the advantage of a modern Learning Space within the last few years. Collaborative and group learning spaces provide opportunities for individuals to work together, share knowledge, and develop a more in-depth understanding of the material. In these environments, learners can learn from each other, receive different perspectives, and engage in productive discussions that enhance their problem-solving skills. Additionally, group learning spaces foster a sense of community, support, and motivation that can lead to increased engagement and improved academic performance. All these items have been considered in the CICERO project. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 crisis prevented the further development of a Casual Learning Space.

Training in 2022: Conveying digital competences in the typical classroom setting (Kneipp Course 2022).

How to improve it

The trainers of the EBI had another approach to effective training In Adult Education. Our ideas were:

  • An open learning space, group based and focusing on collaboration, is the best learning space for most of the training situations in Adult Education.
  • A modern learning space for Adult Education must be flexible in the spatial design. It must be possible to change the spatial arrangement easily.
  • Modern learning spaces for Adult Education must not follow traditional teaching or training methods, but can use other approaches based on active learning.
  • Modern learning spaces for Adult Education must provide a modern pedagogical approach. This approach must ensure that no one is left behind in informal learning and that all learners have the opportunity to achieve the goal(s).

The questionnaire

The EBI started a questionnaire to create a case study about an innovative, versatile, and engaging Learning Space. EBI addressed approximately 100 Adult Education organisations in European countries. Feedback came from 40 organisations from 11 European countries (Norway, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, and Austria).

The feedback confirmed our ideas and showed that there is a great deal of agreement with our approach to modern learning. It also indicated that there is a certain need for innovative and universal learning spaces – especially in the field of adult education.

Processed questionnaire results

This traditional classroom, as it’s well-known in School Education, is the best learning space for most of the training situations in Adult Education.

The result is clear: The organisations answer the question in the negative, with a majority of 73%. Classical teaching in the traditional setting is not perceived as a suitable solution.

An open learning space, group-based and focusing on collaboration, is the best learning space for most of the training situations in Adult Education.

91% of respondents think that an open learning space (with group learning) is the best choice. This confirms the approach we had taken until the Covid-10 crisis.

Modern learning space for Adult Education must be flexible in spatial design. It must be possible to change the spatial arrangement easily.

But our COVID-19 approach goes further: spatial and other design options must be in place to best adapt the learning space.

Modern learning spaces for Adult Education must not follow traditional teaching or training methods, but can use other approaches based on active learning.

Traditional learning methods are not a must. A modern learning space must also provide for deeper innovation: Such is the learning method used (with the aim of “leaving no learner behind in learning”). This aspect brought us together with interested adult education organisations with whom we want to develop such a learning space.

New cooperation

The ideas of EBI found fertile ground with some of the organisations approached: The Portuguese organisation AJITER, JA-Eesti from Estonia, EduVita from Italy, and EDRASE from Greece are now working together to develop an innovative learning space to meet the given requirements. Within the framework of this cooperation, the trainers of the participating organisations were asked about their ideas for such a learning space. The results are presented in the final slideshow.


  1. Obviously, the trainers of the cooperation match with the feedback of the organisations asked in Europe.
  2. The development of an innovative, versatile Learning Space, best-fitting to informal training, is a must.
  3. There is a broad discussion currently dealing with innovative learning spaces.

Inclusion in Training

Inclusion in Training

1 Our Approach to Inclusion

Inclusion in adult education refers to the practice of making educational opportunities and resources accessible to individuals regardless of their abilities, disabilities, socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, language, or any other characteristic that might otherwise be a barrier to participation.
The goal of inclusion in adult education and training is to provide equal opportunities for learning and personal growth to all members of society. This involves creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment, offering flexible learning options, and addressing any barriers preventing individuals from accessing education.
With our measure, we follow the European Commission’s Guidelines.

Inclusive Measures EBI
Inclusive measures to enable all adults to participate at training

2 Measures of inclusion in Adult Education

There are various measures that can be taken to promote inclusion in adult education and training, including:

2.1 Accessible learning materials

Providing educational materials that are accessible to individuals with disabilities, such as audio or large print materials, Braille, or closed captioning.

This material must be usable by people with disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. This includes materials such as textbooks, videos, audio recordings, online resources, and assessments.

Accessible learning materials should be designed with accessibility in mind, incorporating features such as alternative text (e.g. transcripts for videos) or descriptions for images, closed captioning for videos, and audio descriptions for visual content. The goal of accessible learning materials is to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to educational resources and can participate fully in the learning process.

2.2 Adaptive technologies

Incorporating assistive technologies such as screen readers, text-to-speech, and speech recognition software to help individuals with disabilities participate in the learning process.

2.3 Flexible learning options

This term addresses offering alternative delivery methods, such as online or self-paced learning, to accommodate individuals who may not be able to attend traditional classroom settings. This will include online learning, self-paced courses, evening and weekend classes, and distance education programs.

The goal of flexible learning options is to accommodate the diverse needs and schedules of adult learners, making education accessible to those who may not be able to attend traditional classroom-based programs.

Flexible learning options will provide opportunities for individuals who live in rural or remote areas, who are working full-time, or who have other responsibilities that prevent them from participating in traditional educational programs. By offering a variety of learning options, adult education programs can ensure that all individuals have access to educational opportunities and can participate in the learning process on their own terms.

2.4 Inclusive curriculum

Designing and delivering a curriculum that reflects the diversity of the adult learner population, including the experiences and perspectives of individuals from different backgrounds.

2.5 Support services

Providing support services, such as counseling, tutoring, and accommodations for individuals with disabilities, to ensure their success in the educational program.

Learning together – enable to reach the expected learning success to all learners!

2.6 Cultural sensitivity training

Providing training for teachers and staff to increase their cultural competence and understanding of the experiences of individuals from diverse backgrounds. From our point of view, this means of inclusion in training supports the learning of citizens in a multicultural society.

3 Support for disadvantaged learners

We implement “Support for Disadvantaged Learners” as mentioned below:

  1. Counseling and advising
    Providing individualized support and guidance to adult learners to help them overcome any personal, educational, or financial barriers that may be preventing them from participating in the educational program.
    This is done by special educated assistants of different ages during onsite training (or in the Group Learning Space of Flipped Learning 3.0)
  2. Financial assistance
    This is done by offering scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid to help cover the cost of tuition and other educational expenses for adult learners who may not have the means to pay for these costs themselves.
    EBI offers regular training with scholarships for individuals.
  3. Tutoring and mentoring
    Providing one-on-one support and guidance from trained tutors and mentors is implemented to help adult learners build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their educational program.
    This is done by specially educated assistants of different ages during onsite training (or in the Group Learning Space of Flipped Learning 3.0)

    One-on-one support and guidance from trained tutors and mentors
  4. Accommodations and Access to the training Venues
    For individuals with disabilities, we are providing reasonable accommodations and support services, such as assistive technology, to help individuals with disabilities participate fully in the learning process.
  5. Flexible scheduling
    We are offering alternative scheduling options, such as evening and weekend classes, to accommodate the needs of adult learners who may be working full-time or caring for family members. The offered date of courses follows the needs of the relevant target group.
  6. Basic skills development
    EBI is offering basic skills’ development programs, such as adult basic education, technical basic skills, access to Learning Platforms, and more. This helps adult learners to build the foundational skills they need to succeed in their educational program.

By implementing these types of support measures for inclusion in training, our adult education programs help to ensure that all adult learners, regardless of their background or abilities, have the resources and support they need to succeed in the educational process.


What are Quality Enhancement Circles?

What are Quality Enhancement Circles?

The EBI is regularly involved in various projects, most of which are transnational projects in the frame of the Erasmus+ program. The products and results produced in the frame of these projects require quality control or sometimes a quality improvement (enhancement) process. For many years, the EBI/EIE worked on the development of easy-to-handle but successful methods. During the last years – in context with the COVID-19 crisis, face-to-face meetings were not possible in the necessary frequency. We started to work with “Quality Control Circles” (a common means in typical project management) and called them Quality Enhancement Circles.

What is a Quality Circle Process?

Quality enhancement circle
Source: Christoph Roser (at, adapted by Peter Mazohl

Most quality circles will work through a set process with each meeting. In general, this will follow the Plan, Do, Check, Act process, which is ideal for continuous improvement projects. PDCA (plan–do–check–act or plan–do–check–adjust) is an iterative design and management method used in business for the control and continual improvement of processes and products.

The four steps are defined as1:

Establish objectives and processes required to deliver the desired results.

Carry out the objectives from the previous step.

During the check phase, the data and results gathered from the do phase are evaluated. Data is compared to the expected outcomes to see any similarities and differences. The testing process is also evaluated to see if there were any changes from the original test created during the planning phase. If the data is placed in a chart, it can make it easier to see any trends if the PDCA cycle is conducted multiple times. This helps to see what changes work better than others and if said changes can be improved as well.

Also called “Adjust”, this act phase is where a process is improved. Records from the “do” and “check” phases help identify issues with the process. These issues may include problems, non-conformities, opportunities for improvement, inefficiencies, and other issues that result in outcomes that are evidently less-than-optimal. Root causes of such issues are investigated, found, and eliminated by modifying the process.

The Challenge for Project Results

In the common Erasmus+ projects, we did not have a quality circle (people from one organisation meeting regularly to check, discuss and decide about the quality of products). We had people in various European countries that met in virtual meetings (often performed via ZOOM) to discuss technical issues.

We developed a kind of quality enhancement circular process, where people from all partners could be involved to check the quality and to decide finally about the acceptance of the product.

How do we work on projects?

For each product, a partner is in charge to coordinate the production of the outcome. This partner is also responsible to monitor the production process, and other partners are involved in the creation and work on the expected product.

When the product is finished, the quality check is the next step. Here is a simple depiction of the process:

Quality Enhancement Circle
The PDCA circle enhanced and adapted for ERASMUS+ Project results (Source: Peter Mazohl, developed for the DigiComPass project).

The circle shows the Plan → Do → Check → Act structure, but in a linearized way. The circle was opened, and a cycle process is only leading from the check result back to the Do item. The reason is that from the planning (mostly done by Backward Design) the plan must not be adapted, corrected, or changed. This is a fixed starting point of the working process.

The “quality circle” (as a group of people) is replaced by a Virtual Team Meeting (with team members selected from all partners). These people check the expected result, compare it with the checklists (available from the milestone plan) and decide:

  • If the product fits, it is forwarded to the Steering Committee (or Steering Group of the project). The steering group will approve the result (but has the right to send it back into revision if necessary).
  • If the product does not fit, a description of necessary amendments is created, and the product is put into revision. The project partner in charge to develop the product can do the amendments and forward the product again to the Team VM group.

This simple process enables a minimized effort with maximum quality and enables to keep the production process of project outcomes simple.

1 Description adapted from WikiPedia.