We asked our members what they were doing since mid-March to create and facilitate online learning, training and support opportunities for youth leaders, youth workers and youth work organisations. Here we share our experiences with reflections, challenges, success and questions. This the 2nd part of blog posts where we collect training practices in response to COVID-19 impact on international youth work mobility. Read the 1st part in the series.
Sandra van de Kraak
Activity: creating time to create content
Dates: many during COVID-19 time
Reference link: https://tilburg.cityoflearning.eu/activities/9112 and https://tilburg.cityoflearning.eu/activities/8603
Profile of participants: myself and young leaders
Your personal/professional reflection on challenges, successes and questions of doing this online: With young leaders, I have started to support them to create online learning opportunities for other young people to get in action during Corona and sharing podcasts online. This was a lot of fun and collaboration with very positive energy. I have supported the young leaders online, mostly via Zoom or Skype because we can share our screens and show each other what we are doing in several documents. For myself, I finally started with the development of Open Badges content to share with my Dutch colleagues so they can easily create badge content or pick the cherries from what I show them. This is unpaid but I’m expecting organisations hiring me for connected jobs because I show and share bits and pieces from what I’m capable of.
Participants feedback, if available: we need to learn better how to communicate via Instagram to connect with young people.
Activity: Youthpass in the European Solidarity Corps
Date: 13 May
Profile of participants: ESC volunteers
Your personal/professional reflection on challenges, successes and questions of doing this online: The training was commissioned by SALTO YOUTH EuroMed as part of their tasks in developing and managing the European Solidarity Corps activities in South Med countries. The training was for volunteers that are still in service in South Med Countries and the ones who came back before the end of the service (but are continuing remotely the activity). The training was focusing on what is Youthpass (as they didn’t receive any previous information), why is important, the competences and how to “work” on them. The activity has been run on ZOOM platform and we tried a couple of interactive activities with the use of Kahooot in subgroups.
Participants feedback: volunteers were very happy and now we are coaching a few of them in writing their Youthpass.
Activity: Europe talks Solidarity – Bridges to Solidarity Corps
Date: May 7th, 2 pm – 5 pm
Participants: 44 participants from 30+ countries, 1 moderator, 5 facilitators, 4 speakers, 2 back office/technical staff.
Reference links: Facebook event and recording
Structure and content: The “Bridges to Solidarity Corps” was the second event in the frame of the “Europe talks Solidarity (online)” series. It was a zoom meeting involving participants from 30+ countries. The aim was to explore the possible connections of the concept of solidarity with the European Solidarity Corps programme. We had an intro block, self-facilitated small groups for getting to know each other, and inspirational input by an expert (in storytelling format with Prezi), several rounds in facilitated break-out groups, and a closing in plenary with reports by the facilitators and open floor for participants. Tools used were Zoom, Jamboard, Mentimeter and Prezi.
Your personal/professional reflection on challenges, successes and questions of doing this online:
- scarcity creates demand: more than 200 applications for 50 available places
- the online format can support inclusion – we had more than 30 countries participating (at the same time, the requirement for undisturbed space, internet and device can create exclusion)
- participation in online events are sometimes taken “less seriously” than in residential events – the need for a well-designed process of registration and selection of participants, as well as for ground rules of participation (eg to have a camera on). Be prepared that not everybody who registered will attend, and be prepared that some people will only join certain parts. Alternative: radically open approach, no limitation of available places, and whoever attends is the right person to attend
- it is helpful to send out info beforehand, both on content as well as tips and tricks for participation in online events. Overall it is good if the synchronous event is embedded in further measures before, during and afterwards (info-mails, teasers, warm-up activities, a platform like Facebook, follow-up activities, …)
- it proved useful to offer online warm-up activities before the official start, it helped both the group building and checking in, as well as to get used to the interface
- it was very important to have facilitators for the break-out groups, as well as extra people to take care of chat channel (a good tool to engage with participants during frontal sessions and spark discussion and feedback), technical aspects and participants admin (eg division into breakout groups)
- it helped to have a clear and detailed script for the event including harvesting guidelines and task division for the team. For this, it was also important to know the content of speeches and presentations in order to prepare the break-out groups, Q&As and harvesting accordingly
- it is good to schedule break-out groups before general breaks so they have flexibility timewise
- test run with the whole team beforehand was useful to identify potential troubles and to make the team feel confident with process and technicalities
- backchannel for team
- make summary/slides of inputs available to participants, possibly even beforehand or at least during the delivery
the relevance of quick reactions by team/organisers to input and requests by participants
- it helped to work with two monitors, one for all content and interaction with participants, and one for all admin and coordination issues (team chat, harvesting, pax list for breakout groups etc)
- the relevance of coherent and empowering flow of elements in the design of the activity
- it is appreciated if it is clear what will happen with the inputs by participants, what are follow-up activities, outcomes are made available afterwards, and all pending questions/issues are taken care of, as well as a graphic recording is provided
- GDPR needs to be considered (can be included in the registration form), if participants wish to share contacts it can be done via a voluntary spreadsheet
Activity: Youth Worker Italia
Dates: 1st of April – ongoing
Reference link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/youthworkeritalia/
Participants: Italian youth workers
Your personal/professional reflection on challenges, successes and questions of doing this online: very successful online series of professionals meetings facilitated by a team of 6 and quickly promoted to reliable and very visible discussion platform in Italy (been in the press, the paper one)
Participants feedback: did not run surveys so far but feedback is visible in constant high numbers and very active participants plus on attention by stakeholders. The feeling is that the approach mixing facilitated discussion, external key speakers, assignment of “homework” has turned into a very interactive engagement. Plus there is now interest in being there to even make visible other good practices.
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Cover photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash