Evaluation of the online training
One of the products to be developed in the AMEDY project is the free online training "Active Media Education for Disabled Youth", which is designed to provide educational professionals with basic media literacy as well as practical tips and exercises that can be used in working with young people with light intellectual disabilities.
The aim of the training is to enable educational professionals to accompany and support young people with intellectual disabilities in the digital world. They should be able to show their clients how to navigate safely through the digital landscape, point out risks on the net, but also discover the opportunities and potentials of digital media together with them.
The training is based on the blended learning training "Digital Youth and Social Work", which was developed within the framework of the predecessor project "Digital Skills 4 You(th)". This was updated, revised and adapted to the needs of the final target group by the project partners Stiftung Digitale Chancen, UCLL and IASIS over the last two years and tested in autumn 2020 in all three partner countries by several educational professionals (at least 10-15 people per country).
The pilot phase was accompanied by several evaluation moments in which the professionals were asked to give feedback on the online training, the different modules, contents, structure etc. The results of the evaluation are very informative and make one thing clear above all: the need for such further training is great.
Results of the evaluation
Overall, the participants found the training very positive and helpful: In the end, 85% of the respondents said that the training had met their expectations. A full 93% would recommend it to their colleagues.
The topics and contents covered also met with great interest. It is clear that theoretical, abstract topics, where a reference to the end target group is not directly obvious (e.g. Creative Commons, personal and image rights), were less popular than clearly relevant digital phenomena, such as the large field of social media but also digital risks, e.g. fake news, cyberbullying or addiction.
The structure of the online training was rated positively. The division of the content into three modules with different main topics was particularly appreciated.
The different approaches to the topics were well received by the participants and offered a suitable entry point for every type of learner. Especially the combination of theoretical knowledge and practical application of what was learned was rated very positively by the respondents.
Some participants criticised the fact that the learning contents had too little relation to the work with young people with intellectual disabilities or could not be directly transferred. Some professionals felt that not all practical exercises were suitable for their clients or that it was unclear to them to what extent certain topics play a role at all in their work with young people. It should be noted here that ultimately the educational professionals are the experts in this field and know the specific needs of their clients best. In addition, young people with intellectual disabilities are not a homogeneous group. The transfer and adaptation of what has been learned into practice is ultimately always the task of the professionals themselves. Nevertheless, the project consortium will try to adapt the contents to the needs of the professionals and the final target group.
Conclusion and next steps
Digital media are an elementary part of our lives and everyday life nowadays - this does not exclude persons with intellectual disabilities. In this respect, educational professionals must also address this aspect in their work. The evaluation of the online training shows: The professionals are also aware of this. They very much welcome the training as it makes an important contribution in this area.
Based on the valuable feedback from the participating professionals, the online training is now being revised and optimised. At the end of the project period, it will be published on the AMEDY project website and made available to all institutions free of charge.