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CONNECT 2.0 - Intercultural Learning Network 4 Europe
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Mobility measures of Erasmus+ enable young people in Europe to gain valuable and essential intercultural experiences for their personal and professional development. Whereas participants of non-formal youth exchanges (e.g. EVS) are provided with in-person pedagogical support, only few students who take part in the Erasmus program have the opportunity to attend instructed intercultural learning and reflection sessions before, during and after their stay abroad. The youth sector on the other handis at a shortage for a strategic approach to integrate virtual learning methods into the intercultural support. The project "CONNECT 2.0 - Intercultural Learning Network 4 Europe" aims at combining these two learning methods (presence and virtual learning programs) for both sectors (formal and non-formal mobilities), thereby bridging the still-existent gaps of both fields. The project consortium is comprised of organizations from both educational sectors as well as an IT partner. This composition allows intensive exchange and development of the learning methods based on scientific evidence. Connect 2.0 will develop a scientifically sound intercultural learning scenario that is specifically adjusted to the target groups and comprises presence and virtual exercises and reflection units. There will be an e-learning platform which combines the learning units with information and community elements within an “Experience Map”. This map allows interactive access to personal, reflecting reports of experiences of current and former participants as well as to factual information that stimulates active exchange. Apart from the learning scenario, mentoring and multiplier programs will be worked out, which enable qualitative intercultural support of exchange participants through trainings. Moreover, an alumni community will arise from the multiplier program, further encouraging cross-sectoral engagement. Throughout the three-year project period of Connect 2.0, pilot runs of the developed programs will be carried out within the educational institutions (universities and non-formal educational organizations). Thus, 160 students within the Erasmus program and 20 participants of volunteer programs will benefit directly from Connect 2.0. At the same time the programs will be evaluated and optimized immediately. Furthermore up to 80 people will have the opportunity to take part in the training measures within the mentoring and multiplier programs. Beyond the project, a significantly higher number of people will benefit from the results: All educational institutions of Connect 2.0 and the participants of these institutions’ programs as well as their partner organizations. On a long-term basis all educational institutions in Europe will have the opportunity to integrate the project results into their systems. Methodically, the project is based on the didactic model of experience-based learning according to D. A. Kolb. Besides the pilot phases (which include preparation and evaluation seminars), the trainings and the obligatory consortium meetings, several small and large dissemination events will be implemented throughout the project. These serve to guarantee a wide-scale public awareness of Connect 2.0 from the very beginning. The main results of Connect 2.0 can be summarized as follows: an intercultural learning scenario containing educational material for the presence and virtual learning units as well as the programs of the mentoring and multiplier trainings will be developed, revised and optimized. Appropriate certification methods will behave been developed for the programs. The virtual 2.0 learning will be based on software that can be integrated easily into European campus management and other systems. It will be available open source. An additional result of Connect 2.0 is are the accompanying application guidelines guaranteeing a smooth implementation of the project results in additional institutions and contexts. Furthermore, scientific papers and presentations as well as an overall evaluation of the project will be produced. All these results enable a continuation of the products subsequent to Connect 2.0. A sustainable effect and an application of the developed learning curriculum for higher numbers of students and universities as well as for volunteers and volunteer organizations will be promoted on the European level. Therefore from the start, these and other stakeholders beyond the project partners themselves will be involved in the project. Moreover, sustainability will be ensured by a pan-European, public availability of the application of the products after the project. Also, the project partners will stay available to all people interested in advice regarding implementation. It is the aspiration of the project partners to establish the project outcomes as strategic, cross-sectoral and scalable standard for pedagogical support of participants within the Erasmus+ framework.

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