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Innovation and social learning in HEI
Start date: Oct 1, 2014, End date: Sep 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ISOLearn project is in line with the principles stated in main charters and declarations of intention by major international and European institutions and governments (e.g. UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 24, Education); Salamanca Statement on Special Needs Education (1994); (European Convention on Human Rights), Article 2 Right to Education; European Social Charter (revised), Articles 15 and 17; Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (Action Line 4, Education, and cross-cutting aspects); European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (Area of Action 5, Education and training)). In this project we propose to present some guidelines to promote the equal opportunities and improve the quality on the HE offers to visual and hearing-impaired persons, thus giving a major step in the implementation of these principles. The project brings together 8 partners from 4 European countries, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden, with long experience on previous European projects aiming at enhancing education, lifelong learning and social inclusion policies and practices in the HE systems. The main themes where Partners are experienced are: education, working with disadvantaged groups, definition of qualifications, validation of prior learning, validation of non-formal and informal learning, certification, and quality assurance. The project employs a quality assurance approach aiming to identify in advance potential risks or failures that might endanger the project’s timely and effective implementation and to mitigate, at an early stage, their impact on the project’s processes and outputs by setting certain quality standards and remedial actions. Blindness and deafness need specific design, compliance to standards and technological capabilities to be overcome. Rehabilitation systems are still fragile in terms of functional dependency prevention, qualification promotion and employment integration. Education is a must in fighting possible poverty traps and in changing the situation of people with disabilities. When the question of access is overcome (which is not easy), there’s a need to fight withdrawal. Main causes of education withdrawal are lack of specialized support, low economic resources and lack of teacher skills directed to learning needs of these individuals. Especially in higher education, students are protected against discrimination but there is no is no process aimed at achieving success. Considering the existing experiences and the concrete needs of the hearing - impaired and visually - impaired groups for accessing HEI programmes, the project brings some important innovations translated into the main outputs foreseen: 1. A concrete Handbook showing the methods and procedures to be used for developing and delivering ICT based learning offers valid also for these target group (not specially done for them, but designed in such a way that correspond also to their specific needs). 2. The ISOLearn Quality Label will establish quality standards and assessment procedures and instruments to be used for evaluating whether HEI education and training programmes correspond to the ISOLearn standards regarding the accessibility of these groups to their learning offer. 3. The test of both the Handbook and the Quality Label on a specific qualification which will become a benchmark for the HEI ICT based learning programmes and must show how the concrete experience will demonstrate the benefits for all the stakeholders (e.g. HEI and disadvantaged groups) of promoting social learning approach in HEI. The main expected impacts for this project are the following: - To facilitate, at a national level, the adequate development of HE courses in order to better serve visual and hearing-impaired persons; - To promote the exchange of good practices among different HEI of each country, for the development of HE courses; - To increase awareness of ICT companies, HEI, and Associations dedicated to visual and hearing-impaired persons for the overall issues of the project. - To promote the exchange of good practices and the level of quality, among different European countries on the pedagogical methodologies to use on HE courses offered to visual and hearing-impaired persons; - To promote virtual and/or physical mobility of visual and hearing-impaired persons within the European higher education system; - To improve the coordination and guidance of European and National policies in terms of improved access to HE from the target population for this project.

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