Links-up is a European project:

about how ‘Web 2.0’ technologies – e.g. social networking software – are changing the face of education and training for disadvantaged people. The project puts together a picture of the ‘landscape’ of ‘Learning 2.0 for Inclusion’ by reviewing what has been done in the academic and research field, and by practitioners working on the ground in projects that have been using Web 2.0 to work with disadvantaged groups. It uses a series of ‘action research’ experiments, collaborating with ‘host’ projects working in the field, to evaluate the added contribution Web 2.0 can make to practices that use learning to support social inclusion.

Research questions

Links-up has recently entered into the core phase of its action-research by implementing on-the-field experiments, aiming analysing the three general Links-Up research questions through five “innovation laboratories”:

  1. Is learning 2.0 really supporting inclusive life-long learning?
  2. Can isolated experiments be mainstreamed?
  3. Is learning 2.0 fundamentally changing the educational landscape?

Research methodology

    The evaluation design adopts a multi-methodological approach combining qualitative and quantitative aspects through interviews, questionnaires, observation etc.., in order to examine ‘success’ and ‘failure’ factors and impact on individuals, organisations and communities. Their analysis is based in three key factors:

    • innovation – examining how far innovative learning approaches and pedagogies are facilitated and supported by particular Learning 2.0 initiatives;
    • key learning competences and social inclusion skills acquired – exploring whether and in what ways Learning 2.0 initiatives and innovations foster new kinds of e-skills beyond the level of basis computing skills; whether and in what ways such initiatives support soft’ skills;
    • institutional change associated with the intervention – assessing and reflecting on how far the institutional framework of teaching and learning affects and is affected by Learning 2.0 and Web 2.0, particularly changes in the educational enterprise.

    Example projects

    FreqOut is a UK-based initiative that uses technology to engage socially excluded young people aged from 8 to 25, inspiring them to tell their stories and giving them the opportunity to work with artists and industry professionals. The target groups are broad and provide a wide range of ‘exclusion’ scenarios involving marginalised groups in the local area: young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups, ex-offenders, those at-risk of offending, refugees and immigrants.

    MyMobile- Education on the move In Italy the innovation laboratory is organized and held in conjunction with Grundtvig mobility project “MyMobile- Education on the move” (2010-2012) through the collaboration with the Educational Technology Laboratory of the University of Florence, the Italian Grundtvig project partner. The pilot case is TRIO (, the official e-learning platform of the Tuscany Region. The pilot is named ‘Tell Your Resume’ and consists in the implementation of a short series of podcasting workshops, where a group of migrants and unemployed people will learn how to promote themselves on the labour market producing, publishing and sharing their multimedia CV. A blog has been implemented to support the pilot’s action.

    I will look forward to the results of this interesting project. Thanks to the European Distance Education Network for directing me to this project.

    Links-up will be making a presentation at the EDEN conference in Dublin 19-22 June, 2011.



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