Participatory Communication Activities on E-Learning

PARCEL - Participatory Communication Activities on E-Learning - was a science communication project that collaborated with two Networks of Excellence (NoE) on technology-enhanced learning called KALEIDOSCOPE and PROLEARN. It piloted participatory communication activities and developed principles and methodologies for conducting them.

The communication activities aimed at including new target groups: local and regional non-profit organisations in Austria and the Czech Republic who also have a social mission, such as non-profit adult education centres, in urban, rural and even remote areas, small to medium sized non-profit institutions working with/for different age groups (children, youth, seniors), genders, ethnic back grounds, physical, sensual and cognitive abilities, including people with learning disabilities as well as people with chronic or acute diseases. These organisations, being potential providers or users of technology-enhanced learning, could give valuable feedback on ICT development.

NPOs tested software and course material for technology-enhanced learning provided by KALEIDOSCOPE and PROLEARN and gave looped feedback in interviews and roundtables. A dozen tools were offered for testing, ranging from web conferencing, mathematical training, annotation of text, tagging images to network administration and development of e-learning content. Software had previously been fully tested by the developers and was primarily based on open standards. Thus all tools were principally ready for use and could be of practical value to the testers.

The possibility to try out tools was broadly promoted through press releases, posted on NPO mailing lists and online fora and group “snail” mail.

General feedback from NPOs included a need for self-explanatory e-learning tools that could be used immediately and without training, that did not need sophisticated equipment or expensive broad-band internet access, tools that followed the logic of already wide-spread software and were backwards compatible. It was desirable that devices be robust and durable. Protection of privacy was also mentioned. (The specific feedback on the tools tried out was confidential; only the respective developers received it).

Based on the feedback from NPOs, roundtables with practical and theoretical experts were conducted to discuss the e-learning issues important to such organisations. All reports and material are downloadable for free at the project website.

PARCEL was a Specific Support Action under the Horizontal Action „Promoting the „embedding“ of science and society issues across the Framework Programme“ of the Science and Society Workprogramme under the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.


June 2005 – August 2007