Project GOAL

This website presents the project GOAL evaluation results. GOAL stands for Guidance and Orientation for Adult Learners. It is an Erasmus+ funded project that sought to develop new models or expand existing models of guidance and orientation for low-educated adults in six countries: Belgium (Flanders), Czech Republic, Iceland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, and Slovenia. Project GOAL ran from February 2015 to January 2018, and was coordinated by the Flemish Government’s Department of Education and Training. The evaluation was carried out by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) in partnership with local evaluation teams in each country. Details about the project set-up and implementation can be found on the project website.

Key Findings

user outcomes

Almost all clients reported being satisfied with GOAL. They said they felt more motivated and surer of their next steps after counselling, and believed they would act on the advice they were given. Almost all clients agreed that their next steps were clearer after only a single counselling session, with nearly four in five saying they were definitely clearer and one in five saying they were were somewhat clearer. GOAL seems to have done a very good job of providing relevant information to clients – an important task in the complex, fragemented adult education landscape. From the clients’ perspective, this information made a significant difference to their understanding and ambitions. Most clients were held back by not by poor attitudes to learning but by lack of information and support to act on the opportunities available to them. In the GOAL counselling model (outside the Netherlands) clients were supported to develop their own educational plans and goals, rather than simply following the counsellor’s lead. This client-centred model takes more time than other counselling approaches, but appeared to help clients improve their education-related motivation and self-belief.

As part of the counselling process, clients developed plans for achieving goals such as enrolment on a course. As of the end of data collection for this evaluation, 38% of follow-up survey respondents reported that they had fully achieved their educational goals (e.g. by enrolling in or completing a course) and 50% said they had made some progress towards those goals. Progress data is also available from the GOAL monitoring instrument. Sixty-six percent of clients for whom we have programme exit data said that they had fully taken their planned steps by the end of counselling, and 23% they had taken at least some steps.

In supporting clients to take these steps, it was not enough simply to provide client-centred, context-specific information, but to support clients in acting on that information. In most cases, this meant providing multiple counselling sessions. A key aim of these sessions was to help clients take the intermediary steps needed on the pathway to enrolment in education and/or improved employment. For higher need clients, these intermediary stepping stones typically focused on noncognitive gains such as improved self-belief and self-confidence.

For clients with the lowest levels of readiness (e.g. those facing particularly severe personal and/or psychological barriers), it was generally not feasible to progress into education or employment. Looking at all clients for whom we have exit data, 48% entered education/training, 7% entered employment and 4% improved their employment. Amongst follow-up survey respondents who entered GOAL to pursue educational objectives, 71% had enrolled on a course by the time of their exit from GOAL. Of this group, 77% had enrolled on a course leading to a qualification.

This evaluation was hampered by the inability to track GOAL clients after they left counselling. In Flanders, however, 183 clients agreed to grant GOAL access to a Ministry of Education database. 49% of these clients had enrolled in an educational programme at a Centre for Adult Education as of April 2017. However, Centres for Adult Education are but one of the educational options available in Flanders. Counsellors at one Flanders site (de Stap) addressed this limitation by directly contacting educational institutions (including but not limited to Centres for Adult Education) to follow-up on clients. This effort showed that 74% of clients who attended more than one GOAL session had enrolled in an adult education course.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A COUNSELLOR

Iceland
Iceland

"GOAL interview: a client came to discuss a program for validation of employability skills, in which she is going to participate."

"In-house discussions with other counsellors and project managers on an unexpected issue with a student. We tried to solve the issue together. We had to contact another school."

Lithuania
Lithuania

“Presentation for unemployed people about possibilities to get involved into the Goal project and get free of charge orientation and guidance.”

“Orientation and guidance of adult people. 2 clients are consulted: they are unemployed and have plans for learning a new profession in order to find a job.“

Netherlands
Netherlands

“The prison population and educational needs of the detainees are far from homogeneous.”

 “Usually, there are 6 to 8 detainees at a time, each with an individual program. I guide them. The guidance can be focused on basic education, vocational education or specific courses detainees are taking at that time”

Slovenia
Slovenia

"Working with clients gives me energy and brings me joy, because between individual sessions I can see progress, changes, new beliefs, enrolment in education programmes and I can build good relationships with my clients."

 

"The feeling that I do a lot of good for my clients is priceless."

Czech Republic
Czech Republic

“At the start of every session, counsellors try to gather information about the client, his or her position within the family and wider friendship circles, and his or her health. They also explore the client’s feelings, ideas and motivation.”

“Based on the client’s answers, the counsellor selects ways to proceed in order to meet the client’s needs and goals.”

Flanders
Flanders

"All information, agreements made and steps taken during sessions are written down in the registration system"

“Even the names of persons clients have been talking about are registered in order to remember the whole communication line and, more importantly, to avoid them having to say things twice. It creates a sense of trust with our clients.”

TESTIMONIALS

from clients, counsellors and stakeholders

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