FOCAL – project on open learning environments

The primary purpose of FOCAL was to discuss how to organise open learning environments for adults. The nine partners have made a handbook on the topic.

The handbook has a theoretical approach and good examples from the partner countries.
FOCAL was particularly developed for the participants in adult education who wished a more flexible pedagogical approach than traditional classroom teaching based on classical andragogical principles.

Adults’ inspiration to learn

Adult learners have a variety of learning strategies and their personal, social and economic backgrounds will play an important role in deciding the extent of their participation the goals of their learning activities.
An open, flexible approach to learning can contribute to improved participation, particularly among participants who have so far been outside traditional offers of education. This group includes minorities, women, the handicapped, the socially and economically disadvantaged and persons who live far from educational institutions.

Pedagogical approach

The basic pedagogical idea of this project has been to create learning environments where the participants can be in charge of their own learning process.  The focus has been on learning needs and on personal learning strategies and on equality in the relationship between learner and tutor. Each partner in the project has functioned as an independent unit with responsibility for establishing national networks and contacts.


Institutions from the following countries took part: Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Hungary.
Coordination institution: Vox, Norway

Project period