Tools to evaluating Volunteers’ Learning Path
It is important that the new volunteer feels welcomed in joining the receiving organisation. It’s important to monitor the learning process and to understand if the volunteer shows any sign of dissatisfaction. For this reason, the receiving organisation should appoint a mentor who facilitates the volunteer’s integration into the organisation, project, country and new environment.
The mentor should organise regular meetings with the volunteer and pay attention to the volunteer’s behaviour and his/her general wellbeing in order to provide the appropriate support.
In general, each receiving organisation should use or supply different methods and tools to the mentor, in order to evaluate the learning path of the volunteers using non-formal and formal activities.
During each meeting, however, the mentor can simply ask the volunteer about:
- At this stage of your mobility project, do you think you have reached your initial objectives?
- Have you come up with new goals?
- Do you consider the fears you had before departure were justified? If yes, which ones, and how did you overcome them?
- What are the activities of your EVS?
- How is your integration within the host organisation going?
- Do you work in team? If yes, with who?
- How often do you meet your tutor? Do you consider that is enough?
- Do you have responsibilities? If yes, which ones?
- Do you take initiatives? If yes, which ones?
- Have you acquired or developed hard skills?
- Have you acquired or developed language skills?
- Have you encountered any difficulties during your EVS? If yes, which ones, and how did you overcome them?
- Do you think your EVS matches the initial plan ?
- How is your social and cultural integration in the country?
- What cultural/intercultural discovery have you made?
- Did you have any social or intercultural difficulties? If yes, which ones, and how did you overcome them?
- Have you encountered any difficulties regarding the house?
- Have you encountered other difficulties (local transport, food, budget, etc.) If yes, which ones, and how did you overcome them?
- Do you feel comfortable in your new environment?
Moreover, CESIE uses the so-called self-reflection tool, ” that the volunteer is asked to fill in every 2 months according to the length of his/her EVS project .
This tool helps volunteers: :
- understand the EVS-Learning-Process as a complex experience,;
- connect the perspective of the volunteer with those of all the actors involved in the learning process;
- learn how to support volunteer’s learning process, identifying knowledge, skills, attitudes needed to facilitate it , sharing experience and tools.
Below, you can find the document used by CESIE that might also be useful for other receiving organisations.
Describe your involvement in the project…
- Are you satisfied about your relationship with the staff in the centre?
|Not at all||Not much||Enough||Extremely satisfied|
- What do you like about your voluntary work?
- What do you dislike?________________________________________________________________________________
- Do you think you have enough tasks?
- Did you receive sufficient help from the staff working at centre?
|Difficulties||A lot||Many||Not so many||Nothing|
|Support of the staff (centre + CESIE)|
|Relationship with the target group / beneficiaries|
How did you find solutions to overcome these difficulties?
Describe your personal involvement…
- Did you have difficulties in familiarizing with Palermo’s surroundings?
- Did you have problems in relating to the other volunteers?
- Do you get along with your roommate?
- Did you have the chance to develop your skills and capacities?
- Did you have problems in learning Italian?
Now, it’s the moment to analyse the new skills you are acquiring.
The questions could help you recognise the competences you are developing and fill in the Youth pass at the end of the project. It’s a good tool for you to assess the skills you’re acquiring and to allow your mentor to keep track of your learning path.
Even if – at the moment – you might feel that some competences are missing, don’t worry. It’s normal. During the next 6/9 months you will gain most of the following competences. Think back at the past month. .
(To learn more about the key competences, please visit: https://www.youthpass.eu/it/youthpass/for/evs/keycompetences/ ).
You don’t need to answer all the questions included below but use them as an input for reflecting on key competences.
|Key competences||Questions which can help the volunteer to reflect are:||Self-assessment|
|Communication in the mother tongue is the ability to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions in both oral and written form (listening, speaking, reading and writing), and to interact linguistically in an appropriate and creative way in a full range of societal and cultural contexts; in education and training, work, home and leisure.|
Did you use your mother tongue abroad? In which situations?
How well did others understand you?
How did I adapt my language to the level of the people I was speaking to?
Did I make other people feel OK about not speaking perfectly what was- for them – a foreign language?
Communication in foreign languages
(listening, speaking, reading and writing):
according to that individual’s social and cultural background, environment, needs and/or interests.
Can you speak another language?
In which situations do you use it?
How well do others understand you?
What difficulties do you have?
How did you overcome those difficulties?
Mathematical competence is the ability to develop and apply mathematical thinking in order to solve a range of problems in everyday situations.
Competences in science refers to the ability and willingness to use the body of knowledge and methodology employed to explain the natural world, in order to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions.
Technology is viewed as the application of that knowledge and methodology in response to perceived human wants or needs. Competence in science and technology involves an understanding of the changes caused by human activity and responsibility as an individual citizen.
When did I use my mathematical competence during the EVS project?
How did I solve problems/challenges related to the EVS project when I faced them? Which skills did I use and improve?
Could I use logical thinking in specific situations? How did I use them?
Did I (learn to) use strategic thinking when I was developing parts of the project? How did I use it?
How did I deduce logical conclusions based on practical arguments/experiences (deductive approach)? And how did I test a ‘theory’ (theoretical approach) in practice (inductive approach)?
How did I (learn to) use technology available for specific parts during the EVS project – e.g. internet research, databases, Polaroid, digital cameras for reporting, Projectors/presentations, specific methods according to the topic involving ‘objects’ (material to work with on ecological development, movies for social topics…)?
|Digital competences involves the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology (IST) for work, leisure and communication. It is underpinned by basic skills in ICT: the use of computers to retrieve, assess, store, produce, present and exchange information, and to communicate and participate in collaborative networks via the internet.|
What types of information sources did I use to prepare myself for the EVS project?
To what extent did I communicate with (the sending and) the host organisation using the internet before the EVS project?
Did I use ICT during the EVS project? How and what did I learn?
To what extent did I communicate with my family, friends, or other volunteers during the time I spent in the host country?
What did I learn about computer use in other countries here?
How did I deal critically with knowledge available on the internet?
How did I learn to use online resources for my EVS project (websites, blogs, mailing lists, social networks like Facebook)?
|Learning to learn|
Which learning style do I prefer: learning by doing, by reading and thinking, by observing?
How did I experience new ways of learning due to limited communication?
Which activities in the EVS project motivated me most in my learning?
Social and intercultural competence
How did I make new friends? What went well? What did not work well?
How did I identify different habits in the host community? How did I cope with them?
Did I take initiatives, go towards others, and support others?
When was I most successful in communicating with others here?
How did I present my own cultural background in the host community? How did I experience theirs?
What was my intercultural learning process during the EVS project?
How did I deal with the cultural shock (if I faced one)?
How did I deal with conflicts? How did I resolve them?
How did I improve my ability to work in a team?
Which other social competences did I develop during the year?
To what extent did I increase cultural self-awareness: being more aware of my own cultural values, norms and
stereotypes and the effect of communication with foreigners?
To what extent did I develop intercultural sensitivity, flexibility and an enhanced understanding of difference?
How much was I actively involved in the EVS project?
Did I find out how to influence developments in the organisation/ in the community? Did I use this knowledge?
When did I participate in decision-making within the EVS project?
How did I take into account different opinions? How did they change my view of my own country, of the host country, of European developments?
How did my knowledge of national and/or local/National/European policies and structures increase?
Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship
Am I able to transform ideas into action?
Am I able to be creative, innovative and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives?
Which tasks did I take up during the EVS project;did I propose things that I could put into practice – my ‘own’ project?
How did my understanding of the practice and principles of project management increase in the EVS project?
When did I take risks? And what did I learn in the process?
What chances did I take to express my creativity, to use new knowledge and skills gained during the EVS project?
How will I use the concepts of other working styles, cultures and innovation in future?
Did I see and seize opportunities for cooperation or networking in future? Make contacts that could be useful for my future – (job related, common projects, etc.)?
Cultural awareness and expression
Appreciation of the importance of the creative expression of ideas, experiences and emotions in a range of media, including music, performing arts, literature, and the visual arts.
How willing was I to get involved in new forms of cultural experience?
When was I able to use different media and forms of expression (e.g. verbal, drawing, body…) to express myself in different situations?
Which skills did I improve?
Which differences and similarities did I identify between the host country’s culture and my home culture?
Did I experience situations where I could not understand/deal with the host country’s culture? How did I resolve this situation?
Did I increase my ability to cope with new situations?
Which major changes have I become aware of?
What does it mean for my life in future?
This tool is really useful for the volunteers because they can manage conflicts, if any, and they can reflect on local activities and competences.
The whole partnership of PC IMPRESS project created a mobility experience capitalization platform in which you can find:
- links to language tests aimed at assessing the language skills of participants in a mobility project;
- links to all the tools available for evaluating and capitalising skills acquired and developed during a mobility project
- a guide to evaluation and capitalisation interviews for participants when they come back from mobility.
Another tool used by Pistes Solidaires is the COMP-PASS e-portfolio. It’s an online service that allows people to introduce themselves to future employers. Thanks to this tool, young people can provide recruiters with all the documents needed. Once you have created the online profile, you will be able to :
- fill in your own e-portfolio with your competences, experiences and personal information;
- integrate link to videos, online documents, diplomas, reference letters, etc;
- edit your online CV;
- evaluate your own competences regularly.