During many years of our life, we learn within the world of formal education: in primary school, high school or university. The education system decides what you have to learn, how you have to learn it, and evaluates whether you have learned it or not. In the end, you receive a certificate that validates your learning. Within the EVS experience, the volunteer will go through a non-formal learning process. There won’ t be any teacher, just some accompanying person or a person that will give him support during the process. The learning adapts to his own interests, since he will participate in the planning, organisation and evaluation of the process. As through our entire life, informal learning is also present during the EVS experience. This learning is not structured or planned, it takes place unintentionally within his environment and while relating with other persons: during a conversation, while having a cup of coffee, while doing your grocery in the supermarket, or just walking through the streets of a different country, while watching a movie, through media…..
During his EVS, he has the control over how he live this experience; it’s not about things “happening”, it is about things “that you make happen”… The same applies for the learning outcomes within your EVS: a step further that you can take if you feel like doing it. It consists in learning to analyse and to set his own learning goals, reflecting over his learning process and evaluate if he are meeting your goals and to which extent.
He may learn from the activities that he carry out within the organisation but also during his free time… During his EVS, he is the one to look for your own learning opportunities! However, he dosen’ t have to do it on his own, he can count on the support of other colleagues, his mentor or other persons from his organisation… but remember, the most important thing is his personal interest and his own motivation.
What the volunteer in the end should learn and develop, are summary in the famous 8 key competences:
- communication in the mother tongue, which 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;
- communication in foreign languages, which involves, in addition to the main skill dimensions of communication in the mother tongue, mediation and intercultural understanding. The level of proficiency depends on several factors and the capacity for listening, speaking, reading and writing;
- mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology. Mathematical competence is the ability to develop and apply mathematical thinking in order to solve a range of problems in everyday situations, with the emphasis being placed on process, activity and knowledge. Basic competences in science and technology refer to the mastery, use and application of knowledge and methodologies that explain the natural world. These involve an understanding of the changes caused by human activity and the responsibility of each individual as a citizen;
- digital competenceinvolves the confident and critical use of information society technology (IST) and thus basic skills in information and communication technology (ICT);
- learning to learnis related to learning, the ability to pursue and organise one’s own learning, either individually or in groups, in accordance with one’s own needs, and awareness of methods and opportunities;
- social and civic competences. Social competence refers to personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and all forms of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life. It is linked to personal and social well-being. An understanding of codes of conduct and customs in the different environments in which individuals operate is essential. Civic competence, and particularly knowledge of social and political concepts and structures (democracy, justice, equality, citizenship and civil rights), equips individuals to engage in active and democratic participation;
- sense of initiative and entrepreneurshipis the ability to turn ideas into action. It involves creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. The individual is aware of the context of his/her work and is able to seize opportunities that arise. It is the foundation for acquiring more specific skills and knowledge needed by those establishing or contributing to social or commercial activity. This should include awareness of ethical values and promote good governance;
- cultural awareness and expression, which involves appreciation of the importance of the creative expression of ideas, experiences and emotions in a range of media (music, performing arts, literature and the visual arts).
These key competences are all interdependent, and the emphasis in each case is on critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem solving, risk assessment, decision taking and constructive management of feelings.