Learning Lab(oratory): quality non-formal education in the digital world


The idea

Learning Lab(oratory) project aimed to improve the quality of non-formal and informal learning aspects of volunteering activities in our organisations, in both physical and online formats.

We were a partnership of 9 organisations: SCI Austria, CVS Bulgaria, SCI Belgium, SCI Germany, CID North Macedonia, Para Onde? Portugal, VCV Serbia, Zavod Voluntariat – SCI Slovenia and OWA Poland.

Why did we do it?
* we all want to maintain a high quality of our non-formal activities (workshops, webinars, workcamps…);
* for this, we need to ensure constant training of less experienced volunteers and activists;
* our organisations are learning how to adapt to the new world of digital education and volunteering;
* we want to better include persons with fewer opportunities in our activities – also through the new online formats.

The activities

The project had 5 main components:

  1. Learning Lab(oratory) Training Course (7-14.07.2022, in Bulgaria) on organising and running high-quality learning activities in both in-person and online environments. (Impressions from the training you can read here, and the video here)
  2. Three thematic webinars (May-October 2022) on visual facilitation, impact measurement, and access and inclusion of disabled people.
  3. Learning Lab(oratory) Pro Training Course (October-November, in Poland) – getting more in-depth on the topics of inclusion and new tools and trends in learning and development. (Impressions from the training you can read here, and the video here)
  4. Practice time (July-December 2022) – organising learning activities on a local level.
  5. Publishing resources for educators (February 2023) – Facilitator’s Cards and Infographics for Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability in non-formal education.

The activities were implemented in the period 11.2021 – 2.2023.

The first training

The training course “Learning Lab(oratory)” took place between 7 and 14 July 2022 in Emen village, near Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria!

The second training

The second training course “Learning Lab(oratory) Pro” took place between 27 October and 3 November 2022 in Poznan, Poland!

The resources

3 resources for educators and volunteer coordinators to support high-quality, inclusive learning processes in your projects were developed.

* Facilitator’s Cards – a tool to help facilitators/trainers/educators when planning and implementing an educational activity. The cards provide ideas, checklists, and spaces for notes and reminders so that everyone can deliver a high-quality learning process.
* Infographics on Inclusion and Environmental Sustainability in Non-formal Education – they tackle the topics of how to make our non-formal learning activities more inclusive and environmentally friendly. The infographics provide a collection and a summary of the practical information and tips & tricks shared during the project activities.

These resources were launched during the Webinar “Recipes for high-quality educational events” in February 2023.


The results of the project include:

  • 56 trained educators, volunteers and youth workers, with knowledge and skills allowing to conduct high-quality educational activities, also in remote and hybrid mode;
  • increased capacity of 9 project partner organisations in organising and delivering high-quality educational activities as well as developing their network of international contacts and possibilities of joint projects;
  • at least 100 European youth organisations used our Facilitator’s Cards and Infographics in 2023 or took part in the webinars organised within our project.

Additionally, thanks to new opportunities offered by remote education and new technologies, we are able to involve more persons from rural areas and representatives of groups with fewer opportunities in our activities. We enabled them to organize international meetings and cross-border cooperation in a formula that was not possible a few years ago!

The Learning Lab (oratory) project supported the development of civil society, with people who can learn from each other and want to share their knowledge for the benefit of others – through high-quality non-formal education.

The team

The project coordinators were Goska Tur (SCI Poland) and Natalie Jivkova (CVS Bulgaria).
You can contact them at learning@poland.sci.ngo.

The donor

Our project was co-funded by the European Union. We are very thankful for making our idea possible to realise thanks to this support!

Project number 2021-1-PL01-KA153-YOU-000018791