Adult learners can now benefit from a clear path to mobility opportunities across the EU

In this blog, Jemma Lee, Léargas’s Senior Support and Development Officer for Erasmus+ Adult Education, shares some exciting updates on Adult Learner mobilities for adult education organisations and learners in 2023.

The opportunity for Adult Learner mobilities was launched in 2021. This meant that for the first time adult learners could experience international learning opportunities abroad and learn from their peers across the EU. 

Attendees of previous Erasmus+ events will have heard us say “check the Programme Guide” at least a hundred times! It really is the go-to document that tells you everything you need to know about Erasmus+. However, at 441 pages, it’s not exactly light reading.  

For those of you who might have not read the document cover to cover, here are a few important updates in the 2023 edition that applicants for an Adult Education project this year should be aware of.  



Who can take part in Adult Learner Mobilities? 
The details of who is eligible to participate in Adult Learner Mobilities has been updated.  Previously learners had to be “enrolled” in a programme which caused some challenges for informal learning programmes. There was also a requirement that only low-skilled learners could participate.  

Now, learners are defined as: “participating in an adult education programme at the sending organisation,” which is much more flexible and can include even more adult learners.In line with the objectives of the Erasmus+ programme, all projects should now aim to be inclusive and include participants with fewer opportunities in their mobilities as much as possible. 

As well as the eligibility information in the Programme Guide, we have our own criteria especially for Ireland, which are provided by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

This definition states that an Adult Learner includes: 

“Any adult learner who is no longer in initial education or training and is returning to, or participating in, some form of non-vocational continuing learning (formal, non-formal, informal) or who experiences educational disadvantage or other obstacles that impacts their participation in a learning programme.”  

Please note: The application is made by the sending organisation, individual learners cannot apply directly. 

How Many People Can travel?  
Adult learners can travel as individuals, or as a group. For groups, there must be at least two learners.  The maximum number of learners depends on other activities you might be carrying out as part of your Erasmus+ project. For a standalone Short-Term project it’s thirty participants.  Teachers, trainers, or other relevant staff must travel with a group and take part in running the activity. These accompanying people are not counted in the minimum or maximum numbers.  

How Long Can We Go For? 
For groups, the international learning experience can last from two to thirty days. For individual learners there is a short-term and a long-term option. Short-term is from 2-29 days, while long-term is from 30 days up to one year. These periods doesn’t include the time you spend travelling, which is usually one or two days either side of the activity itself. You can also add some virtual activities onto your actual trip to extend the experience even more. Your whole project, which includes preparation, travelling, and follow-up, can last from six to 18 months. 

What’s the difference between group and individual mobility? 
It’s up to each organisation which option makes most sense for their learners. Selecting group or individual options is not based on travel and accommodation arrangements. Indeed, multiple individuals can travel together. The big difference is that for a group, every has the same learning objectives and follows the same programme.

For the short-term and long-term options, each participant needs a personalised learning programme. This may mean differentiating the activities carried out during the mobility abroad in order to ensure that each participant meets their learning objectives. The learning should be evaluated and recognised at the end of the programme. The organisational support funding awarded is different depending on if your participants are travelling as a group, or individually for a short- or a long-term mobility. This difference reflects the different time commitment required to develop learning programmes for each cohort. 

How Do We Find a Partner Organisation to Work With?  
EPALE (the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe) is a great source of information and inspiration for adult educators. Check it out and start making connections! Towards the end of 2022 the Partner Search function of EPALE was updated and is now even better than ever. You can also sign up to attend an international event run by Léargas or by our colleagues in other countries. These are called TCAs – Transnational Cooperation Activities – and you can find out about any that are coming up and register your interest on our website.


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What Can We Do When We Get There?  
Each organisation decides the different learning opportunities upon arrival! You know your learners best and can adapt your Erasmus+ experience to meet their learning needs.  For group trips, you could do activities like peer learning, work-based learning, or volunteering. Formal, non-formal, and informal learning is all included.  

The content of a group project should focus on the key competences of adult learners. Alternatively, it can focus on one of the four priorities of the Erasmus+ programme which are:  

  • Inclusion and Diversity 
  • Digital Transformation 
  • Environment and fight against climate change 
  • Participation in democratic life, common values, and civic engagement 

Individual learners will have their own individual learning programme. This can also include a combination of formal, informal, and non-formal learning methods. These might include in-class learning, work-based learning, job-shadowing, observation, and other innovative approaches. 

Check the Programme Guide yourself 
As always, going straight to the source is the best way to find out what you need to know! This is just a quick overview of some recent changes. You can always download the most recent edition of the Programme Guide here: Erasmus+ Programme Guide.  Or you can browse the online version of it here: Introduction Erasmus+ Programme Guide 

How Can I Find Out More?  
Sign up to our Adult Education Erasmus+ Opportunities event to find out more about these projects, as well as others that may be of interest.  You can also sign up to our Adult Education newsletter and get updates straight to your inbox!

Contact Jemma Lee, Léargas' Senior Support and Development Officer working in the field of Adult Education. Her contact details are below and she's looking forward to hearing from you:  

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