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Practical Dissemination: Sharing What You’ve Learned
Dissemination is a key part of any international project, and has particular importance in Erasmus+. In fact, along with impact it counts for 30% of the total score in applications! Yet it can be difficult to know where to start and how to disseminate effectively. In the first of two posts, Léargas Communications and Impact Research Officer Charis Hughes looks at practical ways to share what you've learned.
What is Dissemination?
How proud are you that you can tie a shoelace?
It’s probably not listed on your CV, but it’s something most of us struggle to learn and need guidance to achieve. So how much longer would it take us if no one had ever showed us how?
The person who taught you probably didn’t think they were part of ‘a dissemination strategy’, but they were. Dissemination is a long name for a simple idea: that you share your knowledge with the people who need it. It’s important to note that this is not the same as promotion, although the two processes are closely linked. When it comes to shoelaces, promotion might be your sports coach telling you how much easier it is to run with tied-up shoes, but dissemination would be them showing you how to tie them.
So how does a dissemination strategy work in the more complex area of international projects? The first thing is to identify these essential elements:
- Who can benefit from your knowledge? (These people are your audience)
- What do you want them to know? (This is your message)
- How can you best reach them? (This is your method).
If you think about any project, you’ll quickly realise that there’s more than one set of people who can benefit from its results. Each set will likely want to know different things. As an example, many Erasmus+ VET mobility (Key Action 1) projects involve learners travelling to another country for work placements. While this not an exhaustive list, example audiences and messages for this kind of project could include:
|Audience (who to share with)
||Message (the learning/results you want to share)
|Other learners and staff in the organisation||New subject-related techniques and approaches that were learned during the work placement|
|Potential participants in future projects||Tips on making the most of the placement e.g. cultural adaptation, practical travel advice|
|Local vocational employers||Chance to employ local vocational learners with recent, relevant work experience and intercultural skills|
|Other vocational colleges||Expertise in project management and guidance on how to build international mobility into college life|
|Decision-makers in the education board||Benefits Erasmus+ has brought to the organisation; opportunity to expand the benefits to other organisations under the same education board|
|International organisations||Experience of using international systems e.g. ECVET
Reaching the Right Ears
Once you've identified your audiences and messages, it's time to think about the method: how will you reach these different audiences? A learner, an employer and a decision-maker are unlikely to get their information from the exact same place. Although there may be some crossover, you will have to change your approach depending on who you want to connect with.
Consider what kind of communication your different audiences prefer. If all your learners use Facebook, then a Facebook page will be effective for reaching learners. However, if local employers all read the local press then an article in the newspaper would be a better way to reach them. You should also consider what methods are already available to you. Is your organisation part of a network that has a newsletter, hosts events, or posts blogs? Tapping into their audience may well help you reach yours.
Connect with your Audience
Read part two for tips on connecting with your audience, using social media, and sourcing graphics.
We'll also take a look at how to credit Erasmus+!