The Catalogue presents and categorizes free digital learning initiatives and MOOCs which are specifically aimed at third country national migrants and refugees in the EU, or at potential migrants and refugees that may arrive in the EU. They include FDL offers from which refugees and migrants can learn a language, develop a skill for employment or gain further help in integrating in the EU, but also include formal, non-formal and informal educational provisions. The initiatives are presented on this website in the form of a searchable interactive Catalogue. The research team has focused on initiatives that are directly targeted at migrants or refugees, both those that exist presently and those that will soon be launched that are noteworthy. The research team identified other relevant initiatives, projects and FDL offers which may eventually be exploited by migrants and refugees, should the proper promotion and support be provided. These are featured in the part of the web-site named: Resources. The Catalogue captures a snapshot of this field as of December 2016. It will ideally be updated in the future as the number of initiatives in this field grows.

The objective of the literature review is to synthetize recent research on (1) the offer of free digital learning specifically (or potentially) aimed at migrants or refugees in the EU and neighbourhood countries, and (2) the use of these or other free digital learning offers for continued education and/or integration purposes. The review looked for effects and impact of free digital learning for inclusion of refugees and migrants as well as potential opportunities and challenges in the free digital learning field.

Questions behind the literature review are:

  • What free digital learning initiatives are targeting/have targeted refugees and migrants and for which subgroups (school age children, higher education (HE), Vocational Education and Training (VET), adults, asylum seekers, migrants, refugees with official status and refugee applicants, men versus women, etc.)?
  • Who delivers /provides these digital learning initiatives and how?
  • What types of free digital learning are currently used by refugees and/or migrants?
  • Are the effects of specific initiatives and free digital learning offers measured? (on, for example, language learning, inclusion, integration, employability, re-engagement in formal or non-formal education (including initiatives that aim to bridge formal and non-formal learning e.g. via recognition of learning outcomes), and civic participation))
  • What are these effects?
  • What makes an initiative and/or a particular digital learning offer successful / unsuccessful?
  • Based on what is known about the effects of free digital learning on disadvantaged ormarginalized learners, what could be the further potential of free digital learning to support refugees and migrants? (in particular, competence development but also social/civic integration)
  • What are the gaps in the literature on this topic and what should be explored in the future?

The outcome of this task is a report summarizing the main findings of the existing literature.

In parallel, the research team short-listed a cross-section of approximately ten diverse initiatives to explore in more depth. The initiatives selected have diverse missions, approaches and business models. They target different learning audiences (of migrants/refugees) and employ different types of FDL. Various staff members of the following initiatives were interviewed:
  • Edraak
  • Funzi
  • Information Sweden
  • InZone - UNHCR Learn Lab
  • Jamiya Project
  • KIRON Open Higher Education
  • LASER – Language, Academic Skills and E-learning Resources
  • MEET – Meeting the Health Literacy Needs of Immigrant Populations
  • Ready for Study
  • Welcomm!

The research has included a short online ‘explorative’ survey (targeted through social media) that has target different migrant populations was distributed among key stakeholders and expert groups. The survey covered issues like:

  • Background information: age, gender, educational level, in camp or not, etc.
  • Identified earning needs
  • Acquaintance with free digital learning offers (FDL)
  • Knowledge and participation in MOOCs?
  • Participation in online language courses or course enhancing civic integration
  • The perception of barriers to accessing online learning materials/sources
Between September and October 2016, four focus groups have been organized in Sweden, Cyprus, Belgium and Germany, targeting a diverse sample of migrants and refugees presently in Europe. The purpose has been to assess their familiarity with FDL, their learning needs, the extent to which they have utilised MOOCs or FDL, the barriers and impediments and general perceptions for what could assist their integration and inclusion when it comes to FDL.