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Evaluating outcomes and mechanisms of non-formal education in youth centres

TitleEvaluating outcomes and mechanisms of non-formal education in youth centres
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMorciano D
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published02/2015
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
KeywordsNon-formal education, theory-based evaluation, youth centres, youth work

The present paper aims to shed light on ways of dealing with the paradox of formalizing the non-formal that arises when youth work is required to operate on the basis of outcomes and target-based non-formal education programmes. Therefore, the potential of theory-based evaluation is argued to be an effective evaluation model, able to gather evidence of youth work outcomes and mechanisms by looking, moreover, into the complex and sometimes unpredictable processes of non-formal education and informal learning. A theoretical framework and a pattern of theory-based concepts are developed within the paper in order to help evaluation research to investigate those mechanisms through which the interplay between non-formal education and informal learning may lead to the strengthening of young people’s agency in youth centres. Youth agency has been chosen as a possible youth work outcome in an attempt to go beyond an adult- centric view focused on the identification of those skills required in order to become an adult.