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DIDO - Dropping-in the dropouts toolkit


Date of creation of toolkit and periodicity of updates

April 2020

Purpose of the toolkit

  • Providing professionals in adult education with the appropriate tools to prevent dropout
  • Identifying adult learners at risk of dropping out
  • Empowering adult learners
  • Providing adult learners with some of the 21st century skills, such as problem-solving skills, time management skills
  • Enabling a systematic approach for preventing dropout in adult education 

Description of each of the tools

The DIDO tools are categorized in 4 different subjects which relate to the reasons why adult learners dropout in adult education:

1) Tools related to creating classroom dynamics

  • Teacher as mentor: A handy questionnaire for teachers who are eager to ask the right questions during mentor conversations with their students.
  • Mindset: This tool is meant for establishing the open mindset practice and developing an open mindset in general.
  • Giving feedback: Downloadable app which allows teachers in adult education to quickly learn the basics about giving feedback to students (micro learning).
  • Digital tool - decision helper: This website helps you to decide which digital tool is most appropriate for you as a teacher.

2) Tools related to organisational issues

  • Schedules checklist: Checklist for organisations to make sure that all information about the timetable of classes has been shared with students.
  • Homework café: This tool gives guidelines for starting up a homework café and/or study groups within a school organisation.
  • ICT checklist for students: It’s a checklist for students with all the basic information related to ICT issues.
  • Catch up: Instructions for teachers to create study plans for their class and for learners to create their own study plans..

3) Tools related to expectations and goals of adult learners

  • What why how?: An easy-to-use-guide to take adult learners through the essential steps in defining a goal.
  • Success stories: This tool contains guidelines to report success stories of adult learners to help students to establish goals and clarify their perspectives on their learning and future possibilities.
  • Setting intermediate goals: A quick, easy and effective planner for students who find it difficult to get started with a task.
  • My goal: A tool which will helps adult learners to define a goal for the course they are taking based on the SMART model.
  • Wonderwall: Helps your students visualizing their life goals and expectations.
  • Postcard to the future: Helps your students to reflect on what they want to achieve in 1 or 5 or 20 years’ time.

4) Tools related to the skills and personal issues of adult learners

  • Time management: A tool for students to get a better idea of how they spend their time and what they can do to spend their time more efficiently.
  • How much does it weigh?: This tools helps students to gain insight in how much 'weight' or stressors are present in their lives.
  • Balance beam: An exercise to help students to visualise their stress factors and stress reducing factors.
  • Dreamjob vs. never-in-my-life job: Exercise for students to dream about the future they see for themselves.
  • Tackling dyslexia: List of apps for adult learners to help with their dyslexia and learning disabilities.

Type of indicators used in the identification of learners at risk of early leaving


DIDO identified the main reasons for dropping out in adult education:

  1. It was found that students dropout due to organisational issues, such as planning, location, infrastructures and curricular management;
  2. On the other hand, personal reasons are an important factor why students dropout. These are all causes associated with family, finances and health issues of a student, but also reasons that can be influenced during the education process: student performance anxiety, learning style, self-confidence and effort;
  3. Often students lack certain skills needed to go through the courses, such as skills related with study method, time management, ICT, foreign languages and skills and knowledge previously acquired;
  4. Also, the lack of well-defined goals and a concrete notion of the opportunities, benefits and added value at personal and professional levels, associated with the course and education makes them dropout;
  5. Class dynamics, which involves the interaction between student-teacher, student-class and the way the teacher does the class management (including differentiating between students, adapting the explanations to the level of the student and giving proper feedback), is an important reason for dropout;
  6. Students often have the wrong expectations about the curriculum, the schedule and the level of difficulty of the courses, which often causes a reality check during their studies which leads to dropping out;
  7. Motivation is an overall factor explaining why students dropout as well. Although "motivation" is one of the most mentioned reasons for dropout, it is a consequence of reasons and not a reason by itself.

Type of guidance given to users

Users first go to the ‘all tools’ page where tools are categorized and briefly summarized.

Each separate tool comes with a short description, practical guidelines on how to use the tool and downloadable materials.

The toolkit is modular based: users select their most appropriate tool(s) and modify the tools based on their own target group and organisational needs. 

Source of information of the different tools

The toolkit was developed by the Erasmus+ DIDO consortium (Dropping-in the dropouts). This consortium comprises adult education practitioners from Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

  1. GO! CVO Antwerpen (Belgium): adult education provider
  2. Axxell (Finland): VET provider offering education for e.g. adults
  3. Curio (the Netherlands): secondary VET and adult education provider
  4. AidLearn (Portugal): training, action-research and consulting company
  5. HF & VUC FYN (Denmark): adult education provider
  6. The Swiss Federation for Adult Learning (Switserland): umbrella organisation for general and vocational adult learning.

Based on desk research, interviews and focus groups, the tools were developed and tested in a transnational setting to ensure the tools can be implemented in several local settings.

Link/s to the toolkit and further information