1. Expected impact on participants, participating
organisations, target groups and other relevant stakeholders

This project will result in obtaining a contemporary, functional e-learning and distance learning system that conforms to the highest educational standards; a system that will improve accessibility and teacher-student communication, and one that will, above all, facilitate the providing of services to students with disabilities. The LMS, as the main tool for reaching the goals of this project, will help train the participants, with the aim of improving their IT skills as a prerequisite for modernisation and further development of education processes and tools.

It is expected, however, that the impact of project will not be limited to the participants only. The participating organizations will obtain a functional e-learning management system with specialised functions and user interface components as well as a mobile app for easy access. This system will enable the participating organizations to establish a compatible, unified network for the exchange of on-line courses and learning materials, on-line forums, e-meetings and pedagogical counselling, especially for students with disabilities.

The students – especially the students with disabilities as a main target group – will benefit the most. The e-learning system will help overcome barriers faced by students with disabilities during their education, and will especially facilitate meetings with professors and obtaining learning materials. The accessible learning system will also provide adaptive and personalized learning experiences tailored to the particular educational needs and personal characteristics of each student, encouraging them to continue their education and/or vocational training. Obtaining a degree and/or gaining additional qualifications will make these students competitive in the labor market and help them avoid the burden usually faced by members of marginalised societal groups, ensuring them a complete social and educational inclusion. Moreover, this learning system will bring benefit to all students, providing them with open access to all lecturers, lectures and teaching materials, places to exchange ideas with other students and enjoy good educational practices.

As several parts of the system – e.g., the open lectures, the podcasts and the video materials – will be completely open to the public, secondary schools and pupils become indirect beneficiaries; pupils will be able to see and experience what the higher education institutions and their programs offer, as well as the skills they would acquire, thus facilitating further choices of education and vocation. The participants in the project will ensure that secondary school staff has opportunities for additional qualification courses and training with the aim of applying similar e-learning practices in secondary schools as well.

The Ministry for Education and Science as an associate partner, as well the Ministry for Labour and Social Policy, the Government and the business sector of the Republic of Macedonia will also reap benefits, as the system will offer modern, open and accessible public education for everyone, primarily for students with disabilities and students coming from marginalised societal groups, increasing the number of professionally trained people able to work and provide for themselves.

This project and its intellectual inputs will also have a large impact over the business sector and the labor market regarding employment opportunities of persons with disabilities considering their increased competencies and IT skills gained through dissemination of results and transfer of knowledge.

Finally, all the participants, as well as all direct and indirect beneficiaries will raise their work standards to meet European educational standards and commit to embracing a EU-compatible work-flow. This project will help in building a EU-compatible strategy for future policies, with the final goal of developing competences, skills and qualifications compatible with European and broader humanistic: and liberal values.

The development of new transnational courses and modules will provide better understanding of the interconnections between formal and non-formal education, vocational training and other forms of learning with the labor market respectively. It will also provide openness and opportunities for further cooperation with other EU and non-EU countries.

More specifically, the expected impact is related to:

– More positive attitude towards the European project and the EU values:
– Better understanding and recognition of skills and qualifications in Europe and beyond;
– Improved competences, linked to professional profiles;
– Better understanding of practices, policies and systems in education and training countries;
– Better understanding of interconnections between formal, non-formal education, vocational training, other forms of learning and labor market respectively;
– Increased self-empowerment and self-esteem;
– Increased daily motivation and satisfaction.

2. Desired impact on local, regional, national, European and/or international levels

Internally, the open access e-learning system will provide an entirely new type of network in the educational sector; it will not only push for, but will also help establish a presently non-existent systemic network of cooperation between secondary and higher education, as well as a more consistent networking between the institutions of higher education, offering opportunities for an increased number of scientific projects, research studies, modern transnational courses and modules. A system that is accessible to all students and adaptable to their needs is something that complements previous systems, providing education for all, regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity or type of disability. Therefore, we also expect that this project will change the usual pattern of thought in higher education circles, especially its attitude towards students with disabilities and students from various disadvantaged societal groups.

We also expect an increased teacher/student cooperation with European and world organizations, as well as newly established connections between students of various institutions In different countries, especially those with some kind of disability. On a European level, this project will especially contribute to the promotion of European and wider humanist values in connection to the implementation of innovative ICT tools in accordance with the guidelines for the development of higher education (Europe’s growth strategy – Europe 2020). The implementation of this project will increase the debate and external visibility of this topic, bringing it in wider focus. The multiplier events and the dissemination of the results will enable the use of this accessible LMS by other institutions in Europe and the world. Finally, the general impact of the implementation of this project would consist of a sharply increased awareness for new open access innovative ICT tools that provide equal education possibilities for everybody.

3. Measuring the impact

The impact of this project will be measured through deployment of monitoring and evaluation tools focused on the following result indicators:

– The pace and level of success in the implementation of the system;
– The level of accessibility of the system, once implemented;
– The availability of lecturers and course materials;
– The number of trained staff members, trainers and students;
– The number of graduates with disabilities who will be following the courses offered;
– The increase in the number of postgraduates, including students with disabilities;
– The increase in the number of new students with disabilities and students from disadvantaged groups;
– The number of daily visitors of the system and its visibility;
– The number of app downloads;
– The relative visibility of the high institution and the intensity of cooperation with other stakeholders;
– The pace and number of developed transnational education courses or training modules;
– The Interest for adoption and implementation in other countries not included in the project;
– The pace and level of networking and cooperation between EU institutions and beyond.