Summary of the Evaluation
The Würzburg International Winter School (IWS) targets both Master and PhD students in the field of adult education and related disciplines. It intends to support the development of highly qualified researchers and practitioners in the field of adult learning who are able (and motivated) to work in international environments and who are able to appropriately address international topics in their work, further studies or researches.
The external evaluation focused on three aspects: outreach of the IWS, participant satisfaction and impact of the IWS. It involved a written participant survey as well short interviews with selected participants.
The IWS 2016 was attended by 91 participants from 19 countries. Roughly two thirds of them were Master students, one third were PhD students. About one third of the participants came from non-European countries (which were enrolled as exchange students at University of Würzburg, R. E.). Most participants had already dealt with international topics at least to some extent, but for about one half of the participants this was their first international study mobility. Participants’ motivations for attending the IWS were multidimensional but the desire to meet people from other countries and to learn about other countries were particularly stressed.
The evaluation showed very high satisfaction levels of the participants concerning the IWS as a whole as well as its single parts. As regards the IWS’ impact, participants felt that the IWS had considerably contributed to enhancing their competences in many regards. Most notably, increased competence for intercultural interaction was highlighted as outcome, but also the development of other competences, both content-related and transversal ones, was felt to have been promoted by the IWS. Participants also considered that the competences which were promoted by the IWS were highly relevant for their further career chances, thus contributing to their employability. After attending the IWS, participants also felt more motivated to engage with international topics in their studies or future professional activities as well as to undertake further study mobilities.
In conclusion, the evaluation showed that the IWS reached a high number of its target audience, involving different countries of origin, study levels, motivations and degrees of previous international experience. By all these groups the IWS was perceived as a high quality event which had much to offer for their own academic/professional as well as personal development.
Author: Susanne Lattke, German Institute for Adult Education, comment R.E.: Prof. Regina Egetenmeyer, Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg