MOOC Social Pedagogy across Europe launching on Coursera

Join us to learn about social pedagogy

We’re super excited to announce that the MOOC in Social Pedagogy across Europe is now available for free on Coursera, the world’s biggest online learning platform providing universal access to the world’s best education! It’s taken over three years from conceptualising to realising this course in partnership with our our amazing team of collaborators at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Masarykova Univerzita, Gent Universiteit, KJSH Stiftung für Kinder-, Jugend und Soziale Hilfen, Københavns Professionshøjskole, Common View and University of Central Lancashire (click here to find out more about our partners). We’d like to say a huge THANK-YOU to them as well as to all our pilot learners and everyone else who has supported us on this journey. And a big thanks also to the EU Erasmus+ programme, which has co-funded the development of this course, thus enabling us to make all learning resources available for free!

Social Pedagogy across Europe is the first MOOC focussed on social pedagogy – a relationship-centred approach to supporting people’s learning, well-being and social inclusion in ways that promote social justice. The 4-week course is structured in eight sessions: an introductory session, six sessions outlining social pedagogy in different European countries and sharing some innovative practice insights, and a review session to support you in applying your learning.

Through this course we aim to:

  1. Give you an insight into how social pedagogy has been developing across Europe, highlighting both the diversity and connections,
  2. Highlight the importance of valuing every person as intrinsically ‘rich’, recognising their unique potential and ability to be a valuable member of society,
  3. Introduce you to ways in which you can bring this belief to life in everyday interactions and relationships that support people’s learning, nurture their well-being and enable them to feel included in society,
  4. Ensure you are familiar with the most fundamental aspects of social pedagogical practice in ways that are applicable in your own personal and professional life.

To start things off, in week 1 we’ll be introducing you to social pedagogy as a coherent perspective found in an increasing number of countries across Europe and beyond, before giving you a flavour of social pedagogy in Germany.


1. Social Pedagogy and Participation – a transnational perspective:

In the first session, you’ll hear from our ThemPra team how social pedagogy has been developing across Europe and what the central guiding principles are. We’ll also tell you more about the social pedagogy perspective we’re taking in the MOOC and what themes we’ll be covering over the course. Finally, we’ll dive straight into the first theme: participatory practice. You’ll have a chance to find out why participation is important and how you can ensure that the people you support are meaningfully involved in decisions that affect them. Find out more about the first session in the short intro video below:


2. Social Pedagogy and Resource-Orientated Practice – a German perspective:

Our first country session will take you to the ‘cradle’ of social pedagogy: Germany. In this session by our colleagues from the KJSH in Northern Germany, we’ll first give you an overview of social pedagogy in Germany, and then highlight the dynamics at play in social pedagogical practice, before introducing you to ways of working with, and strengthening, people’s resourcefulness. We’ve included six videos and two case studies about resource-orientated case management at the KJSH. Please watch our short intro video for more details:


Interested? Then click the button below to see the course on Coursera:

International Conference – Ghent University – 21 May 19

Conference Outline

Social professions find themselves under intense pressure to achieve better outcomes with fewer resources. Aimed at policy-makers and social care leaders from across Europe, this conference highlights the importance of a social pedagogical perspective in countering some of the most profound and persistent challenges to social professions across Europe. Throughout the conference day we will focus on how decision-makers can create the conditions in which practitioners can develop meaningful relationships with the people they support, facilitate social inclusion and remain committed to social justice. Presenters at the conference include Prof Walter Lorenz (University of Bolzano, Italy) and Dr Sanna Ryynänen (University of Eastern Finland). You will also have the opportunity to gain insights into innovative practice developments and develop your international network with other leaders in your professional field.


Delegate rate: 60€ (includes evening reception)

For international guests with substantial travel costs we’re able to offer financial support through our Erasmus+ funds. Please check the box in the registration form below if you’d like us to send you more details.


Please register here if you’re interested in joining us. Your registration will only be confirmed once we’ve received payment. We will publish the full programme in late February and send you payment details then.

Social Pedagogy across Europe MOOC launching

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new MOOC in Social Pedagogy across Europe. In many European countries, social pedagogy has a rich and diverse tradition as a relationship-centred way of supporting children, families and vulnerable adults in their development and addressing social inequality. In an international partnership of 8 organisations from the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Spain and Belgium, we have now developed the first Massive Open Online Course to provide a panoramic overview of social pedagogy in these countries and introduce some of the central principles for practice.

The MOOC will launch on 12 February on Coursera, the world’s biggest online learning platform providing universal access to the world’s best education. You will have completely free access to all learning resources, or get optional certification from our partners at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona for 43€.

Combining a series of short videos, further reading resources, quizzes, reflective questions and peer-led discussions, the MOOC is aimed at practitioners across all education and social care settings as well as (prospective) students. You can self-pace your progression through the 8 sessions. We’ve designed these to encourage you to explore and reflect on the following themes in relation to your own practice:


1. Social Pedagogy and Participation – a transnational perspective
2. Social Pedagogy and Resource-Orientated Practice – a German perspective


3. Social Pedagogy and Creativity – a British perspective
4. Social Pedagogy and Purposeful Shared Activities – a Danish perspective


5. Social Pedagogy and Prevention – a Czech perspective
6. Social Pedagogy and Social Education – a Spanish perspective


7. Social Pedagogy and Social Justice – a Belgian perspective
8. Social Pedagogy in a wider context – perspectives from around the globe 

If you’ve already got a busy life, don’t worry – you don’t have to complete all eight sessions within four weeks. It’s fine for you to take longer!

The MOOC is the output of a 3-year project funded by the European Union with the following key aims:

  1. Give you an insight into how social pedagogy has been developing across Europe, highlighting both the diversity and connections,
  2. Highlight the importance of valuing every person as intrinsically ‘rich’, recognising their unique potential and ability to be a valuable member of society,
  3. Introduce you to ways in which you can bring this belief to life in everyday interactions and relationships that support people’s learning, nurture their well-being and enable them to feel included in society,
  4. Ensure you are familiar with the most fundamental aspects of social pedagogical practice in ways that are applicable in your own personal and professional life.

To find out more about the MOOC, click on the video below and watch our introductory video, join our live webinar. More details and pre-registration are available at

Join our MOOC Webinar:

To give you a first glimpse and a deeper insight into the themes covered in the MOOC, how it is structured and what it can offer to learners, we are hosting an exclusive webinar on

Tuesday, 5th of February at 12.00 UK time

Join our webinar to discuss any questions and find out why social pedagogy will be of relevance if you are a professional eager to further improve your practice, a student interested in developing your career opportunities, or a leader wishing to support your staff team’s professional development. You can sign up by following this link and we’ll send you joining instructions.

Developing the SPDN

Over the last year or so we’ve been thinking a lot about how best to further develop the SPDN to ensure it remains a vibrant and meaningful grassroots movement for UK social pedagogy. Our thinking has been influenced by a variety of considerations:

  • Views of SPDN members: Based on feedback we’ve had from participants at SPDN events, we have some insights into what makes the SPDN special and what participants value about the events. What we’ve been hearing regularly is that the SPDN offers a forum to re-energise and connect with like-minded people, that it stimulates participants’ interests in specific aspects of social pedagogy and provides the space to share their ideas and practice experience. There are likely to be many more aspects, and we’re eager to ensure that the development of the SPDN is guided by its members’ views.
  • Resource implications: We’ve previously not shared too much detail about how the SPDN is resourced and how we’ve managed to keep it a free event. There are three aspects to this: We rely on host organisations who are willing to offer a venue and refreshments for what’s quite often a pretty large crowd. We benefit from the good-will of individuals who agree to run workshops or present without any financial gain – none of the excellent keynote speakers we’ve had over the years has received any payment. And, of course, we as organisers invest a lot of our time and money into co-ordinating and facilitating the event without any external funding. We do it because we love the SPDN and because we are all devoted to developing social pedagogy in the UK. But resources are not endless, and so it’s important to ensure that we take a sustainable approach to the resources we use.
  • Role of the SPDN: Now that social pedagogy is more firmly established, with its own set of standards, a professional association and a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications from Level 3 all the way up to Masters level, it’s important to re-think the role of the SPDN and how it can best nurture and fit with these fantastic developments. All of them play a vital part in the social pedagogy landscape and rely on our collective support. They have already brought new initiative, for example an events calendar of social pedagogy conferences, webinars, workshops, lectures and other activities that offer richer, much more diverse learning opportunities around social pedagogy than ever before. We want to make sure that the SPDN’s place within that landscape makes sense and that there is synergy between what the SPDN offers and others’ contributions.

In determining how we can best develop the SPDN with these considerations in mind we’re keen to follow a co-production process. We obviously want the SPDN to remain of value to you, so we’ve given a lot of thought to how we can best achieve this. The following slide outlines how we think this may work:

We’d therefore like to share our thoughts on the desired outcome and hear what you think, so that we can identify a shared outcome for the SPDN. To share your views, help us work out what the options could be and then make an informed choice, you can either join one of our Zoom calls over the next few months, email us or come to one of the next SPDN events, where you’ll get an opportunity to voice your perspective.


Desired outcomes:

  • To offer an immersive social pedagogical experience: The SPDN seeks to offer a flavour of social pedagogy and let participants experience this with head, heart and hands. It’s social pedagogical in both content and method, and this is central to enabling participants to understand social pedagogy.
  • To be grassroots-led: We started the SPDN as a grassroots movement, where participants could actively shape social pedagogy in the UK, where we could jointly explore multiple perspectives on what social pedagogy is, could or should be. We want the SPDN to be celebrating the diversity that a grassroots movement has to offer – to let a thousand flowers bloom – and to ensure that everyone is recognised as an expert in their own right. What counts is the collective expertise, and therefore what matters most is how we can best draw out everyone’s expertise.
  • To demonstrate the potential of participatory structures: The SPDN aims to create opportunities where every person feels included, engaged and encouraged to share their ideas. This requires specific facilitation methods, such as Liberating Structures, a range of microstructures designed to creatively engage all participants. We want the SPDN to be a place where participants experience the benefits of such methods and become more familiar with them, so that they can use similar microstructures in their own practice.
  • To energise and connect participants to each other and to social pedagogy: A movement is only as strong and vibrant as the connections between the people who are part of it and the energy they bring to it. We’ve been fortunate that the SPDN has an amazingly passionate and thoughtful membership, and we want to ensure that they remain energised and feel connected to like-minded people and to the ways in which social pedagogy can help us nurture change, promote social justice and strengthen relationships between people.
  • To offer insights into how social pedagogy is understood and practiced in the UK, an illustration of its dynamic and evolving character: One of the most fascinating aspects of the SPDN has been that being a part of it is like having a finger on the pulse of social pedagogy in the UK. It has offered regular opportunities to find out what social pedagogy looks and feels like in different practice contexts and different organisations – the questions it raises, the ideas it sparks, the solutions it helps create, the barriers it encounters. We think this aspect is crucial, and we therefore want the SPDN to continue to be an important forum in which we explore and co-construct what we mean by ‘social pedagogy’.
  • To create space for the conversations that are important to participants: We want the SPDN to continue to be a forum where participants can explore the themes that matter to them. This ensures that conversations are more meaningful and that everyone has greater opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • To encourage action and reflection: The SPDN aims to be action-orientated and to enable participants to reflect both individually and with others in order to initiate change.
  • To be lean – easy to organise and easy to host: Over the years, the SPDN has become a fully-fledged conference in many aspects, even though we’ve avoided calling it a conference. Its events have become increasingly bigger both in terms of the number of participants, which is now quite regularly anywhere between 140 and 200, and in its scale. Having an evening and day seminar with a range of keynote presenters, workshop facilitators and other activities requires a substantial amount of co-ordination and liaison within the organising team, with the host organisations and everyone else involved in the event. As much as these are signs of the SPDN’s success, we don’t want the SPDN to become a victim of its own success by becoming too resource-intensive to organise and host. And for the reasons outlined above, we think that the SPDN would benefit from being a lot leaner, from focussing on creating space for dialogue, relationship-building and exchange of ideas that matter to the people involved – whoever they might be and whatever their ideas may be.
  • To remain free: There are two key reasons why we’ve been committed to keeping the SPDN free. On a pragmatic level, financial transactions create complexities such as who gets how much and why – and it’s not unlikely that the extra work associated with all of this ends up costing more than the revenue created. More importantly though, the involvement of money changes people’s engagement. This is not unique to the SPDN by any means, but the SPDN has greatly benefitted from the generosity of many people over the years – organisations who have hosted events free of charge, individuals who have travelled in their own time and at their own costs to contribute to events, helped prepare, organise, facilitate, clear up, etc. Where no money is involved, these acts of generosity are far more likely to occur and the arrangement far more reciprocal at a human level: Participants contribute not with their £££ but their ideas, they’re not passive consumers but active collaborators. We therefore want to keep future SPDN events free of charge too.

We look forward to finding out what your desired outcomes for the SPDN are. Please feel free to share these by emailing us.

MOOC Fire Starter Event

‘Education is about filling a pail but lighting a fire’


We are plased to invite you to our exclusive MOOC fire starter event to bring together as many people from our collective networks, who are willing to help us reach as many future MOOC learners as possible. Hosted by the University of Central Lancashire on the 6th of September, 2018, the event is an exclusive opportunity to find out more about the MOOC and our ambition:

  • Get a first look at the final MOOC before its official launch in January 2019,
  • Talk to some of the pilot learners and find out how they have used the MOOC to develop their practice and team culture,
  • Get in dialogue with our cross-national MOOC team from the 8 organisations involved, and
  • Learn how you can embed the MOOC in organisational practice, training and academic courses.

We have been developing the MOOC with the aim of providing an exciting and meaningful learning resource about central principles in social pedagogy and how these can enhance social pedagogical practice beyond national boundaries. And we are inviting you, because we hope you can help us make the MOOC freely available to interested learners across the globe. We hope you’ll be able to join us and become part of a dynamic international network committed to developing social pedagogy.

The fire starter event forms part of our Erasmus+ funded 3-year project and is therefore completely free to attend, with overnight accommodation for international guests and food provided. Please note that places are limited and allocated in accordance with our funding conditions. Please register here or contact us for further details.