E-course on the MARLISCO educational pack, 9-20 January 2015

In January 2015 the second round of the e-course aiming to introduce the newly produced educational material Know, Feel, Act! to Stop Marine Litter: Lesson Plans and activities for middle level students to formal and non- formal European educators, took place.

As becomes evident by its title, the educational material has been prepared to inform, sensitise and enable European teachers and students to take action to tackle litter in our seas and coasts. The educational material has been finalised in English language and will soon be available in many European languages.

The educational material “Know, feel, act! to stop Marine Litter”

The material contains 17 learning activities examining the characteristics, sources, effects and possible ways to tackle the problem, addressing it from an environmental, societal, cultural and economic point of view. It has been designed to primarily serve youth aged 10-15 yrs, but can be used also by educators outside the formal schooling system.


The course has been piloted in June 2014. Further to the evaluation of round I, the actions taken to improve the learning experience of learners were to:

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png Number of accepted registrations to ~120 (69 in the pilot)

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png “Stretch” the course content to fit in 12 days (8 days in the pilot)

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png Change the format of one of the assignments to combine an individual and group element (from “strictly group” in the pilot)

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png Give more bibliography for the "curious" as further, non obligatory readings.


In this second round the number of accepted registrations was nearly doubled, compared to the pilot: 122 participants from 18 countries took part most coming from the Euro-Mediterranean region (i.e. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, UK and USA).

The teachers, NGO and museum staff, surfers, divers, activists, university students that took part all share a deep love for the sea, and that could possibly explain their commitment in the course content.


Broadly speaking we could say that the e-course is equivalent to a 1.5 to 2 days face-to-face seminar with the aim to train learners on effective ways of teaching about marine litter. This estimated time investment of 16 hrs total workload is “stretched” to last 12 days, so that even highly busy people can participate by investing only 1-2 hours daily.

The course was asynchronous, which means learners and facilitators don’t have to be online at any specific time, they login at any time convenient to them.


During the e-course an overview of the educational pack was presented, and effective ways it could be incorporated in real life were demonstrated. Trainers and learners shaped a highly interactive learning community that simulated characteristic activities of the Pack, tested their validity and appropriateness, and suggested ways to adjust them and even improve them. The course offered us also the opportunity to talk about the obstacles we face in implementing such activities and exchange views on ways to overcome them.

Another special feature of the course content is that it is not fixed. Learners are treated as experts and are often requested to generate content. Much of what is to be “learned” comes from those who are willing not only to “receive” but also “offer” their insights on the subject.


How many of course participants completed the course? As in round I, the rates of completion were once again considerably high (compared to the global average of e-course completion). Specifically:

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png 70 (57%) of course registrants successfully completed the course,

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png 32 (26%) completed only parts of it, while

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png 20 (16%) never signed in.

This high completion rate certainly motivates us to repeat the course if we have the opportunity.


The course was evaluated by the University of Plymouth by the means of a questionnaire. Detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this report; however in the table below the average responses of the 74 trainees that kindly filled it are presented. A 7-scale Likert type was used.


The e-course:

Average on a 1-7 scale

Average %


...was relevant and well linked to the EduPack "Know feel act! to stop marine litter"




...was the right level of complexity




...offered sufficient guidance on how to use the EduPack




…was appropriate and useful for non-formal educators




…was appropriate and useful for formal educators




…had an appropriate time allocation (~16 hrs over 12 days) in order to achieve its objectives




…gave me a good chance to voice my opinions in discussions




…offered enough opportunity to ask questions




…was well facilitated by the trainers




…contained e-tools that I may use in the




…achieved its objectives as described in the beginning




…had a satisfactory level of engagement on behalf of the learners



There is a high degree of trainees’ satisfaction as demonstrated by the high average scores in all 12 questions. Actually all but one scores have increased, compared to round I. According to the trainees, aspects that may be improved in future rounds of this course are:

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png The value of “Group work” exercises is recongnised but their fit in such a tight schedule was a challenge. Such exercises may be more effective if done on an individual basis.

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png The course schedule (16 hrs workload over 12 days) is still tight. A possible extension e.g. to 15 days should be considered.

The course facilitators will take on, to the extent possible these valuable comments in the fortunate occasion of repeating the course.


Statistical analysis provides a measurable way to evaluate one’s work, and are for sure very useful in order to improve. Being firm believers of the value of informal evaluation as well, here are some quotes of learners that were shared in the course forums:

“I understood that I have to start from myself believing that my life style can be changed and that this can influence positively my students too.” (Gianluca)

“An insight I had during this lesson was that I hadn't before thought of how important it is to make sure students don't feel helpless in the face of the huge dilemma of marine litter. It is vital to keep positive and motivated!” (Eadin)

“I’m ready to start thinking what can I do in my life and what can I organize in my city in order to help solving marine litter problem!” (Joana)

“I am going to adopt a take 3 approach...every time I go walking I will pick up 3pieces of litter.” (Catherine)

“I'm definitely bringing a bag whenever I go for walks in the future and picking up trash on my way.” (Denise)

“With all those activities I feel very well equipped for my next beach cleanup session with the young surfers; I think I could even start a weekly marine litter workshop session for the surf-tourist which are interested... “ (Eva)

“There is a lot we can learn from others work and campaigns targeting marine litter.  While we each do a lot for our own areas, as a group we have a lot more knowledge that can be shared and applied to do even more.” (David)

“For every item of litter I take off the beach, that's one less item in the sea and I've made it my rule never to walk by a plastic can holder - instead they get taken home, cut up and binned properly. Everyone can play their part!” (Sita)

“This lesson has made me consider what it would take to engage the public and provide them with enough information to make changes to their current practices. As a result of this program I also have a desire to expand my own personal litter practices and arrange volunteer beach cleanings in my local area.” (Domenico)


Given the high completion rates and the good evaluation results the facilitators are keen on repeating the course, if given the opportunity. This could take place within MARLISCO project or even in the post-MARLISCO era, to achieve greater outreach and dissemination of its end products.

For the future there are some other ideas interesting top explore such as

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png Developing an online forum / community of all learners in all rounds

tl_files/marlisco/lib/layout/arrow-more-light.png Developing a course version for adolescents or children. 


"My vision for the future", sketch delivered by course participant Rute Rocha during the e-course, round II.




Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture & Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE)

Established in 1995 MIO-ECSDE is a non-profit Federation of NGOs from the Mediterranean region working in the field of Environment and Sustainable Development. 
Contact MIO-ECSDE: www.mio-ecsde.orginfo@mio-ecsde.org



Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment and Sustainability (MEdIES)

Launched in Johannesburg (WSSD, 2002), MEdIES is MIO-ECSDE’s primal education imitative, with the objective to provide capacity building on ESD through publications, trainings and the facilitation of an e-network of educators. 
Contact MEDIES: www.medies.netinfo@medies.net