The idea for the Ariadne project, looking at web-based guidance from an analytical perspective, has its own history derived from the professional interest and history of the project team. The field of web-guidance clearly emerged as a challenge for the professional guidance communities, as reflected by the EU conference “Quality and Ethics in Web-based Guidance” (Gothenburg, 2001). The consensus from this conference was that as the number of adults using web-based guidance tools increases, so the need for a set of common guidelines by which to judge these tools becomes pressing. Both practitioners and users, need to deepen their respective understanding about how and what to develop, when to use such tools, and when to recognize that the tools are limited in addressing client needs.
Ariadne is a trans-national project developed in the framework of Socrates-Grundtvig 1 programme, aiming to examine, evaluate, structure and identify the underlying assumptions for web-based guidance tools. Its main result is the production of a set of guidelines highlighting the most important arguments and theories used in guidance and counselling as web-based guidance tools should reflect them. In addition, the guidelines are accompanied by a training model for professionals and by a project website that stands as an explanatory tool and a platform for dissemination.
The project work for the guidelines has proved to be more challenging than the project members themselves had anticipated. Questions like: “What makes a guidance theory suitable for web-based guidance?”, and “What are the most relevant aspects the guideline should comprise?”, “What should be the right order of the chapters?” seemed to make things even more confusing. Extensive discussions and the exchange of opinions (strong at times) have made the attainment of a commonly shared view an even more valuable outcome. There has been learning for everybody and the knowledge and practical experience each group member has brought in provided insight and diversity that otherwise would have been hardly attainable. And, as it is always the case, the harshest criticism has come from authors themselves through reflection and peer review. This heuristic activity has been supported by our external evaluator Dr. Jenny Bimrose, from The University of Warwick.
The work itself was equally carried by all project members and it was structured on working groups, corresponding to the chapters of the guidelines. And, even if the same persons were simultaneously involved in several such groups, the responsibilities were distributed as follows: the “Users” chapter was coordinated by Careers Europe, “Delivery” by ASTER, “Design/Development” by the Adult Education Committee and “Theory” and “Ethics” by University of East London, while MENTOR was responsible for the overall coordination of the guidelines.
The Ariadne project represents, most of all, a common reflection on web-based guidance from a group of professionals who, were it not for the Socrates support, would have pursued their interest individually. It means the creation of a discussion group that will probably continue exploring their shared questions and expanding to a larger community of interests. And it means increased awareness of Internet guidance: for users, guidance professionals and guidance practitioners who may also become web-developers.
Last update: 14:50 18/06 2004