A Europe in which digital transformation needs a new view on quality and innovation in learning: A leadership issue? (New Special Interest Group of EDEN and also important for EURASHE)

qualityEurope is facing historical challenges. Beside the difficult economic climate, the global economic competitive context changed in 20 years-time as never before. The only way to tackle these challenges is by promoting human capital, developing the knowledge society, and striving for innovation, responsibility and entrepreneurship. Digitalization within the entire education sector is seen as a catalyst to foster the capacity to promote, support and drive educational professionals’, learners’ and organizations’ abilities to develop the competences they need for an ever changing and potentially uncertain future with growing risks.

However, open, online and e-learning in Europe, as well as the concept of digitalization in education are still not perceived with the same credibility as traditional modes of learning. Although a lot of progress has been made to bring digital technologies into the educational context in all European countries, a renewed debate about quality on open, online and e-learning , sharing of good practices and trust into innovation and transformation through the use of digital technologies in education is needed today.

Within the  community of the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN)  we have had great discussions during the last decade in which way we need to understand, define and operate learning under the light of the ever progressing digital transformation. It becomes more and more visible that digital transformation needs a clear vision and strong leadership to bring together the innovation power of  grassroute initiatives and organizational structures and strategies into a holistic model of organizational change. Also in other associations this question is burning. Since 2016 I am Vice-president of the European Association for Institutes of Higher Education, and in particular those higher education institutions which we represent in this network and which are focussing on employability and integration of academic education and the world of work, are resiling with the new demands from the workplace in the field of digitalization needs.

I am therefore very happy that we have created a special Interest group within the EDEN Network which is focussing on Quality of technology enhanced learning. It will help to understand how the educational experience can truly be enhanced, how educational organizations’ capacity to do so can be developed and how policies around digital transformation can be shaped on individual, institutional as well as national and European level.

An issue on which I think we need to focus in particular is the fact that there still is a big gap between the desired policy objectives and  expressed rethorics on European levels and the reality in the organizations operation, curricula, teaching traditions and learning scenarios. This is true despite the fact that there are more and more digital materials, support activities, infrastructure investments and experiences with this new mode of teaching and learning available. It becomes clear that we do not have a technology deficit but that we have a deficit in embracing new learning cultures. therefore I would suggest that it is important to shape new cultures of higher education. A clear leadership task.

I am happy that we have focussed on these issues with the creation of the special interest group in EDEN. And in EURASHE with the group on lifelong learning and in other European networks, like EUA and ENQA as well. We need to launch a series on activities in which leaders of institutions can turn to and receive orientation, training and information.

Advertisements

About Ulf-Daniel Ehlers

Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Ulf-Daniel Ehlers is Vicepresident for Quality and Academic Affairs at the Baden Wurttemberg-State University in Stuttgart, Germany. He has been appointed Professor for Educational Management and Lifelong Learning at the same university. Before he has held positions as Associate Professor in the University Duisburg-Essen (Germany), Professor for Technology Enhanced Learning in the University Augsburg (Germany) and Associate Professor of the Graduate School for Management and Technology of the University of Maryland University College (USA). Ulf is an educational scientist and holds degrees in English Language, Social Sciences and Educational Sciences from the University of Bielefeld, where he finished his Ph.D. with honors in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning in 2003, and was awarded his habilitation in 2008 from the University of Duisburg-Essen. He has created many international, European and national projects and was involved in founding the European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning, in which he served as Vicepresident and President for several terms. He has also served as President and Vicepresident of the of the largest german speaking e-learning Association, the Society for Media in Science (GMW e.V.) as well as serving on advisory boards to several professional associations in the field. Before his career in academia he has been a successful and award winning entrepreneur in the field of webbased IT Technologies and founder of several companies.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s