Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap for the update of the Digital Education Action Plan - Feedback on the European Commission's roadmap for the update of the Digital Education Action Plan
Digitalisation of education is a multidimensional phenomenon that extends far beyond the technological aspects. It enables completely new ways and methods of teaching and learning and must therefore be accompanied with a strong pedagogical approach. This requires ensuring that all teaching professionals have the resources, competence and confidence to rethink learning, teaching, assessment and related use of technology and digital solutions.
Digital education and learning must be developed according to the same principles and objectives as education and learning in general. For example, core values, such as equal access to education, must be upheld. This requires a solid legal framework as well as adequate support services, both online and offline, for learners using digital solutions. Actions must be taken to ensure learners’ well-being (social services, social activities, spotting/reducing drop-outs) when digitalising education. Young learners are used to interacting digitally from the social aspect, and currently there is a gap between what learning solutions, teaching methods and campus-based services offer.
Digitalisation of education creates challenges related to infrastructure, competences, data protection, equity, digital pedagogy etc. Any such challenges must be addressed but they cannot be allowed to jeopardise the larger goal of creating better services through digitalisation. The challenges are similar at all levels of education and should therefore be met with solutions developed in good cooperation across the levels of education. Such cooperation must be encouraged as it also supports life-long learning by, for example, facilitating the creation of interoperable platforms, tools and databases. Further positive impact can be reached by extending cooperation and interoperability to other related fields, such as employment services.
The “new normal” in the field of education will most likely combine online and offline teaching and learning which requires developing robust and trustworthy digital and remote solutions. Open educational resources play a key role in this process and must therefore be developed further in terms of both availability and quality. Along with developing methods of teaching and assessment, another issue to be considered in this context is online assessment and recognition of prior learning as well as the related questions concerning identification of the learner, proctoring etc.
Creating a safe, reliable and user-friendly identification solution would be beneficial for not only remote learning but also international mobility. Digital solutions are needed for the whole chain from recognising competence gaps and identifying learning opportunities to transferring credits etc. Such solutions require effective data flows and interoperable machine-readable data, which illustrates the need to place questions related to data at the core of the updated Digital Education Action Plan.
Digital solutions are needed to achieve the objectives of the European Education Area, such as increased international mobility and cooperation of teachers and learners as well as improved recognition and validation of competences. Therefore, the updated Digital Education Action Plan must be robust and its strategic significance duly recognised.