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Tuesday, 11th November 2014

New Modes of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Source: European Commission

From Executive Summary:

The higher education landscape is undergoing significant change as a result of technolog- ical innovations. We are witnessing changes in the way higher education is taught and in the way students learn. While the conventional setting of the lecture hall will continue to form the bedrock of higher education systems, it will be enhanced by the integration of new tools and pedagogies, and it will be complemented by many more online learning opportunities and a greater variety of providers in higher education.

These new technologies and approaches to education are already having a clear and positive impact on higher education provision. They can support efforts within the Bologna Process and the European Union Modernisation Agenda to enhance the quality and extend the reach of higher education across Europe. And they are already starting to facilitate better quality learning and teaching for both on-campus and online provision, as educational resources from around the globe become more freely accessible and more interactive media for learning are employed. Methods of teaching can be better tailored to individual students’ needs and advances in learning analytics are enabling quicker feedback on students’ performance.

There is enormous potential for widening access to higher education and increasing the diversity of the student population. Online technologies provide opportunities to learn anywhere, anytime and from anyone. This flexibility is essential for non-traditional learners and will enable a shift change in the engagement of higher education institutions in lifelong learning and continuing professional development. This will provide an important tool to governments in ensuring a diversity of provision within higher education systems to meet the needs of all learners. It also provides a platform for reaching international markets and complements existing developments in cross-border education.
Finally, new technologies can facilitate greater collaboration, both with global partners and at a more local level....

New models of provision such as open online courses bring specific challenges. But given the opportunities that they offer for lifelong learning, continuing professional development and internationalisation, it is imperative that public authorities consider how these learning opportunities can be brought more fully into the higher education system. There are many anxieties about the quality and wider acceptance of these learning experiences, and action is needed to quell these concerns. Guidelines around quality assurance and developing a means of providing credit and recognition for these forms of learning will advance efforts to instil them as a credible alternative to the traditional degree programme.

+ Direct link to Report (PDF; 7.5 MB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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