“First step in designing future of education”
EIT Digital has developed a quality framework for blended learning for use in its pan-European network of universities. The framework is the result of years of developing and testing diverse approaches to blended learning within a community of teachers. “This is a step towards designing the future of education, leveraging university networks,” says Frédéric Renouard, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education at EIT Digital. The model can be used in all kind of university networks.
Over the years, EIT Digital has been developing diverse blended learning models adapted to the innovation and entrepreneurship education provided by the EIT Digital Academy schools. It has been doing this within its network of about twenty technical universities across Europe.
After having experimented and implemented diverse models of blended learning within a community of teachers from these European universities, EIT Digital has now defined a quality framework to assess the learning impact of blended learning models. The model is based on four dimensions: efficiency, effectiveness, impact and scalability - to assess the quality of blended courses in a pan-European network of universities.
To build this framework, it was necessary to define what the quality of blended learning should be. “Blended learning should be used to increase the quality of education. Determining the quality of blended learning is complex. It depends, for instance, on the online content itself, the blending models that can be used and the teaching methods.”
The experiments and implementations also explored how to evaluate the collected results, in order to improve the quality of blended learning models and methods used in the courses offered within the university network. “The main thing is that we incorporate the teachers’ network into a loop of continuous quality improvement. We have about twenty universities doing quality measurements and sharing their results to make quality improvements over and over again. That way, things progress much faster and its' more effective than anything a single university can do.”
Blending learning grows up
With the quality framework being developed, blending learning is becoming more mature, says Renouard. “In the beginning, we aimed to create and disseminate common EIT Digital contents across the network, hence the previous EIT Digital research papers focused on harmonisation and pedagogical cooperation. Now, we are aiming to increase the quality of blended learning by sharing the best blending models across universities."
A quality framework as such, that defines the quality of blended learning within a network of universities is unique, says Renouard. “The combination of defining the quality, knowing how to measure it and the continuous improvement loops within a pan-European community of teachers is new. This is a step in designing the future of education, taking full advantage of university networks.”
Quality of education
Despite the fact that the framework has been developed within the EIT Digital Academy Innovation & Entrepreneurship programme in partnership with top technical universities across Europe, Renouard says that it can be used by all kinds of networks. “The framework is not limited to EIT Digital's use. It can be used by colleagues at different universities working in the same discipline to leverage the value of such networks for improving education quality. It could even be a blueprint for the European Universities Initiative that the European Commission now is working on.”
The paper Blended learning: quality framework for a pan-European universities network was presented by Dr Gert Guri at Edulearn 2019 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Guri, who co-authored the paper with Renouard and others, works at EIT Digital to implement blended learning.
Blended Learning: quality framework for a pan-European universities network”, G. Guri (speaker), F Renouard, G. Pisoni, M. Vendel, M. Marchese, A. Wetters, EDULEARN 2019 (July 1-3)