The European University Association (EUA) has published a new study, entitled “E-learning in European Higher Education Institutions”, which aims to contribute to ongoing policy discussions on e-learning in Europe and to support universities in their efforts to further enhance and promote innovation in learning and teaching.
The new publication presents and analyses the results of a survey conducted by EUA between October and December 2013 which gathered 249 answers from higher education institutions from across Europe. The survey asked about the type of e-learning institutions use, their experiences in this area and their expectations. It considered blended and online learning in various formats. Given the strong interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), a large section of the report is also dedicated to this issue. The survey also posed questions regarding support structures and services, intra-institutional coordination, quality assurance and recognition.
The results of the survey showed that the vast majority of institutions offer blended learning and online learning courses (91% and 82% respectively). Less frequent, but seemingly also on the rise, were other forms of provision such as joint inter-institutional collaboration and online degree courses. Furthermore, nearly half of the surveyed institutions said they already had an institution-wide strategy (for e-learning) in place, and one fourth were preparing one.
The survey also demonstrated for example that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are still of high and seemingly growing interest at European universities. At the time of the survey at the end of 2013, only 31 of the responding institutions (12% of the sample), offered MOOCs or were just about to launch them. But almost half of the institutions that did not offer MOOCs indicated their intention to introduce them.
The motives for developing MOOCs were generally the same among institutions which already had them and those intending to have them: international visibility was by far the most common motivation followed by student recruitment. Other prominent motivations were the development of innovative teaching methods and rendering learning more flexible for the institution’s own students.
The study aims to provide useful information for universities but also to contribute more widely to discussions on trends and developments relating to the digitalisation of learning in European higher education, which are part of a wider agenda of learning and teaching innovation. Such discussions are linked to issues of institutional development and resources and the European and national frameworks for higher education. In this regard, EUA hopes therefore that the study’s findings will feed into the policy dialogue at the level of the Bologna Process and the EU.
The full publication can be downloaded here