During the preparation of the Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027), extensive stakeholder consultations highlighted the need for reinforced cooperation and dialogue between stakeholders in the area of digital education.
The fragmentation of digital education policy, research and implementation practices at the European level was also raised as an important issue undermining progress.
Distance education measures made us aware of several structural issues related to digital education, uncovering weak spots in education and training systems that extend beyond contextual and sector-related issues.
To address these issues, a Digital Education Hub will be created as part of the European Education Area portal, which is expected to be launched by the end of 2021.
The Hub will provide visibility to the outputs of its community of practice, a dedicated space for its information-sharing needs and ensure synergies with the European Education Area initiative. Its development will be guided by the stakeholder community that it represents.
As announced in the 2020 Communication on the Digital Education Action Plan, the Digital Education Hub will
- support European Union (EU) Member States by setting up a network of national advisory services on digital education to exchange experience and good practice on the enabling factors of digital education
- link national and regional digital education initiatives and strategies and connect national authorities, the private sector, experts, education and training providers and civil society through various activities
- monitor the implementation of the Action Plan and the development of digital education in Europe, including through results from EU-supported projects
- share best practices by contributing to research experimentation and the systematic collection and analysis of empirical evidence, in part through peer learning
- support cross-sector collaboration and new models for the seamless exchange of digital learning content addressing issues, such as interoperability, quality assurance, environmental sustainability, accessibility and inclusion and EU common standards for digital education
- support the agile development of policy and practice by acting as a ‘think-and-do-tank’ for digital education and engaging stakeholders in user-driven innovation through the Digital Education Hackathon
How will these objectives be achieved?
To achieve these objectives, the Digital Education Hub will (among other activities)
- set up and develop a community of practice for cooperation (CoP)
- set up a network of National Advisory Services (NAS) to stimulate dialogue between the private and public sectors and broker information, data and choices between the fields of policy, research and practice.
- collect examples of best practices through the work of the new Support, Advanced Learning and Training Opportunities (SALTO) resource centre for digital education
The CoP will offer
- a cross-sectorial space – a community that shares its expertise, best practices and solutions for digital education across education and training sectors; promotes discourse, co-creation and action
- knowledge-sharing and mapping – encourage exchange and cooperation, information-sharing and mapping
- the acceleration of digital education practices and solutions – accelerate the uptake of digital innovation in education
The NAS will
- link ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches to digital education issues by stimulating dialogue between all relevant stakeholders
- feed into the overall Hub community, as well the ‘Strategic Dialogue on Enabling Factors in Digital Education’
The SALTO for digital education will provide
- guidance and training for National Agency staff
- identify, exchange and collect examples of best practices – either at the project level or in implementing bodies and issue practical publications
- guidance and tools for beneficiaries and applicants
Key activities in 2021
Engagement of the Community
The Commission has used extensively the feedback received through the open public consultation on the new Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 for the proposal of a Digital Education Hub.
In addition, in line with the approach adopted for the development of the Digital Education Action Plan, the European Commission has also consulted a wide number of stakeholders concerning the conceptualisation of the Hub, including
- the ET 2020 Working Group on Digital Education: Learning, Teaching and Assessment (WG DELTA) – 25 February 2021
- stakeholders that participated in the open public consultation on the Digital Education Action Plan – 1 March 2021
- all stakeholders interested in the Digital Education Hub – 5 March 2021
Stakeholder consultations featured open dialogue on the main features of the Hub, stakeholders’ needs regarding support for digital education and seeking to understand how different stakeholders could contribute to the objectives of the Hub.
Community of Practice
In 2021, the work to establish and develop the community of practice will begin. Fostering the development of the community of practice will be a central objective of the Hub.
The future EEA portal will provide visibility to the outputs of this large Community of Practice that will be enabled by the Hub and a dedicated space for the information sharing needs of the Hub.
National Advisory Services
During 2021, the Commission will support a dialogue within the creation of a network of National Advisory Services – national structures, institutions or departments that advise on digital education matters and implement digital education in EU Member States.
The network will promote the exchange of experiences concerning digital education and ensure cross-national cooperation.
The NAS network could support work on other initiatives under the Digital Education Action Plan, for example the ‘Strategic Dialogue on Enabling Factors in Digital Education’.
A design-thinking workshop will be carried out in November 2021 to gather the community on digital education around possible solutions to digital education challenges.
Starts in 2021, ongoing until 2027
- March 2020 - March 2021 – stakeholder consultations including open public consultation
- September 2021 – first meeting of the National Advisory Services
- November 2021 – design-thinking workshop
- January 2022 – launch of the Digital Education Hub
This action is funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ programme.
Get in touch
To find out more about this action, get in touch with us by email at EAC-DIGITALEDUCATION@ec.europa.eu.
Follow @EUDigitalEdu on Twitter for the latest news and developments on this action and the whole Digital Education Action Plan.
Header image: © European Union, 2021.