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EU plans for digital education ‘must be evidence-based’

Image: Thierry Roge, European Union 2012

Universities and academies make recommendations on digital skills and education for EU-led reforms

European universities and learned academies have warned that EU initiatives to improve digital education in the bloc should be based on evidence such as the results of research.

The European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities (Allea), which represents more than 50 academies and learned societies, and the European University Association, which represents more than 800 universities, each responded last week to an EU call for input on digital skills and education.

Both Allea and the EUA emphasised the need for initiatives to be evidence-based, as the EU considers steps to boost digital education and skills with its Digital Education Action Plan.

On 15 September, Allea said that “every decision about a technical or structural development in digital education must be tested against the latest scientific evidence in relation to teaching and learning”.

On digital education, the EUA said on 16 September that consultations with its members had shown that strategies for digital education “should be developed in an evidence-based manner”.

The EUA said educational institutions should self-assess their own digital environment to allow them to identify, share and adopt good practices while taking into account differences in institutional profiles.

On digital skills, the EUA said there was a need to improve evidence and information to form a basis for policy dialogue, as well as national and institutional reforms. This would include establishing clear definitions of skill shortages and gaps, it said.

Allea called for an interdisciplinary approach to improving digital education, saying there was a need for reflection on technical, educational, social and ethical issues.