ECOLHE - Empowering European Higher Education in Digital Learning
The ECOLHE project, co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme (Project No. 2020-1-IT02-KA203-079176), which started on 1 September 2020 and ended on 31 August 2023, aimed to bridge the gap between the concept of an e-learning European Higher Education Area and its practical implementation at national level by academic institutions.
National practices in digitisation: The ECOLHE partnership explored the digitisation strategies of European universities by analysing six case studies in partner countries. It identified key areas for development, including the impact of digital innovation, strategies, learning processes, institutional digital innovation, the impact of the pandemic and international quality standards.
Digital skills and innovation: The research found that countries with higher Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) rankings were more advanced in digital innovation. However, all universities faced organisational challenges during the rapid shift to online learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Digital literacy of students: The ECOLHE partnership conducted a survey of 1,148 students from Spain, Italy, Greece, Finland and Ireland. The analysis identified five factors that characterise students’ digital maturity, leading to the classification of students into seven clusters, each with different characteristics.
Teacher training: The ECOLHE partnership implemented an online training course to improve the skills of teachers and researchers in online and blended learning. This training, developed in collaboration with the Open University of Catalonia, focused on active and collaborative methodologies and involved participants in the design, implementation and evaluation of online activities.
Gamification in Higher Education: This project investigated the use of educational gamification tools and surveyed participants’ attitudes towards gamification in higher education. This research is valuable for institutions considering the effective integration of gaming elements into their courses.
Symbiotic Learning Paradigm (SLP): The ECOLHE partnership introduced the SLP approach to co-designing curricula in partner countries. SLP emphasises collaborative and learner-centred curriculum design with the aim of reducing dropout rates and aligning courses with market needs.
Recommendations for academic institutions: The ECOLHE partnership has compiled a comprehensive set of guidelines and recommendations for academic institutions to navigate the digital transformation of higher education. These recommendations cover various aspects, including digital infrastructure, online learning processes, innovation strategies and quality standards.
All the research results are available on the ECOLHE project website.
In particular, there is a direct link to download:
- The ECOLHE Final Report
- The Digital Transformation Roadmap for Higher Education (infographic)
- The ECOLHE International Conference Proceedings
- The ECOLHE Final Publication “The European Higher Education Area Facing The Digital Challenge”, edited by Stefania Capogna; Gregory Makrides; Vassilis Stylianakis, Pasithee | Library & Information Centre | University of Patras (2023).