In recent decades, progress towards quality education has been made through the implementation of structural reforms under the Bologna process. However, there is still a need to be more attentive to the process of learning and teaching itself.
EUA believes that universities must drive developments in learning and teaching and this requires close collaboration with all major stakeholder groups, including national and European policy makers. To support the endeavour, EUA is conducting several initiatives aimed at establishing a European dimension on higher education learning and teaching. The initiatives include knowledge-building activities and studies, institutional development and peer learning, as well as related policy statements and recommendations.
EUA’s activities aim at enhancing the quality and relevance of higher education provision, underline the importance of learning and teaching as a core mission and advocate for learning and teaching activities to be geared towards student learning and success.
The new thematic peer groups will have a digital focus, offering an opportunity for European higher education institutions to exchange with colleagues about their strategic approaches to digitally enhanced learning and teaching.
As demonstrated in EUA’s Trends 2018 report, learning and teaching enhancement becomes an institutional priority, generating dedicated strategies and structures.
Through work with its membership, EUA explores institutional approaches to education provision and provides recommendations on institutional strategies that can underpin university communities’ efforts in learning and teaching, and support staff, students and leadership in their roles and responsibilities.
In the framework of the EFFECT project, EUA, together with partner universities and organisations, also issued a set of 10 “Ten European Principles for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching”. These support the need to re-emphasise the education mission of the university, and to service institutional leaders working with staff, students and external stakeholders.
EUA’s LOTUS project (2020-2022) aims to contribute to capacity building and strategic change management for learning and teaching at higher education institutions across Europe. The project includes a Leadership Development Programme to address processes and conditions for the implementation of institutional learning and teaching strategies, while also exploring, through a Policy Dialogue, how learning and teaching can be best supported by national and European policies.
The input, engagement and competence of academic staff is crucial to enhance learning and teaching. Teaching must be fully recognised as central to the academic profession, and considered in career development.
With the view to raise the status of teaching in higher education, EUA’s work explores incentives and policies for academic staff to invest in teaching, develop their teaching competences, better balance their teaching and research workload, and progress in their careers in teaching. EUA’s EFFECT project also addresses teaching enhancement, through developing and testing modules for staff development. The project will issue, as a final report, a Feasibility Study on teaching enhancement in European higher education.
EUA’s EFFECT project (2015-2019) also addressed teaching enhancement, through developing and testing modules for pedagogical staff development, with a focus on inclusion and citizenship skills. The project issued, as a final report, a Feasibility Study on teaching enhancement in European higher education.
Digitalisation is transforming the way students learn, as well as the ways institutions deliver education. While blended forms of online-learning currently appear as the most common route for including digital learning at European higher education institutions, the Trends 2018 report shows that digital learning is reinforcing its presence and that universities want to make a more strategic use of it.
EUA has been following the development and consequences of digitalisation in higher education since Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) captured attention in 2012. It issued two papers analysing the phenomenon of MOOCs in 2013 and in 2014. The Association also provided a knowledge base for the topic with a survey of European universities on e-learning.
Currently, EUA is coordinating the DIGI-HE project (Jan. 2020 to Dec. 2022), which aims to develop a self-reflection tool that will support European higher education institutions in developing and enhancing their strategic approaches to digitalisation.
As digitalisation remains high on European, national and institutional agendas, EUA continues to monitor the developments and to actively contribute to discussions in this area.
The European Learning & Teaching Forum is an EUA event that provides an opportunity for participants to meet and discuss developments in learning and teaching at European universities. The topics span from good practice in teaching enhancement and institutional strategies to national and European policies. The Forum builds on EUA’s work with its member universities on this topic. Alongside the bottom-up approach, the Forum makes use of EUA’s extensive policy work in European higher education.
EUA Strategic Plan
The need for strong universities has never been greater in addressing societal challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, resource scarcity, ageing populations, migration and managing artificial intelligence are among the many examples of areas where universities have a major impact.
Based on the work of the EUA Learning & Teaching Initiative and the outcomes of the 1st European Learning & Teaching Forum, this paper underlines the importance of learning and teaching (L&T) as a core mission and responsibility of universities.
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