International peer reviews of e-learning – preliminary study on international cooperation in e-learning now available

The transition to the future of learning will require new competence of teachers, student counsellors and education planners. One of the objectives of Digivisio 2030 is to find ways to support the staff of higher education institutions in the e-learning transformation.

Eila Pajarre from the University of Tampere has completed a preliminary study on international pedagogical cooperation and the use of MOOC platforms for the Digivisio programme as partial implementer work. The aim of the study was to find out how Finnish higher education institutions engage in international cooperation related to e-learning, what kind of support websites for higher education pedagogy are in use internationally, and how MOOC platforms are used internationally in the higher education environment and what needs to be anticipated and taken into account in their use.

The results of the study are based on a survey and workshop addressed to the e-learning contact persons in Digivisio HEIs in spring 2022. The second part of the study consists of a literature review, the sources of which were open websites and previous scientific research relevant to the theme. The study also drew on in-depth interviews with e-learning contact persons.

International cooperation and networking are considered important

The preliminary study found that HEIs consider international pedagogical cooperation essential. Among other things, international cooperation promotes the identification and dissemination of good practices, international and cultural competence as well as broadening of understanding among teachers and students. International cooperation also serves as a form of societal influence, and thanks to this cooperation, the position of higher education institution’s own activities in the international context can be perceived more clearly. In particular, international project activities, networks and personal relationships are considered important, and the preliminary study notes that they tend to feed each other.

Support pages for higher education pedagogy promote competence

According to the preliminary study, international studies have identified a need for national support in the area of higher education pedagogy. Studies indicate that a national support website can be a resource-efficient way of promoting the competence of persons working in teaching tasks, especially in the context of themes common to all higher education institutions (such as accessibility and inclusion). The preliminary study found that national support websites for higher education pedagogy are few and far between, with Ireland as the only country where a website that meets the definition is in use. Instead, the websites of higher education institutions’ learning support centres or national thematic websites are more typical. The needs that such sites meet are very similar to the objectives of national support sites.

Efforts to develop open learning and MOOCs must go hand in hand

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have grown in importance in recent years as a result of both the development of e-learning and increased distance learning. The preliminary study recommends that the development of open learning and MOOCs, in particular, should go hand in hand. Closer cooperation between higher education institutions could make it possible to identify international strengths related to competence in which higher education institutions could jointly produce international level MOOC offering.

How will the preliminary study be used in Digivisio?

The preliminary study will be used to integrate the planned support website into the continuous and flexible learning tray, enabling its content to reach a wider audience. The international aspect of the preliminary study will also be tapped in this work. In addition, the development of open learning and MOOCs, which emerged in the study, will be taken into account in efforts to develop the tray.

Read the summary of the preliminary study: download the material (in English).

You can also find the preliminary study on Eduuni wiki (login required).

More info

Programme Manager Tuula Heide