Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 in retrospection

Around 80 participants followed the invitation of EFQUEL and became a part of the Innovation Forum 2009. The strongly increasing attractiveness that EFQUEL achieved in this conference was impressive and surprised even the core organizers. But the most important fact about the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 was surely the overall satisfaction of the participants and keynote speakers.

In one of the final speeches, Rolf Reinhardt emphasized that "EFQUEL recognizes every single participant in its individuality as valuable and important". In this way, the forum structure was created in a highly interactive conference-workshop mix. Ulf Ehlers overtook the planning of the workshops which included parts like speed dating and vision development. In the end of the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009, every participant was at least once in contact with everybody of the other participants, had the chance to share opinions and to discuss state-of-the-art quality approaches in learning.

In the end of the conference, the participants had commonly created EFQUEL's Innovation Agenda 2010: A manifest that leads in the future of technology-enhanced learning and underlines the important role of EFQUEL in this process. The four main "pillar statements" voted by the participants and dedicated to EFQUEL are:

  1. Showing leadership and vision in the field of quality of e-learning, while fostering a culture of sharing and dialogue
  2. Promoting the use of Open Educational Resources through the identification of suitable methods for quality development for Open Educational Resources
  3. Exploring the innovation dimension within Quality Assurance frameworks for Higher Education, and develop methodologies to support it at European and National level
  4. Demonstrating ways that ICT can enhance learning by putting and keeping learners and communities at the centre of the quality or learning landscapes

Claudio Dondi is convinced that EFQUEL is the right body to follow these statements: "Only a network which is strong in its membership orientation and linked with a broad range of different stakeholders is able to fulfill such a mission. EFQUEL provides in its tradition a very fertile soil to get in touch with leading representatives of other organizations." In this year, EFQUEL even extended this possibility on an international level: Around 20% of the participants came from beyond Europe.

The international dimension of the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 was also reflected in choosing the keynote speakers: Nnenna Nwakanma represented Africa in her speech and pointed out the meaning of opening education. Muneo Yoshikawa from Japan impressed the participants with his double-swing model for learning. Apart from them, some of Europe's most well-known speakers like Gilly Salmon (University of Leicester, UK) and Markku Markkula (Aalto University, Finland) gave an overview about the future development of E-Learning. Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz (Adviser to the Director, Directorate General for Education and Culture) and Brian Holmes (Head of Unit at the European Commission's Executive Agency) represented the policy dimension in their speeches.

The EFQUEL Forum 2009 was not only innovative in its program: This year, the Foundation streamed the speeches live in the internet. Around 200 visitors from all over the world followed the broadcast and had the opportunity to comment via a Twitter backchannel. Rolf Reinhardt was sure: "EFQUEL proofed by this, that we are not only talking about the promotion of ICT for learning or how to assure and develop quality by inclusiveness. Among others, we are demonstrating how the conferences of the future might look like and what possibilities nowadays technology offers!"

EFQUEL Website:
EFQUEL's Innovation Agenda beyond 2010:
Pictures of the EFQUEL Innovation Forum 2009 on Facebook: