This Communication sets out a European agenda for stimulating high-quality, innovative ways of learning and teaching through new technologies and digital content. ‘Opening up education' proposes actions towards more open learning environments to deliver education of higher quality and efficacy and thus contributing to the Europe 2020 goals of boosting EU competitiveness and growth through better skilled workforce and more employment. It contributes to the EU headline targets for reducing early school leaving and increasing tertiary or equivalent attainment and builds on the recent initiatives 'Rethinking Education', 'European Higher Education in the World' as well as the flagship initiative Digital Agenda.
Today’s learners expect more personalization, collaboration and better links between formal and informal learning much of it being possible through digital-supported learning. However, between 50% and 80% of students in the EU never use digital textbooks, exercise software, broadcasts/podcasts, simulations or learning games. The EU lacks a critical mass of good quality educational content and applications in specific subjects and multiple languages as well as connected devices for all students and teachers. A new digital divide in the EU, between those who have access to innovative, technology-based education and those who do not, is on the rise as a consequence of this fragmentation of approaches and of markets.
Open technologies provide the opportunity for Europe to attract new talent, equip citizens with relevant skills, promote science and research and fuel innovation, productivity, employment and growth. Europe should act now providing the right policy framework and a stimulus to introduce innovative learning and teaching practices in schools, universities, vocational education and training (VET) and adult learning institutions. The EU policy framework (the Open Method of Coordination in Education and Training 2020) and EU programmes (particularly Erasmus+, Horizon 2020 and the Structural and Investment Funds) can provide incentives and create framework conditions for this to happen. This can help all Member States and regions, particularly those less developed, to also benefit from quality education, and improve their growth potential, thus maintaining economic and social convergence.