Technology and the expectations of students are also changing. Students increasingly expect to choose what they learn, how they learn and when they learn, according to their individual needs and interests. They are ready to do it in their country of origin, abroad, via courses offered online or via blended forms of learning combining all of these possibilities.
Education, and in particular higher education, is at the heart of the Europe 2020 Strategy and of Europe’s ambition to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy: it plays a crucial role in individual and societal advancement; and, with its impact on innovation and research, it provides the highly skilled human capital that knowledge-based economies need to generate growth and prosperity. Building on the recent initiatives on Modernising Europe’s Higher Education Systems and Rethinking Education, and in response to the Council conclusions of 11 May 2010 on the internationalisation of higher education, this Communication aims to contribute to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, by helping Member States and higher education institutions (HEIs) develop strategic partnerships that will allow Europe to tackle global challenges more effectively.
Digital learning and the widening use of ICT technology can widen access to European HEI, and can open up the curriculum to knowledge, materials and teaching methods from all over the world, fostering new forms of partnerships, synergies and exchanges across disciplines and faculties that would otherwise be difficult to establish. Increased openness and access through technology will improve competition and transparency, and allow HEI to adjust teaching methods and materials to the needs of students who will work in a globalised labour market.