This Working Paper brings together evidence on the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on education and training in Europe. It reviews 20 studies and/or reports that provide empirical accounts of the significance of ICT for learning (education and training). It has been prepared by IPTS (Institute for Prospective Technological Studies),1 on the request of DG Education and Culture, Directorate A (Lifelong Learning: horizontal Lisbon policy issues and international affairs), in particular Unit A2 (Lifelong learning: innovation and creativity) to support its work on the use of ICT to support innovation and lifelong learning for all.
This work is part of an on-going collaboration between IPTS and DG EAC Directorate A that started at the end of 2005. Under this collaboration, IPTS will contribute to the strategic policy work of DG EAC, by conducting focused techno-economic research and prospective analyses in domains relevant to Directorate A.
Work on the future of learning and the role of ICT is being carried out by the IS Unit at IPTS as part of a research action on eApplications. This action supports the formulation of policies for the development of the Information Society in the areas of governance, health, business, learning and social inclusion. The work links the monitoring and forecasting of ICT developments with socio-economic impact analysis of selected application areas, identifies relevant bottlenecks and suggests policy options for ICT. The aim is to support the overall formulation and implementation of appropriate Information Society policies contributing to a socially inclusive and sustainable society – one of the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy.
It is difficult and maybe even impossible to imagine future learning environments that are not supported, in one way or another, by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). When looking at the current widespread diffusion and use of ICT in modern societies, especially by the young – the so-called digital generation – then it should be clear that ICT will affect the complete learning process today and in the future. Both the Member States and the European Union have dedicated effort and resources to the promotion and implementation of ICT in education and training; and they continue to do so (e.g. the EU eLearning Programme2). It has also been acknowledged by the European Council held in Lisbon on 23 and 24 March 2000 that there is an urgent need to adapt European education and training systems according to the requirements of a knowledge-based society.
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