Final summary of the project
The project aimed to create a special virtual toolbox for teachers as a sophisticated tool for developing Open Online Distance Learning (OODL) courses which means open, online, flexible and technology-enhanced education (OOFAT).
The five consortium members were well distributed in Europe and ensured the necessary competences, values, skills and knowledge for developing an innovative approach to OODL:
- University of Crete (UoC, Greece) is specialized in innovative education and focused on supporting students‘ acquisition of skills and competences.
- Europäische Bildungsinitiative (EBI/EIE, Austria) is a teacher training institution experienced in Distance Learning impacts in enhancing teachers’ professional development and in OODL.
- The Istituto Tecnico Statale Vittorio Veneto Salvemini (ITS-VVS, Italy) and Colegio Internacional Costa Adeje (CICA, Spain) are two high schools offering a multicultural background with different orientations in teaching and experienced in eLearning and modern teaching methods.
- The Swedish Association for Distance Education (SADE, Sweden) has a special focus on OODL and OOFAT and provided experience in quality enhancement systems.
In the frame of the project an innovative approach to Open Online Distance Learning was developed, implemented and tested with students in different European countries. The concrete results are:
- The pedagogical framework (available in the webpage of the project: http://www.vtt-box.eu/project/the-products/mdocuments-library/) that enables teachers an innovative and promising approach to distance learning. The framework is embedded in a quality enhancement framework, developed through transfer, and adapted from the quality framework of the EADTU (http://e-xcellencelabel.eadtu.eu/images/E-xcellence_manual_2016_third_edition.pdf), the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities. The project group adjusted the framework based on university level to a well-fitting framework to schools.
- 13 Pilot courses for various subjects with different complexity also available and downloadable in the webpage (https://www.vtt-box.eu/project/the-products/pilot-courses/) and were uploaded to OER Commons (https://www.oercommons.org/groups/virtual-teachers-toolbox-vtt-box/4427/).
- A toolbox for teachers to assist teachers in creating courses based on the VTT-Box concept was implemented as a web-based service (https://www.vtt-box.eu/project/teachers-toolbox/).
- A ready-to-use InService and Online Distance Learning training-course for teachers has been implemented as a MOOC (self-learning course) using a Moodle platform. This course provides the content of the toolbox and additional issues as a MOOC and can be used for InService training (https://www.vtt-box.eu/course/course/view.php?id=28).
- A transferability guide of the innovative elements (for example the self-evaluation mandala) has been created to transfer the project findings and developments to other educational fields. The guide is available in English, Spanish, German, Swedish, Italian and Greek languages (https://www.vtt-box.eu/project/the-products/the-transferability-guide/).
- The most important innovative tool in the project is the self-evaluation mandala. This depiction enables an innovative approach to run a distance learning course and works as a motivating tool for learners. The self-evaluation mandala has been developed in the frame of the project, implemented in courses, evaluated by teachers and documented in several scientific papers.
The sustainability of the products is ensured by the project partners for the next years, especially the interactive services available in the webpage of the project.
People involved in the activities
More than 2930 persons were directly or indirectly involved in the project:
- students participating in pilot training courses that took their first experience with the new created teaching methods, especially the self-evaluation mandala.
- teachers involved in developing the four intellectual outputs of the project: pilot courses, online courses for teachers, the toolbox and the Transferability Guide, as well as in evaluating the developed tools.
- other stakeholders at the presentation of developed material in six European conferences.
- participants in the national multiplier events.
In addition, around 11.050 visitors were counted in the blog, additionally 12.600 visitors could be counted (until December 2019) for the webpage.
Impact on participating organisations
As a main impact all partners and their organisations have increased their level in course creation using the developed frameworks. The interest to implement successful eLearning courses has increased in the organisations and this has been noticed by teachers, trainers and other involved stakeholders. Therefore, they will continue using and implementing online courses, and the tools developed in the framework of the VTT-Box project as it has shown that this kind of courses motivate students in their educational process.
Moreover, participating students took part in innovative teaching environments, familiarised with online learning platforms, improved their digital competences in learning and everyday life, increased their learning success and their motivation to learn.
The project also affected other institutions, like university teachers, and helped them to rethink and revise their teaching and training methodology, and to take Open Online Distance Learning (OODL) into account. Their feedback mirrors the interest in the developed frameworks and courses and declared to have transferred project’s results to their teaching environment.
Dissemination and sustainability
The webpage and the connected services (toolbox, theoretical background information) will be translated in 2020 into German language to enable a better support of seminars and presentations in German-speaking countries.
Furthermore, a new project with transfer of the self-evaluation mandala to Adult Education started in November 2019 (with the University of Porto as the coordinator), the Erasmus+ project “DISK” 2019-1-PT01-KA204-060898. The project makes use of Blended Learning and will implement the courses using other results of the VTT- Box project as well (for example, the quality enhanced framework).