Distance education, through its successive developments, from correspondence courses to mass media and present web 2.0 learning has played a central role to make learning possible wherever it has been needed.
Lifelong learning – from school level up to vocational, higher and continuing educations – has constantly looked to the flexibility of the methods and tools of open and distance learning, and nowadays including e-learning.
Todays learners choose open and distance education, for many different reasons: personal fulfilment, employment circumstances, everyday convenience or necessity, philosophical and societal views, handicap, intense specialisation away from school, isolated location, at times of emergency, and for political, cultural and religious reasons.
Educational institutions have to respond to learners situations, on an individual and/or a collective basis, when access to education is at stake, and when special conditions require specific answers to bring education when and where it is needed, by right, by necessity, and on demand. In such situations distance teaching institutions have most generally proven their capacity to remove barriers.
The most recent developments of open and distance education enhanced by ICT advances the practical functioning of distance education and improves its relevance in the contexts described above, turning it into a key actor when and where access to education is concerned. However, arent new questions arising today, and in diversified ways in various parts of the world? The physical spread of technology-enhanced open and distance education must be of good quality, cost-effective, accepted by large audiences, and engaged in meaningful linkages of pedagogy and technology in order to find the right solutions with their social, economical and political implications.
EDEN is continuing its series of successful Research Workshops in October 2008 in Paris. The Fifth Research Workshop, in the jubilee year of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, intends to put special emphasis on the “rights” and “access” to education, by exploring how recent developments of open and distance education enhanced by ICT turns into a key actor when and where access to education is concerned and what are the main quests for institutions, students and the information and communication technology.
EDEN invites European researchers, the professional community to contribute and share experience at the Research Workshop in a magnificent surroundings, in the City of Lights, Paris.
The workshop is organised in co-operation with CNED (Centre National d’Enseignement a Distance – the French national distance learning centre), under the patronage of UNESCO.