Project members: Deborah Arnold (lead), Albert Sangrà, Antonio Teixeira

EDEN2030 is one of the projects adopted at the first EDEN Fellows Council meeting in Genoa, 2018. It aims to engage Fellows and Senior Fellows in the collaborative design of a vision for EDEN in 2030, and the project team works in close synergy with the EDEN Executive Committee.

At the EDEN Annual Conference 2020, we ran an online workshop entitled “Opportunity knocks! Have your say in shaping EDEN2030”. The purpose of this workshop was to engage EDEN Fellows and the wider community in discussion around opportunities EDEN should consider taking up in order to further develop its role as a leading organisation in the field of open, online and flexible learning.

After a short introduction to the EDEN2030 project, Ulf-Daniel Ehlers presented the SWOT analysis conducted by the EC. Workshop participants then engaged in a collective brainstorming activity focusing on the Opportunities quadrant.

We first clarified what we mean by Opportunities, considering these to be factors in the external environment which we are not yet exploiting. This resonates with the notion of “weak signals” (Salmon, 2005), and “Seeing and building on opportunities” as a key Digital Education Leadership Literacy (Arnold & Sangrà, 2018). By literacy we mean both mindsets (being open to capture weak signals), and behaviour (identifying relevant weak signals and then acting on them strategically).

The brainstorming activity looked at opportunities

  • For EDEN as an organisation
  • In the field of (open, online and flexible) education
  • For individuals (personal and professional development…)
  • Other


The results of the collective brainstorming are presented here. They obviously require further refinement, but we wanted to provide a faithful trace of this activity on which to build during subsequent work.

Opportunities for EDEN as an organisation

  • Further solidify and expand EDEN’s reputation as a leading ODL research organisation
  • Need for orientation for digital transformation needs better ideas of organisational leadership → Develop a leadership academy
  • New generation of scholars entering the field
  • Existing trends to be explored from new angles – e.g. Artificial Intelligence, Learning Analytics, Big Data
  • Unexplored / under-explored trends (but what are they? –> e.g. AI and ethics), including creating clusters of activity and create synergies for members in incubator-like spaces
  • Exploit the experience and knowledge of our membership and Fellows –> greater visibility and reputation
  • The new Erasmus+ programme (opportunity for projects and policy work)

Opportunities in the field of (open, online and flexible) education

  • Increased visibility of online education due to covid-19 pandemic. There is a real need for the expertise of EDEN members (from organisations just starting out in online learning) to help institutions make the transition to online and/or blended learning. EDEN is and should be a reference.
  • Opportunities for new projects and collaboration at the EU level. EDEN is here to connect professionals across Europe and support research in the field of online and distance learning
  • Huge global need for (online) education based on values of social justice
  • Increased visibility on EU policy level through elaboration of trends and good practices in education, with the opportunity to influence EU policy (through projects, working groups and white papers)
  • UNESCO initiatives: Futures of Education, OER Recommendation, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Education Coalition

Opportunities for individuals / other:

  • Provide training and certification for educators who need it for teaching online (during and post COV-ID)
  • Join forces and partner with other ODL organizations and institutions (research, outreach, meeting customer need)
  • Grow our network of scholars, researchers, and practitioners
  • Build relationships between new and experienced researchers
  • Use (and abuse!) our Fellows as ambassadors for the organization
  • Support the next generation of scholars through PhD Symposia and young scholar schemes
  • Continue with the initiative #onlinetogether


As we can see, the quality of contributions was very high, with a great deal of expertise and contextual knowledge being shared and commented on. The question now is how to operationalise this. If you look closely at the points listed above, you might notice that while some are clearly opportunities, others are formulated more as recommendations, so this is one area we would like to focus on further in order to clarify the distinction.

The next steps will thus be the organisation of a webinar for Fellows and Senior Fellows to comment on the results, to refine this distinction between recommendations and opportunities and to make their own contributions. The results of the webinar will provide input for discussion with the EC and for the final EDEN2030 report. We look forward to continuing the work within the EDEN Fellows community and to further building on the synergies between this EDEN FC project and the EC work, which has proved a very successful model for collaboration.


Arnold, D., & Sangrà, A. (2018). Developing a Framework of e-Leadership Literacies for Technology-Enhanced Learning in Higher Education: a Delphi Study. EDEN Research Workshop, Barcelona, 24-26 October, 2018 (pp. 161–169). Retrieved from http://www.eden-online.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/RW10_2018_Barcelona_Proceedings_ISSN.pdf#page=169

Salmon, G. (2005). Flying not flapping: a strategic framework for e‐learning and pedagogical innovation in higher education institutions. Alt-J, 13(3), 201–218.