The i-Learn project is an initiative of the Flemish government, specifically of the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation and the Department of Education and Training. Their respective agencies support the i-Learn team: Vlaio, Agodi and Ahovoks.
Their delegates are present in the i-Learn steering committee and the sounding board group.
At i-Learn, we enter into dialogue with the policy domain of Education and Training. We question representatives of education networks as well as education unions, and the Education Inspectorate, and keep in contact with the Flemish Education Council. We include concerns of these actors in the development of the portal and coordinate with each other at regular intervals to make sure that i-Learn is experienced by all educational actors as a valuable addition to the current educational landscape.
Talking to different actors brought about the following questions:
- Can we use i-Learn to reduce the management tasks teachers, without compromising their authority?
i-Learn does not aim to replace teachers with an online learning environment. On the contrary: the i-Learn portal will allow teachers to pay even more attention to the learning process of each individual learner. Thanks to the targeted use of educational technology, among other things, the teacher’s orchestration and managing tasks can be reduced while still allowing for more differentiation during lessons.
- Is there a way to narrow the gap between learners by using i-Learn?
Different learners have different levels, skills, and ways of processing information. By tailoring i-Learn MyWay to the learner, different needs can be more easily accommodated, ultimately benefiting every learner. It is difficult to assess the extent to which i-Learn can help bridge the socio-economic gap between learners. There are several challenges in this regard. One such a challenge is that the nature of the portal is digital and there might be learners with more and learners with less or no access to digital materials. The ‘Digisprong’ has resolved part of this issue. Some students now have access to digital materials at home via the school infrastructure (e.g. can take laptops home for homework). We cannot assume, however, that this barrier has been lifted completely. Another challenge comes in the form of digital literacy. Learners with a lot of access to digital materials and living in a home context with a lot of digital knowledge, will have an advantage over learners who don’t. We will take these challenges into consideration.
- How do we ensure that personalised learning does not get in the way of collective learning?
It is certainly not the intention of i-Learn to replace the collective learning event. i-Learn MyWay is simply an extra tool for teachers to deploy in the pursuit of personalized learning in the classroom. This personalized learning already happens, but more often than not, the teachers have to provide adaptive learning materials themselves.
These questions cover only a small section of the issues that were discussed with policy actors. More questions were discussed with the aim of taking Flemish education to the next level.