The Open University of the Netherlands develops and provides open higher distance education. There is a special focus on the use of new ICTs and teaching/learning methods to provide effective, efficient, attractive and accessible lifelong learning facilities and education to Dutch citizens. The Open University of the Netherlands has 15,000 students and about 750 employees.
Within the Open University, the Welten Institute (formerly known as CELSTEC – Research Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology) integrates expertise in learning sciences and technology-enhanced learning. New technologies and approaches to learning and innovation are extensively tested in our laboratories and in practice. The Technology-Enhanced Learning group at the Welten Institute has a special focus on electronic learning environments and combines expertise in the areas of pedagogical scenarios for learning and learning support, interoperability, learning management systems, virtual learning environments, social media mash-ups (personal learning environments), social and situational awareness, usability, as well as expertise related to content authoring, content management, workplace learning, and lifelong learning at large.
OUNL/Welten Institute has been an active coordinator and participant in numerous European research projects from FP5 – FP7 as well as Horizon 2020.
OUNL will take part in all work packages to provide relevant input on a local/national level and takes a keen interest particularly in work packages 2,5 and 7. With regard to work package 2, the OUNL team can contribute expertise in educational theory and practice as well as expertise in formal modelling. Although we do not anticipate to be developing any tools in work package 5, we can contribute here drawing on our own R&D experiences in the field of remote sensors and usability testing. The Welten Institute provides a Master of Learning Sciences – a test bed for the models and technology to be developed.
Besides, OUNL provides a wide range of Bachelor and Master programmes that can be included in the pilots to be carried out in work package 7. The Welten Institute focuses on improving the quality of education by educational research that is scientifically of excellent quality and at the same time practically oriented. The Welten Institute has chosen the approach of the ‘ecology of education’. This means that the institute is not only active in the field of theoretical scientific research but also collaborates with users in developing and implementing scientifically sound learning environments, forms of education and didactics.
The research activities take into account the complexity of education and the use of rapidly developing technologies play an important part in them. The underlying thought is that the contact between educational science and educational practice is of vital importance for good educational research and therefore for the improvement of educational quality.
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