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Learning technologies: DELTA report on Canadian study tour and joint workshop

DELTA (Area 4 of the specific programme of RTD in the field of telematic systems in areas of general interest, 1991-1994) is the Community research and technological development programme in the domain of flexible and distance learning (FDL). From 13-21 April 1993, a group of...

DELTA (Area 4 of the specific programme of RTD in the field of telematic systems in areas of general interest, 1991-1994) is the Community research and technological development programme in the domain of flexible and distance learning (FDL). From 13-21 April 1993, a group of 25 DELTA contractors visited Canada to exchange information and explore cooperation opportunities in the FDL field. The mission was hosted by the Department of Communications of the Government of Canada and organized by the DELTA programme. Now available, a detailed mission report highlights the results of this successful study tour, which included visits of DELTA experts in FDL to Canadian organizations and enterprises, a joint Canadian Government/EEC workshop on learning technologies, and the active participation of members of the DELTA mission in the MULTMEDIA '93 international conference (Alberta, 13-16 April 1993). The body of the report describes and discusses a number of specific RTD projects of special interest and relevance to European FDL, undertaken by Canadian companies and organizations. It provides a state-of-the-art guide to new trends and major Canadian initiatives in RTD and in telematics infrastructures in the domain of flexible and distance learning. Other attainments of the mission include the Joint DELTA/Canada workshop proceedings, to be disseminated, plus a good knowledge of what the Canadian competitors in FDL are doing and will do in this field. In addition, the report makes recommendations based on the experience of the mission for future RTD actions to be undertaken within DELTA, or concerning European FDL in general: - It is highly recommended that RTD activities in Europe should be embedded in a global and longer-term strategy of enhanced learning through telematic infrastructures. These should be based on the mainstream educational and training networks; - Future RTD actions should build further and develop the advanced position of ISDN developments and applications for learning, especially on the issue of interactivity and tutoring; - The Canadian approach, which regards all RTD activities as a full cycle (from user and market requirements, through design and development, testing and pilot experimentation to technology assessment), should be implemented in European FDL actions; - Mutual partnerships between different disciplines, and cooperation between providers and users must be strengthened in RTD actions. European RTD should take full benefit of its pedagogical resources and experiences, integrating these with the technological developments. - It is also recommended that the contacts established with Canadian RTD organizations should be elaborated. Collaboration has been discussed by the DELTA participants on several levels. A forum of European and Canadian FDL actors is proposed in order to prepare future RTD cooperation possibilities. A number of advanced ideas and projects both in application areas and in basic research areas are identified and listed in the report. It is considered that these may provide valuable input to the preparation of work under the Fourth Framework Programme.

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9 September 1993