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  • Periodic Report Summary 1 - IRNET (International research network for study and development of new tools and methods for advanced pedagogical science in the field of ICT instruments, e-learning and intercultural competences.)

Periodic Report Summary 1 - IRNET (International research network for study and development of new tools and methods for advanced pedagogical science in the field of ICT instruments, e-learning and intercultural competences.)

The IRNet project aims to set up a thematic multidisciplinary joint exchange program dedicated to the development of new tools for advanced pedagogical science in the field of ICT instruments, distance learning and intercultural competences in EU, Australia, Ukraine and Russia.

ICT and e-learning methodology are not fully yet developed. Thus, the implementation of a system designed to develop ICT competences of specialists, in particular the present and future teachers, based on the systematic use of selected Internet technologies, such as LCMS systems, MOOCs, virtual classroom technology, social media, other Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 technologies will positively contribute to the development of ICT skills and intercultural competences. The recent focus on MOOCs is a partial solution as the compatibility of institutional policies, benchmarks for effectiveness and mutual recognition of assessment characteristics are more important. The project is generally aimed at organizing a future collaboration of Western and Eastern European universities - student exchanges, technological and infrastructural procedures for staff exchanges, open online courseware materials.

In compliance with the work plan, in the first 2 years of IRNet implementation the research was focused on the methodology, elaborating research instruments, conducting research and analyzing the results.

In the first reporting period the main IRNet project achievements have included:

In WP2 “Analyses of legal, ethical, human, technical and social factors of ICT and e-learning development and intercultural competences in every partner country”, the analysis of legal documents of nine IRNet countries and ten universities was conducted and the comparison of legal factors of ICT and e-learning development in different countries was made, and identical, similar, overlapping data and differences in state policies and university regulations in different project partners were found. It was identified that in West European universities the MOOCs potential is adopted in a way stimulating the further use of other ICT tools and e-learning for flexible learning and teaching and for internationalisation of education. In Central European universities and in Australia, the blended learning is implemented due to some regulations of the Minister of Science and Higher Education.

In WP3 “Analyses and evaluation of the ICT level, e-learning and intercultural developments in every participating country”, the research methodology and instruments were elaborated. An analyse and evaluation of the ICT level, e-learning and intercultural developments in every participating country was conducted. The research methodology has been established. The main objective was to define the system of indicators for developing e-learning and ICT competences.

Two questionnaires (for academic teachers and for students) were elaborated as research instruments. Both need to determine how students and academic teachers use e-learning and ICT in education - particularly, how their effects are reflected in teachers and students’ activities. The questionnaire for students consists of 13 questions and for academic teachers of 18 questions. The questionnaire was translated into students’ native languages and Google Drive technologies were used to automate data collection and analysis. The first results of the survey were presented at ICTE and DLCC conferences. The questionnaire for students was to gain the data on students’ views and attitudes to various educational processes in their educational environments, entailing the use of the ICT, intercultural and professional competences. There are more than 100 valid responses collected. The preliminary results have been published in different articles and presented at conferences, meetings and seminars. The questionnaire for teachers contains 89 questions concerning WP2: legal support for ICT, monitoring of teaching, creating an electronic database, assessing the quality of teaching, security of information, university infrastructure, management of the educational process at university, analysis of social factors and intercultural development in each partner country.

The main benefits of e-learning and ICT in education were described: improvement of educational services, formation and development of the knowledge society’s competences, increased competitiveness of institutions in science and education. Then, the manifestations of these benefits were specified as well as their determinants: electronic space and interactions, the level of participants’ competences. The hypothesis of WP3 research was that e-learning and ICT development contribute to the quality of educational services, to the development of knowledge society competencies and to the increased competitiveness of institutions of science and education. The e-learning participants aim at the increased comfort of the scientific and educational process, lifelong learning goals, personalization of education, the formation of new scientific and educational cooperation and intercultural competence, self-fulfillment in education and work, increased the openness of scientific and educational environment, enhancing self-organizational effects which support the sustainable development of the university environment.

In WP4 “Selection and testing new ICT tools” some important results were obtained, which have been published and presented at conferences, workshops and seminars. The consecutive stages of the WP4 implementation involved: 1) identification of skills necessary to teach in schools and universities of the future (e.g. presenting contents in multimedia formats, communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, productivity, reflection and feedback, social networking) and the analysis of IT-tools and their educational applications; 2) reporting the identified tools available for remote collaborative work, presenting the items to be used as evaluation criteria and comparing the tools by each task to implement the Custom Satisfaction Evaluation Model; 3) comparing the relative importance of tools; 4) forming focus groups, statistic processing of the results and final conclusions; 5) e-round table to present conclusions. This was followed by evaluation and expert’s assessment.

Project facts and figures:

• 82,71 months of research staff exchange have been carried out in 2 years of the project.
• 35 researchers have been involved in the exchange programme.
• 103 papers have been published by members of the network.
• 12 important conferences have been organized.

During the first 2 years of the project implementation the video didactic materials for MOOC on ICT tools for effective use in education has been developed. Some innovative educational programs on the basis of the European and national standards and qualification frameworks have been designed.

A new scientific journal has been established – “International Journal on Research in E-learning” (

The mobility of researchers has created new links and contacts between different countries, considerably strengthened their collaboration and significantly enhanced the dissemination of knowledge within the participating institutions and worldwide.

In the further part of the project the following partnership contribution to the collaboration is expected: a dataset for analyzing the development of ICT, e-learning, intercultural competences in EU countries; a literature and ICT tools review and analysis of their place in European educational systems and in project partner countries; the detailed methodology of developing ICT and intercultural competence for evaluation of the network research effects in educational institutions of EU countries; deepening the classification of different welfare state regimes, assessing their effectiveness to represent different educational institutions; a detailed identikit of a teacher in each project country as an expression of certain welfare and educational regime; nationwide studies to assess the network research effects in each country; cross-national studies on these effects; educational suggestions concerning the issues studied in the project. 

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