Blog: Linking up with transformation hub initiatives Digital Educational Resources

In this blog post Wilma van Wezenbeek, captains of transformation of the Digital Educational Resources Transformation Hub, explains why digital educational resources are so crucial for the educational institutions. What initiatives exist, and how can you get involved? And what does the future of digital educational resources look like?

15 May 2024 4 min

As caption of transformation of the Digital Educational Resources Transformation Hub, I would like to explain what we have to offer educational institutions and why we think it is important to work together toward making all digital educational resources accessible. With the roadmap, we have a nice overview of the various activities we are organizing and where you as an institution or individual can connect. 

View the roadmap


All digital educational resources accessible to everyone, anytime, anywhere 

In 2032, at the end of the term of the Npuls programme,we want all digital educational resources to be accessible to everyone, anytime, anywhere. And because we, as further educational institutions, are public organizations, we use the public values: justice, humanity and autonomy to achieve this. Accessible for everyone means, among other things, that it shouldn’t matter whether or not you as a learner can afford an expensive book, that you should be able to find self-created materials even outside of an institution, and that you shouldn’t be trapped in a learning environment where you don’t know what happens to your data or learning behavior. And for the teacher, it means that you can find what you want to use in your lesson from within your own learning or searching environment.  

Why are we doing this? 

The higher “why do we do this” of Npuls is simply the recognition of the importance of (qualitatively and adaptive) education for the Dutch economy. Because good education produces well-educated and skilled people, with which we can meet societal challenges. Equal knowledge and opportunities is paramount as far as we are concerned. Npuls helps with the transformation needed in the institutions themselves to achieve this common ambition.  

Our definition of digital educational resources 

Digital educational resources are those clips, images, pieces of text in articles or books, exercise tests, well basically anything that you as a teacher offer or as a student need to acquire the right knowledge. In order to get one step further towards a degree or completion of a course. Now, digital educational resources are offered fragmented. Sometimes in the environment provided by the institution, and sometimes from commercial providers. The more we develop, share and reuse educational materials ourselves, under the conditions we set, the less we become dependent on these providers and keep education affordable and accessible. 

Findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable 

We believe in the development of digital educational resources because it makes learning more independent of time and place. And there are even more advantages: you can easily link to online learning materials, you can ’embed’ them in exercise modules, you can use audio, video or XR in addition to text, and you can make the material interactive. But there is also another side. For example, a paper book is many times cheaper than an e-book, because with digital educational resources you often pay per license and you also pay for the infrastructure (in other words, the ‘carriers’ of the content). The potentially greater control of commercial providers if proper agreements are not made is also a major concern. If we want to make it easy for the teacher and student, we must ensure that whatever the origin of the learning material, everyone should be able to find and (re)use it easily, and that it should be available as openly as possible. We use the English acronym FAIR for this, which is also used in open science: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Whether you develop your own learning materials or purchase them, they must always be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. 

Our three thematic lines 

Our transformation hub works along three thematic lines to make digital educational resources accessible anytime, anywhere in 2032: 

  • Access: As teachers and learners, you can openly share your own digital educational resources via your institution’s learning environment or a national platform or find and (re)use suitable learning materials. We agree on how to do this and ensure good links between the local and national learning environments.  
  • Naturally Open: We help institutions to share their own digital educational resources that are being developed as openly as possible; this will be our “natural” way of working. 
  • Institutions in Control: We realize that as public institutions in partnership with private parties we can make it easy for teachers and learners, but then we want to have and keep direction and control over what happens to our data. 

Let’s be clear. We need everyone in this transformation, learners, teachers, other educational professionals, industry and government. So that the right digital educational resources are available in the right place. So, get involved too!  

Check out the roadmap outlining the activities of our hub and determine where your efforts will be valuable. 

View the roadmap

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