Evaluating and researching the impact of Virtual Exchange (VE) is one of the key activities in EVOLVE. To this end, the EVOLVE research team will undertake several studies to measure the impact of VE at student, educator and institution level in Higher Education in Europe.
Student learning outcomes
The main focus of the research team has been on measuring intended learning outcomes at student and educator level (digital literacy, intercultural competence, 21st c skills). The studies were conducted in the context of the exchanges established through EVOLVE. In 2018 a pilot study of 3 exchanges will be undertaken, followed by larger scale research in 2019 and 2020. The research was prepared and conducted by a team of university researchers and researchers associated with the VE networks SFCG/Soliya and SPF.
Teacher pedagogical competences
A separate study was conducted into the development of pedagogical competences and approaches of teachers participating in training on VE and conducting VE projects themselves. The study was conducted by Elke Nissen and Gosia Kurek.
The link to the report on student learning outcomes is available here.
Baseline study and monitoring study
As a start, EVOLVE conducted a baseline study (external link) through the partner institutions and university networks Coimbra Group and SGroup among educators, policy makers, internationalisation officers and management to examine the awareness and actual use of VE as a strategic and didactic tool in universities’ teaching innovation and internationalisation strategies. In addition to measuring current awareness and application of VE in educational practice, the baseline study has helped us determine the scope for further training and support to be offered through the project. The baseline study was followed up by a VE monitoring study administered towards the end of the project. The results of the monitoring study will be available through the research resources page (below).
The link to the baseline study report is available here.
As a follow up to the baseline study, we initiated case studies into how European universities are moving ahead in implementing Virtual Exchange. We conducted semi-structured interviews with ‘key drivers’ of Virtual Exchange in 9 Higher Education Institutions in Europe to increase our understanding of:
- how VE has been finding its way into institutions;
- what strategies have been adopted;
- which key interactions and stakeholders were involved;
- in what directions VE is growing;
- and to what extent there is an institutional recognition of VE practices.
The case study report is available here.
Research reports and materials
The research results are distributed through our website and social media channels. An overview of all research reports available can be found on our Research Resources page.
We have also presented our results at policy-making events and academic conferences. A selection of presentations, as well as other dissemination materials, is available from our Other Resources page.