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On a Pathway Towards the Digitalisation of Higher Education: The Case of Latvia

Linda Daniela1, Daiga Ivsiņa2
1 University of Latvia, Latvia
2 Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia, Latvia

Abstract. The European project POWERHEAD (Empowering Higher Education in Adopting Digital Learning), involving the Latvian Ministry of Education and Science (project partner) and the Flemish Department of Education and Training (project lead partner), aims to analyse the possibilities of digitising higher education. In order to identify the way forward, digitising higher education in Latvia and Belgium (Flemish Region) was mapped according to the methodology developed in the project, taking into account Laurillard’s model of drivers and enablers. The project aims to develop policy guidelines for partners at two levels: 1) guidelines for a national policy strategy on digital learning in higher education; and 2) guidelines including recommendations for higher education institutions to develop teaching and learning in this format and environment and to plan the next steps in the digitalisation of higher education. To this end, a multi-stage study was carried out to identify the situation in Latvia. The first phase consisted of a series of focus group discussions with higher education stakeholders (students, lecturers, business representatives and policy-makers). The second phase consisted of a survey of academic staff comprising 40 questions, two of which were designed to elicit demographic information, while the remaining questions were open-ended. The results (and related challenges) were analysed using content analysis principles. The key finding is that stakeholders are generally supportive of the digitalisation of higher education but point to a number of challenges that need to be addressed: support for lecturers in learning digital skills, collaboration between lecturers, and digital solution designers to ensure that digital solutions are of high quality and avoid the risks of knowledge fragmentation. It is also important to think about the principles of inclusive education so that the digital learning environment is accessible to everyone.

Keywords: Digitalisation; higher education; digital support; technology-enhanced learningcontent analyses

Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

Grant agreement no. 893839 – POWERHEAD-EPLUS2020-EHEA09-2019.

In: Human, Technologies and Quality of Education, 2022. Proceedings of Scientific Papers = Cilvēks, tehnoloģijas un izglītības kvalitāte, 2022. Rakstu krājums
Riga, University of Latvia, 2022. 1135 p. Ed. L. Daniela
ISBN 978-9934-18-911-1