Learning Moves: flashbacks from Online Educa Berlin 2013

During the first week of December, Online Educa Berlin 2013 received over 2,000 people from over 90 countries with a desire to expand their ideas of what is possible in e-learning and to discover the directions in which learning is moving today and tomorrow.

From hugely diverse backgrounds, what these digital pioneers shared is a common belief in the power of connectivity for good.


Online Educa Berlin is the Europe’s leading conference on technology-assisted learning,


Channa van der Brug, Head of Programme Department of ICWE GmbH - Online Educa Berlin informed: "2,195 delegates from more than 90 countries participated in this year’s OEB, making it an inspiring experience and providing an excellent opportunity to learn from a wide range of international practices, research, projects and platforms. A first look at 2013 including the video from the plenary sessions may be found in our Media Library which I hope will prove useful for your post".


"Learning and networking took place both inside the plenary and parallel sessions as well as during various side meetings and events. Social media was more popular than ever this year, with many following the conference and the relevant updates on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. I hope you will be able to find relevant information via social media as well", Channa van der Brug explained.
Sectors represented by participants - Online Educa Berlin 2013:
  • Education = 45%
  • Business = 40%
  • Government = 10%
  • Public Sector = 5%
Other highlights of the conference:
  • 87 parallel sessions
  • 13 pre-conference workshops
  • 2 pre-conference forums
  • 84 exhibitors from 31 countries


Alasdair MacKinnon, editor of Online Educa Berlin News Portal, said: "The conference is about continuing conversations to drive creativity, collaboration and innovation within the e-learning sector. This year’s conference proved without a doubt that e-learning is central to worldwide developments in education, and is at the heart of the digital revolution. The hottest topics of the conference:

  • Big data
  • How to make MOOCs viable and engaging
  • Openness and open access
  • Connectivity – how students are using (and will use in the future) a vast array digital media to tackle engaging learning challenges".


Channa van der Brug added:
  • Learning analytics, adaptive/personalized learning and (big) data.
  • M-learning
  • Leadership and change management
  • MOOCs
  • Edupreneurship and Edtech
  • Transforming Organisational Learning – linked to the overall conference theme Learning Moves


A digitally mobile world


The hyperconnected individual has vast power beneath his fingertips. Logging onto the internet may have become a banality of the modern age, but our engagement with it promises vast benefits - and hitherto unheard-of dangers.


This was one of the focal points of the Opening Plenary at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2013. Uniting experts from very different fields under the general Conference theme, "Learning Moves", the plenary addressed three vital trends in modern e-learning:, neuroscientific research, leadership and big data.



For the learner of the near future, in what Jeff Borden calls Education 3.0, "perception is everything". Learning will be about using connectivity to achieve heightened awareness of the dimensions attached to a learning task, to achieve mastery of challenges and gain control of the direction education takes.


At the same time, as Gianpiero Petriglieri described, people are becoming more mobile: and the leaders of the modern age will be a "nomadic elite" who must use technology to provide the human connection - vital to leadership - to the majority.


Individuals who connect to the world of possibilities within the internet also create data. Statistics quoted by Prof. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger show that, in terms of the growth in the amount of data produced, the big data revolution is ten times the size of that caused by the invention of the printing press. Data has become an exceptionally powerful tool - allowing educators to correlate variables in learners' study paths and outcomes.


But the future may not be so rosy. To great applause, Prof. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger warned the audience of the need to make sure that big data is not held in the hands of the few: "data monopolies and oligarchies" could well be the tyrants of the hyperconnected future.


The plenary also featured a video welcome message from José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, speaking about the EC's grand new project, "Opening Up Education" - to boost innovation, digital skills and access, and address pressing needs within the EU's teaching and learning community.



Call for action on innovation


The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, today announced a “call for action” for EU countries to promote innovation. He also confirmed that the European Commission will provide more support for open resources in education.


Speaking at the opening session of ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2013, President Barroso said that the European Commission’s new initiative ‘Opening Up Education’ is “a call for action for member states of the EU and their educational institutions to revisit their strategies and organisational models to become promoters of innovation”.


He said: “The European Commission is, on its side, taking a number of initiatives to support member states’ educational institutions, like ensuring that educational materials funded through the Erasmus-plus programme become publicly accessible through open licenses”.


Barroso described the Commission’s initiative on ‘Opening Up Education’ as “an important milestone to raise attention and support for reforms in education which tap the potential of technology and open education resources.”


The President of the European Commission expressed “the commitment of the European Commission to support all countries and people who are committed to modernise education and training systems for a more skilled workforce and for an active European citizenship”.


“Digital skills are also essential for employment,” he said “and it is why the European Commission has launched a grand coalition for digital jobs in partnership with companies and education providers”.


President Barroso said that those attending Online Educa, who include education professionals, government officials and business people from nearly 100 countries, had “always been frontrunners in promoting the merits of technology in education” and he hoped that “with our joint efforts, we will be able to contribute to a Europe where all individuals will have the conditions to improve their knowledge and skills, using innovative and open teaching and learning modes.”