Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2003-2005

Bologna and the Challenges of e-Learning and Distance Education

Bologna Seminar Ghent, Belgium 04/06/2004 - 05/06/2004

The international seminar Bologna and the Challenges of e-Learning and Distance Education. The contribution of non-classic learning and teching forms to the emerging European Higher Education Area.
Ghent, 4-5 June 2004

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The main focus of the seminar, organised by the Ministry of the Flemish Community (Belgium) and the University of Ghent in cooperation with several academic partners, was on the integration of the lifelong learning perspective in higher education. In particular the seminar explored the issue of widening access to higher education, e.g. for a more mature student public that combines studies with other responsibilities. General Rapporteur was professor Jef Van den Branden.

The seminar was attended by 100 policy makers, representatives of the academic world and specialists both in international relations and in e-learning from a large variety of countries and organisations participating in the Bologna Process.

The seminar discussed how non-classical teaching and learning forms can be of use in an emerging European Higher Education Area the cornerstones of which are quality assurance and recognition as well as mobility and social issues. The challenges which distance education at the higher education level poses in this perspective were explored accordingly.

The following recommendations were made for the further development of the Bologna Process:

  • To make the EHEA an Open Higher Education Area by fully integrating the dimension of flexible learning paths supported by e-learning and other non-classical learning and teaching forms.
  • To extend quality assurance, accreditation and qualifications frameworks to e-learning and other non-classical modes of delivery in an integrated approach encompassing the full range of higher education.
  • In the context of widening access, to develop leadership in higher education institutions in order to integrate a lifelong learning-for-all strategy in joint responsibility with staff, students and the local and international community.
  • To explore how the principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention may be used to establish a common understanding and shared standards on the validation of prior learning experiences in both formal and non-formal settings as a concrete step to the integration of the lifelong learning perspective in higher education.
  • To acknowledge the contribution of so-called “virtual mobility” to international academic exchange and joint curriculum development and to take it on board in the design of international mobility schemes.
  • To promote a broad approach to all “Bologna tools” (as for instance ECTS and the Diploma Supplement) to include e-learning and non-classical teaching and learning.

Source: General Report to the Bologna Follow-Up Group to the Conference of European Ministers Responsible for Higher Education - Bergen 19/20 May 2005
Bologna Process between Berlin and Bergen

Related documents

Bologna and the challenges of eLearning and distance education

  • Report by the rapporteur prof. Jef Van den Branden (EUROPACE)
  • Recommendations

Presentations, in order of appearance

  • Opening address by Mr. Ludy Van Buyten, Secretary-general of the Flemish Education Department
  • Keynote speech by Dr. Anne Wright (Department of Education and Skills, UK)
  • eLearning and the European Higher Education Area by Ms Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz (European Commission)
  • The BOLDIC approach by Ms Ingeborg Bø (Norwegian Association for Distance Education)
  • Interregional eLearning Project Russia/Finland by Ms Elena Nikonchuk (St Petersburg State Polytechnic University)


  • Workshop 1.  Lifelong learning and the mainstream, Bill Harvey (Scottish Funding Councils for further and Higher Education)
  • Workshop 3 : Opening higher education up to the larger society, Mr. Serge Ravet (SEEL-project)
  • Workshop 4 : Virtual and physical mobility, Prof. Herman van den Bosch (Open University The Netherlands)
  • Workshop 4 : Virtual and physical mobility, Prof. Peter Kosc (Technical University Kosice, Slovak Republic)

Stakeholders perspective

  • The students’ perspective by Mr. Johan Almqvist (ESIB)
  • UNESCO perspective by Ms Zeynep Varoglu
  • EURASHE perspective by Ms Magda Kirsch
  • Council of Europe perspective by Dr. Vera Stastna (Chair CD-ESR)

General documents

  • General information
  • Programme
  • Background paper
  • Practical information
Published: 04/06/2004 - Last modified: 20/10/2016
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