A total of eight Irish-based organisations have received funding from the EU’s Minerva programme to spearhead research into e-learning areas that range from Traveller literacy to mobile learning.
Pat O’Connor of the Higher Education Authority, the Irish national contact for Minerva, said Irish research organisations are punching above their weight in the competitive funding space.
He said: “The continued success of Ireland in attracting EU funding in this highly competitive area underlines the range of exciting and innovative work that is being done in the e-learning field in this country. I am also very pleased to see that the spread of successful organisations embraces the higher education, business and community-based sectors.”
Two Irish-based organisations — Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Dun Laoghaire-based LM Ericsson — have been chosen to lead projects from a total award list of 26 projects under Minerva, the EU’s €7.5m distance education and e-learning programme.
WIT will lead a project entitled ‘Multiple intelligences instructional design framework for virtual classes’. Partners in Turkey, the UK, Cyprus, France as well as Multimedia Instructional Design, Waterford and Blended Learning Design from Longford will participate in the project.
LM Ericsson will study ‘Mlearning’ — the provision of education and training on PDAs, smart phones and mobile phones with a range of partners in Belgium, Portugal, Hungary, Norway and Bulgaria. There are currently more than two billion mobile devices in the world and this is targeted to rise to three billion by 2010.
Exchange House Travellers Service, an organisation dedicated to providing assistance for members of the Travelling Community in Dublin, will also receive funding under Minerva.
Exchange House will team up with partners in Austria and Italy in a German-led research project ‘Alpha-Beta – new methods for services for people with literacy difficulties in adult education’ aimed at helping adult education teachers to use modern communications technologies to support teaching and knowledge acquisition. An estimated 80pc of Irish Travellers have literacy difficulties.
Other institutions that had successful bids for funding under Minerva include Dublin City University, St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra and the National College of Ireland.
By John Kennedy