Romania Asserts Leadership in eLearning with Annual Scientific Conference
The transformation toward digital education and training is a global phenomenon. In Eastern Europe this transformation is powered by a collaboration among multiple military, commercial, and academic organizations, with Romania among the leaders in the field. Since 2004, Romania has organized and hosted an annual international scientific conference on eLearning and Software for Education (eLSE).
The eLSE event has been a driving force for promoting the potential of technology-enhanced learning environments. The conference advances the state-of-the-art in eLearning by providing a forum for scientific papers, the sharing of ideas and technological achievements, and the development of policies and business cases for deploying eLearning capabilities within Romania and throughout the region.
“Participation at eLSE has grown steadily over the past decade, with over 130 presenters and 274 attendees at our most recent event,” said conference organizer Catalin Radu, Ph.D. “We have engaged students and faculty, and leaders from government, industry, and the military in an international effort that will grow and mature eLearning and eTraining approaches into the next decade.”
Since 2010, the conference has been an annual scientific activity of the Romanian Advanced Distributed Learning Department (RoADL-D), organized under the auspices of the non-government Advanced Distributed Learning Romania Association. RoADL-D was established in 2009 within the National Defence University and is part of the US-led ADL Initiative’s Global Partnership Network. Its mission is to advance the development of student-oriented network-based education, promoting eLearning and eTraining for both military and civilian lifelong learners.
The collaboration between RoADL-D and the non-government Association has demonstrated its ability to manage and grow eLSE and its research activities, with the Association acting as an aggregator between different civilian and military partners. Institutions like the Romanian National Defense University; the Romanian Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation; the European Security and Defence College; the University of Bucharest; and others are sponsors and frequent participants in eLSE. They collaborate to chair technical sessions and workshops, evaluate scientific papers, and promote eLearning collaborations throughout the region. RoADL-D provides organization, involvement in scientific and technical coordination, website development, and support for the annual indexing of eLSE proceedings in databases such as Clarivate Analytics, Scopus, Proquest, Ebsco, and the Central and Eastern European Online Library (CEEOL).
The 16th annual eLSE shifted to a fully online format in response to COVID-19 travel concerns and social distancing requirements. Despite this shift and reformatting the conference agenda within a very short time, the event included its typical collection of high-quality technical papers and presentations. Topics included the gamification of education and training from preschool to university levels, virtual/mixed/augmented reality, automatic translation, security vulnerabilities, educator competencies, mobile and device-enabled learning, experiential learning, and others. Proceedings from eLSE 2020 and prior-year events, including links to individual papers and presentations, are available here.
The shift to an online format presented a challenge for organizers who had already collected sponsorship and registration fees for an in-person event. With approval from the sponsors and registrants, funding that would have covered the venue, lodging, and meal expenses for eLSE were instead allocated to a charitable purpose, providing medicines, toys, and other supplies to the Ciresarii II Center housing orphaned children in Bucharest.
Planning for next year’s eLSE is already underway. The conference intends to return to an in-person format with accompanying on-line access, on 22-23 April 2021, in Bucharest. Abstract submissions are due for consideration on 20 November 2020.
As a partner in Europe’s transition to distributed education and training, the ADL Initiative salutes Romania’s decades-long commitment to the development of eLearning technologies and applications. With eLSE and other initiatives, Romania is having a lasting impact on the region’s continued economic growth and military readiness.
For more information on the ADL Initiative’s Global Partnership Network, which includes Romania’s RoADL-D and 19 other collaborating organizations, visit the ADL Initiative website here.