The key to build the European knowledgeble society based not only on education but also on social cohesion and competitiveness is in the e-learning Action Plan. The e-learning regards "the use of new multimedia technologis and the Internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchanges and collaborations."
The Lisbon Council places education and training at the main objectives of the EU Political agenda and so did the Stockholm in 2001 and Barcelona in 2002. The e-Europe 2002 and eEurope 2005 Action Plan adopted by these Councils, value e-learning as the top priority with the further development of the infrastructure, equipment and basic training so as to enhance easy access to information and learning and e-learning resources and services.
The Council in its resolution of 18 October 2001 encouraged the State Members to take initiatives and to use e-learning measures to promote a full integration of the disadvantaged people and those groups at risk so as to partecipate in the knowledgeble-based society. In fact a large share of the structural funds are addressed to this purpose..In particular way one benchmarking is "European youth into the digital age" where the young generations become the central core of the e-learning potentiality by providing a network throughout the schools, a better integration of ICT in schools and training systems and a better quality of the telecomunications infrastructures and services.
Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci, both in their second generation take account of the new technologies. Minerva deals with technologies and educational use of ITC such as Open Distance Learning (ODL) and it was created in order to develop the interconnectivity of European networks for cooperation at all educational levels. Erasmus and Comenius, the Socrates action for higher education and schools, employ technologies at all levels in the same way does Grundtvig action for adult education and lifelong learning and Leonardo da Vinci which is very innovative and a source for programmes, networks, services and products.
In order to respond to the global market and competition the universities are exployting new strategic ways to provide the campus and off campus with new technological flexible facilities and virtual learning and in this context new partnerships and business model are based on the well established and prestigious consolidated institutions. At the European levels more than 700 European universities set up a co-operation with pilot experiment in the field of e-learning, virtual campus, virtual universities and ideas on rethinking the European curricula or European strategy, web based resources, to develop ICT among teachers and students. More than 5000 schools have been directly or indirectly involved in European Programmes or Patnerships and the pilot projects underline three main innovative aspects: the use of ITC; learning approaches and specific educational context. However now the stress in less on the e of the e-learning and more on the pedagogical contents, the new social interactions inside the schools , the organisational implications aroused by the technologies and e-learning itself. As a matter of fact the enphasis is more on evaluation and assessment of understanding the added-value of ITC to learning and focussing on the on the learning process and communication aspects rather than the technological ones. E-twinning promoted at the Barcellona summit is a new way to build the European dimension of education in the schools by promoting multiculturalism and plurilinguism among students and teachers through internet cbased e-learning school reality and projects, intercultural dialogue and language learning.
The communication on the e-Economy enphasises the urgent need to face the professional e-learning as a tool to personalise one'own way of learning and professional improvement so as to reduce the costs of the industry, keeping up the information, new skills and competencies and the job contents up dated according to the rapid changes in the labour market needs and making the individuals responsible and controlling their own learning and professional growth.
Internet self access points, resources, cultural and public Institution should provide easily accessible places where everyone can be motivated to improve his/her learning and be valued.. The eLIG (industries such as Apple, BT, Cisco, Digitalbrain, IBM, Nokia etc.), which provides advice to the European Commission across Europe will explore the different cognitive ways of learning with ICT which nowadays has improved thanks of the fact that it takes into account the need of the individual learner who now actually interact socially face to face at a distance combining a blended flexible approach. New issues the Commission has to face regarding the new technogical global market for e-learning products and services: intellectual property rights, copyright aggreements, new distribution methods, the promotion of internationally accepted standards and open software.
The Lisbona Council suggests to get access from the structural funds available from The European Regional Development financial funds in particular for the isolated and deprived areas and for the handicapped users, hospitalised children, those who are at the margins of society particularly the drops out or the disadvanteged immigrants, ensuring gender equality between men and women in the use of media.
In a true life long learning perspective, the Action Plan is to develop further into a Programme aiming at implementing, coordinating, monitoring actions into strategic stimulating debate and cooperation. So that the main priorities shall be : Fighting the digital divide; Universities and higher education; School twinning via Internet (promoting awareness in young people of multilingual and multicultural model of society through school networking on pedagogical partnership, language learning and intercultural dialogue); Transversal action concentrated on the monitoring of the e-learning plan about the dissemination and take up of good practices and products.
The Programme will finance the analysis of the results and exchange of the European experiences, e-learning developments a regional network for support and pedagogical guidance of school twinning, strategic actions for seminars, workshops, studies, reports, forecasting e-learning tools in different educational context, academic, industry and policy making analysis and investments, platforms, researches and the effective dissemination and transfer of the e-learning experiences.