Thematic networks

15 university and vocational school level thematic networks are currently active. The objective of a thematic network is to instigate and support cooperation in one subject field which would result in better quality e-courses and modules. Thematic networks create an environment where discussion about the need and implementation of e-learning takes place in one subject field, joint modules are being planned and created in collaboration. There are usually two ways of creating a thematic network in Estonia.

Figure: Bringing thematic networks to life:

Thematic networks have three main objectives:

  1. Cooperation between teachers - Teachers have an opportunity to exchange their experiences in a sense that other teacher is seen as the best resource for getting new ideas. As a result e-learning implementation on a specific field will progress rapidly, since there are no duplicate activities. Secondly, through community of specialists there is a better quality and united responsibility when creating new e-content on a specific field.
  2. Recognition of each other among teachers - Thematic network is a community of trust and support while facing difficulties in implementation of e-learning, because it combines different teachers with different competencies. For example, during e-content development (e-courses and learning objects) teachers need to discuss their ideas with each other, find different solutions for different settings in the content and they need feedback from each other. Thematic networks’ dynamics will create the environment for those needs to be met.
  3. Providing change by involving enough opinion leaders - Thematic networks raise issues that are important milestones in e-learning development (e.g. teachers’ work load in e-learning, combining learning information and learning management systems and other administrative obstacles).

Community building is the basic impelling force for e-learning development in Estonia, since it is a very small country and needs all the existing know-how.

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