Learning Societies

Maximizing opportunities for digitalization in Swiss education

Jacobs Foundation launches new research consortium to advance equity in Swiss primary schools by maximizing the opportunities in the digitalization of education

The Jacobs Foundation has launched a new research consortium that will focus on digital learning environments and cross-curricular competencies in Swiss primary schools. The ongoing transformation of educational systems, accelerated by the pandemic, has generated new opportunities for learning innovations that are supported by technology. Titled DEEP (Digital Education for Equity in Primary schools), the consortium aims to investigate ways to maximize the positive effects of the digital transformation on primary-school aged learners while accounting for potential risks.

The core outcomes of the consortium are to: 

  • Produce rigorous evidence to address key evidence gaps evident in national research agendas and inform national education plans.
  • Present rigorous evidence accessibly by synthesizing existing high-quality research relevant to national education needs and curating high-quality resources from global reviews.
  • Promote evidence adoption and implementation in policy and school practice with a focus on children’s learning outcomes by supporting practitioners and policymakers to better understand evidence and promote its use in the design and evaluation of education practices.
  • Integrate evidence in basic and continuous teacher training at teaching training universities. In Switzerland, these universities represent the most direct pathway to scalable impact at both the classroom and individual child levels.

The consortium has been designed as a partnership between seven institutions that reflect the institutional, geographical, political, and methodological diversity of Switzerland. The coordination office of the consortium will be led in tandem by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich (PHZH).

The research agenda of the consortium will be aligned with the Foundation’s focus on learning variability. It will also be determined in consultation with key stakeholders from across the education system, including local authorities, teachers, and school heads. Relevant governance and mechanisms will be set up to ensure participation of policy and practice throughout the design and execution of the research. Research activities are currently scheduled to start in January 2024. 

DEEP is one component of the Foundation’s programmatic work in Switzerland and serves as the EdLab mechanism in the country. EdLabs are evidence-driven partnerships that join education authorities, domestic research institutions, and practice-oriented professional bodies to promote evidence-based change in policy and practice. They aim to improve learning outcomes for all children by 1) producing and synthesizing rigorous evidence, 2) sharing evidence in a way that’s relevant and accessible, and 3) supporting evidence adoption and implementation in policy and school practice.