Lab work is a key aspect of scientific education and students can seldom access public and private labs of excellence. While several Erasmus+ projects and national initiatives have focused on digital L&T, our project is innovative in addressing a pedagogical framework (RIALHE)for lab training as a particular field . Student involvement in research processes is a key priority in strengthening synergies between research and education. Using digital tools will increase the access and quality of scientific education linked to lab experiments. There is a gap between the functional aspects of the productive world and the lectures given to students during higher education. 

Despite providing scientific labs, many educational bodies lack the resources to meet the costs of reagents or maintenance [3]. Digitising the hardware components of a Lab is complicated and costly. In the context of virtual labs, where the experiment is simulated, students face situations where aspects of the procedures remain hidden because simulations do not address contingencies or measurement errors [3]. A lab operator needs to address such situations that are present in a real life experiment. Acquiring this ability is an important part of the learning process that is lost in the over-idealized virtual world. An innovative methodology, shared at European level, implies the elaboration of basic competencies including gaining familiarity with cutting edge lab equipment not necessarily accessible to all academic institutions.

RIALHE facilitates remote online access in situations where lab experts are present and ready to demonstrate and explain the steps of the ongoing complex experimental process, in real time. In addition, students are able to ask questions to the demonstrating scientist and can continuously deepen their familiarity with the scientific process.
Understanding Lab procedures will be stimulated by 1)adopting flexible approaches for participating in the experiments and providing innovative pedagogical resources to sustain the learning process after living the experimental part in the lab; 2)providing cutting edge technological facilities to meet students learning needs; 3)assessing teaching methods as well as student engagement and commitment with innovative analytics and decision support systems through the usage of LA. Besides the pedagogical and technological aspects, innovation in lab experimentation allows access to high quality lab experiments to a greater number of students, regardless of the education institution or its geographical location. RIALHE will encourage the development of shared skills and an awareness of the availability of state of the art scientific labs of excellence in Europe. The possibility to transfer the know-how at transnational level is supported by technological innovation, meaning that we aim, in the near future, to extend the RIALHE approach to new academic institutions pooling their labs of excellence online and on demand.

It is essential to understand that laboratory experiments are an integral part of the higher education system. They involve staff, scientists, teachers, students and are also linked to many other activities carried out by the institutions.

RIALHE Objectives

The objectives are linked to the most relevant priority, i.e. stimulating innovative learning and practices in that new developments involving building new learning experiences have a lot of benefits. Innovative learning and teaching practices facilitate the comprehension of complicated concepts.

Objective #1

Improve both the quality and relevance of Higher Education laboratory activities for all partners by providing remote access to state of the art laboratory environments and by opening up to new actors, not normally involved in the educational paths.

Objective #2

Increase partners’ capacity to operate jointly at a transnational level creating and developing synergies through the establishment of a common framework that uses participatory approaches and digital methodologies.

Objective #3

Boost the internationalisation of the partners’ activities, through exchanging and developing new practices and methods, and through sharing and confronting ideas.

Expected Results

We expect to reach the following concrete results:

1 The definition and design of high-level robust procedures and guidelines to be transferred to the teaching of innovative laboratory experiments.

2 The implementation of student active pedagogical activities using technological platforms.

3 Increased understanding of Remote Lab use and student learning through the analysis of data about learners and their learning contexts.

4 Dissemination through relevant channels (e.g., website, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)

RIALHE addresses a pivotal part of Norway’s overall lifelong learning policy by improving higher education facilities and giving access to scientific expertise not easily accessible to higher education students. Since RIALHE aims at improving the quality of Higher Education laboratory activities and virtual experience, this meets the national goals of enhancing higher education as well as fostering international collaboration with European partners. In addition, RIALHE’s vision to strengthen student active learning, cooperation, network-building and expand areas for sharing of expertise aligns with the Norwegian government and national schemes of education.