Learner skills in open virtual mobility

  • Kamakshi Rajagopal imec-itec, KU Leuven, Kortrijk, Belgium; Educational Development Unit, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Olga Firssova Faculty of Educational Sciences, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, Netherlands
  • Ilse Op de Beeck Educational Development Unit, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Elke Van der Stappen Educational Development Unit, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Slavi Stoyanov Faculty of Educational Sciences, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, Netherlands
  • Piet Henderikx EADTU, Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Ilona Buchem Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Beuth University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, Germany
Keywords: virtual mobility, open education, open virtual mobility, group concept mapping, learner skills, competence framework


Internationalisation has been a key theme in higher education (HE) for decades. Multiple initiatives across the world have contributed to creating offerings of high-quality online education, with collaborations across national borders. Two of the concepts that have proved to be influential are Virtual Mobility (VM) and Open Education (OE). Virtual mobility refers to study activities that students enrolled in HE in one country undertake online in other countries without physically moving. Such activities are certified and mutually acknowledged by participating institutions. Open education covers global initiatives increasing access to free online quality education, without or with alternative forms of certification.

The research presented in this article identifies the learner skills and competences that are supported by Open Virtual Mobility (OpenVM), a new trend in online education that builds upon these two concepts. A group concept mapping study based on the contributions of experts in both VM and OE resulted in defining seven learner skills and competence areas including: intercultural skills and attitudes; networked learning; active self-regulated learner skills; media and digital literacy; autonomy-driven learning, interactive and collaborative learning in an authentic international environment and open-mindedness. The study provided input for further conceptualising of OpenVM as a bridge between VM and OE.


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How to Cite
Rajagopal, K., Firssova, O., Op de Beeck, I., Van der Stappen, E., Stoyanov, S., Henderikx, P., & Buchem, I. (2020). Learner skills in open virtual mobility. Research in Learning Technology, 28. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v28.2254
Original Research Articles