DigiFoodEdu (Digital transformation of project-based learning guidance in agri-food Higher Education Institutions) aims to foster the development of digital skills and exchange of good pedagogical practices in the digital era directed at the guidance of project-based learning approaches. This project intends to study the practices put in place during the pandemic, collect and analyse the experiences from different partners European-wide and come up with a best practices guide for education improvement in the digital era. Ultimately, the project will aim for the modernisation of the pedagogical practices used for coaching and supporting students during supporting students during their project-based learning activities.

The COVID-19 crisis has unexpectedly shaken the agri-food sector and the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the first semester of 2020. While the first had to devote all resources available to provide safe, quality and affordable food and drink products to the population; the latter had to rethink education and learning to adapt to the new circumstances, experiencing a forced acceleration of the digital transformation. Project-based learning approaches, and practical classes, that require more guidance and support from teachers and pedagogical staff were particularly affected by this transition. In agri-food related HEIs European-wide, the effects of the pandemic were notably felt by the participants of ECOTROPHELIA competitions – a food innovation competition for higher education students for the development of eco-innovative food products.

Since 2000, ECOTROPHELIA has been fostering creativity and entrepreneurship European-wide by promoting the national and European competitions that bring together HEIs and the agri-food sector to rethink the future of food. This initiative has led HEIs to adapt their curriculum to include new product development projects (from raw materials to market launch) promoting the application of the acquired scientific and technical competences, and the development of soft skills and project management. In 2020, the national and European competitions had to reinvent themselves to continue to provide students and HEIs a platform to showcase their talents. While the students participating were motivated and coached to develop their eco-innovative food products, the educators who guided their project-based learning were faced with new challenges to do so virtually.

DigiFoodEdu will involve three countries (France, Greece and Slovenia) and will bring together three HEIs and national food federations to tackle digital education readiness. It targets four groups of participants:

-Teachers/pedagogical staff, notably the ones that provide guidance to ECOTROPHELIA projects;

– Agri-food higher education students, but also students from other courses involved in these multidisciplinary projects;

– HEIs that will benefit from the evolution of pedagogical practices; and 4) agri-food sector representatives and experts.

The consortium is consisted of:

– EEIG ECOTROPHELIA EUROPE: It’s member are trade unions from seven European countries representing the interests of national food companies, the EU food industries – ANIA (France), FEVIA (Belgium), FIAB (Spain), SEVT (Greece), CCIS-CAFE (Slovenia), FII (Iceland), LVA (Austria) and FoodDrinkEurope.

– University of Ljubljana – Biotechnical Faculty

– National Technical University of Athens – School of Chemical Engineering – Department of Synthesis and Development of Industrial Processes – Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Technology

– AgroParisTech

DigiFoodEdu Videos

  • Video 1: DigiFoodEdu project presentation
  • Video 2: the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on learning and education
  • Video 3: the pedagogical practices identified

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