12. November 2021, Miscellaneous, vocational education and training

Austrian Standards @ EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge: Bringing standards digitally to people

One of the companies taking on the EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge is Austrian Standards, the organisation for standardisation in Austria. Sounds like a businesslike, somewhat dry affair to you?

Quite the opposite! Without standards there would be no innovation. Without standards, your mobile phone or your ATM card, for example, would not work. And because the people at Austrian Standards are also innovative themselves, the EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge is a way of thinking ahead. Sonja Lengauer, Head of Publishing and Training, tells us more about the company and her goals and expectations for the Innovation Challenge.

Sonja Lengauer, Head of Publishing and Training at Austrian Standards. (photo: Thomas Topf)

Please explain to us what Austrian Standards does.

Sonja: Austrian Standards is the Austrian organisation for standardisation and innovation. We bring together stakeholders from business, politics, society and research to work together on standards in committees. We take care of standardisation in Austria, but we are also the gateway to a worldwide standardisation network.

Our organisation does not make the standards itself, but we provide the infrastructure for them. We bring together around 4,300 experts from 2,100 nominating organisations and create a common language for research and industry. My team is linked to the standards that are developed by the experts in the committees and, in addition, develops specialist publications and educational offers for professional development.


Where do I find standards in my everyday life?

Sonja: Standards are like an invisible force that ensure that many things in life work. And it’s only where they don’t exist that it becomes noticeable. Standards do not fall from the sky, but are created by people.

We all know paper sizes, for example. This is a standard that has been agreed upon internationally. We all know how big a DIN A4 or A5 sheet is. This standard ensures that the paper fits into every printer and copier. Another standard that is valuable for my professional practice is ÖNORM ISO 29993, which sets requirements for managing learning services beyond formal education, i.e. all forms of lifelong learning. One example is the requirement to have learning services evaluated by the participants.


Why is Austrian Standards participating in the EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge?

Sonja: We are participating as part of our educational offer. With our seminars, courses and technical literature, we make it easier for people to apply standards in their professional field or prepare them for personal certification.

My vision is that digital teaching becomes part of our offering. We want to develop a digital learning strategy and new forms of learning. This still requires some development steps. The EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge comes at just the right time.


“We want to revolutionise knowledge transfer in the field of further education. To do this, we are looking for tools and methods that we can offer in a flexible and individualised way for trainings and lectures.” (Sonja Lengauer)


How important has digital education at Austrian Standards been so far?

Sonja: With the pandemic, online teaching suddenly became the main business for the entire continuing education sector. What was analogue before has since been held online, but still synchronously and also similar in timing to face-to-face courses.


What are your expectations for the Innovation Challenge?

Sonja: It is not enough for us to offer online what was previously analogue, or even to return to pure face-to-face teaching after the pandemic. We want to transform our educational offers and establish digital learning as a natural part of our portfolio. This is also where our expectations of the Innovation Challenge come in. I hope for new ideas and inspiration through cooperation and exchange with the participating start-ups.

Sonja Lengauer and the interdisciplinary project team for the EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge are looking forward to working with start-ups to develop solutions that can be integrated into the professional lives of customers.
(from left to right: Manuela Baumgartner, Jürgen Cech, Doris Könighofer, Sonja Lengauer) Foto: Thomas Topf

Why is it important for the education and training sector of Austrian Standards to be innovative?

Sonja: The business field of continuing education is changing. The EdTech scene in Austria proves this, just think of the resounding success of goStudent. Anyone who ignores this change will sooner or later lose touch with the market. Therefore, we ask ourselves: What can we offer in order to remain attractive on the market?

You certainly have a large target group. How will you manage to get everyone excited about digital teaching?

Sonja: We don’t want to get everyone excited about digital teaching, but we want to use it where digital learning is the best answer to the needs of the customers and supports the achievement of the respective teaching and learning goals.


Which education project would you like to develop or implement in the EdTech Austria Innovation Challenge?

Sonja: We want to revolutionise knowledge transfer in the field of further education. To do this, we are looking for tools and methods that we can offer flexibly and individually for trainings and lectures. Together with start-ups, we want to develop solutions that go beyond the classic lecture and can be integrated into the professional life of the participants to ensure a continuous learning experience and knowledge update.Our vision for the Challenge: a new offer for innovative, state-of-the-art and practical training by using flexible and personalised methods and tools for learning and teaching.

Thank you for the interview, dear Sonja!


In the communications team of ITG – Innovation Service for Salzburg, Maria brings innovative, digital companies and business models on stage. She is convinced that EdTech makes our education system better and is happy to help integrate EdTech into our educational landscape.

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