Picture of Guus Smeets and Frans van der Sluis

About CEL

Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Education and Learning (LDE-CEL) is an interuniversity and interdisciplinary research centre as well as an innovation and training platform that aims to discover what makes university learning and teaching work and how it can be innovated and improved. The three universities are the testing ground for continous innovation and improvement of university learning and teaching. These are the main activities of CEL: 


Our universities want their education to be evidence-based. Within the three universities, educational scientists conduct research into education and learning in order to discover the conditions for study success. Research in the centre is multidisciplinary and profits from comparative analyses, mixed methods, large research populations and big data. PhD students work on the CEL research programme that concentrates on online learning and covers three main areas. These are the characteristics of: 

  • The teacher 
  • The learner 
  • The learning environment

Within the LDE universities a broader PhD Network is formed to connect all PhDs researching higher education. 

Development and Innovation

CEL aims to give a powerful impetus to the development of innovative online, blended, and on-campus teaching strategies and materials. We bring together higher education developers from various universities to exchange ideas and projects and to take new joint initiatives during symposia that are called ‘Innovation Rooms’.  They report and discuss their projects, and look for opportunities for collaboration. CEL also has national and international partners to contribute to programmes such as SURF and ERASMUS+.

Professional Training

Teaching staff is supported in developing their teaching skills by directly involving them in innovating their courses and designing their own training. The ‘Academic Teaching Lab’ provides teachers context and ideas to practically learn and hands-on develop the education they provide. Each year the ‘Leadership in Education Course’ enables and empowers directors and managers of education to develop a broad en practice-oriented vision on education and educational innovation. In addition, three ‘Training Modules’ for teachers have been developed on online learning and assessment.