Online Learning Futures: An Evidence Based Vision for Global Professional Collaboration on Sustainability

The rapid shift online during the Covid-19 pandemic has put online learning firmly on the agenda of universities everywhere. To realise fully the transformative potential of online learning this book argues the need for an evidence-based design approach. The evidence comes from the experiences of online learners who are professionals: educators, engineers and researchers. Design-based research, survey responses and interviews with these learners will demonstrate that open, online, collaborative learning experiences are not only feasible but effective for building professional community knowledge.

This kind of innovative online learning can help universities contribute to the global public good by achieving high quality learning at scale that will widen access to professional education and create more porous boundaries between universities and the wider community, for example in the context of the current policy discussions on the UN SDGs, such climate and inequality. The evidence shows how co-designed, transformative digital education can be mobilised to support, e.g., teachers in crisis contexts, professionals investigating renewable energy solutions, or medics adapting treatments to local conditions, and also scale up professional development in areas where expertise is urgently required. The book concludes that scaled up online learning can enable HE to deliver on the UN SDGs by equipping citizens and communities with the knowledge and skills needed to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

1. Online Learning Futures: Quality, Scale, Equity and Sustainability
2. What is Quality Online Learning?
3. What Can We Learn From the Rapid Shift Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
4. How Well Does Online Learning Work At Scale?
5. Balancing Learning Benefits and Teacher Workload for Quality Online Learning
6. Co-Designing Collaborative Open Online Learning for Professional Communities
7. The Evidence of Impact for Co-Designed Massive Open Online Collaborations on the Sustainable Development Goals
8. Transformative Online Education in Challenging Contexts
9. Planning for an Evidence-Based Approach to Co-Designed Massive Open Online Collaborations (CoMOOCs)
10. Harnessing the Potential of Online Learning To Democratise Knowledge Exchange 
CoMOOCs referred to in this book

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A paperback edition of this book will be published May 2025.