Street view in Oxford

Learning Technologies in London and European MOOCs in Lausanne

Reda SadkiEvents, Thinking aloud, Travel

My feet hurt. I’ve just returned from a week-long trip for pounding the pavements of London and Oxford, meeting 26 humanitarian, academic, and corporate people in four days. I wish to thank every organization and individual who took the time to welcome me and share thoughts, insights, and experiences. The common thread is that all these amazing people are working on the same wicked problem: how to transform learning in the crazy VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world that we live in.

Right after leaving IFRC, I tried to formulate the problem statement to a potential partner. Excerpt:

Currently, the humanitarian sector has no global platform for learning, education and training (LET), despite a widely-acknowledged human resource and skills shortage. In addition, the sector is deeply ensconced in face-to-face training culture, with many humanitarian workers earning at least part of their livelihood as trainers, and training events are key to developing social and professional networks but not to developing key competencies needed in the field. Whatever its merits, this approach to training cannot scale up to meet growing humanitarian needs. Also, the sector suffers from high turnover, lack of standardization in training practice, proliferation of education programs with no measurable benefits or relevance to operational needs, and a dearth of evaluation of learning outcomes. There are several cross-sector initiatives that are trying to address these problems, but these initiatives have ignored, so far, the disruption and rapid transformation in higher education through educational technology and its potential relevance for the humanitarian context.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to Google HQ in Zurich and, next week, will be attending EPFL’s European MOOC Summit.


Photo: Hitting the pavement in Oxford, 29 January 2014.