Motion to add "Education and learning at scale" to the Foundation's research focus areas

This is in reference to the list of research focus areas that the Foundation has defined in the Open Research.

Quality Education has been identified by the United Nations as goal 4 among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The objective is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

The Foundation’s objectives for research, socio-economic initiatives, and governance are based on the drive of members and the society to improve and learn about themselves as well as the environment around them.

The current state of education around the world is that of a crisis involving inaccessibility [1] , inequality [2], and inequity [3].

It would be quite logical to think that the use and inclusion of the internet and educational technology would improve the situation by broadening the avenues of receiving education, creating learning communities, and enabling interactions that were previously not feasible. The biggest experiment so far in this regard has been the virtual mode of learning that resulted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the results for low-income and middle-income regions were critically alarming [4] [5][6]. Even the regions and institutions that could afford to teach and learn online were affected by the pre-existing problems of lack of infrastructure and resistance to change in the paradigms of education and learning [7][8].

Following are a few suggestions along the lines of which research under the proposed focus area can be undertaken:

  • Low-cost innovative solutions to equitable education in low and middle-income economies.
  • Student-centric learning platforms and communities at scale and the problems and opportunities surrounding them.
  • Investigative learning approaches to make the students ready for the jobs of the present and the future.
  • Minimally invasive education techniques, issues, and adoption in mass.
  • Integrating innovative pedagogies into classrooms without disrupting the existing processes and requirements of education boards.
  • Government and local body policies on flexible and student-focused learning.
  • Creating awareness of free and open tools, frameworks, and methodologies that educators and students can take advantage of.
  • Effects of open communication channels between the most involved education stakeholders - students, educators, institutions, and parents
  • Facilitating social and developmental skills in students.
  • Increasing the efficiency in open and distance learning.
  • Quantification and awareness of the disparity of education in the global context

The Foundation members are invited to provide their input on this request for the addition of a new research focus area.