Educating at scale for sustainable development and social enterprise growth: the impact of online learning and a massive open online course (MOOC)

Calvo, Sara, Lyon, Fergus ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6275-4102, Morales, Andrés and Wade, Jeremy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8843-9696 (2020) Educating at scale for sustainable development and social enterprise growth: the impact of online learning and a massive open online course (MOOC). Sustainability, 12 (8) , e3247. ISSN 2071-1050 (doi:10.3390/su12083247)

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Abstract

The solutions to the grand challenges of sustainability, poverty, and health affecting the world will require education and capacity building for all individuals implementing change on a global scale. The challenge ahead is to reach those missed by traditional education and support networks. Online Learning and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have the potential to build knowledge and share best practice experiences among individuals worldwide. This paper examines the case of the FutureLearn Social Enterprise Program, a series of MOOCs with over 50,000 registered learners, of which 15% become active learners, engaging in online exercises, debates, and conversations. This paper draws on quantitative and qualitative data collected over four years. The findings show that the course has not only had an impact on the creation of new startup social enterprises, but it has also supported a large proportion of learners in developing sustainability and social entrepreneurial ideas within a range of organisations in the public, private, and civil society sectors. The findings also show a positive cascading impact effect from the learners registered on the course to those in their network, as ideas are shared, and learners become mentors to others. Our conclusions demonstrate how digital education and online courses contribute to global education for sustainable development and social enterprise development.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): education for sustainable development, MOOCs, Social Enterprise, social entrepreneurs, impact evaluation
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR)
Item ID: 29699
Notes on copyright: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2020 15:18
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2020 15:23
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/29699

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