Bridging Fields at a Critical Time
The launch of the Journal of Learning for Development occurs at a critical time for the education and development field. The ‘massive open online course’ concept currently being implemented by Western educators is considered as a potential cost-saver in developing nations also. MOOCs based on reliable pedagogical principles can be useful vehicles for education and training. Others follow less orthodox guidelines: e.g., solving the problems of teaching and grading massive student numbers by dispensing with teachers and having the students grade each others’ work. Evaluation studies of MOOC impact do not confirm that these methods are universally viable, and indicate that MOOC courses and evaluations have not yet taken developing-country needs into account. In the debate about this new trend, a division has formed between the principles of online pedagogy in mainstream education and those developed over four decades in the distance education literature. Disciplinary sub-divisions are similarly noted in the learning and development literature as a whole. The new Journal, with its intended emphasis on the education and training needs of developing as well as developed regions, can provide assistance in the integration of knowledge about technological innovations, and advice about the educational directions that developing nations should take.