Reflections on Ten Years of the Commonwealth of Learning
The purpose of this document is to reflect and encourage discussions about The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and its strategic objectives for the ten years beginning July 2000. It draws on COL’s experiences since its inception in November 1988 and seeks to build on initiatives taken during COL’s first decade and, at the same time, to benefit from global knowledge and experience in the application of open and distance learning in the last five years. Accordingly, Reflections on Ten Years is presented in five discrete sections: It starts with The Idea, outlining the challenges of inception. That is followed by The Work, a description of COL’s unique contribution to Commonwealth education; The Need, a look at the present state of human development in the Commonwealth; and The Niche, which considers the global trends in the delivery of educational services and the use of learning technologies. Finally, New Directions discusses the main themes and issues that arise from COL’s experiences and global trends, which should be at the heart of its work in its second decade. This document, and the ideas in it are not meant to be prescriptive. Rather, as a reflection, it is hoped that it will show how COL’s productive past will help guide its exciting future.