IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2020 the world closed down, including higher education. We learned about Corona and COVID-19. Students and staff were sent home. No one knew for how long. Government-imposed restrictions varied from country to country, but one fact remains: Educators and institutions were put on a fast digital learning track. Students had to get familiar with everyday student life happening online. It was an extraordinary time.
No one saw it coming. The question now being debated everywhere is this one: Are we prepared for what is coming – in the fall of 2020 and beyond? As we move forward, the pandemic is not over by far. New waves of infection are predicted for the fall. A vaccine is expected perhaps within a year or two. So how do we approach the short-term and long-term challenge? What have we learned? How will we respond? And does the Corona lock-down represent a long-term shift in society´s views on digital learning, the role of innovating education technology in the learning eco system and the ways in which digital spaces now blend with physical spaces?
Education as a social institution is organized in many different manners around the world, reflecting variation in the underlying philosophies of what education is all about and how to achieve goals set. Conditions differ on a wide range of levels. Countries in the Global North and countries in the Global South are not easily compared, and yet common denominators for dealing with the Corona-challenge are there, reflecting our increasingly networked global world of education.
At WLS, we decided already early in March to postpone our annual summit until the fall of 2020. Considering the continued uncertainties, we have elected to keep it digital. This seems the right time to address the future of learning and higher education from the point of view of unexpected social disruption.
World Learning Summit being an international event with an international perspective on education and learning, we want to highlight this variation in the fall 2020 summit. Please join us to share your experience, learn fro global thought leaders and engage with our growing WLS community of engaged educators and innovators in the learning sphere.
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