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Educating at Scale for Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise Growth: The Impact of Online Learning and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

1
Business Department, Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, Avenida de la Paz, 137, 26004 Logroño, Spain
2
Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research, Middlesex University Business School, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK
3
Jindal Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship, O.P. Jindal Global University, Delhi 131001, India
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3247; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083247
Received: 29 February 2020 / Revised: 31 March 2020 / Accepted: 4 April 2020 / Published: 16 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Sustainable Development)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: education for sustainable development; MOOCs; Social Enterprise; social entrepreneurs; impact evaluation education for sustainable development; MOOCs; Social Enterprise; social entrepreneurs; impact evaluation
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Calvo, S.; Lyon, F.; Morales, A.; Wade, J. Educating at Scale for Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise Growth: The Impact of Online Learning and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Sustainability 2020, 12, 3247.

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