Special Issue "Online and Blended Learning Open Environments, Strategies Approaches and Experiences"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marc Alier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institut de Ciències de l’Educació, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: sustainability; education; ethics; privacy; open-source; information systems; guitar building; podcasting
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. María José Casañ
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Service and Information System Engineering, The Polytechnic University of Catalonia, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: sustainability; education; ethics; privacy; open-source; technology enhanced learning
Prof. Dr. David Fonseca Escudero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Architecture La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Carrer de Sant Joan de la Salle, 42, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: technology enhanced learning, augmented and virtual reality; interaction; 2D/3D architecture and urbanism representation; educational data mining; learning/academic analytics; serious games; gamification; usability; accessibility
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2020, due to the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, millions of students and teachers had to switch their learning environment to an online setting overnight. The classroom and the blackboard had to be replaced with a set of online tools in a distance learning environment.

This threatened the quality and experience of education worldwide, which was of course an extremely serious development as, among others, education is one of the objectives for sustainable development and, at the same time, one of the most powerful tools we have to fight for sustainable development.

Distance learning is hardly a new thing. Courses by mail have existed since the 19th century, as evidenced in popular culture, such as the 1971 Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks, where a witch apprentice played by Angela Lansbury learns magic from such courses by mail.

We can also find examples where every type of communication technology has been used or experimented on for education purposes. For example, Martin Dougiamas, the founder of the Moodle Online Learning Management System, tells of how he learned from lectures on the radio and books, with airplanes taking his homework to his teachers while he lived in the Australian outback with his parents. We can only guess from where he got his motivation to develop technologies to improve distance learning.

The pandemic hit at a moment when the internet and its use were already widespread, and they had already begun to be introduced into the educational system for educational purposes. Thus, online and mobile tools were already in place. Unfortunately, having the tools and knowing how to apply them are not exactly the same thing.

At the beginning of the 2020 confinement period, teachers quickly sought technical advice—how to use the tools available to them and their students—but also, and most importantly, guidance and training on how to apply these online tools to their teaching.

Teachers and learners started using every tool at their disposal to continue with their courses, sometimes finding and using online tools which replicated functionalities already provided by their institution’s LMS, either because these tools were easier or simply because they did not know the tools were there.

This phenomenon has been described as learning ecologies, in which people use a host of emerging resources and technologies that scatter learning experiences across institutional and personal contexts.

As a result, students and teachers have started to use various tools to access contents, communicate, collaborate, and learn, each one developing their own strategy. We can therefore agree that the concept of personal learning environments (PLE) is re-entering the center stage on the educational landscape. Call it learning ecologies, or online learning open environments, it is indisputable that LMSs and the PLEs have become a part of the online learning experience.

This Special Issue is seeking contributions related to the integration of learning tools in new learning experiences, both online and blended.

Dr. Marc Alier
Dr. María José Casañ
Prof. Dr. David Fonseca Escudero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • online and blended learning and teaching
  • online open learning environments
  • open education technologies
  • learning/teaching methodologies
  • PLE and open education
  • future challenges for thinking about PLEPLE and networked learning
  • AI and the use of data for PLE
  • PLE and emerging pedagogies
  • PLEs in formal, informal, and lifelong learning contexts
  • PLE and open education
  • future challenges for thinking about PLE

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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