By Sophie Edwards
20 February 2017
The course will address the challenge of finding the additional $2.5 trillion each year that the United Nations estimates developing countries need to achieve the SDGs by 2030. With current political uncertainty surrounding foreign aid and trade flows from the U.S. and other countries, plugging that gap seems more challenging than ever. The course is designed to teach participants where funding for the SDGs is available and how it can be mobilized.
It builds on a previous course offered by the World Bank in 2015, its first MOOC, or free massive open online course. The four-week course was such a success — attracting nearly 32,000 participants from more than 200 countries and territories — that the institution decided to offer an updated version starting on March 1. It has already attracted 11,000 takers.
The new MOOC is part of a broader effort at the World Bank to improve e-learning for development, which started in 2011 with the launch of an e-institute. In 2015, the bank expanded its e-learning efforts through the open learning campus to provide a range of educational tools ranging from smaller, “bite-sized” pieces to more structured MOOCs, as well as peer learning and interactive opportunities.
MOOCs are increasingly being used by universities and employers, and they offer the bank a cost-effective way of reaching an audience at scale, according to Sheila Jagannathan, head of the World Bank’s open learning campus. They are ideal for simplifying complex topics and spreading a “call to action,” but are not used for “deep skill” development, she added.
The new MOOC — which will be taught via online video lectures from prominent development leaders and supplemented by online discussions and brief tasks — will keep the same format as the previous version but with new content and speakers. Speakers include K.Y. Amoako, president of the African Center for Economic Transformation; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former finance minister; and Andrés Escobar, deputy finance minister for Colombia, as well as managers from the World Bank and representatives from foundations and the private sector.