#DigitalScholar (2019)

The Geneva Learning Foundation, in partnership with the University of Illinois College of Education and Learning Strategies International (LSi), is pleased to announce the first open access course to support the digital transformation of learning, education, and training.

The #DigitalScholar course was announced at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, Switzerland, on 12 June 2017.

How to apply

We are not currently receiving applications for the #DigitalScholar curriculum. Please let us know that you are interested by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

You may view the briefing presentation from the 2016 #DigitalScholar course to learn more about the initiative.

Who this course is for

  • Training providers transitioning their face-to-face courses to digital;
  • Consultants who offer training or capacity-building services to their clients;
  • Technical experts who wish to develop effective digital learning that can scale to transfer knowledge, skills and competencies (behaviours);
  • Trainers and coaches interested in deploying their face-to-face skills in a digital environment;
  • Knowledge managers who need to rapidly develop case studies, build a community of practice, or foster collaboration across silos; and
  • Other learning leaders and managers interested in staying current with the latest digital learning pedagogies and new business models for learning, education, and training (LET).

What will you gain?

  1. Practical, accelerated learning of cutting-edge pedagogies and digital learning practices, with a focus on knowledge co-construction.
  2. Each participant will develop their own course outline using Scholar’s innovative peer-to-peer knowledge co-construction approach.
  3. The outline is intended to be immediately usable to offer your own Scholar course to staff, clients, customers, students, or other stakeholders.
  4. Participants who successfully complete the course will be eligible to use Scholar to offer their own digital courses.

What is special about this course?

The course addresses the growing need for rapid, low-cost development of digital learning courses, a tangible sign of the ongoing digital transformation of learning, education and training (LET).

It will introduce you to general principles of effective digital learning through the use of Scholar, a digital learning environment developed by Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis of the University of Illinois College of Education. Scholar’s pedagogical pattern:

  • can teach both foundational and expert knowledge;
  • is designed to produce (and not simply consume) knowledge;
  • fosters higher-order thinking, analysis, reflection, evaluation, and application;
  • connects peers to each other, modelling new forms of leadership and collaboration that enable people in complex contexts to think, learn and work together to solve problems;
  • has other applications that include capacity-building, leadership development, action learning, case study development, communities of practice, and fostering collaboration across silos.

Course team

  • Bill Cope (Wikipedia | LinkedIn) is a Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois. He is Principal Investigator in a series of projects funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences in the US Department of Education and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation researching and developing multimodal writing and assessment spaces.
  • Juan Hernandez (Twitter) is LSi’s Scholar course operations specialist, based in Colombia. He is a digital communication expert with demonstrated experience in digital course facilitation and management. Juan is a graduate of the Geneva Learning Foundation’s #DigitalScholar inaugural course.
  • Iris Thiele Isip Tan (Twitter | Blog | LinkedIn) is a practicing physician and professor with specialty training in internal medicine and endocrinology. She is the Chief of the Medical Informatics Unit at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine and the Director of the university’s Interative Learning Center. She blogs about medical education, health informatics, and social media. In 2016, she completed the first #DigitalScholar initiative, was invited to become a Scholar Apprentice before joining the course team.
  • Catherine Russ (Twitter | LinkedIn) has both researched and led change in large humanitarian organizations to move the learning agenda forward. She is an adult education and learning specialist with expertise in learning strategy and programme development, capacity building and partnership brokering, working both as an independent consultant and a senior LSi Associate.
  • Reda Sadki (Twitter | Blog | LinkedIn) is an educational innovator and social entrepreneur. After two decades in the United Nations and at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), he founded Learning Strategies International (LSi.io) in 2014 and the Geneva Learning Foundation in 2016.

What will you do in this course?

Each participant will develop a project outline for their own scalable, digital learning course. In the course of developing this project, participants will:

  1. Explore and reflect on how teaching and learning are currently organized across different industries.
  2. Distinguish learning approaches based on information transmission from knowledge co-construction.
  3. Explore the relevance of knowledge co-construction for your industry.
  4. Compare Scholar’s co-construction approach with other learning environments or management systems that you have used.
  5. Determine the use cases for Scholar in your own context.
  6. Identify and describe your market (audience), learning objectives, structure and organization, and other aspects needed to outline their own digital learning course.

Requirements and prerequisites

  • Information technology: Participants will need to have access to a reliable Internet connection and a modern browser (Safari 5+, Firefox, or Chrome). A headset with a microphone is necessary to participate in the weekly group discussion. You will need to access the course web site on a daily basis.
  • Learning expertise and experience: Some prior knowledge of learning theory and practice is helpful, but not required.

Free for individuals

Application, enrollment, and participation in this course are free of charge to individuals.

Cost contributions

The Geneva Learning Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated the democratisation of digital learning. We can continue to build and grow our services and value only if organisations are willing to contribute to support our work.

  • Organisations are invited to contribute to the costs of supporting their staff who are taking the course.
  • The amount of this voluntary cost contribution has been set at 990 Swiss Francs per participant.
  • This includes the delivery of a certificate upon successful completion of all course requirements, as well as supplementary support and tutoring services.
  • If your organisation does not make a cost contribution, this will have no effect on individual participation in the course or future relationship with the Geneva Learning Foundation.

Please use this form to express your organisation’s interest in contributing to the sustainability of this course.


Participants who successfully fulfil all requirements of the course will qualify for optional, paid certification from the Geneva Learning Foundation. The cost of the certificate has been set at 990 Swiss Francs per participant.

Certificate holders will be invited to join the Scholar Apprenticeship programme to pursue the development of their digital learning skills.


  • Participants should be expected to dedicate 3-4 hours a week to the course.
  • Those with limited fluency in English or digital (i.e., you find digital tools difficult to use) should schedule an additional 1-2 hours per week.

Each participant will develop their own project draft, then review the drafts of three peers, and finally revise their own draft. This process will be broken down into short daily tasks (30 minutes each) to complete each day, Monday through Friday. We encourage you to complete each task on the day it is posted. Nevertheless, you are free to catch up any time during the week, preferably before the Thursday discussion group. As each week builds on the preceding week’s activities, it is important that you do not fall behind the schedule.

Weekly 30-minute meetings will be held as virtual web meetings every Thursday and start at 20h00 Geneva (CET).


WeekDatesLive discussion groupTime req.
Week 13-7 JulyThursday, 6 July6-8 hours
Week 210–14 JulyThursday, 13 July5-6 hours
Week 317–21 JulyThursday, 20 July5-6 hours
Week 424–28 JulyThursday 27 July5-6 hours

Question or comment?

Please use this form to send us your questions or comments. If you are interested in this course but not available during its scheduled run, please register your interest.

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