Exploring the Potential of Online Courses to Develop Capacity for Sustainable Development

Jean-Roger Mercier


A small team of independent entrepreneurs has developed two Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), in French, on sustainable development that attracted, respectively, 250+ and 150+ participants. This article describes the original intentions and formats of the MOOCs as well as their actual performance. With little publicity, the courses revealed strong buy-in by the participants and resulted in both a high percentage of completion and degree of satisfaction. In conclusion, the author estimates that MOOCs have the potential to provide the impetus needed in initial and vocational training to respond to the challenges of capacity development, highlighted in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and in reflections on Africa like the “Madavo Report” (2005) on capacity buidling in Africa.


eLearning, capacity development, Africa, MOOC

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World Bank (2005) Building effective states, Forging Engaged Societies, Report of the World Bank Task Force on Capacity Development in Africa, Washington DC

United Nations (2013) A new global partnership : Eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development ; The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, New York


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