The post‐COVID‐19 future of digital learning in higher education: Views from educators, students, and other professionals in six countries


Predictions about the post-pandemic future of digital learning vary among higher education scholars. Some foresee dramatic, revolutionary change while others speculate that growth in educational technology will be buffeted both by modest expansion and unevenness.

To this debate we contribute evidence from four groups across six countries on four continents: college and university educators (n = 281), students (n = 4243), senior administrators (n = 15), and instructional design specialists (n = 43). Our focus is on the future of digital learning after the pandemic-induced pivot to emergency remote instruction. Using data from interviews and self-administered questionnaires, our findings reveal a high degree of congruency between respondent groups, with most envisioning more blended/hybrid instruction post-pandemic and some modest increases in fully online courses. Student opinion is more sceptical about future change than within the other groups. Among respondents in all groups there is little expectation for a full-blown,

revolutionary change in online or digital learning.

The influence of professional doctorates on organisations and professional practice (2018-2020)

David Boud and Carol Costley (Education) Steve Marshall (Ashridge) and Brian Sutton (Business School). A collaboration with Dr of Professional Studies Alumni towards new forms of collaboration between academics and DProf candidates and graduates to explore the nature and size of the organisation or professional field within which candidates operate, the nature of their responsibilities and the degree of buy-in of their organisation (or professional field in the case of those not employed within an organisation, e.g. consultants) to the particular research they undertake. We contribute to our understanding of the effect and effectiveness of professional doctorates. The outcome has been published research and this in turn can be fed back to the conduct of DProfs to improve such programmes.

Work Based Learning – Didactic tools for extra-occupational studying? Learning from Europe (2014)

The project “Work Based Learning – Didactic tools for extra-occupational studying? Learning from Europe” was performed to establish academic education and training options. It has been developed in cooperation with experienced partner from UK, Finland, Ireland an Austria. Carol Costley, Nico Pizzolato, Darryl Bravenboer led the development of the project in the context of the UK.

You can find out more from the project website.

Other archived projects and outputs

Bacher, T., Costley, C., Etherington, D., Geiger, G., Hefler, G., Helemäe, J.,  Markowitsch, J., Roosalu, T., Saar, E.,Tamm, A. and Ure, O. (2013) Cooperation between education and training and the labour market in renewing VET CEDEFOP

Costley, C. and Dikerdem, M. (2011) Work based learning pedagogies and academic development. Project Report for Escalate

Maguire, K.Costley, C. and Scott-Hunt, S. (2010) Work Based Learning; new framework for solicitors evaluation Project Report for the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Costley, C. (2009) An assessment of Work Based Learning students’ engagement with the university Project Report for the Higher Education Academy.

Nixon, I., Willis, K., Major, D., Young, D., Tongue, A., Costley, C., Abukari, A., Biddle, P., Graham, S., McClenaghan, K., Helyer, R., Beadsmoore, A., Karuk, V., Siara, B. & Urwin, P. (2008) Work-based learning impact study. York: Higher Education Academy.

Costley, C., Stephenson, J. and Abukari, A. (2008) A Feasibility Study for A Workforce Development Centre for Wales funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.

Costley, C., Abukari, A. and Little, B. (2008) A Literature Review of Employee learning Research Report, York: Higher Education Academy

Costley, C. and Abukari, A. (2008) The Impact of Work Based Learning in Higher Education Research Report. York; Higher Education Academy

Garnett, J., Portwood, D. and Costley, C. (2004) Bridging Rhetoric and Reality: Accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) in the UK report commissioned by the University Vocational Awards Council

Armsby and Costley (2002) Practice-based research methodologies for practitioner-researcher Report of a pan-university research initiative NCWBLP, Middlesex University