Global Learning Report 2021

The rapid digital shift to distance teaching in the context of the global pandemic gave new impetus to the discourse in higher education to address digital teaching and learning.

Together with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Times Higher Education, the Global Learning Council (GLC) has been monitoring the pressing questions that have emerged around the value of teaching, barriers to equitable educational access, and guardrails needed for sustainable digital transformation over the past 16 months.

The report in a nutshell

The following video (2:56 min) will give a brief overview of the Global Learning Report 2021. You can download the complete report as a PDF below.

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Download the Global Learning Report 2021 (PDF)

You can download the complete report as a PDF.

Feedback and questions are always welcome!

Contact us via email at
or on Twitter @glc_org.


Challenges & Areas of Action

There are four universal challenges that show up across the board if an institution wants to introduce more digital learning and they require action:


The voices of educators and higher education leaders gathered in the Global Learning Report 2021 – Digital Transformation of Higher Education form the basis for the recommendations for digital transformation of education provided for leaders of higher education institutions, policy-makers, and the ed tech industry.

A few of our recommendations are:

– to anchor digital learning in the strategy, structure and culture of HEIs,
– to tackle and further monitor systemic inequalities that impede learning,
– to foster digital literacy in students and instructors,
– to foster digital leadership in higher ed leaders,
– to collect and analyze data and make use of what we know from learning science to ensure that decisions are evidence-based,
– to support open educational practices and efforts,
– and to foster collaborative approaches to teaching and learning.

In our report, you can find more information and deeper insight into what we consider global challenges to digital learning, and all the recommendations.

Further information & activities

"A divide is opening up“ – An investigation about the overnight digitalisation of higher education teaching
Interview by NORA LESSING

Leibniz Association’s online magizine spoke to the Co-Chair of the GLC, Friedrich W. Hesse, and project manager Anne Leiser, who coordinated the report, about the pandemic-related digitalisation of teaching and about the opportunities and limits of long-term digital transformation.

Please find the whole interview here.

In addition four universities within the GLC network were asked which challenges they are facing due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and which opportunities arise for teaching an learning. You can find the interviews here – with Bitange Ndemo from the University of Nairobi, with Denise Pires de Carvalho from the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, with Suzanne Walsh from Bennett College in Greensboro/North Carolina and Tan Eng Chye from the National University of Singapore.

Partners involved

This publication was produced in cooperation with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Times Higher Education.


This publication was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany).


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