2nd April 2015

About the Future Learning Lab


As Jason Palmer from the Gates Foundation stated at our 2015 Future Learning 2020 Summit – Stanford University in 2015: "The future of education is online".

The vision behind our establishing the Future Lerarning Lab five years earlier, is based on the same conviction: The digital future of education institutions, including universities, is social, interactive, academic and interdisciplinary. While we seem to spend an increasing amount of time as educators and researchers reflecting on "digital" changes brought about by new knowledge technologies, the "social" is an aspect of history, culture, language, social relations and everyday practice. The academic is an aspect of long-standing insatitutions that are not about to cruble. But they are being challenged, and perhaps in ways which we do not yet quite understand. Our vision withj Future Learning Lab is to bring the social, the critical and the cultural into more clear focus in debates concerning education´s digital and online technologies futures.

In short: The future of of education is online, but "shaping the online" future is an aspect of social relations, organizational cultures of adaptation, cultural materials at hand, history and histories, people and visions. Activities at the Future Learning Lab center on ongoing research activities by members, a variety of workshops, our annual World Learning Summit, and publication collaboration.

Our research team team at the University of Agder engages advanced researchers, PhD-students, some Master students, and course developers. Our highly accomplished international research team and advisory board engages in projects, reviews proposals and participate in our international symposia, workshops and conferences

Future Learning Lab has an expressed commitment to North-South dialog and the pursuit of networked educational projects with our partners in the Global South.

Timeline in brief

  • 2010: Our first workshops
  • 2011: Our first Nordic project collaboration
  • 2012: Our first workshop at Stanford University
  • 2013: Our first Nordic conference
  • 2014: Our first international conference, beyond the Nordic regio
  • 2015: Our first Learning Summit, this time at Stanford University
  • 20125: New partnership with EdCast, Palo Alto
  • 2016: Our first World Learning Summit -- read more about it here:

Some details

In 2012 we ran a workshop at SCANCOR and SBI in an around Stanford University, with the presence of the University of Agder President, Vice President, three deans, a number of professors in the field, as well as industrial leaders in Southern Norway.

At our 3rd conference, in the spring of 2013, Martha Russell and Eilif Trondsen were joined by Keith Devlin who co-founded and still heads the HStar Institute at Stanford University. Professor Devlin is well versed with the Nordic and Baltic countries. We asked him to bring us up to date on the so-called MOOCS or Open Massive Online Courses. This has been a theme at our conferences since 2011. Professor Devlin gave as convincing presentation, which in turn led to our establishment of a MOOC-focus, now resulting in several such projects coming under way.

At our 4th conference, in June 2014, the speakers list was expanded to 7 keynoters, spanning the Nordic Region, South Africa and the United States. We began setting up our run for a EU Horizon 2020 partnership-identification process. And we also began preparing for an intensive period of internationalization. Our 2015 conference gathered 200 mostly US attendees, in a tri-part collaboration with the HStar Institute at Stanford University and the online education company EdCast.

As for the development beyond 2015, our ambition has to provide a meeting space for what we consider to be an academic and societal challenge in need of one: A summit not too big, and not to small – an arena for dialog and the development of new ideas into joint projects.