Harnessing technology to respond to the global demand for learning during the COVID-19 pandemic
George, Richelle; Utunen, Heini; Willems, Christian; Ndiaye, Ngouille; Schweiger, Stefanie; Staubitz, Thomas; Tokar, Anna; Attias, Melissa; Stucke, Oliver; Gamhewage, Gaya (2021)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
The COVID-19 pandemic generated an unprecedented global demand for learning about the disease and how to manage it. This paper draws on theWorld Health Organization (WHO)'s experience of COVID-19 knowledge-transfer to a worldwide audience of millions of learners registered on OpenWHO, WHO's massive open online course platform. It aims to illustrate the technological solutions that WHO, in collaboration with the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), OpenWHO's platform provider, employed in response to the unique challenges this surge in demand for learning engendered. Data on OpenWHO use, including geographic patterns and certificate attainment, were extracted from OpenWHO's internal and external reporting systems. Descriptive analysis was employed to identify trends and compare OpenWHO use with COVID-19 caseload in each WHO region. Data on the OpenWHO system load were obtained from the OpenWHO load balancer (HAProxy). The OpenWHO team responded to the need for trustworthy, evidence-based knowledge on COVID-19 via three main avenues: increased scale, targeting the needs of affected and underserved communities, and prioritising multilingualism. Each approach brought novel problems, which WHO and HPI leveraged their collaboration to meet by employing technology. This included increasing server bandwidth, expanding support teams, adding new language capabilities, and deploying functions to streamline workflows and boost learner experience. In doing so, the ability to effectively and efficiently harness technology became a critical step towards empowering learning's life-saving potential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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