Breaking down the barriers to online learning

Now more than ever before, people are beginning to realise how technology can be used as a powerful tool to help people live more rewarding and fulfilling lives. Nevertheless, there are still challenges that need to be overcome in order to unlock its full transformational potential.

The education sector is one such area where technology — and mobile technology in particular — can have huge impact. In this article from The Verge guest edited by Bill Gates, which Ronda Zelezny-Green, the GSMA’s Senior Digital Learning Manager, contributed to, a few of the obstacles that are currently holding back online education from scoring top marks have been outlined.

For example, a lack of equitable access for women and girls — including via mobile devices — is one factor that prevents the benefits of online education reaching millions of people. Other perennial barriers are the scarcity of localised content and a lack of suitable technology solutions that can be used to provide opportunities for consistent, on-the-go access to learning materials, and that are effective within the context of people’s day-to-day lives.

To address barriers to online education and other life-enhancing services powered by mobile, governments need to put in place enabling policies and regulation. These steps will encourage the development of a supporting ecosystem that will, in turn, help harness the power and reach of mobile to extend the benefits and opportunities offered by these services to the largest number of people.

The GSMA is practicing what it preaches in this area. As part of its Capacity Building programme, it will launch an eLearning platform by March 2016 that will broaden access to high-quality training for regulators and policymakers, especially those in developing nations.  This eLearning platform will help these key people keep pace with the latest developments in technology, and build a strong understanding of the socio-economic implications of different policy and regulatory approaches.

For more information on the GSMA Capacity Building programme, please go to