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PCF7 in Connections
Keynote presentations
PCF7 Attendance
COL Awards

Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning  

Call for Expressions of Interest
to host COL's
Eighth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF8)

Latter half, 2016
Submission deadline: 11 July 2014
Now closed


PCF7, Abuja

COL’s Seventh Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF7) was held in Abuja, Nigeria from 2 - 6 December 2013, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The Forum addressed "Open Learning for Development: Towards Empowerment and Transformation" through five themes: "Girls’ and Women’s Education", "Skills Development", "Promoting Open Educational Resources (OER)", "Innovation and Technology" and "Institutional Development".

A summary description of PCF7 and its results appears in the March 2014 edition of COL's newsletter, Connections.

PCF7 is a dynamic event with a variety of formats to enable participation, knowledge sharing, learning and networking on the five themes. Apart from paper presentations PCF7 will also have a diverse range of formats that are intended to address the interests and expectations of different participants. The idea is to promote dialogue, sharing, networking and collaboration among all participants. These formats include: plenary and parallel sessions, panel discussions, training workshops, open networking streams, social networking and online media, roundtables, marketplace, etc. For more information, please see links at the top of the right-hand column on this page.

A programme guide and programme overview grid are available on the right (updated 6 December 2013).

Keynote presentations, award winners, photos and daily newsletters (also with lots of photos) are available on the right.

A searchable database of all PCF7 papers is now available at:

Social media:
PCF7 Radio (and photos):
PCF7 Radio podcasts:

Alan Tait

Alan Tait to deliver PCF7's Asa Briggs lecture

Professor Alan Tait delivered PCF7’s Asa Briggs lecture. The Asa Briggs lecture, a feature at PCFs, honours COL’s founding Chairman, Lord Asa Briggs of Lewes.

Alan Tait, Editor-in-chief of COL's new Journal of Learning for Development, is Professor of Distance Education and Development at the Open University, UK, and has a long record of practice, publication and the support of professional development in distance and eLearning. He was Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the Open University from 2007 to 2012, and was formerly Dean of the Faculty of Education and Language Studies.

Professor Tait has worked widely in developing countries, and for international organisations such as UNESCO, the European Commission, the Commonwealth of Learning and the International Extension College.

He is Visiting Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, a senior member of St. Edmunds College, University of Cambridge, and a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Distance Education at the University of London.

Professor Tait was Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Distance and eLearning (EURODL) (2005 – 2013), Editor of Open Learning (1989 – 1998), President of the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) (2007 – 2010, and Co-Director of the Cambridge International Conference on Open and Distance Learning. He has also authored several articles and publications.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mr. Sam Pitroda is now unable to attend PCF7.

Forum partners:

Several organisations have supported PCF7, enabling subsidies for delegates who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Forum partners


PCF7 Timeline

  • 15 June 2013 – Deadline for abstracts and proposals

  • 30 June 2013 – Notification of acceptance of abstracts proposals with feedback

  • 31 July 2013 – Last date for submission of full papers

  • 31 July 2013 - Deadline to apply for Subsidy

  • 31 August 2013 – Notification of acceptance of full papers

  • 15 September 2013 - Notification of acceptance of subsidy applications.

  • 30 September 2013 - Deadline for early-bird registration

  • 3 December 2013 - Deadline for Roundtable and PCF7 Exchange session proposals



Established in 1988, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) was inspired by the vision that the peoples of the Commonwealth must and can have access to knowledge, regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor.  Member governments have given COL a mandate to encourage the development and sharing of open and distance learning knowledge, materials, expertise, technologies and other resources. Working with, and providing services to hundreds of institutions throughout the 53-member Commonwealth, COL is helping to increase the capacities of developing nations to meet the demands for improving access to quality education and training.

COL's Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning is held triennially. It is co-hosted with different partners in different regions of the Commonwealth. The five-day programme is designed to explore applications of open and distance learning in widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and advancing the social and economic development of communities and nations at large. The Forum's focus is on topics relating to developing countries and participation of practitioners from these countries. COL's Excellence in Distance Education Awards are also presented at the Forum.

The Sixth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF6) took place from 24 - 28 November 2010 at Le Méridien Cochin Resort & Convention Centre (Kochi, Kerala), India, in partnership with India's Indira Gandhi National Open University. Theme: "Access & Success in Learning: Global Development Perspectives."

The Fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF5) was held in London, from 13-17 July 2008, hosted in collaboration with the University of London. Over 700 educators from more than 70 countries explored how open and distance learning can help achieve international development goals and education for all.

The Commonwealth of Learning held the First Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Brunei Darussalam, followed by the Second Forum in 2002 in Durban, South Africa. The Third Pan-Commonwealth Forum was held 4-8 July 2004 in Dunedin, New Zealand, and PCF4 was held in Ocho Rios, Jamaica from 30 October - 3 November 2006.