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Globally networked learning (GNL) refers to an approach to research, learning, and teaching that enables students, faculty, and non-academic researchers from different locations around the world to participate in, and collaborate on, knowledge-making processes and concrete research projects. With the aid of various forms of technology – including but not limited to, learning management systems, video conferencing software and hardware, cloud computing and social media – they are brought together in a consortium to collaborate on projects that bring together the diverse perspectives of participants to produce a richer, more nuanced, understanding of the issue(s) at hand. A GNL project might entail or produce cross-cultural discussion on a particular course concept, a joint lecture over multiple time zones, a shared assignment, or a collaborative research project, among other possibilities.

GNL pedagogy supports student-centered learning and teaching for the 21st century university. It supports the development of global competencies – among students and instructors – required to adapt, thrive, and succeed in becoming global citizens engaged in complex, intercultural problem solving. As a form of experiential education that transcends borders, the promise of GNL can be reinforced through open pedagogy, development of digital literacy and production, and other forms of innovative knowledge-making practices across cultures.



The GNL project at York University began in 2015. “The GNL project at York is currently an autonomous zone bringing researchers, instructors and students together to imagine and experiment with the idea of ‘global thinking’ as a critical skill to acquire for globally networked working environments. GNL can create rich cultural connections by designing a learning environment that engages students locally and internationally in conversations with the goal of advancing collaboratively the latest thinking on global issues,” says Dominique Scheffel-Dunand, the current Project Lead.

Over the past few years, the Project research team has been exploring ways to institutionalize the initiative at York University.

  • We began by working closely with students and faculty members at both of our campuses to build an awareness of GNL pedagogy.
  • Through this work, the project evolved beyond GNL, in response to the needs, interests and expertise of our students and faculty. We recruited students from across faculties with strong problem-solving and leadership skills to design GNL modules and open educational resources (OER) on interculturality, plurilingual communication and academic competencies/informational literacy.
  • Moving forward, our plan for the 2019-2020 academic year is to develop and solidify a virtual ecosystem at York and beyond to further grow and support its learning community.

Learn more about the project’s conceptualization, history, and future directions here.



If you are a student at York University:

Are you an undergraduate or graduate student who is interested in international mobility, experiential learning, and developing your intercultural competency and plurilingual communication? Do you want to develop strong problem-solving skills for today’s complex problems? We would love to hear your ideas!

If you are a faculty member at York University:

Are you a York University faculty member who is interested in student-centered learning and open pedagogy? Are you planning to develop and mount a GNL course? We would love to support you!

Please email to get in touch with the project team today.