The Future of Knowledge Sharing in a Digital Age: Exploring Impacts and Policy Implications for Development, IDS Evidence REPORT 125

This evidence REPORT from IDS looks at the possible ways (with a 15-year horizon) in which digital technologies might contribute to or damage development agendas, and how development practitioners and policymakers might best respond.

We live in a Digital Age that gives us instant access to information at greater and greater volumes. The rapid growth of digital content and tools is already changing how we create, consume and distribute knowledge. Even though globally participation in the Digital Age remains uneven, more and more people are accessing and contributing digital content every day.

Developing countries are likely to experience sweeping changes in how states and societies engage with knowledge. These changes hold the potential to improve people’s lives by making information more available, increasing avenues for political and economic engagement, and making government more transparent and responsive. But they also carry dangers of a growing knowledge divide influenced by technology access, threats to privacy, and the potential loss of diversity of knowledge.

In 2014, the Institute of Development Studies conducted a horizon scanning research project to look at digital technologies and their potential impact on development, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, over the coming 15 years. Using Foresight methods – a range of horizon-scanning tools and approaches based on scenario development – this research gathered knowledge and insights from a range of people working with digital technologies representing different perspectives: development agencies, government, librarians, ICT professionals and the private sector. Through interviews and two workshops, in London and Centurion, South Africa, participants identified key drivers of change and developed scenarios for different futures.

The Report examines the underlying principles that guide effective teaching in an age when everyone, and in particular the students we are teaching, are using technology. Moreover, the Report enables teachers and instructors to help students develop the knowledge and skills they will need in a digital age: not so much the IT skills, but the thinking and attitudes to learning that will bring them success.

Gregson, J., Brownlee, J.M., Playforth, R. and Bimbe, N.
Publisher IDS

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AIMS would love to hear from you on what you think about Knowledge Sharing challenges and would be pleased to receive your feedback on your own experience!


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