Brokering Distance Education Relationships for Capacity-building: A Case Study of the British Council

William Mitchell ( and Liz Dempsey (
British Council, Distance Learning Team, Education and Training Group
Bridgewater House, 58 Whitworth Street, Manchester, M1 6BB, UK
An earlier version of this article was presented at the third EDEN Research Conference,
held at the Carl von Ossietsky University, Oldenburg, Germany, March 2004


A challenge for any European country trying to modernise and develop an effective workforce is a lack of capacity in delivering education to its people. Distance learning presents two possible routes to a solution: making up the shortfall by allowing foreign education providers to deliver their courses by distance learning or building up capacity in the local education system through distance learning delivery.

The paper examines how one particular agency, the British Council, helps countries with their capacity-building needs by brokering relationships with the UK. Relationships are described from the individual learner level through to the systemic institution-institution level. The motivations underlying brokering are examined from both the UK and overseas perspectives. The mechanisms of brokering used by British Council and the impact on these of funding sources are examined.

If you would like to read the entire contribution, please click here.



e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

Current issue on Sciendo

– electronic content hosting and distribution platform

EURODL is indexed by ERIC

– the Education Resources Information Center, the world's largest digital library of education literature

EURODL is indexed by DOAJ

– the Directory of Open Access Journals

EURODL is indexed by Cabells

– the Cabell's Directories

EURODL is indexed by EBSCO

– the EBSCO Publishing – EBSCOhost Online Research Databases

For new referees

If you would like to referee articles for EURODL, please write to the Chief Editor Ulrich Bernath, including a brief CV and your area of interest.