UK China visit: Martin Bean on supporting learners through innovation

The Prime Minister is leading the largest ever UK trade delegation. The emphasis of the visit is promoting collaboration and partnership to take advantage of economic opportunities. By 2020, China will have a 600 million strong middle-class.

The Open University’s Vice-Chancellor, Martin Bean, is part of the delegation, his fifth PM overseas visit. Bean has just taken part as a panel member in a discussion on globalisation, urbanisation and innovation, chaired by Rui Chenggang, CCTV Anchor for BizChina. This was in response to the opening of the visit by British and Chinese political leaders. David Cameron has already had to address human rights concerns to show that however important trade links are, the world should not duck human rights abuses.

Martin Bean spoke of the need to open up learning through harnessing technological developments in education to support learners access high-quality education. MOOCs are a disruptive technology, and the successful launch of FutureLearn shows that there is a huge appetite for quality learning. FutureLearn attracted more than 25000 registered users in the first 8 hours of its launch. Interestingly, it took The Open University a whole year to attract that many students in the first year of its existence.


� Allan Cook CBE, Chairman, WS Atkins

� Laurence Kemball-Cook, Pavegen

� Martin Bean, Open University

� Song Zhiping, Chairman, China National Building Material Company

� Jason Chow, Vice President, Hanergy

� Li Feng, Vice President, CITIC Trust

According to the organisers of the discussion, China is at a turning point where its development model is changing. The UK can be one of
China’s most valuable partners and together grow their economies through increased trade and investment.

These are the question areas covered in the discussion:

Globalisation: what is the best advice to Chinese companies as they go global and develop global
brands; London’s role in helping Chinese companies globalise; and brand development.

Urbanisation: The UK has a lot to offer in terms of urban design, construction equipment and ‘green’ development as well as urban infrastructure such as healthcare and transport etc. How can the UK and China work together to influence major developments in the built environment?

Innovation: China’s leaders are encouraging greater domestic consumption, and the nation’s middle class continues to grow. This offers terrific opportunities for the UK.
China too is becoming more creative and more sophisticated in technology. How do you develop and protect these brands? How do you manage the various business models in China and the UK?

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