The Millions Learning project at the Center for Universal Education focuses on scaling quality education innovations and initiatives for all children and youth. Now in its second phase, Millions Learning is conducting two separate, large-scale initiatives:
- The Real-time Scaling Labs (RTSL), in collaboration with local institutions and governments in a number of countries.
- Research on Scaling the Impact of Innovations in Education (ROSIE), as part of the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX).
Both lines of work bring together and learn from researchers and practitioners in order to generate useful evidence, provide practical recommendations around processes of scaling in global education, and build stronger links between research and practice.
In recent years, there has been a proliferation of innovations that improve learning outcomes. However, the vast majority still reach only a small fraction of the children and youth in need. How do we scale and sustain those initiatives that are most effective at improving learning for all?
To answer this question, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings has been investigating efforts around the world to scale and sustain evidence-based initiatives leading to large-scale improvements in children’s learning.
In the second phase of the project (2016 – present), CUE and partner institutions around the world co-created Real-time Scaling Labs (RTSLs)—a participatory, action research approach to learn from, support, and document education interventions as they scale in real time. The ultimate goal is to support initiatives as they deepen and expand while simultaneously gaining deeper insight into how policymakers, civil society, and the private sector can most effectively work together to bring about large-scale transformation in the quality of children’s learning and their development. The labs offer concrete opportunities for peer learning and exchange through in-person and virtual convenings while also generating knowledge on the “how” of scaling impact.
CUE and partners are drawing lessons from these RTSLs to feed into the process of scaling education initiatives, as well as contribute to a more robust, actionable evidence-base on scaling globally.
The RTSL process builds on the first phase of the Millions Learning project (2014-2016), which examined how policies and programs that have improved learning in low- and middle-income countries have gone to scale, drawing upon literature and case studies from around the world. The findings from this phase are captured in the “Millions Learning: Scaling up quality education in developing countries” report, which identifies 14 core ingredients that, in different combinations depending on the context, contribute to scaling effective practices and approaches that improve learning.
Interest in scaling promising innovations to effect systemic change in education around the world has grown over the last decade, but effective scaling is not just about designing and delivering the innovations; it is also about embedding them in thoughtful, multifaceted ways to ensure that they grow, deepen, and have lasting impact.
To support and better understand how to scale effectively, in 2020 the Millions Learning project at the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at Brookings joined the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX), a joint partnership between the Global Partnership for Education and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to facilitate a cross-national, multiteam, design-based research and professional support initiative called Research on Scaling the Impact of Innovations in Education (ROSIE). ROSIE brings together researchers and practitioners working in 29 low- and middle-income countries to study the process of scaling education initiatives for impact.
In 2021, 15 KIX grantee teams joined ROSIE, working alongside the CUE team to think about, study, and deepen the impact of their work. These ROSIE collaboration teams currently work on a range of topics across all levels of the education system, especially relating to gender equity and social inclusion.
Additionally, the Millions Learning team is conducting a complementary qualitative research study on how governments engage in the work of identifying, supporting, and adopting education innovations to scale.