A Department of Trade and Industry task force aims to find out how new technology and new organisations will alter teaching and learning by 2020.
The group has been set up by the information, communications and media panel of Foresight, the DTI's programme for highlighting future technology issues.
Its remit is to look at the effect new entrants into education might have, including multinational corporations now contemplating moves into higher education, and the impact of new technology including broadband web communications and digital
Russell Moss, the Foresight assistant director in charge of information, communications and media, said that the task force's work will apply to learning for work and leisure, since technological change will affect both equally. "We do not mind what people's motivation is," said Mr Moss. "Our main concern is with the process of learning."
One of the objectives, said Mr Moss, was to "encourage the engagement" between universities and the private sector. If significant deals are to be done to supply distance learning, the DTI would like them to be with British universities, if possible.
The new group plans wide-ranging discussions including an examination of the future boundaries between education, work,
the home and entertainment. It also wants to look at possible negative impacts of new technology on problems such as social
The Learning Process report will be compiled in the next few months and is one of three being submitted to the Foresight information, communications and media panel. That panel has to produce an interim report in spring this year and a final report in the autumn, in common with the 12 other Foresight panels.
Mr Moss said: "The Department for Education and Employment is represented on this group, but our focus 20 years in the future means we shall be taking a much longer view than the DFEE does of the future of