Jesuit education is not the mere imparting of information in order to grow in knowledge and ripening in individual wisdom. It is also about the holistic formation of the individual in critical thinking, servant leadership – becoming men and women for others – leading to social transformation, benefitting the entire community .

In the spirit of Ignatian pedagogy, research at JWL focuses on two main areas, in order to inform and strengthen both current and future activities:

  • The transformative impact of its blended mobile learning programmes on the lives of its students, alumni, and their community as well as on its staff around the world.
  • The effectiveness of the blended mobile learning model and its robustness to serve marginalised communities.


The approach adopted by JWL is participatory, transformative and community-based, with a strong focus on the capacity-building of JWL staff, students and alumni, as well as on the integration of research efforts within its programmes and operations in order to inform and improve its academic offer.

Another key element of the JWL research approach is the collaboration and partnership with international institutions and universities to jointly develop research initiatives to serve and transform communities and to study the root causes of environmental and social degradation.

If you are interested in participating in one of JWL’s research activities, please contact JWL Global Research Director, Dr Isabella Rega.

Research Updates


Meet Alfred

Alfred has been focusing on two research projects: an investigation of the impact of the Diploma in Liberal Studies from the perspective of the community members whose lives were touched by the graduates, and a study on the transformative impact on the teaching practice of teachers working in Kakuma refugee camp who completed the Learning Facilitator professional programme.


Promoting Justice Through Education for Those Living at the Margins - JWL at 21st Commitment to Justice in Higher Education Conference

Dr Isabella Rega, JWL Global Research Director and Dr Martha Habash, JWL USA Academic Director, participated in the 21st Commitment to Justice in Higher Education Conference organised by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) with a presentation titled ‘Promoting Justice Through Education for Those Living at the Margins: Jesuit Worldwide Learning’.


Transformative research from the margins

A transformative and participative approach is applied to research as we investigate and measure the extent of the impact of our programmes. It is research at the margins but conclusions would be incomplete without the participation of our graduates – making it research with, for and from the margins.


Global English Language Programme during COVID-19: Capacity building of GEL teachers

This document reports the main findings which emerged from a debriefing session with a group of GEL teachers who took the Teaching English Online course, offered by FutureLearn. Findings include teachers being more confident with the use of relevant technology, tapping into their creativity to design interactive classes and digital evaluation exercises, and increased student motivation and engagement of students.


A learning journey

How can we work with a dispersed team of research assistants, working in several countries and in challenging situations? In September, a virtual training was delivered for 11 JWL Research Assistants tasked with interviewing graduates of the Diploma in Liberal Studies about the impact the programmes had on their lives and those of their communities.


Transformative research in action

Dr Isabella Rega, JWL Global Research Director, is excited to introduce the research team investigating the impact of the Diploma in Liberal Studies on its graduates and their communities. One of the key pillars of the research efforts at JWL is that research needs to be transformative, both at personal and societal levels, as highlighted by Mertens (2017).

Research Publications

A Journey towards Empowerment (FULL)

The report reveals how the Diploma became more than a higher education programme accessible to learners at the margins. It became the means by which graduates and their communities can choose their own definition of development and self-emancipation.

Transformation at the margins: Diploma in Liberal Studies as a catalyst for personal and community development

This report investigates the paths taken by graduates of the Diploma in Liberal Studies, by looking at their careers, their furhter efforts in pursuing higher education programmes, and the ways in which they engage with their local communities. The results are based on a survey distributed online to graduates in 6 countries - Malawi, Kenya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Myanmar in September 2020.

Report on 10 Years of the Diploma in Liberal Studies for Refugees and Marginalised Communities

As JWL celebrates a decade of online higher education at the margins, this report reviews and reflects upon this journey, unpacking trends and lessons learnt, in order to strengthen efforts for the next decade.

COVID-19 and Jesuit Worldwide Learning - How we operated and what we learnt

JWL and its community learning centres have experienced challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the organisation had to rapidly adapt in order to ensure students continued learning. this report notes challenges faced, solutions implemented, and opportunities identified, witha special focus on academic and professional programmes beween March and July 2020.

Learning with Students at the Margins: Creighton University’s Pilot Program with Jesuit Worldwide Learning 2017- 2018

Creighton University in cooperation with Jesuit Worldwide Learning: Higher Education at the Margins (formerly Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins) piloted a program in 2017-2018 in which 8 Creighton University undergraduates in the College of Arts & Sciences took an online course in Jesuit Worldwide Learning’s Diploma in Liberal Studies and a newly developed online course at Creighton University that framed their online experience in a global classroom with students living at the margins through readings, videos, discussions, reflections, and community service.

Translating Ignatian Principles into Artful Pedagogies of Hope

The Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) programme offers transformational learning through institutional partnerships that grant academic degrees to students at the margins of society. Ignatian principles and pedagogy are applied within online coursework. Teaching anthropology within this diverse, intercultural learning environment required artful language and narrative approaches to create a trusting environment in which to discuss challenging concepts. The place of hope in students’ lives was underscored in this process that describes how teaching is a practice of accompaniment.

Jigsaw Consult - Higher education for refugees in low resource environments: research study

This report presents the findings from a year-long research study which analyses different approaches to providing higher education for refugees. The research study is best read in combination with the associated report titled Higher education for refugees in low-resource environments: landscape review.

Jigsaw Consult - Higher education for refugees in low resource environments: landscape review

The purpose of the landscape review is to provide a comprehensive mapping of programmes providing higher education for refugees. The review functions as a standalone resource but is best read in conjunction with the associated report titled Higher education for refugees in low-resource environments: research study.