The World Economic Forum, which meets in Davos every January, has announced its foray into professional education with the launch of an online learning platform.

The non-profit initiative, called Forum Academy, aims to develop strategic knowledge and improve professional leadership among current and future leaders.

Courses will be delivered online in partnership with edX, the Mooc platform founded by Harvard University and MIT. To date, 1.8 million students have enrolled on edX courses.

In adopting the edX open-source platform to deliver online education, the WEF follows the International Monetary Fund, which has piloted financial education courses using the technology.

Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the WEF, says, Forum Academy will contribute to the WEF mission “by providing a global audience with strategic insights on global, industry and regional developments.”

Unlike courses offered on edX, participants must pay a registration fee. Forum Academy says that identity-verified certification - which involves an additional fee - will be offered at course level and as part of a broader programme.

The first course, which will examine emerging technologies and their impact, is due to run from May to August. Course contributors include academics and business leaders in the field.

Forum Academy announced four further courses, two of which are scheduled for launch later in 2014. These will cover global agriculture and changes in the Arab world.

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