#DigitalScholar Apprenticeship

Reda Sadki #DigitalScholar, Job opportunities

(Please do share this announcement with promising learning leaders in your network. Your support is much appreciated. – Reda) The Geneva Learning Foundation, together with LSi and the University of Illinois College of Education, have joined to develop new learning approaches to build capacity, produce locally-situated knowledge, and foster deep learning outcomes. Through this ‘Scholar Partnership’, our aim is to explore new ways of learning that can accelerate the development of new leadership and talent in the face of growing humanitarian, development, and global health challenges. In July of this year, the Foundation offered the first #DigitalScholar journey, a four-week course in which anyone, from anywhere, could learn to design their own digital course. Over 800 people joined the course, forging meaningful connections across industries and geographies, creating nearly 100 new digital courses in four weeks. LSi is now offering an apprenticeship for learning leaders interested in mastering this ‘Scholar Approach’. The aim is …

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Towers of technology

Reda Sadki #DigitalScholar, Learning strategy

This came up in one of the Live Learning Moments in the first week of the Geneva Learning Foundation’s #DigitalScholar course: This is for Reda: I’m very used to the Coursera/EdX kind of LMS and I’m finding it difficult to follow the course related postings and schedules on the digital learning community currently. I just feel that we are missing some structure. This comment calls for reflection on the knowledge architecture of Scholar in relation to other technologies. In the first week of #Digital Scholar, we examined the architecture of the lecture and the classroom. I understand the yearning and the preference for a container view of knowledge, even though I believe the time has come to autopsy the discipline known as knowledge management. This view is reassuring because it is familiar. It mirrors the experience of mass industrial-age education that has shaped most of us. But does it correspond to …

How close to the village can a global, digital education initiative get?

Reda Sadki Global public health

This is the final in a series of five blog posts reflecting on what is at stake in how we learn lessons from the Ebola crisis that erupted in 2014 and continued in 2015. A new blog post will be published each morning this week (subscribe here). “Opportunities to contain the virus were lost soon after, largely because of a lack of trust between local communities and the officials and medical professionals trying to nip the epidemic in the bud.” (Petherick 2015:591) Online training of humanitarian professionals is one thing, but what about community participation? “Beneficiary communications” and “listening” approaches have emerged to encourage inclusive approaches to all aspects of humanitarian work. Learning needs to include not just professionals but also volunteers and affected families, whether or not they are involved in social mobilization efforts. As the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has taught us, volunteers are far more than part-time humanitarians. They are embedded in …

Humanitarian Health Lessons Learned: Ebola

Learning in emergency operations: a pilot course to learn how we learn

Reda Sadki Global public health

This is the fourth in a series of five blog posts reflecting on what is at stake in how we learn lessons from the Ebola crisis that erupted in 2014 and continued in 2015. A new blog post will be published each morning this week (subscribe here). “Continuous learning at the individual level is necessary but not sufficient to influence perceived changes in […] performance. It is argued that learning must be captured and embedded in ongoing systems, practices, and structures so that it can be shared and regularly used to intentionally improve changes in knowledge performance.” (Marsick and Watkins 2003:134) Scholar is an online learning environment for collaborative learning developed through the education research and practice by Mary Kalantzis and Bill Cope of the University of Illinois College of Education. It is designed to produce (and not simply consume) knowledge, in order to develop higher-order thinking, analysis, reflection, evaluation, and application. It closely models forms …

Humanitarian Health Lessons Learned: Ebola

Online learning around Ebola so far

Reda Sadki Global public health

This is the third in a series of five blog posts reflecting on what is at stake in how we learn lessons from the Ebola crisis that erupted in 2014 and continued in 2015. A new blog post will be published each morning this week (subscribe here). “The responsible use of technology in humanitarian action offers concrete ways to make assistance more effective and accountable, and to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience. Distance learning and online education are good examples of technology supporting these goals” (World Disasters Report 2013:10). There have been a number of online courses organized by humanitarian organizations as well as by higher education institutions. International organizations have developed e-learning courses such as MSF’s Ebola ebriefing and WHO’s Health Security Learning Platform, or leveraged existing online training packages such as IFRC’s scenario-based simulation modules on public health in emergencies. American, British, Dutch, and Swiss universities are amongst those who have produced open online …

Humanitarian Health Lessons Learned: Ebola

Why learning is key to the strategic shift in how the world manages health crises

Reda Sadki Global public health

This is the second in a series of five blog posts reflecting on what is at stake in how we learn lessons from the Ebola crisis that erupted in 2014 and continued in 2015. A new blog post will be published each morning this week (subscribe here). “Whereas health is considered the sovereign responsibility of countries, the means to fulfill this responsibility are increasingly global, and require international collective action and effective and efficient governance of the global health system.” (Stocking 2015:10) “Effective crisis management for health”, writes the World Health Organization in its management response to the Stocking report, “requires a series of strategic shifts” (Chan 2015:5). Calls for substantial modernization of emergency management capacity and preparedness have focused on resources to ensure rapid mobilization for the provision of logistics, operational support, and community mobilization. Yet, “the primary lesson so far has not been about the need for new response methods, but about human resources …

Humanitarian Health Lessons Learned: Ebola

Lessons learned from Ebola

Reda Sadki Global public health

This is the first in a series of five blog posts reflecting on what is at stake in how we learn lessons from the Ebola crisis that erupted in 2014 and continued in 2015. A new blog post will be published each morning this week (subscribe here). The unprecedented complexity and scale of the current Ebola outbreak demonstrated that existing capacities of organizations with technical, normative culture, methods and approaches are not necessarily scalable or adaptable to novel or larger challenges. Large and complex public health emergencies are different each time. Each new event poses specific problems. Hence, traditional approaches to standardize “best practice” are unlikely to succeed. What are the appropriate mechanisms for learning from each of them? More broadly, how do we change the capacity of individuals and systems to learn? “Huge praise is due to those who have responded to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. At the …

All the way down (Amancay Maahs/flickr.com)

Can analysis and critical thinking be taught online in the humanitarian context?

Reda Sadki Events, Learning design, Presentations

This is my presentation at the First International Forum on Humanitarian Online Training (IFHOLT) organized by the University of Geneva on 12 June 2015. I describe some early findings from research and practice that aim to go beyond “click-through” e-learning that stops at knowledge transmission. Such transmissive approaches replicate traditional training methods prevalent in the humanitarian context, but are both ineffective and irrelevant when it comes to teaching and learning the critical thinking skills that are needed to operate in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments faced by humanitarian teams. Nor can such approaches foster collaborative leadership and team work. Most people recognize this, but then invoke blended learning as the solution. Is it that – or is it just a cop-out to avoid deeper questioning and enquiry of our models for teaching and learning in the humanitarian (and development) space? If not, what is the alternative? This is what I explore in just under twenty …

Peter Paul Rubens. From 1577 to 1640. Antwerp. Medusa's head. KHM Vienna.

Experience and blended learning: two heads of the humanitarian training chimera

Reda Sadki Design, Events, Learning design, Learning strategy, Thinking aloud

Experience is the best teacher, we say. This is a testament to our lack of applicable quality standards for training and its professionalization, our inability to act on what has consequently become the fairly empty mantra of 70-20-10, and the blinders that keep the economics (low-volume, high-cost face-to-face training with no measurable outcomes pays the bills of many humanitarian workers, and per diem feeds many trainees…) of humanitarian education out of the picture. We are still dropping people into the deep end of the pool (i.e., mission) and hoping that they somehow figure out how to swim. We are where the National Basketball Association in the United States was in 1976. However, if the Kermit Washingtons in our space were to call our Pete Newells (i.e., those of us who design, deliver, or manage humanitarian training), what do we have to offer? The corollary to this question is why no one seems to care? How …