TC103-Tech tools and skills for emergency management-screenshot

Tech Change

Reda Sadki Innovation, Interviews, Learning strategy, Video

The Institute for Technology and Social Change is a private company based in Washington, D.C. Its web site offers a course catalogue focused on technological innovation. Timo Luege is a communication specialist who has spent the last seven years working for the humanitarian and development sector, a period during which large-scale disasters intersected with the rapid rise in mobile communication. Starting on Monday, he will be delivering TechChange’s course on technology tools and skills for emergency management for the third time. In this interview he answers the following questions: What will I be able to do after taking the course that I couldn’t do before? Why should my manager pay for this, or at least support me? Why should my staff development or HR people support me to take this course? How will this help me to deliver for my organization – or to find my next job or mission? Humanitarian training …

Young man at a vocational education and training center, Marrakesh, Morocco. © Dana Smillie / World Bank

Making humanitarians

Reda Sadki Learning strategy, Thinking aloud

The industry to tackle growing humanitarian and development challenges has expanded rapidly since the mid 1990s, but not nearly as fast as the scope and scale of the problems have spiraled. Professionalization was therefore correctly identified as a major challenge of its own, with over a decade of research led by Catherine Russ and others clearing the rubble to allow the sector to make sense of what needs to be done. The bottom line diagnosis is a now-familiar litany: a shortage of people and skills, lack of quality standards, inability to scale. Despite the growth of traditional university programs to credential specialized knowledge of these challenges and how to tackle them, young people armed with multiple masters find that they really start learning upon entering their first NGO. They face a dearth of entry-level positions (sometimes spending years as “interns” or other forms of under-recognized labor) and discover professional networks closed to them …

Online learning 101: Costs vs. efficacy

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

Having presented three online learning approaches, here are three aspects to consider together: What is the cost of developing an online course based on each approach? What is the cost of delivering the course, per learner or per hour? What is the learning efficacy (outcome) that can be expected? Development costs for modules are comparatively expensive, as they are media-intensive and require complex production and technical skills. Often this leads to under-spending on the instructional design. The main attraction of this approach is its low delivery cost. It scales really well. Once you have a self-guided module online, the delivery cost is marginal. All of a sudden, you can abandon the elaborate schemes in place mostly to restrict access to limited numbers of seats. Unfortunately, the death knell for this approach is its limited efficacy. It doesn’t work very well and, probably, only marginally better than giving a motivated learner the …

Online learning 101: Approaches

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

There are myriad approaches to online learning. I’ve selected three. One of them should no longer be recommended. This is the production of information modules that test information recall. In some cases, aware of the limited outcomes using this approach, attempts have been made to encourage reflection or analysis, but then the limitation of the approach leaves the learner with limited or no formative feedback and reductive forms of assessment. We need to stop producing these “click-click” modules, as they are teaching all of the wrong things, even if the subject matter content is spot on. They are purely transmissive, leaving the learner to passively consume information. They substitute multimedia bells and whistle for substance. Their only real usefulness, in the past, was to introduce people in the sector to “e-learning” as a digital version of transmissive trainings in which the slide deck is the pedagogy. The other two approaches, fortunately, …

Online learning 101 mindmap excerpt

Online learning 101: learning objectives and mind map

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

My LSi.io presentation on the foundational knowledge about online learning in the humanitarian context could provide fodder for… an online course. And here are some of the learning objectives that would be included in such a course, together with a mind map showing some of the items addressed by the presentation. Summarize the challenges of adapting to constant technological change in learning design List humanitarian learning problems that can be addressed by online and distance learning Distinguish between three evidence-based learning approaches relevant to the humanitarian context Explain the main criteria used to distinguish these approaches Distinguish development costs from delivery costs Compare cost vs. efficacy for three learning approaches Explain the relevance of blended learning for humanitarian learning Distinguish between self-guided and cohort-based learning Scope the complexity of an online learning project Identify possible sources of funding for online humanitarian education Identify factors to consider when developing a learning system Evaluate when scaling up …

Learning Strategies International

Online learning 101: Criteria to distinguish approaches

Reda Sadki Learning strategy

The table below summarizes criteria that you should consider to identify the appropriate approach for your online learning needs. At the top is the pedagogy and specific learning architecture. The key question is to ask: What does the learner get to do? Key decisions include the choice between self-guided learning (which scales up easily as it does not require synchronous interaction with other learners) and cohorts (which enable synchronous peer-to-peer relationships between learners). For a long time, a ferocious debate was waged between advocates of face-to-face learning who fetichized the value of IRL (“in the real world” interaction and advocates of online or distance learning. The evidence fairly definitively demonstrates that distance learning delivers slightly better learning outcomes, and that there is no learning efficacy benefit when you blend. However, your professional network is how you find your next job. It is also how you learn from others. Face-to-face contact is necessary for …

Complexity in humanitarian and development

Online learning 101 for humanitarian managers and decision makers

Reda Sadki Learning strategy, Presentations

I’ve just posted on LSi.io a comprehensive (65-minute) presentation intended for humanitarian managers and decision makers working in organizations without prior experience in online or distance learning. It includes numerous practical examples and case studies, as well as a description of the best available learning theory and best practice approaches most appropriate for the humanitarian learning context. Here are the 10 questions addressed: It’s not about technology. Really? What learning problems do you want to solve? What kind of online learning can prepare humanitarians? What do you need to know about costs, time, and complexity? Where’s the money? Do you need scale? Can you do more than transmit information with e-learning? If experience is the best teacher, how can e-learning help? Does e-learning work at all? How does all this fit together? This slide set was originally presented to the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) on 22 September 2014. It is available for LSi.io members …

Bookshelves

Thick knowledge

Reda Sadki Content strategy, Learning strategy, Quotes

Toby Mundy on books as thick knowledge: […]Books have a unique place in our civilisation […] because they are the only medium for thick descriptions of the world that human beings possess. By ‘thick’ description, I mean an extended, detailed, evidence-based, written interpretation of a subject. If you want to write a feature or blog or wikipedia entry, be it about the origins of the first world war; the authoritarian turn in Russia; or the causes and effects of the 2008 financial crisis, in the end you will have to refer to a book. Or at least refer to other people who have referred to books. Even the best magazine pieces and TV documentaries — and the best of these are very good indeed — are only puddle-deep compared with the thick descriptions laid out in books. They are ‘thin’ descriptions and the creators and authors of them will have referred extensively to books …

Lenses rainbow

Unified Knowledge Universe

Reda Sadki Content strategy, Learning design, Learning strategy, Writing

“Knowledge is the economy. What used to be the means has today become the end. Knowledge is a river, not a reservoir. A process, not a product. It’s the pipes that matter, because learning is in the network.” – George Siemens  in Knowing Knowledge (2006) Harnessing the proliferation of knowledge systems and the rapid pace of technological change is a key problem for 21st century organizations. When knowledge is more of a deluge than a trickle, old command-control methods of creating, controlling, and distributing knowledge encased in a container view do little to crack how we can tame this flood. How do you scaffold continual improvement in learning and knowledge production to maximize depth, dissemination and impact? A new approach is needed to apply multiple lenses to a specific organizational context. What the organization wants to enable, improve and accelerate: Give decision makers instant, ubiquitous and predictive access to all the knowledge in …

Learning dashboard

Elements of a learning dashboard

Reda Sadki Learning strategy, Theory

“What is clear is that a learning rich culture will emphasize informal learning and more open learning designs rather than relying only on formal training approaches. The learning infrastructure consists of all of the formal, informal, and incidental activities, systems, and policies that promote individual, team, and organizational learning and knowledge creation.” Source: Watkins, K., 2013. Building a Learning Dashboard. The HR Review 16–21.