Teach to Reach are fast-paced, dynamic digital events connecting local and global practitioners to each other in a new, potentially transformative shared dialogue.
Teach to Reach and other TGLF special events rally thousands, serving as powerful moments of inspiration, providing the amazing sensation of being connected with thousands of fellow, like-minded people and the impetus to transform this feeling into shared purpose and action.
Meet, network, and learn with colleagues from all over the world
Successive editions of TGLF’s flagship event series, “Teach to Reach: Connect”, enabled a cumulative total of 27,000 health professionals to share experiences, test approaches, and identify solutions with international experts listening and learning with them.
100% digital 100% human: using the latest learning technologies and interfaces, we adapt our digital networking interfaces to learner needs and habits to augment their digital and networking capabilities.
Grounded in experience: we foster problem-solving that values both participants’ lived experience and the world’s best available global knowledge.
We open access: participation can be opened for all, across geographic, sectoral or institutional barriers.
New knowledge is created through peer learning: national and international practitioners sharing experience, giving and receiving feedback, and using this new knowledge to solve problems together.
We build trust and mutual respect: safe spaces encourage authentic sharing of experiences to learn what actually works, how, and why.
Driven by intrinsic motivation: proven high engagement rates with no per diem or other extrinsic incentives.
Sustainability built-in: 78% of TGLF programme participants feel “capable” of using TGLF’s methodology for their own needs, and 82% want to organize their own activities using it with their colleagues.
In its first years of operation, the Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF) built digital infrastructure to foster and support several global networks and platforms connecting practitioners.
Communities supported included: • immunization and primary health care professionals, • humanitarian workers advocating gender equality during disasters and other emergency operations, • doctors, other health workers, and communities addressing neglected needs in women’s health, and • health workers tackling neglected tropical diseases.
This digital infrastructure enabled TGLF to rapidly respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first two years of the pandemic, a team of three people developed and implemented…
We empower practitioners to tailor learning experiences that fit their own needs to drive change: Participants do not stop work to learn, every step of the process is embedded in and focused on their daily work.
Typical learning events include:
“Hackathons”: 2 to 4 days fast-paced context and challenge analysis and idea generation
“Peer learning exercises” : 2 to 4 weeks, on and offline facilitated learning among and between practitioners and international experts, including knowledge sharing, situational analysis and action planning.
“Full Learning Cycles”, a nurturing space for learners and leaders over several months to explore and take action together, identifying common challenges, generating and sharing ideas, testing innovative solutions, and implementing action plans.
As developed by our founders, the TGLF learning-to-impact pathway draws on the best available evidence and our own practice in the learning sciences and multiple other disciplines.
TGLF’s diagnostic instruments rapidly identify the most effective strategies to develop people, teams, and networks to drive change and performance.
Working with our network of founders and advisors, our approaches are continually honed and improved to ensure their effectiveness.
For example, TGLF co-founder Karen E. Watkins, working with Victoria Marsick, developed the framework proving the strong correlation between learning culture and organizational performance. This evidence-based framework is central to the Foundation’s learning-to-impact pathway.
Marsick, V.J., Watkins, K.E., 2003. Demonstrating the Value of an Organization’s Learning Culture: The Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire. Advances in Developing Human Resources 5, 132–151. https://doi.org/10.1177/1523422303005002002
What we do and how we do it have both changed rapidly in the last three years, since we launched the Impact Accelerator, the key component Geneva Learning Foundation’s learning-to-action pathway.
We catalyze large scale peer networks of frontline actors facing critical threats to our societies.
The Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF) unique approach, rooted in decades of research and experience in learning science, uses the spark of intrinsic motivation to inspire individuals to link up and lead change.
TGLF develops and implements learning experiences that reach people in 137 countries. Our programmes scale quickly to connect thousands of learners and leaders working on the frontlines of conflicts, poverty, and other inequalities. We catalyze local expertise into innovation, action, and results.
The insights generated by and with learners are gathered, analyzed, and shared, for the benefit of communities and partners to scale and develop truly ground-tested and evidence-based policies and programmes.
Excerpted from: Victoria J. Marsick, Rachel Fichter, Karen E. Watkins, 2022. From Work-based Learning to Learning-based Work: Exploring the Changing Relationship between Learning and Work, in: The SAGE Handbook of Learning and Work. SAGE Publications.
Reda Sadki of The Geneva Learning Foundation (TGLF), working with Jhilmil Bahl from the World Health Organization (WHO) and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, developed an extraordinary approach to blending work and learning. The program started as a series of digitally offered courses for immunization personnel working in various countries, connecting in-country central planners, frontline workers, and global actors. The program was designed to address five common problems in training (Sadki, 2018): the inability to scale up to reach large audiences; the difficulty in transferring what is learned; the inability to accommodate different learners’ starting places; the need to teach learners to solve complex problems; and the inability to develop sufficient expertise in a timely way to ensure learning is greater than the rate of change (Revans, 1984).
The approach grew out of work with Scholar, an innovative learning platform, developed at the University of Illinois by Bill Cope and Mary Kalantzis. As the technology implementation of their ‘new learning’ theory, Scholar emphasized seven affordances of learning in a digital age that look at how new technologies change the way knowledge is created and how people connect and socialize (Cope & Kalantzis, 2016). The elements of the Scholar approach include: community-building functions and resources, such as dialogue area surveys and social media; and knowledge creation functions, including a collaborative publishing and critiquing space and tools such as language checkers, annotation functions, and a number of analytics including grade-level writing scores (see Figure 11.3).
Learning in this digital milieu is very different, not because it is new (given decades of experience with the internet), but because of the rapid rate of change compared to traditional courses that rely on a fixed understanding of how we learn when we share physical space. Published work is often generated by the learners themselves either from their existing libraries or what they produce within the course – which may also become available to other courses; from internet searches, source documents within their work, etc. Project-based learning is not new either, but the scale, the speed, and the meaning of such connections (i.e., how they are experienced) are. Learning contributions of this kind reduce the need for subject matter experts and are both convincing and situated in real-life contexts. Complex cases demonstrate the problems at the center of the course. Group dialogue and the development of proposals to solve real problems build a shared knowledge base. Participants develop action plans of how they will address the problems that are in their workplace. Finally, peer critiquing and support enable everyone to improve their plans from whatever starting place.
Deliberate efforts are made to create a learning community using tools that are already embedded in daily practice (keeping in mind that these tools are constantly changing) and structured activities like randomized coffee trials (Soto, 2016) through which learners meet outside of class to get to know one another socially (i.e., ‘to be human together’). Learning is scaffolded by a human knowledge network (Watkins & Kim, 2018) with peer review, staff support, expert resources, and a unique Scholar alumni cadre of former students who volunteer as ‘accompanists’ to support new learners in navigating the technology and whatever else creates a barrier for novices. Peer review is based on an expert rubric and facilitated by the Scholar team. This approach is scalable, with more than 800 learners in each cohort and 400 alumni volunteering to serve as accompanists. A small project team manages multiple cohorts at a time, with a duration of six to 17 weeks, depending on the course.
Recently, the Scholar team developed the Impact Accelerator, an extension to the courses that supports the implementation of course projects and encourages participants to develop new initiatives through collaboration. The Accelerator combines weekly webinars and assemblies, regular check-ins on implementation status, and support for developing in-country teams. Participants share best practices and challenging problems, for which peers provide help, responding as a culture without requiring prompting or intervention to do so. Initial findings from an evaluation of the Accelerator indicated faster implementation of action plans and improved collaboration among participants.
Over 20 country groups formed. In a short time, alumni documented that, as a result of what they learned and implemented, immunization coverage in their region improved. Learning involves a unique blend of a traditional format – an e-learning delivery platform – and consistent and deliberate use of actual work challenges and plans to generate improved workplace performance through a combination of peer support, healthy peer competition, and mentoring and coaching.
Sadki’s approach has been called ‘magic’. He disagrees. He says: ‘Learners are transmuted into teachers, leaders, and facilitators. In some countries, learners are self-organizing to take on issues that matter to them, evolving course projects into a potentially transformative agenda.’ He says success comes ‘from modestly intersecting the science of learning with real, lived learning culture and from reframing education as philosophy for change in the Digital Age. That, and a lot of elbow grease’ (Sadki, 2019). Sadki believes that impact is possible – even tangible – when educators connect the dots among the course, the individuals, and their context. His approach combines informal and incidental learning with conscious restructuring of context. The goal of his courses is knowledge creation focused on creating change in the workplace. The approach has gained sufficient momentum that ‘Scholar’ is more a movement than a learning approach. Sadki, a lifelong social entrepreneur and activist, has invented a new approach to learning and changing individuals and organizations. Table 11.2 summarizes features of the initiative map against the framework of learning in terms of separation, coterminous, seamlessly integrated or learning based work.
Cope, B., Kalantzis, M., 2016. Conceptualizing e-Learning. Common Ground Publishing, Chicago.
Revans, R. (1984). The origins and growth of action learning. London, England: Chartwell- Bratt.
Sadki, R. (2018). Peer learning support capacity building with Scholar. Poster presented at the Teach to Reach Conference, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Sadki, R. (2019). Magic. Retrieved from: https://redasadki.me/2019/03/25/magic/
Siemens, G. (2007). Connectivism: Creating a learning ecology in distributed environments. In Hug, T. (Ed.). Didactics of micro- learning. Concepts, discourses and examples (pp. 53–68). Munster, Germany: Waxmann verlag GmbH.
Soto, M. (2016). A simple tool to help M&A integration: Randomized coffee trials. Retrieved from: https://blogs.harvard.edu/ msoto/2016/01/26/a-simple-tool-to-help-ma-integration-randomised-coffee-trials/
Watkins, K. & Kim, K. (2018). Current status and promising directions for research on the learning organization. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 29(1), 15–29. doi:10.1002/hrdq.21293