There were hundreds of fascinating sessions at GDDF2022, and one of the ones I enjoyed most was Implementing USAID’s Digital Strategy: What has TechChange learned delivering 100+ digital development-focused e-trainings?
It was a chance to share TechChange’s work beyond GDDF, with USAID HQ & Mission staff, with governments and ministries around the 🌍. And it was a chance to highlight some of the incredible advances in online learning that TechChange has pioneered over the last 12 years.
⬇️Below⬇️ I’m sharing of the 5 key takeaways from this session, enjoy!
1️⃣ The pandemic has changed e-learning
Just as the pandemic has generated incentives for people to try online learning, the same people are also fatigued by spending so much time on their computers. The result is a crowding-out effect of bad online learning models, and has pushed TechChange to continue to evolve our unique model of online learning.
2️⃣ Traditional institutions of higher learning have not adapted well to online learning
The difference in learning outcomes for in-person learning vs online learning is much smaller than previously thought. The online model offers efficiencies that counter some of the challenges of traditional higher learning. E.g., As an adjunct professor, I have been asked to implement hybrid learning with little support, signaling an institution-level inability to evolve, which harms learning outcomes.
3️⃣ Some things are still best learned offline, but the list is growing smaller
I tried to learn how to ⛸️ online and it didn’t go well, but more and more things can be learned effectively online. It’s often just a lack of creativity and will in course development that gets in the way of achieving learning goals. The vast majority of digital development-related topics can be covered online, which is great for distributed audiences like ours.
4️⃣ Social learning and community play an important role in good online learning
Relationships and relationship building are as important as skill building in the TechChange model. It’s ironic that cohort-based learning has become the rage in Silicon Valley ed-tech conversations, since this is our origin story: a cohort-based learning model, connecting the dots and building communities around digital development.
5️⃣ USAID is a unique partner for online learning
USAID has more training and learning opportunities than your average donor. There are so many other resources available to USAID staff, so the bar to producing quality content is higher. I’ll give a lot of credit to USAID for being one of our more innovative partners. We’ve always found a willingness to take risks on creative ways to do online learning and training.