The TrainForTrade Programme is continuously developing new learning tools by exploring new technological opportunities. The expansion of 3G/4G coverage, cell phones, smartphones and tablets has made access to information much easier. The development of cloud learning and mobile-learning provides efficient solutions for the storage, dissemination, and acquisition of information, and the tools can be used to promote interactive and collaborative learning.
The TrainForTrade programme develops high quality courses and maintains high standard delivery by using technological means such as e-learning, mobile-learning and cloud learning. In many developing countries handheld devices are more accessible than PCs; hence mobile learning can provide more accessibility to e-learning courses compared to using a PC.
Distance learning gives trainees as well as trainers more flexibility in the training process. Access to knowledge and information can take place across time and distance using technologies. Distance learning allows trainees to:
- Undertake training in their home or their workplace
- Choose the time and place of learning that best suit their situation
- Exchange information and ideas with trainers and fellow trainees regardless of location
- Benefit from continued support from the TrainForTrade team
- Maintain contact with international trade specialist and other training institutions.
A short video to present TrainForTrade e-learing activities for a beneficiary country:
Combining distance learning and face-to face learning
The TrainForTrade programme combines face-to-face activities with distance-learning courses. Experience shows that the quality of face-to-face seminars increases (in terms of trainees participation and learning results) when trainees have first been introduced to the relevant subject matter through an e-leaning course. The programme emphasises that the pedagogic aspects of training should not be undermined by technology. At the same time, the use of ICTs as a tool for knowledge-sharing increases the number of beneficiaries while reducing the cost.
Experience shows that with adult trainees the learning results are better in a group environment, compared to when trainees are undertaking distance-learning activities alone. Due to this fact, during the TrainForTrade distance-learning courses trainees are gathered in a fully equipped room and chat rooms and forums are used to facilitate exchange with the instructors.
Training the local distance-learning tutor
The TrainForTrade programme emphasises the importance of developing local services for local people by local people. One essential element of the TrainForTrade programme is to train local tutors to moderate and locally manage the distance learning deliveries. The identification of a training centre and a local tutor is key to having an impact during the course delivery. During the training of technical tutor’s course, a local tutor learns the process of TrainForTrade course delivery and the different pedagogic strategies that he should use to facilitate the delivery.
Meeting the needs of beneficiaries
The choice of training methods and technology will always depend on the local technical reality in the beneficiary country. The TrainForTrade programme uses Moodle, a Free and Open Source Learning Management System, based on a Linux platform, in order to facilitate the sharing of information and technology in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
TrainForTrade distance learning strategy
Contribution to the MOOC Conference in EPFL in Lausanne 2014 (http://www.emoocs2014.eu/)