Blended Learning and E-Learning
The TRAINFORTRADE Programme is continuously developing new learning tools by exploring new technological opportunities. The expansion of mobile networks, 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.
Blended 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. Blended 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
Blended learning: a combining on-line learning and face-to-face learning
The TRAINFORTRADE programme combines face-to-face activities with on-line 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-learning 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 Environment, a Free and Open Source Learning Management System, based on a Linux platform, in order to facilitate
Blended learning methodologies for capacity development
The use of e-learning, either on its own or in a hybrid/mixed model, has not been fully explored by United Nations (UN) Secretariat entities for delivering capacity development activities. TRAINFORTRADE contributed to the report which assesses the current state of e-learning in the economic and social entities of the UN Secretariat and identifies best practices and lessons learned in supporting capacity development through e-learning, or mixed/hybrid methods, and for adapting face-to-face trainings to the online space.