AN EXPERIENCE OF AN ONLINE TRAINING COURSE ON “GLOBAL EDUCATION”
The experience I am going to describe is a training course called Global Education: The Human Rights Dimension, offered by the North South Centre and The Network University in 2010, from 15th November to 20th December 2011. The course was targeted at practitioners in the field of education and development, teachers, social and youth workers, as well as policy-makers, civil servants and local and regional authorities. This four-week online learning course involved at least 8 hours of learning per week, including reading course materials, online discussion and participation in interactive exercises. The course included individual assignments, interactive group exercises, a discussion forum, a glossary and a virtual library.
The Global Education: The Human Rights Dimension Course consisted of 4 modules: 1. Introduction to Global Education: Human Rights Education Basics; 2. Understanding Human Rights Education in your glocal context; 3. Developing strategies for action; 4. Developing Human Rights Education activities. Participants were expected to work on the same module at the same time (collaborative learning).
The online training course included registration, the learning process, tutoring, assignments; reading materials; development of specific discussion topics. The group was divers but well balanced, especially regarding geographical background. The overall evaluation of the course was very positive, with a high rating of satisfaction among the participants’ evaluation questionnaires, considering participants’ diverse professional and geographical backgrounds.
Participants comments on lessons learned related to mainly three areas: l. The challenges of designing and implementing activities in practice and in context; 2. The reflections on the links between Human Rights, globalization and social justice; they mentioned for example the importance of having a “global” picture and also paying attention to rich and diverse local perspectives. 3. Team work and organizational issues: working in diverse teams and with different stakeholders. Most people requested for more time to prepare the assignments, but also for the need of a platform to keep in contact with the fellow participants after the course.
Most participants indicated that they have developed knowledge. They also developed skills in relation to developing a Human Rights Education programme, from general planning skills to implementing an activity step-by-step. Many participants said that they felt more competent in these areas and more aware. A few participants mentioned mapping skills, evaluation skills, and critical thinking skills including how to build an argument from the perspective of different stakeholders. A few participants indicated this course made them feel more competent and confident. For some, this was a first step, for others, it was inspirational and made them realize how much more they need to learn and the support they need from institutions and more experienced Human Rights educators.
As for the methodology and exercises, participants believed that exercises fitted well the course contents and objectives. The most challenging exercise was the mapping exercise, followed by the planning assignments, the activity design, the role play and bingo.
I really think it was very rich, because it gave us a whole approach, with different methods, different documents and many contacts, all over the world, which made this course really global!