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Context Training in Jordan and Kenya: Lessons Learned on Blended Learning

23 February 2017

Workshops, coaching, buddy groups, on-line learning, line manager engagement, action planning, learning projects and a graduation event - all this is part of the Context programme!
We are all clear that it is good practice that capacity-building goes beyond a single training event, but what ‘works’ best in blended learning for humanitarian professionals? 
What did participants value most? 
RedR has recently conducted a mid-term review of its Context Programme, in which 149 national humanitarian staff have been trained so far in Jordan and Kenya. The aim of the Context programme is to develop the core humanitarian competencies and leadership skills of national staff in order to improve humanitarian response. 
At the end of the programme, participants rated which parts of the programme they found most beneficial. Besides being very positive about the programme in general, what stood out was that participants found the two face to face workshops to be most beneficial, as well as working on their learning project. On the other hand, reviews were very mixed on the benefit of the buddy groups, on-line courses and the support provided by line managers. Please refer to the full paper for the detailed feedback on each of the components.
Some key lessons learned:
  • Line managers can be key allies in encouraging learning, but at times themselves do not display the behaviours and competencies that are taught. 
  • Coaching is found to be very beneficial by the participants, despite the great challenges encountered in matching and logistics.  
  • Buddy groups: a number have produced impressive results, particularly when based in the same location and when they developed a joint project, while others were not very active. 
  • On-line courses were found more beneficial by entry-level staff, particularly on themes like the Sphere Standards, while internet access was a challenge for all participants working in remote locations. 
Managing as well as participating in such a multi-faceted capacity-building programme is very time-intensive. Inevitably, choices have to be made on where to put the emphasis. Having the final learning reflection assignment at the end of the programme helped to focus attention on achieving the objective of the learning programme. To achieve the learning objectives, not everyone has to engage in all components - but it has proven useful to actively engage participants throughout the programme through these various mechanisms for learning and support.
Context, led globally by Oxfam GB, is part of the Start Network's Talent Development projectContext, led globally by Oxfam GB, is part of the Start Network's Talent Development project. The latter is one of fourteen projects in a portfolio funded by UK Aid (DFID). 


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