At the 2016 CEF Coordinators Meeting (October 19–20, 2016) we showed to the regional representatives in our member institutions how learning can be enhanced by making it a collaborative experience through using innovative sharing approaches, and how we at the CEF constantly innovate our approach to learning. Using the opportunity to speak directly with the professionals of strategic human resource management and talent development, we invited them to motivate finance officials in their institutions to embrace new technologies which can multiply their learning experience.
With the increased use of social media for everyday activities, it is important to understand how this phenomenon can be leveraged also for learning. We have stepped up the efforts in digital storytelling by using an online tool Storify: https://storify.com/CEFSEE. We use it for real-time reporting from our learning initiatives to capture the highlights of discussions and share materials, videos and research findings on a particular subject matter. This helps us extend the reach of knowledge beyond the classroom and increase the visibility of our donor partners as well as course participants and their institutions.
We have also scaled up our efforts in making video learning nuggets https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLagjcFjymUqHqmJYw1TPPNy8329tYkCX. These are short three to five minute interviews with top notch experts lecturing and participating at our learning initiatives. We take advantage of their presence at our face-to-face learning events and ask them to briefly and concisely share in video interviews the most recent developments, and touch upon the most challenging and interesting workshop topics.
We have launched our own learning blog http://knowledgehub.cef-see.org/ where we share our reflections and lessons learned along with some tips and tricks on ways we capture, package and share knowledge and experience in our constituency. The blog has become a repository of our experience with supporting others to learn.
We have redesigned our website http://www.cef-see.org. To make it more user-friendly and transparent, we introduced various rubrics, such as Voices from the region, which includes interviews with participants; Voices of donors, where we collect feedback from our partners, and You wanted to know. We asked, where we publish video learning nuggets. We also improved the events page to keep all event related materials in one place.
Physical design of the learning environment
We pay attention to the physical design of the learning environment as it can have a significant positive effect on studying. As a training institution that promotes participatory approach to learning, we wanted our facilities to support this approach.
We also redesigned our lobby, the key meeting place, where course participants can feel relaxed, motivated to learn, and stimulated to think differently, “out of the box.” Public financial management and central banking are rather demanding issues, which is why we need a really good approach to facilitate learning, change the perspective and present the topics as challenging and fun. See how our lobby functions in practice: http://knowledgehub.cef-see.org/?p=748.
We leverage the learning experience by reaching out to knowledge seekers through webinars, live-streams and activities on our CEF Online Learning Campus. Various learning approaches are combined in blended learning courses.
Blending typically represents the combination of online coursework and face-to-face workshops. Having in mind the busy schedules of our knowledge seekers, the online sessions are designed in a way that enhances connectivity among learners, enables them to voice challenges and reflect on their country situation, while promoting a common understanding of the core concepts. The online sessions are delivered on our newly designed online learning space: http://www.cef-see.org/olc/.
Either being a short standalone online session or a session of a blended learning approach, webinar represents a useful tool of online communication between knowledge providers and seekers. The CEF will further increase the use of webinars by introducing webinar series.
We use innovations to nurture and deepen learning among individuals and institutions. Digital communication, online learning approaches, physical design of premises all support extension of the learning journey and enable finance officials to learn in both formal and informal spaces. They offer new opportunities to exchange views and reflect with peers, making learning part of everyday life.