The Confucian proverb “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” acknowledges that adults learn most optimally when a high level of engagement is required from them. With this in mind, we recognize the critical importance of peer-to-peer learning as a way to support reforms. Our goal is to offer top-notch practical and participant-oriented learning solutions.
Designing and delivering interactive learning activities for the region
The CEF uses a participatory approach to learning. We engage participants in the design, delivery and monitoring of our learning events, and build on their experience. We strive to make learning events practical and in line with individual and institutional needs.
We not only put emphasis on understanding how learning takes place but also on how it influences individuals, their colleagues, and consequently their institutions. Our participatory approach to learning includes:
- Working continuously to understand and keep pace with the learning needs of individuals and institutions as well as regional reform agendas.
- Setting clear learning objectives to help participants understand the knowledge and skills they will gain. Setting objectives also helps us choose the right learning methods and tools, and evaluate the performance of lecturers, participants, and our own staff.
- Ensuring that learning is participant-centered and experience-based. All courses are designed to maximize interaction between lecturers and participants, and among participants themselves, using a wide range of learning methods and tools.
- Incorporating participants’ feedback throughout the process: before, during, and after the training course.
Monitoring and evaluation of results
It is important to note that thinking about the results starts at the design phase of any learning activity. Expected results guide our thinking of the objectives of knowledge sharing activities, for both individuals and institutions, and selection of learning methods and tools. It is at the design phase that we also discuss the individual needs with future participants of the knowledge exchange activity so as to ensure that it meets their expectations.
We use a range of tools to measure participants’ feedback on our learning initiatives, one of them being value creation stories.
By following the Wenger-Trayner conceptual framework, we collect value creation stories that combine different cycles of value creation. The story of the value created through attending a learning event starts with a description of the immediate value of the shared learning experience (cycle 1). The story may continue to highlight the created knowledge capital, the potential value of which may be realized only later on (cycle 2). Next, the story may explain the application of some of this capital to a specific situation, and the results of it (cycle 3). Finally, the story may link the learning experience to actual performance changes that are meaningful to participants and their organizations (cycle 4); and even contribute to a reflection on the performance definition, or reconsideration of strategies, goals and values (cycle 5).
The story told by the quantitative indicators might not always be complete; therefore we use the value creation stories to complement the quantitative data that we regularly collect through post-event surveys. The added value of qualitative data is especially important when measuring the applied value. While the immediate and potential value of learning can be measured with quantitative data, the applied value needs qualitative assessment. The stories help gain insight into changes in practice that have taken place in the institutions of our participants.