CIRDI’s learning and training programs incorporate a variety of teaching methods including: presentations, case studies, breakout sessions, peer-to-peer learning, analysis of leading global practices, and where possible field-based learning. Training sessions can also include experiential learning through the interactive development of guidelines or strategies and action plans for the government. Our programs are unique in the extent of learning engagement in the design and delivery of the course. All methods are adapted to the perspectives and circumstances of the learner through a needs-based collaborative learning approach. This is rooted in a social learning approach, which encourages a shift away from a traditional expert-based method of teaching and learning to a community-based co-learning method. Detailed needs assessments are conducted with local partners in order to understand baseline knowledge levels, define learning objectives, and ensure that the most appropriate pedagogical approaches are employed. CIRDI’s programs all contain strong gender elements and apply the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) where relevant.
Courses are designed for government officials, local communities and professionals. There are no specific admission requirements, but depending on the course details, some experience in the topic may be desirable. Course content is currently available in Spanish and/or English, and translation services will be provided as needed. Training can be undertaken in the partner country or through UBC’s facilities in Vancouver. Furthermore, in light of COVID-19 restrictions, CIRDI’s course offerings can be adapted to online learning delivered through webinars or on UBC’s online learning platform, Canvas.
SOCIAL LEARNING ONLINE & COVID-19
The CIRDI approach to training under COVID-19 restrictions capitalizes on the benefits of digital learning systems while retaining the important pedagogical benefits of social and collaborative learning. CIRDI’s approach recognizes that digital learning can support the democratization of knowledge transfer – however specific measures must be taken to ensure learning experiences are equitable regardless of gender, income or internet connectivity.
CIRDI recognizes that online learning must be equitable from the design phase through to delivery, and we deliver our program interventions accordingly. For example, needs assessments are still a necessary element of the learning design process – in a COVID context, CIRDI assesses participants’ needs remotely. Additionally, CIRDI endeavours to ensure digital learning products are nationally and locally relevant in both content as well as visual design and delivery, and “low tech” resources are provided to support digital learning in low-bandwidth settings to ensure that any restrictions in knowledge dissemination associated with COVID are not compounded by unequal access to technology.