23.02.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

UNESCO Organizes Training Workshop on Instructional Design for Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) in Rwanda

The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO, Mr LEE Byong-Hyun, the Principal of the University of Rwanda, College of Education, Prof. George N. Njoroge, and other representatives from the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC), UNESCO and IICBA, Copyright 2017 UNESCO

UNESCO, in partnership with The University of Rwanda, College of Education (URCE), the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (ICCBA), and Korea Funds-In-Trust (KFIT) organized a 5-day workshop on Instructional Design for ODeL at the University of Rwanda in Kigali, Rwanda, from 30 January to 3 February 2017.

In Rwanda’s ICT in Education Master Plan 2015-2020, the country aims to double, by 2018, the participation rate of tertiary level students engaged in ODeL. However significant challenges remain brought forth by a lack of teaching materials, qualified staff, adequate infrastructure, and of persistent inequality between urban and rural citizens in accessing the Internet. Of vital concern during this shift from traditional to online environments is ensuring that teaching and learning materials and platforms are designed to meet the needs of the learners and achieve their educational and curricular objectives. Designing visually appealing environments is important, but good instructional design and sound pedagogy remain essential. While institutional capacity for effective instructional design is poor in many developing contexts, capacity to apply instructional design principles in online environments is even rarer.

This training project, which aimed to instruct instructional design for ODeL, comprised of ten lecturers from each of three targeted Colleges: College of Arts and Social Sciences, College of Science and Technology, and College of Education. The International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (ICCBA), whose primary goals is to develop capacity of teachers, including new and innovative approaches, including the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in education, led the training.

Participants expressed satisfaction with the training, stating that their expectations were met. In particular, the majority of participants enjoyed the topics on instructional design, course analysis, and hands on experience using the online Learning Management System (LMS) Moodle, which enables lecturers and learners to interact with online content. All the colleges of the University of Rwanda are using the online LMS and this use, it is widely perceived, has necessitated the current and future training that incorporates it.

The instructional design for ODeL workshop was officially launched by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO, Mr LEE Byong-Hyun, the Ministry of Education and the Programme Coordinator of the UNESCO Antenna Office in Rwanda. Mr LEE Byong-Hyun highlighted the importance of using different technologies in Education, which he referred to as an untapped resource in many developing countries. Ambassador LEE stressed that ICT has the potential to dramatically change the way education is delivered and that it can improve learning outcomes under the right conditions. Mr Peter Wallet, UNESCO Programme Coordinator in Rwanda, elaborated that effective instructional design is at the core for successful implementation of ODeL solutions. He added that good design, understanding learners’ needs, sound pedagogy and systematic evaluation are key in successful ODeL that supports and enhances student learning.

With these new skills acquired, lecturers are expected to be able to begin to effectively plan, design and develop teaching and learning materials for ODeL environments. Moreover, participants from the three colleges of the University of Rwanda will aim to cascade some of this knowledge and skills in their own respective institutions.

ICT Transforming Education in Africa is a project developed within a framework of cooperation between UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea Funds-In-Trust initiative. The project (2016-2018) intends to support the integration of ICT-based innovative approaches for education in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The project was launched at the 2015 World Education Forum, in Incheon, Republic of Korea and is aligned with the Education 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 4 on Education, the Global Education First Initiative, and the Qingdao Declaration on ICT and Education.

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