Blended learning approaches to teacher training

Mr Nils Geissler | Presentation (PDF)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH



Capacity development of teachers and teacher trainers are key in improving educational quality worldwide.

How can teachers and teacher trainers be effectively supported through professional development programs to transform their understanding and professional practice?

Which role can new media and especially mobile learning play in supporting teachers and teacher trainers in this learning process?

How can ‘traditional’ online courses be replaced, supplemented or supported by mobile technologies?

The GIZ education programs support teacher professional development through blended-learning training offers. We have had successful and replicable experiences in low and middle income settings and see great potential in addressing this global challenge also in other settings.

Blended-learning trainings combine face-to-face workshops for introduction, confidence building, group dynamics and technical training as well as online modules for content reinforcement, communicative and collaborative learning, coaching and ongoing support for transfer of understanding into practice.

The trainings are developed together with partner institutions from the country/local educational projects, for example universities and ministries and address a variety of subjects depending on the needs of the partners and the program design.

Some of the courses have a regional focus where participants from different countries learn from each other by reflecting on their own and others’ contexts.

New media can facilitate access to trainings as well as new forms of learning and teaching, such as peer-coaching, collaborative learning, etc.

In addition, teachers and teacher trainers develop ICT skills consequently by applying them in their own training, even though ICT might not be the subject of the training.

Examples of GIZ-supported trainings are:

  • Central America and Colombia: Peace education.
  • Peru: Environmental education and eco-efficiency in schools.
  • Guatemala: Human rights in education.
  • South and East Africa: HIV/Aids in teacher training.



The potential of mobile learning has not yet been unlocked. There are many promising pilots but little evidence or shared information on how to implement mobile approaches in traditional online or blended learning programs.

‘Traditional’ online courses often deal with technical challenges that low-end-mobile approaches might be able to overcome. But: can pedagogic approaches as described above, especially communicative and collaborative learning, be implemented through low-end mobile devices?

We would like to ask for input/advice from the audience on the following questions:

What would be assets by including mobile devices into a traditional blended-learning approach?

 How can the described experiences be further developed, upgraded or supported by mobile learning components?

What are good or bad experiences in combining mobile learning and ‘traditional’ online learning?



Mr Nils Geissler is Head of the Education Section of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). He is an expert in educational policy, in particular on sector program planning and quality management of educational institutions. Before joining GTZ/GIZ in 2010, Mr Geissler worked at the Saxon State Chancellery and the Saxon Ministry of Education for a number of years, lastly as the Head of the Division on Educational Policy, Economics and Monitoring.


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