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How to Use the Training Material on this Site

By Phil Bartle, PhD

Trainers' Reference

Methods for training mobilizers and managers


While most of the training modules on this site are focussed on content (empowerment), this module, in contrast, looks at methods of getting the material from the trainers to the trainees.

The other modules on the site are composed of the "How to" of capacity development (of communities, organizations, mobilizers, managers), whereas this is concentrated on the "How to" of training (getting the principles and methods across to the participants).

Characteristics of the Material:

The training documents available on this site are based on training needs of mobilizers, managers, co-ordinators, and programmes. They are consistent with the objectives of capacity development of communities, organizations, mobilizers and managers. The documents are therefore aimed at different recipients (Some participants are mobilizers, managers, others are community members, staff). Within a single module, different documents deal with the material in different ways, some aimed at the trainer, some at the trainees, others at both.

The methods of training suggested on this site are unorthodox. That is to say they do not conform to traditional educational, pedagogical, teaching methods. Orthodox schooling is based mainly on a lecture or presentation approach, where the trainer is a performer and the trainees are the audience. While the material here can be used in that way, it is designed instead for various participatory approaches.

The material here is replicable, practical, usable, and based on practice or methods, not on theory. Some discussion of principles replaces treatises on theory.

Each document can be used as a basis for a stand-alone half day or one day workshop, or can used in combination with any number of other documents for longer workshops. The choice is yours.

The site as a whole can be used resource centre in two ways, (1) directly using the documents as training material, or (2) using them as guidelines for preparing your own, locally appropriate (and in local languages) training material.

Directly Using the Material:

There is no pre-determined order of the material on this site. You can look at the general content listed as module topics on the Site Map, and choose any one or combination of training documents to use directly. You can then present them in the order you designate as appropriate for the needs you ascertain. The Site Map is like a cafeteria; you pick and choose documents according to needs and wants. You can prepare your own syllabus or curriculum, using selected material from this site, and based on the needs assessment of the trainees you have in mind.

From the site, you can print just the documents you want. For each module you might find different documents: core, reference, handout, trainer, participant. They may have some overlap or redundancy of material. That is deliberate; they are intended for different audiences.

The training can be used in training institutions, or universities, but is not designed as such. This material is designed for mobilizers and managers at work ─ in the field. It is aimed at being part of their In service training. Trainees can take a few hours off work, participate in one or more of the training sessions, and combine the training with practice in the field.

Using the Material as Guidelines:

As in a resource centre, the material here can be used for making your own material.

You can translate some of the documents into local languages. You can hire an artist to make locally appropriate line drawings with local dress and local conditions. You can prepare your own training material based on this, including art, videos, and translations. You can prepare audio visual material for non literate trainees: videos, drawings, and photos. Black and white line drawings, should include chickens, dogs, babies, village scenes (if your target area is rural), slum scenes (if your target area is urban).

The drawings should have a sort of "realism" about them so that they are not seen as "cleaned up" or whitewashed. People depicted in the line drawings should have a dress code that represents what people in the target area are wearing. They should not be all dressed up in their "Sunday Best," which portrays an unrealistic depiction of the situation. Drawings in this site are all black and white, not colour, so that they do not look like they cost too much to produce. (Actual cost per drawing was $10 to $50 each). The black and white drawings should reflect some goals of the programme such as gender balance, a wide age spectrum, groups of persons co-operating, people rather than only machines. Trainers, leaders, co-ordinators and speakers should often be shown as female in the drawings, so that the trainees begin to see that as normal.

Characteristics of the Training:

The training on this site has several distinct features:

  1. it is adult education,
  2. it is equalitarian,
  3. it is intended for on-the-job training rather than in an educational institution, and
  4. it is based on the principle of "Learning-by-doing."

Much of the profession of education is aimed at teaching children. This material is not; it is for adults. Adult education. To be effective you must abandon some methods used by many school teachers. The most important element of this training is the element of respect for the trainees.

Some school teachers often operate as if there is some finite amount of knowledge in the world, that their students are like empty vessels, and their duty is to fill those vessels. In this training, we must build on the experience and maturity of the trainees, as adults, and draw the material out of them and make good use of their experience.

This training does not only support the ideals of equality in its content, it is presented in an equalitarian manner. The method of training does not bow to social status (eg VIPs as observers not welcome as observers, but can participate in the training).

The training is not designed to be part of a training or educational institution. It is designed for setting up training workshops, half day, one day, two day. While each topic can be presented as a short, half day workshop, each can also be combined with any other topics in one- or two-day workshops. The choice of which topics is up to you, and can be based on identified needs.

Learning by Doing:

Doing is a better way to learn than reading, watching, listening. This material has a participatory emphasis, more facilitation, less lecturing or presenting.

We can learn material by reading about it, by hearing others talking about it, by watching films or videos about it, by watching it in real life, or by doing it. Our retention of the material differs according to the medium by which it is presented. Educators have long known that we learn best by doing. During a one-hour lecture, perhaps ninety per cent of our concentration is used up in the first five minutes of the lecture. We learn better by seeing something done than by reading or hearing about it. We learn even better by doing it.

The workshops for this material should emphasize "learning by doing," and the written material and the presentations should be used only as supplements to reinforce the learning by doing.

Types of learning by doing:
  • Role playing;
  • Simulation;
  • Scenario;
  • Practice in classroom;
  • Supervised Practice in field; and
  • Unsupervised practice in the field.

Workshop agendas may include presentations, but not be limited to them; organizers should creatively and pro-actively seek to include various ways to include opportunities for the trainees, as participants, to participate in the activities about which they are training. This may include mock situations as in role playing sessions, and field trips where participants are allowed some hands-on experiences in the field.

The final learning-by-doing is where the trainees work in the field unsupervised, and come back to report on how they did.

To Wrap Up:

You are welcome to use the training material as you deem best. The guidelines here are offered in terms of how they were designed, for field workers in mobilization and management, adults, who need on-the-job training, in short sessions such as workshops.

Tuum est.
(It's up to you).


A Workshop:

A Workshop

© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle
Web Design by Lourdes Sada
Last update: 2011.07.25

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