Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Building your trainers ICT skills | ECDL certificate as an alternative for train of trainer programs

Having qualified trainers is one of the most important elements of e-skills training programs, this is well known, not really rocket science. However, the way that NGOs approach train of trainer (TOT) programs really varies depending on the needs of the target population, the social mission of the organization, the availability of human capital (i.e. trainers willing to improve their skills if necessary), and the resources available to train them.

Some NGOs develop their own TOT programs combining a variety of skills (e-skills, teaching methodology for groups with special needs, cultural sensitivity, etc). Others, use readily available e-skills training programs that lead to official certification, and this is the case of
LIKTA and its NGO partners in Latvia. LIKTA provides resources to its NGO partners for train the trainer programs that require trainers to become ECDL (European Computer Driver LIcense) certified, ensuring not only the quality of the trainers that the partners recruit, but offering also an incentive for them to build ICT skills that are transferable to the broader labor market.

For many trainers, the income they receive for teaching e-skills to underserved populations is an additional income aside to their every day jobs. For others, working with NGOs as trainers is the main and sole source of income they bring home. In either case, improving trainers quality and ability to teach while providing an incentive such an ECDL certificate, which by the way is expensive and out of the reach to many,is definitely a very wise strategy:
  • It is a smart use of NGO resources: time and money | instead of channeling resources to develop the actual ICT skills component of TOT - no need to reinvent the wheel
  • NGOs end up with qualified trainers with transferable skills in the labor market (either currently employed outside the NGO, or building experience for future employment)
NGOs working with a variety of groups (disabled, elderly, etc.) can bring "expert" trainers that help these groups with "specialized" teaching approaches. LIKTA's partner in Ventpils, the Digital Center, provides training for deaf and blind or visually impaired people using this strategy and, as the NGO director reported, they think it is a successful approach.

Some food for thought...

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