In response to the COVID-19 pandemic DVV International Armenia developed and conduct a blended learning course to give trainers of partner adult education centres (AEC) a broad idea about blended teaching/learning and introduce them to the tools and technologies needed. In the aftermath of introducing a state of emergency in Armenia on 16 March (currently prolonged to 11 September 2020), educational activities were prohibited, among other limitations. While schools and universities shifted their educational mandate to some extent to online formats, the adult education sector was confronted with many challenges. One reason for this is the lack of digital capacities among trainers, especially those teaching vocations such as cooking, hairdressing or manicure.
Improving digital education skills through mentorship
The blended learning course was developed and delivered by DVV’s staff Misha Tadevosyan and Alla Gevorgyan, both experienced trainers. In preparatory discussions, the AEC management and DVV International Armenia agreed that a single course is not enough and that there should be a follow-up support helping the trainers adapt their courses. This is how the idea of a mentorship evolved and 4 mentors were requested to help the training participants in using technology and digital tools for adult education purposes.
Designing an online adult education course
Eighteen participants attended the three-day online blended learning overview course, including the mentors. The topics included information on educational platforms, blended teaching/learning models and structure of blended learning (BL) course. The first and second day of the course ran consecutively, while the third session was organized a few days later in order to give participants time to work on individual tasks, such as drafting a simplified BL program outline for their own courses. In the month following the training, the mentor-mentee pairs worked on their specific programmes based on the new tools.
The online feedback form indicated that over 83% of the participants have improved their understanding of BL and their online communications skills, and 44% acquired technology skills.
As the programme evolved, the need for additional capacity building became clear, both through our own observations, the feedback from AEC trainers and the mentors. Thus, the BL programme and mentorship was followed by a course on the basics of adult education and assessment methods.
At the end of the programme:
• 14 courses developed
• over 50 resources developed (including videos, PPT presentations, etc.).