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Introducing online learning in the agricultural education sector in Tunisia

22-02-2022

As part of the OKP TMT+ project “Formulaire de proposition conjointe - Formation sur mesure Plus”, Sandra Adriaansens visited Tunisia to provide an introduction training to digitalization and innovative teaching methodologies. Ms. Adriaansens who is Senior Business Development Manager at Maastricht School of Management (MSM) had the honor to introduce the managerial and user aspects of blended learning practices and the MSM e-learning platform at the premises of Centre de Formation Professionnelle Agricole Manouba.

The participants that took part in the online learning training consisted of directors and teachers from 4 Agricultural Vocational training colleges, Agence de Vulgarisation et de Formation Agricole (AVFA) and Vocational Training colleges in the field of horticulture management.

Developing online learning
An assessment prior to the mission amongst all participating organizations had shown that despite a good attempt to harness the COVID pandemic, online learning practices were still in its infancy face. Online learning is still used as Emergency Remote Teaching instead of developing further. The current activities are mainly limited to Zoom teaching in a one-way direction from Professor to students. We as such started with acquainting participants with more elaborative and collaborative approaches on online learning, teaching the combination of the Face-to-Face teaching with different types of online learning, supported through collaborative digital tools. Getting a better understanding of the possibilities and available tools was an eye-opener how much can be done within online learning.

Secondly, we discussed the necessary technology and ICT infrastructure to run online learning courses from the MSM e-learning platform. Participants were positively surprised about the minimum level of investment needed other than better (broader bandwidth) internet connection at their premises and smart devices running on Google Chrome. Thirdly, a managerial framework, accompanied with an example of a strategic online learning plan was presented, including the required competences and skills of the integrative e-learning team to manage online learning implementation. Out of this conversation sufficient leadership and computer skills were shown, a good indicator and promising for colleges being ready for implementation of next steps in their digital learning journey.

The introduction discussion was followed by a 2,5 day more practical course for teachers on blended learning teaching didactics. This course aimed to link the theory of design, online didactics and the actual application of these concepts in the established e-learning platform of MSM. Participants learned and discussed the differences in teaching didactics between Face-to-Face teaching and online (blended) formats. Since the e-learning platform of MSM allows to seamlessly scale courses to various TVET colleges, adjusted in the brand-style and language preferred, the participating lecturers enjoyed applying the concepts presented by applying it in the MSM demo pre-packaged course. They experienced the user friendliness and collabortiveness between students and teachers and ultimately practiced 6 types of automated interactive self-assessments. They embraced the efficiency in development of courses and assessment and high level of practical / competence based  learning in the e-learning platform. At the end of the course, the participants were eager and looking forward to the next steps. As a first step technical investments will have to be made to then take online learning to a next level.

Orange Knowledge Programme
This Tailor-Made-Training is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

MSM's Expert Centre for Emerging Economies

This TMT is part of MSM's Expert Centre for Emerging Economies. The department is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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