E-learning and Remote Technical Assistance (RTA) are Distance Learning (DL) expressions, which are complementary and synergistic with traditional face-to-face learning and technical assistance activities that CIHEAM Bari promotes for the benefit of its partners, enhancing its multiplier effects and increasing the number of beneficiaries. The above Knowledge transfer modalities take into account both detailed context analyses (for training, social and technological purposes) and appropriate methodologies for adult learning.
The E-learning activity involves the online delivery of structured courses (usually in asynchronous mode) implemented on a specially designed platform.
The RTA consists in targeted interventions (usually short) that try to respond to “on demand” specific problems. These are info-training sessions delivered asynchronously from a web-meeting (on-air) platform and then implemented on the e-learning platform (on-line).
- The identification of learning models suitable for social contexts and up-to-date to the new available technologies (ICTs);
- The preparation of new E-learning courses.
The learning methodology applied by CIHEAM Bari in E-learning has always taken into account the type of interaction among different actors of the learning process, thereby favouring a “collaborative-constructivist” approach. This approach, mostly applied to adults, has often allowed the development of “peer learning” contexts for “responsible” learning, as is the case in the “Communities of practice” (CoP).
Important studies indicate the “sense of belonging” as the ideal condition of learning. Therefore, CIHEAM Bari seeks to create the conditions for “Inclusive Learning Environment” (ILE) and cognitive ergonomy, by promoting a set of planned actions that, although fulfilling the key role of learning, pay particular attention to the individual needs, as well as the cultural and language levels of beneficiaries.
On the other hand, the methodology applied for RTA is mostly based on a one-directional transmissive model between teacher/expert and student/beneficiary (like face to face) supported by the very updated “live video streaming” technologies.
The tutors, who are particularly important and strategic for the learning models applied by CIHEAM Bari, in all cases, play a crucial role in mediating/promoting communication and supporting the whole training process.
The technological solutions adopted by CIHEAM Bari (platforms, software, digital artifacts, etc..) are appropriately selected based on the delivery method and the technological context of target countries. They are always satisfactory for user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness. Access to the Internet, often ensured by good satellite coverage, generally enables the active participation of users via the most advanced tools of “live video streaming” currently on the market. Moreover, CIHEAM Bari has Learning Management System and Web Meetings technologies that enable both “on-line” and “on-air” functions.
The E-learning platform of CIHEAM Bari (el.iamb.it) is released under open source license Claroline, (© Claroline) (https://claroline.net) based on PHP and MySQL technologies, largely used at international level because of its availability in over 35 languages. Claroline enables to administer courses, manage on-line contents, documents, video-lectures, exercises and discussion Fora. The platform has been developed following teachers’ experiences and is very much appreciated for its considerable capacity to monitor all different activities providing a classified catalogue of courses in English, French, Arabic and Italian.
The web-meeting platform allowing the recording of video lectures delivered on a real-time basis from the transmitting station (CIHEAM Bari) to one or more receiving stations (e.g. offices, consortia, workers’ associations). The platform allows for the active participation via the teacher/learner interaction during the live session (on-air activity). If missing these lectures at the set time, it is possible to get the recorded broadcast (online activity) from the E-learning platform.
The CIHEAM Bari has launched an important collaboration activity with the FAO E-Learning so as to mutually benefit the courses provided by the two institutions.