THE MAK’ED TEAM introduced the learning management system Moodle at the peacekeeping school “École de Maintien de la Paix” and conducted a train-the-trainer qualification for online teaching. This created an important basis for successful online learning.
Since its foundation, THE MAK’ED TEAM has worked with a distinct international focus and is certified by iMove, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for the internationalization of German education and training services.
One of THE MAK’ED TEAM’s core competences is the establishment, development and management of training and education academies to promote skilled workers on site. That’s how we were selected for the project at the West African educational institution “Ecole de Maintien de la Paix” (EMP-ABB), which extended from November 2020 to September 2021, including the planning and start-up phase.
An educational institution for peace
The academy is located in the Malian capital Bamako and pursues a clear goal: it wants to promote peace on the entire continent. To this end, it strengthens the country’s human resources capacities in order to support African peace operations and strengthen the culture of peace. The educational institution is an international center of excellence of the West African Economic Community ECOWAS. More than 32,000 participants have already been trained here, including peace actors, students, journalists and representatives of associations, NGOs, the police and the military.
Enabling distance learning: integrating online learning into everyday life
With the Corona crisis, the institution’s focus increasingly shifted to distance learning. However, sufficient capacities and competences for this were not yet available on site. The project therefore had two goals: The first objective was to support the administrators and the webmaster in effectively establishing the learning management system Moodle in conjunction with Zoom for online video sessions. The second objective was to support the permanent teaching staff in designing modules and courses for distance learning in order to generate attractive courses. The project was conducted in French.
Teachers should support changes from the beginning
First, an old existing learning platform was replaced by the new system. Parallel to the establishment of technical framework conditions, however, the focus was on the instructors from the very beginning. The aim was to introduce them to virtual teaching and learning – both in terms of technical possibilities and approaches as well as in terms of motivation and support for learners. They were to develop a basic understanding of the differences between face-to-face and online courses, because only on this basis can they effectively fill the new digital learning offer with life for the students, develop webinars or face-to-face seminars with virtual components from their own practice, and support the changes from the very beginning.
Technical requirements and content expectations
THE MAK`ED TEAM has a lot of experience in developing and implementing qualification programs. As with almost every international project, there were special challenges. Ann-Katrin Hardenberg, Managing Partner at THE MAK’ED TEAM and responsible for the project, states: “On the technical side, there are problems with the local network infrastructure and access to the internet is not guaranteed throughout. There is hardly any way to influence this. And that is not easy, especially when you have to realize such a project exclusively from Germany, as was the case here. But in other respects, we were able to improve the technical conditions considerably: During the project, we trained an administrator who can competently supervise and as well as further develop the Moodle system on site. With him and other colleagues, the teachers have a team for technical support.”
The educational institution’s management has been very committed to supporting and driving the project forward. Ultimately, the project has set in motion a kind of “change in the culture of teaching” and organizational development, which can be used in the future for an ever-increasing number of courses offered with a mature practical learning management system. This is an important basis for future-oriented, successful initial and continuing education at the educational institution.
To the detailed report of iMOVE: Train-the-Trainer programme for Mali