BDC Equipping Teachers for Distance Learning

Jordan: Equipping Teachers for Distance Learning

by:ETF - European Training Foundation

When the Jordanian government imposed its lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 14, the Business Development Center (BDC) waited a week.

The first week, we didn't want to do anything, because people were panicking and not happy, said Nayef Stetieh, BDC Founder & CEO. People didn't want to do anything.

Not that Stetieh and his staff were just sitting around. Three weeks before the lockdown, the BDC began to prepare an emergency plan. This included ensuring that everyone had unlimited WiFi and all the prepaid mobile bundles they needed to guarantee seamless internal communication. They made sure that everyone had access to all the necessary communications tools, platforms and applications.

A week into the lockdown, the BDC shifted its focus to its beneficiaries. This included a novel online train-the-trainers program.

A non-profit that promotes economic development, with emphasis on youth, women and SMEs, BDC has provided vocational and entrepreneurial training for over 150,000 young people through its Maharat & Sanad Employment and Training Programs.

The first step under lockdown was to use social media to reach out to the BDCs over 250,000 current and former beneficiaries. We developed some very quick video shorts of a half a minute each that we have sent through Facebook and other social media channels, Stetieh said. The message was: Stay home, but stay active. Start building on our competencies. All told, these videos have reached over 500,000 people in a country of 10 million.

Around the same time, BDC announced plans to conduct a series of online train-the-trainer sessions. They started again by reaching out using their database of former beneficiaries. Many of the trainers in Jordan have gone through one of your programs in the past, Stetieh noted.

Ultimately, 52 vocational and entrepreneurship trainers signed up for the distance learning course. The BDC used Zoom to bring in an expert to conduct the sessions. The course represented perhaps the most ambitious distance learning effort in Jordan to date. The newly formed Technical and Skills Development Commission, the governing body of the countrys technical and vocational education and training (TVET), recently launched an e-learning platform through which they have trained a handful teachers and trainers. The government plans to expand that program.

The curriculum for the BDC sessions focused on how to organize distance learning courses and how to use tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Team, and Facebook Live. It addressed advanced features such as polling and Zooms Rooms for breakout groups. They discussed how to adapt teaching materials for online learning. The BDC also developed a series of videos that trainers can use as part of their online classes.

The BDC has also launched a series of training online programs for young people, working both independently and through universities. So far, these have reached over 600 students.

In general, Stetieh is pleased with his organizations foray into distance learning. The communications tools allowed the BDC to bring in experts from as far afield as Brazil and Canada, for instance.

The main drawback has been the inability to offer hands-on practical experience. We can give [students] the basic tools on how to manage a machine, he said. But in terms of stitching, for example, you cannot teach it online. You have to do it in the factory.


Link to the article on ETF's website

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