The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a series of changes in our lifestyles. Among these ways of learning has also been affected, in some way getting limited and in the other opening up new horizons. Online learning or often referred to as virtual or e-learning has been a lesser-known or explored process before the pandemic. But the pandemic has shown us the power, ease, effectiveness, and sense of urgency towards online education. All these make us think of online learning as an alternative to some extent and in the future complementing traditional education.
For students, academicians and professionals it is a must to continue the learning process for developing self. The various online platforms like Swayam, edX, Coursera, Acumen Academy and many others are offering numerous courses with either free or paid subscription options. These diverse courses are very significant in supporting knowledge, skill development, and gaining expertise. The period of lockdown has shown an immense rise in the participation of learners towards using their times for some meaningful purpose. In this blog, I will be sharing the worth of online learning through my experiences, and how it supported me in my fellowship.
With my interest in Social Development, and with support from the AIF Clinton Fellowship program, I enrolled myself in an online course by Acumen Academy and NavoEd. Here I made a team name “the Young Tale” and was able to connect 8 international members across the globe to co-create engagements during the course. As a team leader I got the opportunity to facilitate the following activities for myself and others in our team:
Just after the official start of the course, our team initiated to have interactions over the community page. A WhatsApp group was also created for the convenience of sharing. At the end of every week, we had a video meeting to discuss our understandings, presenting our assignments, and co-create activities. This helped a lot in knowing different perspectives on a single issue involving Social Entrepreneurship. One of our team members shared her start-up story of toy designing and craftsmanship works.
Acumen Academy in association with NavoEd has designed some very interesting and informative social entrepreneurship theories and practices with examples from real-life experiences. Every module contains reading materials, workshop discussion points, and an assignment template with instructions & examples. Every week new module starts and lets us understand a concept in great depth. This demonstrates the structured way of the learning process with engaging in many activities.
Assignments: Self & Group
Towards the end of every module, one assignment follows for self in prototyping ideas into templates. This further is needed to be co-created to design group learnings in form of assignments. Once all the assignments are completed, it gets submitted in the global platform. Here we also have our sharing and can go through others learning as well.
The option of getting instant feedback from the team and the larger community of the course is a privilege. This helps us to know various perspectives and possibilities to improve our ideas, designs, and understandings. While working on the last group assignment to design a launch plan of a social entrepreneur idea, I could get some instant feedback. This included how we should incorporate ideas of all team members, divide roles and facilitate the workshop. The feedbacks improved our workshop timings, availability, open sharing, and accomplishment of course for all in the group.
Support of the Online Course into My Fellowship
I could see few changes in the way I was delivering to my host organization project. I was able to design a theory of change for my project on sustainable agriculture and livelihood models. This helped me to further design an infographic that was shared with interns to make them understand our works. I was able to use my understanding from the workshop templates to design questionnaires for organizing Focused Group Discussions with communities. Further, it developed my skills in drafting grant proposal writings. By all means, the online learning and sharing with the international team members was a great accomplishment in a short span of over six weeks.