Methodology

The learning platform, Moodle, is based on the concept of Socio-onstructivist pedagogy. Proponents of Constructionist Learning believe that knowledge is developed or ‘constructed’ in the mind of the student through collaborative learning processes rather than being merely passed on through traditional text books and teacher-to-student teaching methods.

Instead of simply distributing information which they believe students should read and retain, teachers that use a constructionist approach create a student-centred environment for each student, which empowers him or her to construct new knowledge through stimulated processes of inquiry and collaborative discussion.

Constructionist learning is at times seen as a contrast to results-driven education, such as the No Child Left Behind Act in the United States which emphasizes assessment by results rather than teaching techniques or pedagogy, thereby running the risk of neglecting learning in favour of a maximum number of passes.

All our courses use an e-learning (‘electronic learning’) methodology with variations according to the scope and level of the course chosen.

As an overview of e-learning let’s look at some definitions of e-learning in Wikipedia:

Distance learning is characterised by a physical separation between the teacher and his or her student.  The student generally has to manage his or her own learning processes with guidance and stimulus materials provided by external tutors.

Nowadays the Internet is used as the preferential method of communication between the teacher and the student engaged in a distance learning process.  E-learning courses are specifically designed to make use of the services and tools that the internet provides.

Within the distance learning mode, e-learning is one of the options currently used with increasing frequency to meet the needs of those who combine work and continuous education as it does not require regular attendance at scheduled classes in a particular location. Its users can decide their own timetable and can enter the learning platform from anywhere where they have access to a computer and an internet connection.

According to Rosenberg, e-learning can also be defined as the use of internet technology for the delivery of a wide range of solutions which improve knowledge and performance and it is based on three basic criteria:

  1. E-learning works on a network, which enables instant updating, storage, recovery, distribution and allows the sharing of instruction of information.
  2. It is delivered to the final user by means of computers using standard internet technology.
  3. It focuses on the broader vision of learning beyond the traditional paradigms of training.

From the perspective that it offers experience in the development and operation of e-learning platforms, Garcia Peñalvo offers his definition of e-learning as:

“Remote training that by means of technological platforms enables flexible access and time in the teaching-learning process, adapting to the skills, requirements and availability of each student as well as guaranteeing collaborative learning environments by means of using synchronous and asynchronous communication tools, enhancing in short the competence-based management process”

Master’s Programme and Expert Course

The Master’s degree programme and Expert course place the user or ‘learner’ as the centre of the training process. He or she sets the study pace and manages the learning process, taking time over aspects of greater interest or difficulty and moving on when he or she feels satisfied with the level knowledge developed.  Selected elements of this methodology are explained below:

  • Learning takes place in a Virtual Classroom, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, accessible by internet from anywhere by means of a user name and password.
  • Once in the classroom the student will find general information about the course to enable him or her to get started, as well as the course subject material with accompanying exercises and support documents.
  • The training process for each of the topics draws on the following tools and materials.
    • Training guide with study recommendations
    • Learning objectives
    • Presentations
    • Videos
    • Selection of official documents from the United Nations, NGOs and official cooperation organizations, with study instructions.
    • Summary of key messages.
    • Bibliography
  • The evaluation system consists of:
    • Online exams
    • A final assignment and/or research and development activities: Specific exercises regarding case studies and key questions.
  • The learning process is supported by the set up of debate forums for all topics.

All the students cover the same topics within the same timeframe, but each student works through the course materials at his or her own pace. This enables forums to be interesting and relevant, and often provokes discussion between students of a similar advanced level.

The intrinsic flexibility in these courses means that, if necessary, students can interrupt their studies for periods of time, for work or other reasons.  When this happens, they are recommended to restart at the same stage as the rest of the group and to gradually cover missed material with the support of the tutor.

The MASTER’S DEGREE PROGRAMME includes in-depth study of the principles and foundations of humanitarian aid and development cooperation, in addition to advanced operational topics.  It prepares and equips students to face complex humanitarian challenges, and to search for creative solutions to new scenarios. The EXPERT COURSE focuses on operational aspects at an advanced level.

E-learning Advantages

  • Flexible timetable: The user adapts the learning to suit their timetable given that courses are available at any time.
  • Geographic independence: Courses can be carried out from anywhere that has internet access. It is especially useful for forming geographically widespread groups.
  • Focussed on the student: E-learning puts the students at the centre of the learning process; they set the pace and  dedicate more time to aspects which are more interesting or difficult.
  • Reduction in cost: The registration costs are significantly lower and there are no travel expenses.  Training can be received at the workplace or at home.
  • Activity compatibility: A major benefit of the flexible timetable is that  courses can be studied without abandoning other activities, whether these are academic, work or leisure-related.
  • Easy to use: Once the student is familiarized with the web environment the course material is easily accessible.
  • Internet integrated: Significantly increasingly research possibilities throughout the course.

E-learning is ideally suited to corporate or individual training as well as for those with limited time or geographical restrictions.

Also available in: French, Spanish