Online is the new normal and ZOOM feels like the back of our hand. World Water Academy has been providing didactical training for many years to train water professionals in the art of teaching and training. But what about persons we don’t know yet and participants at a distance of 10,000 kilometres with varying internet quality? Training experts Mark van Dodeweerd, Claudia Peters and Agnes Maenhout have gained a whole new experience with the Online Training of Trainers on 23 and 26 February 2021. We trained ten South African water professionals from five different cities in the basics of the training skills. And with success: they all passed the theoretic and the practical assessments. And they rated the training with an average score of 4.5 (scale 1 out of 5).
Digital teaching methods
The preparation for digital lessons takes a lot of time. Once the entire program has been properly and tightly programmed, space is created to anticipate unexpected situations. During the 2-day Training of Trainers we teach the new trainers to involve their participants by using interactive methods. In an online environment we had to use digital interactive methods. The participants created a wordcloud in Mentimeter, instead of post-its, , they shared own or internet photos instead of prints. The red and green cards were replaced by a red and green object of their workplace and even the coffee break offered space for private break-out rooms. All assignments are digital, as well as the assessment. Mini-lessons and personal feedback was given in break-out rooms. The participants were very positive about these interactive digital teaching methods. Besides they met fellow teachers of other parts of South Africa.
Online training of skills and attitude
At the end of the training we concluded that everything is possible digitally; sometimes it works even more smooth! Distance is irrelevant; the internet is the lifeline. Digitization has also made great progress in South Africa last year. The Dutch trainers were able to work on attitude, in addition to the knowledge and skills of the participants. For example, in disciplines such as time management, turning on the video and giving positive feedback.
Bridging the Water is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme.