Three essential components of participatory e-learning

Participatory means providing the opportunity for people to be involved in deciding how something is done. The term is mostly used in politics and training/education jargons. We talk about a ‘participatory’ democracy. When running face-to-face workshops while doing development work in Africa in the nineties and later, it was considered important that we use ‘participatory’ approaches instead of the commonly used top-down techniques like lecture-style presentation.

It remains an essential part of the training philosophy in the development sector. Why in this sector more than elsewhere? Because training for development isn’t just about enhancing skills – it’s about empowerment.

Participatory doesn’t mean ‘making sure people participate’. The key is being involved in decision making – not just talk. So adding more discussions to a workshop doesn’t cut it – it should go much deeper than that.

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