About the Blended Learning Initiative
1. What is the Blended Learning Initiative?
AKF’s Blended Learning Initiative enables AKF’s units, affiliates and partners to access, create, and deliver highly localised, practically-oriented, high-quality courses. AKF’s blended learning courses aim to strengthen civil society, communities, staff, and other key groups. Courses combine video-based learning with highly interactive face-to-face workshops to ensure learners have the opportunity to convert their newly-acquired knowledge into real-life skills.
Courses are currently available on topics in the areas of agriculture & food security, economic inclusion, civil society, health, innovation, and results & learning.
2. Why does AKF use the blended learning approach?
AKF uses the blended learning approach for a number of reasons including to reduce the cost of training delivery, to reduce duplication of effort in the area of course development/production, to standardise training quality, to share and scale best practices in different thematic areas across wider audiences, to promote lifelong learning among its beneficiaries, partners and staff, to ensure training content reaching its target audiences is fully localised and adapted to their needs and realities.
3. What are the advantages of the blended learning approach?
AKF’s blended learning model has several advantages. The first is that it is low-cost. This means it replaces traditional short-term, high-cost workshop-based capacity building trainings with blended learning content produced in a low-cost video lab.
This reduces classroom time by as much as 80%, thus significantly lowering the cost of course delivery. The low-cost course production model also means courses are scalable and easily replicable to other languages and contexts. The second advantage is the level of localisation.
AKF’s blended learning courses are offered in a range of languages and localised to the different cultural, socio-economic, and linguistic contexts they are delivered in. AKF’s decades-long experience in the communities allows us to create courses that are adapted and highly relevant to the real-life problems of target audiences. The third is that the extent to which courses are adapted to their target audiences.
Most e-learning/blended learning courses currently available on the market are geared towards highly literate, well educated audiences. AKF’s blended learning courses, however, are designed for a wider range of audiences: old and young, urban and rural, literate and illiterate. Course content and tools are suited to people with different levels of comfort with technology. Content is presented in bite-sized format and aims to be as non-threatening as possible for audience that are exposed to blended learning or online learning for the first time.
4. Who developed AKF’s blended learning courses?
All courses are developed by experts who have extensive field experience in the countries where AKF works. Some courses are produced centrally by AKF and are geared towards an international/global audience. These courses are marked “Global” on the AKF Blended Learning Initiative website.
Other courses have been developed locally for delivery in a particular country or region. These courses have the target country indicated next to the title of the course.
5. What are the components of a blended learning course?
AKF’s blended learning courses have two main components: a series of short-video lessons and a highly interactive in-person workshop. The video-based portion of a course includes a local narrator speaking to the camera, illustrative footage from the local context, exercises, templates and tools, self-assessment quizzes, and other resources.
The in-person workshop, which is standardised and guided, uses gamification principles, interactivity, and learning-by-doing to ensure learners stay actively engaged throughout.
6. How long is a typical blended learning course?
The majority of AKF’s blended learning courses contain about 1.5 hours of video-based material broken down into short video lessons of 1-5 minutes on average. The accompanying in-person session is usually 1 day long.
That said, there is a lot of variation. Our shortest course contains about 7 minutes of video and is followed by a 45-minute in person session. Our longest courses contains 4.5 hours of video and is followed by a 2-day in person session.
7. What countries is the Blended Learning Initiative active in?
In October 2018, the Blended Learning Initiative was active in: Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Egypt, Portugal, and Canada.
8. Who is the Blended Learning Initiative for? Are AKF’s blended learning courses only for AKF staff?
AKF’s blended learning courses are built for AKF beneficiaries, partners, and AKF/AKDN staff. This includes civil society, communities, and other key groups.
9. How many people have so far taken courses through the Blended Learning Initiative?
By October 2018, approximately 23,000 people had taken an AKF blended learning course.
10. Who owns the courses on AKF’s Blended Learning Initiative website?
All courses listed on the AKF Blended Learning Initiative website are property of the Aga Khan Foundation. Some courses that were co-created with other organisations have shared ownership with those organisations. All courses are registered under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives licence. For more information, please go here
Accessing and taking courses
11. How can I see an example of what an AKF blended learning course looks like?
12. How can I get full access to a course listed on the Blended Learning Initiative website?
AKF’s blended learning courses are open to beneficiaries, partners, and staff who have been enrolled in a full course, in other words, into a course that has a scheduled face-to-face workshop.
If you haven’t been enrolled in a scheduled course but would like to access the video-based part of a course, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for us to assess your request. Please be sure to include the following information: the name of the organisation you work for; its affiliation it has with the Aga Khan Foundation or Aga Khan Development Network, if any; the country you live in; the course(s) you are interested in taking.
13. Can I share AKF’s blended learning courses with my colleagues?
Please see the answer to the previous question.
14. Do I have to pay to take a course?
No, all AKF blended learning courses are offered free of charge.
15. Is the face-to-face session that follows the video-based part of the course really necessary?
Yes. AKF’s blended learning model aims to enhance people’s skills in different areas. For this reason, the in-person sessions that follow the video-based portion of a course are essential.
They are based on the principles of adult learning – including experiential learning, peer learning, practice, variety, and fun – and are design to help learners convert their newly-acquired knowledge into skills they can readily apply in their work and in their life.
Facilitating and delivering courses
16. Can I become a facilitator of AKF’s blended learning courses?
Yes, as long as you meet the 3 following criteria:
Proven thematic expertise/knowledge in the topic(s) of the course(s) you are planning to deliver.
Demonstrated experience in course/workshop facilitation AND/OR completion of AKF’s blended learning course on Facilitation Skills.
You work for an organisation that has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AKF for the delivery of its blended learning courses.
If you have questions about any of this, please contact us at email@example.com.
17. Can I deliver courses to partner organisations I work with?
Please see answer to previous question.
18. Do I or my organisation have to pay to deliver a course?
19. Can I charge for delivering AKF’s blended learning courses?
AKF’s blended learning courses are registered under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence. This means that they are available free of charge and that no profit can made from delivering them.
That said, organisations that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with AKF to deliver AKF’s blended learning courses may charge a reasonable market rate for course delivery in order to ensure the sustainability of their course offering.
20. Where can I find the Facilitator Guide for a particular course?
Course facilitators who have been registered on the AKF Blended Learning Initiative platform can download course Facilitator Guides from the “Facilitator Guide” tab of each course page.
For any questions concerning the Facilitator Guides, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Localising and adapting courses
21. Is there a way for me to translate courses I already have into the blended learning format?
Yes, many of the courses available through AKF’s Blended Learning Initiative are based on courses that were previously delivered in a fully face-to-face format.
Please contact us at email@example.com to explain your request and to learn more about the process behind converting a face-to-face training into a blended learning format.
22. There are courses listed on AKF’s Blended Learning Initiative website that I would like to translate and localise for my country. Can I do that?
Yes, AKF’s blended learning courses are available for translation and localisation. If you are interested in localising/translating a course available on the AKF Blended Learning Initiative website, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to explain your request.
Please be sure to include the following information: the name of the organisation you work for; its affiliation it has with the Aga Khan Foundation or Aga Khan Development Network, if any; the course(s) you are interested in translating/localising; the language(s) you are interested in translating the course, including dialect (if relevant); the country/ies for which the course(s) would need to be localised; the target audience(s) you want to localise the course for.
23. Can I put my video-based courses onto AKF’s Blended Learning Initiative website?
AKF’s Blended Learning Initiative website contains courses that were created by AKF or its partner organisations as part of the Blended Learning Initiative. If you have created a course as part of the Blended Learning Initiative but don’t see it listed here, please contact us at email@example.com so that we can add it.