Meeting Learner Needs

As a follow on to my last blog about Participatory Training That Multiplies lets continue on and explore further how we practically do our training in CHE. The key is to meet learner needs therefore the following should be considered in meeting the adult learner’s needs, in order to affect true transfer of knowledge and application:
• Reaffirm the adult’s sense of self-worth by helping them to succeed in the learning process.
• Become partners in learning (not one dominating the other).This means we need to change the relationship between the learner and the teacher.
• Help the learner take more responsibility for his own learning
• Concentrate on what is life-changing versus transmission of knowledge only.
• Help the learners to develop their knowledge base in a logical sequence, allowing them to build on the circular process.
• Portray an example of desired change by modeling the anticipated result before the student
• Simplify material which is to be shared and make it practical.
• Carry out training at the lowest possible level. It’s unwise to
choose people to be trained as CHEs who have a high educational level and who may leave the village for a job in town. It is best to train people with an average education according to the level of their village, who will likely remain in the village.
• Train people to do a job. The materials used for training should be selected on a “need to know and use” basis, so trainees can accomplish an objective, rather than simply accumulate head knowledge.
• Focus on “doing”—role-plays, songs, demonstrations, and stories.
• Start where the people are in their understanding. Use small
group interaction to draw upon knowledge already possessed by the learners.
• Provide training first in subjects which are of highest priority to the trainees.
• Teach trainers to pass on everything they are teaching so their trainees will be equipped to train others who in turn will train others.
• Utilize locally available materials which can be understood and used by all. Guidebooks or training materials should be simple and involve as much learner participation as possible. The use of small picture booklets and other graphic aids is helpful.

Dr. Roy Shaffer of AMREF (Africa Medical Research and Education Foundation) pioneered an adult teaching technique called LePSA, which incorporates many of the techniques mentioned, but also uses small group discussion. LePSA is an acronym for this technique. We have added an additional S for spiritual input and we therefore use the LePSAS method of instruction. Using this acronym keeps reminding the facilitator things they should be doing to meet learner needs and keep our facilitation participatory.

Le stands for Learner Centered which means we focus on the learner not the teacher through many different ways starting with the classroom set up in a circle with all sitting including the facilitator. We use the term facilitator whose job it is to bring out answers from the group not give them the answers.

P stands for Problem Posing where we start each class posing a problem through the use of a short drama, story or picture without giving any answers.

S stands for Self Discovery in that the solutions to all problems and information comes from the participants not the facilitator. We do this in large group, 25 or so and small groups of 4 to 5 people.

A stands for Action Oriented which means all learning is turned into some action or application the sooner the better.

S stands for Spirit Guided as all learning is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There are absolutes which need to come out which comes out under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Hopefully these two blogs give you a better understanding of how we go about equipping others for implementation and multiplication of CHE.

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