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Posted on Fri, 19 Mar 2021, 17:06

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Rome, 19 March 2021. The pandemic has forced most of us to learn how to make better use of digital tools to work virtually and find innovative ways to perform work in a safe distance of others. Some fruits of our labours will be launched during summer of 2021, in the form of two new e-Learning courses on topics of importance to plant health.

Early in 2020, the IPPC Secretariat engaged with countries belonging to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), in a project to facilitate international trade of plants and plant products. The original proposal included numerous face-to-face training activities in workshops, seminars and site visits. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the IPPC Secretariat to re-image the approach and explore alternate delivery mechanisms that would achieve the same project objectives.

Now, instead of delivering a set of in-person training courses on pest risk analysis and phytosanitary export certification system, these courses will be developed in e-Learning format. The Commission on Phytosanitary Measure’s Implementation and Capacity Development Committee selected international experts to develop electronic versions of the phytosanitary content to be presented in e-Learning format platform. The course development currently underway is in collaboration with Comité de Liaison Europe-Afrique-Caraïbe-Pacifique (COLEACP). COLEACP has considerable experience developing and delivering e-Learning courses with experts in applying new digital technologies to enhance the e-learning experience. They will also host the electronic courses on their platform and make them freely available to the international phytosanitary community.

One clear advantage is that electronic courses offer a level of flexibility that is not possible in conventional training workshops. Students using these courses can start the training at a level that is appropriate for their initial knowledge level and can customize their training based on their role in the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO). Some of the other innovations include:

  • Each course will include modules aimed at different levels from beginners to those with more experience;

  • The modules can be adapted to meet the needs of either NPPO staff or individuals in the private sector;

  • The courses will be accessible online and it will be possible to download sections of the course and work on them offline;

  • The courses will include elements that the student may complete individually at the time of their choice and group elements that will be completed under the guidance of an instructor or mentor;

  • The courses will include many interactive elements and allow the student to progress at their own pace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the development of modern approaches to learning, however, it is the adaptability of the IPPC community and dynamic collaboration with partners like COLEACP that moved this innovative approach to fruition.

Stay tuned for more e-Learning initiatives!

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