A Sneak Preview of our unique data about how teacher training by mobile phone works in refugee camps.
100 teachers at schools in three Ethiopian refugee camps have been receiving a new kind of training in English and classroom skills. It’s DLA’s locally produced video on an SD card. Learners load it to their phones. You can see it here. To investigate its effectiveness, we administered a structured questionnaire to them and crunched the responses. The numbers are in and there are several surprises.
“Whether they owned a phone or not, whether male or female, whether an untrained refugee or a trained Ethiopian teacher, the evidence of benefit and pattern of use was the same.”
Biggest unexpected finding - and good news for this form of training - is that between different types of user, there were similar levels of uptake and benefit. Whether they owned a phone or not, whether male or female, whether an untrained refugee or a trained Ethiopian teacher, the evidence of benefit and pattern of use was the same. We even offered different models of supporting the learners, ranging from simply offering an SD card to teachers in the school, to playing and studying the video as part of a F2F residential training course and then giving a takeaway SD card with follow-up. In all cases we saw the same level of learning gain from the trainees.
This matters because the experience of digital training in the past has been that only with a high level of scaffolding does this form of training bring an effect. Most evidence suggests that learning impacts are strongly influenced by social factors and technology access. That’s what we were expecting to find - and were surprised when it didn’t turn out.
“The average score on a skills/knowledge test in the two target syllabus areas rose from 60% to 80% (topic: classroom technique) and 75% to 82% (topic: using imperatives in English)”
How effective was the training? Teachers spent just three weeks using our two pilot courses. After that, the average score on a skills/knowledge test in the two target syllabus areas rose from 60% to 80% (topic: classroom technique) and 75% to 82% (topic: using imperatives in English). The teachers reported that they tended to watch training videos in groups, consuming each one several times, and on the majority of viewings they performed recommended training activities to build or consolidate their knowledge.
The British Council, who funded the project on behalf of stakeholders including UNHCR and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Refugee Affairs, is now distributing training content by SD card in two further camps in the Benishangul-Gumuz area, and assessing the options for extending both the reach and the syllabus of this novel way to raise teachers’ skills.