These pictures are from my work with Panchayats in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Panchayats are elected rural governments. They undergo capacity building programmes to be able to carry out their duties. My goal was to transform such classroom based training programmes to be more inclusive and expansive through a technology enabled pedagogical approach.
I devised a methodology and modules* that would foster a peer learning community enabled by technology. It was achieved through a mentored pedagogical approach and modules titled – ‘The TELPE’ (Technology Enhanced Learning Process Enabler). While inculcating technological and pedagogical skills, the programme simultaneously used the newly acquired competencies to expand collaboration and co-creation. This was a significant achievement for a community that is rich in experience but severely disadvantaged, both materially and educationally.
The TELPE programme created a community of continuous learner-practitioners through planned interventions. This revolutionised the training program into being collaborative, networked and experiential, rather than faculty dependent, top-down and didactic. Most importantly, the storehouse of experiential knowledge of Panchayat Representatives was made explicit. Perhaps for the first time in India, websites for panchayat knowledge sharing and advocacy were user-created by rural grassroots learners themselves. These knowledge products are the websites listed below, created by Panchayat members themselves, mentored by TELPE:
*This capacity building programme was supported by the Local Governance Initiative South Asia (LoGIn) of the Swiss Cooperation Office India (SDC). It was conducted in the Kutch region and Udaipur District of India. The modules titled Prajatantra (Democracy), Adhikar (Rights), Bhavishya (The Future) built an understanding of core concepts and practices in decentralized governance.
The experience of building a complex pedagogical integration of technology into learning process is described in the paper below.