e-learning Project-APARD


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The Andhra Pradesh Academy of Rural Development (APARD) has been working relentlessly for over 54 years in building capacities for sustainable development of the rural poor. APARD is an apex training institute in AP for capacity building of rural development officers and panchayat raj officials. We also consistently focus on research that helps us offer high quality consulting services in rural development.

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e-learning Project-APARD

  1. 1. Details of Programme /Project/Initiative:Brief Description:AMR APARD is the apex training institute for building the capacities of Rural Development Officials andPanchayat Raj Elected Representatives in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The institute caters to thecapacity building and training requirements of around 2.61 Lac Elected Representatives of Panchayat RajInstitutions and about 50 thousand officials from Panchayat Raj, Rural Development and otherdevelopment departments. The e-learning project was initiated as a part of implementation of CapacityBuilding and Training Programmes under BRGF and MGNREGS sponsored by Ministry of Panchayat Rajand Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. The project aims to equip the Panchayat RajElected Representatives and Functionaries associated with implementation of MGNREGS, with theKnowledge and Skills required for effective management of these Institutions and for improved servicedelivery under various flagship programmes aimed at improving the quality of life in rural areas.Organizing training for such a large number is a challenging task and since the target group changes forevery 5 years with the conduct of fresh elections to PRIs, the demand for Capacity Building is recurrent.The main problems and concerns that pose a challenge to capacity building are: • Number and quality ofgood trainers; • Wide geographical distribution of target group • Functionaries cannot leave theirworkplaces for long time to attend training programmes • Requirement of large scale funding throughtraditional training method Therefore, in order to provide formal and informal training to large number ofdevelopment functionaries and Elected Representatives, APARD has launched this innovative projectprovide interactive and experiential learning at the learners‟ doorstep by leveraging ICT and e-learningsolutions like Computer Based Tutorials, Virtual Classroom facility, Interactive Satellite TV Programmes, emagazines, e books, Help Lines, Wikis, SMS alerts, social networking tools, etc.Why was the project started:AMR-A.P. Academy of Rural Development is presently catering to the training needs of around 2.61 lakhelected representatives of Panchayat Raj Institutions and 50,000 officials of PR&RD Department. Amongthe Elected Representatives a majority are from the SCs, STs and women who are elected for the firsttime. All the elected persons hold office only for (5) years and are replaced largely by a new set of people.Therefore the number of elected representatives be trained and oriented is very large and the demand forCapacity Building is recurrent. The issues of capacity building of the PR functionaries are: 1. knowledgeenhancement 2. Skill up-gradation 3. Attitudinal change 4. Problem solving techniques 5. Practical
  2. 2. solution seeking 6. Learning from best practices. The main problems and concerns that pose a challengeto Capacity building are: 7. Number and quality of good trainers; 8. Barriers to access and entitlements; 9.Overly prescriptive, supply-driven nature of training 10. Target audience (learners) widely scatteredacross the Mandals and Gram Panchayats. 11. Functionaries cannot leave their workplaces for long timeto attend training programs 12. Requirement of large scale funding to reach these target groups throughtraditional training methods Therefore in order to provide formal and informal training to large number ofdevelopment functionaries and Elected Representatives, AMR_APARD has planned to provide interactiveand experiential learning at the doorstep using Information and Communication Technology bydeveloping certain e learning solutions through e learning project.Objective: The objective of this project is to provide a life long learning opportunity and self pacedlearning opportunities to various learners at their own work and at the time convenient to them. Thenational training policy 2012 of Government of India envisages “Training for all”. The present e learningproject complies with the national vision and it aims to make the learning a life long even and helps thegrassroots level functionaries to keep abreast of the latest developments in the field of RuralDevelopment and other allied sectors. With National e governance plan in place, the mission modeproject being implemented by Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Govt of India envisages fibre to Panchayat by2020. The e learning project initiated by APARD would go a long way down the time and help the ruralelected representatives to acquire the knowledge required for day to day administration for effectivedelivery of services under various sectors.Target Group: Elected Representatives of Panchayat Raj Institutions and Officials functionaries ofPanchayat Raj,Rural Development Departments,Bharat Nirman Volunteers(BNVs)Geographical Reach within India: YesGeographical Reach outside India: YesDate From which the Project became Operational: 1-6-2010Is the Project still operational?: YesList 5 Innovations of programme/project/initiative:1. Computer Based Tutorials:About AMR-APARD:The Andhra Pradesh Academy of Rural Development (APARD) has been working relentlessly forover 58 years in building capacities for sustainable development of the rural poor. APARD is anapex training institute in AP for capacity building of rural development officers and panchayat rajofficials. We also consistently focus on research that helps us offer high quality consultingservices in rural development.The academy also has a consistent focus on research and innovation in rural development, itundertakes need-driven research and evaluation studies as part of its own operations strategy
  3. 3. and also for other organizations and agencies working in the field rural development.With in-depth understanding of rural conditions, problems and opportunities, and its extensiveexperience working with rural communities, APARD also provide high qualitydevelopment consulting and project management services in rural development togovernment and leading national and international clients.With an aim to generate efficient and high quality manpower working towards the cause of ruraldevelopment, APARD has now forayed into education services by offeringcomprehensive educational courses in Rural development.APARD Computer Based Tutorials (CBTs)1. Integrated district planning2. Scheduled grama panchayati Sarpanch training3. Agro Techniques for dry land crops4. Sarpanch training CBT – 15. Grama sabha (english) CBT -1 & 26. CNRM watershed management – telugu vision labs 17. IDP VOL 2 88. Plan Plus 49. IWMP 110. Integrated District Planning Disc 1 - 811. Plan Plus Disc 1 - 212. Integrated District Planning Disc 1 - 313. Integrated Watershed Management Disc 114. Mandal Praja Parishad Presidents Training Disc 115. Visual Docemnt on RC Puram Disc 116. e-Panchayat Disc 117. Visual Docemnt on Hazipalli - telugu Disc 118. Visual Docemnt on Hazipalli - english Disc 119. Grama Sabha Campaign Disc 120. Visual Docemnt on Gangadevipalli Disc 121. Development of powers- Rural water supply Disc 122. CSE & E CBT 3-3-2010 Disc 123. Film on PMES Disc 1Capacity Building Services:A time tested multi-pronged approach is being adopted by APARD for several years, to reach thehuge target of 2.61 Lakh elected representatives. Training is imparted through both Direct Modeand through Cascading modes.Distance Mode of Training through centrally located studio (located at Hyderabad) using Ku bandSatellite transmission facility is being adopted to reach Village Level Functionaries of variousdepartments. This approach helps us cover huge groups of targeted participants and alsoreduces costs.Direct Training Programs are arranged for all key functionaries at APARD, 5 Extension TrainingCentres and at district levels. Direct training is imparted for a period of 3 to 6 days at APARD andETCs.Cascading Mode of Training is adopted for bigger groups like Ward Members and other grass
  4. 4. root level functionaries. A system of identifying suitable trainers, who can handle training sessionsare selected from NGOs, Retired Officials, former members of Mandal Parishad Presidents andother Panchayat Raj staff. These Trainers are subjected to rigorous training at APARD in usingParticipatory methodologies for training the elected representatives. Cascading Mode of trainingis imparted for a period of 2 to 3 days at mandal head quarters, where batches of 35-40functionaries are organised.2. APARD Knowledge Commons:APARD‟s Knowledge Commons provides a platform for instantaccess to highly interactive and interesting Computer Based Tutorials, e books, presentations,research papers and a host of other valuable educative resources on virtually all aspects of RuralDevelopment and Panchayat Raj Administration. Knowledge Commons offers a self-paced, on-demand, high-quality training environment designed to meet the individual training needs of allthe users. This e-learning solution ensures the learning process easy, highly interesting andreaches large number of users.Some of the advantages claimed for Knowledge Commons systems are:1. Sharing of valuable organizational information throughout the academy hierarchy.2. Can avoid re-inventing reducing redundant work.3. Reduces training time for new employees4. Retention of Intellectual Property after the employee leaves if such knowledge can becodified.5. Self-Paced Learning3. Panchayati Raj Comprehensive Help Line:Offers access to information, advice or service via Telephone and Web. Our goal is to create aplatform that we can use to set up a unique way to collect and visualize information formonitoring. The core platform is designed so that it can be customized for different locales andneeds. The beta version platform an open source application is made available as a continuoushandholding support to offer solutions to the problems that occur in day to day administration ofPanchayat Raj Institutions. It is also being used to disseminate information related to various ruraldevelopment programmes. It also helps as a tool for internal monitoring or visualization purposes.This is a comprehensive helpline can reach in several ways such as asking information of Gosof Panchayat Raj,want to know about Gram panchayat and genral body activities, Annual reportetc..,file complaint and sending /calling for queries/request to know about the Panchayat RajActs.by Telephone and Web.
  5. 5. 4. APARD Wiki :Wikis provide opportunities for trainees to collaborate with otherPeers, share what they have learned, and become a centralizedonline resource as educators. This technology tool is ideal andused for project-based learning, cross curricular projects inteams, and thematic units. One advantage of Wikis incollaborative projects is that they are online. Participants candemonstrate their Knowledge by providing information which fitswithin specific parameters on the Wiki. Wiki can be used asOnline Resources for training use. A list of websites that provided appropriate information relatedto subject content is provided by the developer for trainee use during the year. Wiki is also usedto store files, images, videos,News Letters,Publications and other information in a special accesscontrolled area of the Wiki. Apard Wiki is collaborative with digital e-learing environment of Apardactivities like Grama Sabha,sakshar bharath and also with Learning Management System(LMS)5. APARD BULK SMS:APARD has recently embarked on a community empowermentinitiative,Viz,, KEYCAP (Link) which requires continuous contact with large number of villagelevel volunteers called Bharat Nirman Volunteers. For this APARD has commenced a Bulk SMSService to send frequent updates to these Volunteers. Bulk sms system has many advantagesover the free sms services offered by various services providers whose services are limited andunsecure. We canreach our vast target group of over 2000 Bharat Nirman Volunteers in lab toland programme at a time and by march2012 We can reach our vast target group of over 10,000Bharat Nirman Volunteers in lab to land programme at a timeSince Lab to Land envisages an effective communication strategy to create awareness amongthe BNV‟s, this system bulk sms facility is greatly helping the APARD to reach the large numbersat comparatively lower prices.6. APARD You Tube Channel:APARD website carries a link to the You Tube channel inwhich all the video lessons/documentary films developed by APARD are made available. Contenton various subjects related to rural development is made available for public 935 training videosare uploaded on to you tube and Daily Update will be done.
  6. 6. 7. Social Networking:AMR-APARD Facebook AMR-APARD TwitterAPARD has been making the best use of social networking site like Facebook, and twitter tocreate a social group of rural development functionaries to share their job experiences andknowledge for effective functioning and for adopting good governance practices. A link to thesesocial networking sites is provided on the home page of APARD website. Daily updates areavailable on Facebook and Twitter with all activities donein Rural Development of AndhraPradesh.8. Distance Education Programme Information Monitoring System:APARD telecasts its distance education programmes throughSAPNET MANA TV (Ku Band Transmission) to consolidate the learning of various functionariesincluding elected representatives. With the help of Department of IT & C, APARD had established1097 Receive Only Terminals(RoT) in the Office of the Mandal Parishad. This is a two way audioand one way video interactive system which enables the participants who are present at RoTstation to interact with subject matter experts in the TV Studio through a live phone-inprogramme. This system is a very effective tool in reaching large number of trainees at one goand ensures quality delivery of training content. In order to monitor the training attendance atvarious RoT Points, APARD has developed an MIS application and it helps regular monitoring ofthe training delivery. This seeks to develop a knowledge and understanding of rural policy makingand management approaches to gross roots community,developmentand capacity building , withskills to design and implement sustainable projects with effective tools and methods.9. Sthanika Palana e magazine:
  7. 7. It is a 64 page multi - colour Telugu Monthly Magazine. Thefocus of the magazine is to enhance the knowledge base of the elected representatives andofficial functionaries working with the PRIs. The magazine features the topics related toPanchayat Raj, Financial Management, RD Programs, Disaster Management, Environment, Landand Poor, Women and Child welfare, Social Equity and Empowerment, Natural ResourceManagement and many such subjects. It also carries certain articles of general interest like shortstories, cartoons etc. APARD Sthanika Palana monthly e Magazine in e book format is madeavailable on APARD website for public viewing. The Circulation of the hard copy of the magazineis 27,000 copies every month and it Reaches all the Sarpanches, MPPs, ZP Chairpersons,CEOs, District Collectors, HODs, Principal Secretaries, Hon‟ble Ministers , CMO, MPsMLAs,MLCs , District Level Officers10. Video Conference:In order to reach large number participants especially from thegrassroots level, APARD has leveraged the ICT tools and established video conference facility withstate of the art digital teaching equipment. Through this video conference facility APARD hasestablished virtual connectivity with all the 22 District Head Quarters and 5 Extension TrainingCentres.The video conference facility is made available in 3 types 1) ISDN (connected to all SIRDsacross the country) 2) Special Lease line to ETCs through Rail Tel 3) BSNL Lease Line to all districthead quarters. APARD faculty regularly conducts training sessions through this facility and interactwith various participants. This system not only helps in the training delivery but also helps as amanagement tool to review and monitor the training delivery at District and Sub Distirct levels with theChief Executive Officers of Zilla Parishads and District Panchayat Officers.List 5 achievements of the programme/project/initiative:1. APARD has won UNFPA furred Laadli Media Awards 2011-2012 for its efforts towards gendersensitive campaigns on Mana TV. The APARD‟s e-learning project has won Special Mention by JURY „e-India‟ 2011 award under Best ICT Enabled Skills Development Initiative of the Year in the competitionsheld during Dec-20112. Educating 5 lakh MGNREGS workers through CBTs, Andhra Pradesh is one of the few states which isimplementing the MGNREGS programme in true spirit and providing livelihood opportunities to hugenumber of wage seekers. Government has recruited around 1200 Engineering consultants and 4000Technical Assistants, to look after the execution of the programme at grass roots level. With the massive
  8. 8. recruitment of these technical personnel, a training need arose in the state to equip the personnel with theskills related to various inputs on construction of water harvesting/SMC structures like Farm Ponds,Earthern Bunds, Sunken Pits, Rock fill Dams, Check Dams, Gully Plugging etc.,. APARD had producedCBTs to make the engineering subject easy even for lay men and all these CBTs were made available tovarious target groups for easy understanding of the subject.3. APARD‟s website has won the Third Prize from the Public Relations Society of India, Hyderabad,during Feb 2011 and the Sthanika Palana Magazine has also won Special Jury award. • One of the films“Meeru Alochinchandi” produced and telecast on this channel has won prestigious Nandi Award fromGovernment of A.P under socially relevant category. The film portrays the role of Panchayat RajInstitution in the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities.4. Ministry of Rural Development Govt of india have chosen APARD‟s website as the best and wellmaintained website among all SIRD‟s in the country during 2012 the award was presented during thenational colloquium of of Lab to Land held at jaipur on 5th august 2012. Ministry of Panchyati Raj andMinistry of Rural Development, Government.List 5 Key challenges faced while implementing the project/programme/initiative and how theywere overcome:1. There were not many companies which can produce e learning content in the subjects related to RuralDevelopment. Although, technologically these companies are well placed, the availability of the subjectmatter experts and instructional designers within the company was very low. APARD had short listed 14companies after following a rigorous process. A committee comprising scientific officers from NIC,National Institute of Rural Development, MANAGE etc was constituted to set the standards for productionof CBTs and other e learning content and negotiated with the companies. With the studious efforts of thiscommittee, the companies are now able to produce excellent CBTs.2. For establishing virtual class room facility, obtaining necessary permissions from NIC became a majorproblem. Later, after a lot of correspondence, NIC has realized that this project deserves encouragement,such permissions and ultimately virtual class room facility came in to being. This virtual class room isconnected in 3 ways 1) Through ISDN line to all SIRDs in the country, 2) Through Rail Tel Lease Line toall ETCs 3) Through NIC network to all Districts.3. Adoption of a suitable LMS for making available the training content has became another problemwhich was then overcome by adopting open source systems to avoid financial burden on the Institute.4. Since the concept of e learning in the field of Rural Development Capacity Building and Training iscompletely new, the institute has put its best efforts to identify the best e learning companies in thecountry through open tender process and succeeded in due course of time. Initially, a lot of resistancecame from among the own faculty and many of them were sceptical about the success of the e learning
  9. 9. project. After a series of orientation workshops, the faculty was fully convinced and became a part of awinning team.5. Change Management: Initially, lot of resistance came from among the own faculty and many of themList 5 points on how the Project/Programme/Initiative can serve as a model that can be replicatedor adapted by others?1. The application designed in such a way that can be replicated by any organization involved inmassive training programmes with in a stipulated time frame optimally utilizing the availableresources2. The LMS-Knowledge commons application is generic; viz without changing the code it can beimplemented on massive magnitude3. Minister of Rural Development and Minister of Panchayat Raj, (Govt. of India) recognized asKey Institute by for preparation of e-learning modules and also advised all other states to followAPARD model. The effectiveness on e-learning depends upon how interactive it is, and its abilityto retain interest on a particular theme /topic4. Efforts have been made to upload these e-learning modules on our website for easy access toone and all, so that any one can download them from anywhere on the globe for its usage. Lot ofcare has been taken to provide this vital training material in different formats like text, images,power points and video clippings, films with multimedia effects and so on5. Keeping in view the rural audience as major focus the operational part is kept very simple. Thecommands are all icon based for better navigation and learningList 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative?1. Since the e-learning model is a tested one and is being in operation at APARD for the last two years,there is no doubt that, it can be rolled out in similar Institutions at cost effective and flexible manner.2. The application is developed on an open-source platform, so its scalability on any platform.3. APARD would be too glad to share this model to any Institute/Agency which would like to utilize theexisting application4. Since the e-learning model is a tested one and is being in operation at APARD for quite some, it can berolled out to similar Institutions in a cost effective and flexible way5. This application can be tailor-made-to a particular Institution/situation to cater local needs with slightmodifications/alternations wherever required.