This summer I got a great opportunity to conduct work and assignment for the ITCILO. I am honored and delighted to have been asked and selected for the assignment Towards a consolidated ITCILO monitoring and evaluation system for distance learning activities
Background and rationale of the assignment
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the Specialized Agency of the United Nations that promotes social justice and human rights in the world of work (ilo.org). The International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (hereinafter the Centre) is the training arm of the ILO (www.itcilo.org). The core offering of the Centre is group-based training for ILO constituents and other ILO stakeholders, with thematic focus on the promotion of decent work and social justice, and delivered either face-to-face on the campus of the Centre/worldwide in the field, or online via the electronic campus of the organization.
The 2018-21 Strategic Plan of the Centre reaffirms the emphasis on group training over the coming years, with face-to-face training as primary delivery method and distance learning as supplementary delivery method.Where applicable, the two delivery modalities are to be combined as part of blended learning journeys (p.11).The 2018-19 Programme and Budget (P&B) of the Centre further specifies that the Centre will consolidate and maintain its face-to-face training activities at levels seen in the 2016-17 biennium, and “further expand its suite of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and self-guided distance-learning courses to take advantage of economies of scale and the lower per capita training costs of these distance-learning modalities. (p.14f). This means that in order to further grow its client base in a budget context that allows for zero growth in fixed staff costs, the Centre will maintain its current outreach in the market segment for more cost-intensive face-to-face training and increase its outreach in the segment for less cost-intensive distance learning.
The outreach-specific indicators in the Results-Based Management Framework underpinning the 2018-19 P&B of the Centre further illustrate the direction of the growth effort: The Centre is expected to maintain its current outreach via face-to-face training at levels seen in the last two biennia (on average 11,000 participants per year) while significantly growing its outreach via distance learning activities from 8,600 participants in the 2016-17 biennium to 14,000 participants in the 2018-19 biennium (p.19).
While distance learning contributes to most of the key performance indicators (KPIs) specified in the 2018-19 P&B owned or co-owned by the Training Department, the following KPIs in particular concern distance learning outreach and impact:
- Indicator 1.2 Number of participants reached through distance-learning activities, disaggregated by gender and tripartite constituents
- Indicator 1.4. Number of ILO staff trained by the Centre
- Indicator 2.1 End-of-activity level of participant satisfaction with overall quality
- Indicator 2.2 Percentage of participants who acquire new knowledge during training
- Indicator 2.3 Percentage of participants who apply the newly acquired knowledge after training
- The 2018-19 Strategy Implementation Framework of the Training Department echoes the call of the P&B for an increase in the number of participants reached via distance learning activities; the framework commits the Office of the Director Training to (a) facilitate the expansion of the suite of MOOCs and self-guided distance learning courses (b) more systematically promote self-guided distance learning courses using the existing comprehensive digital communication approach for open courses, and (c) to further increase of the share of blended activities that combine face-to-face training and distance-learning modalities.The target is to offer at least three MOOCs per year, have a digital communication approach for self-guided distance learning courses in place by October 2018 and to offer at least 80% of all open courses of the Centre in a blended learning approach by end 2019 (p.52ff).
- To support this growth drive of the Centre, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to track and report the outreach and quality of the distance learning activities of the Centre is a pre-requisite. The purpose of this consultancy assignment is to support the Centre in reviewing and further developing the existing monitoring and evaluation processes and tools for distance learning activities and to make them fit for purpose.
The overall objective of the assignment is to contribute to the achievement of the outcomes specified in the 2018-19 P&B of the Centre and further described in the 2018-19 Strategy Implementation Framework of the Office of the Director Training. The immediate objective is to strengthen the capacity of the Centre to monitor and evaluate its distance learning activities, and as a result to meet its reporting obligations under the results-based management framework of the 2018-19 P&B.
Under the direct supervision of the Director Training, in close collaboration withthe programme officer in the quality assurance unit of the Office of the Director Training, and in consultation with other units of the Centre directly concerned with monitoring distance learning activities (all Technical Programmes in the Training Department and ICTS), the consultant will:
- Review the monitoring and evaluation system underpinning distance learning activities in the Centre and document the current processes and instruments, for future publication as part of a quality assurance manual of the Centre;
- Recommend immediately actionable measures to overcome priority challenges to the Centre’s reporting obligations under 2018-19 P&B related to distance learning outreach and impact;
- Propose intervention points for the incremental improvement of the existing system, to better align it with international good practice;
- Along these intervention points, advise the Centre on the refinement of selected existing processes and tools, and document these revised processes and tools for future use in the quality assurance manual.
Four reports was deleivered for the four deliverables:
Ossiannilsson, E (2018). Towards a consolidation ITCILO monitoring and evaluation system for distance learning systems. Report 1. Turin: ITCILO.
Ossiannilsson, E (2018). Framework to measure and report outreach and impact of distance learning. Report 2. Turin: ITCILO.
Ossiannilsson, E (2018). List of intervention points to for the incremental improvement of the existing system to better align it with international good practice. Report 3. Turin: ITCILO.
Ossiannilsson, E (2018). Intervention points to for the incremental improvement of the existing system to better align it with international good practice. Report 4. Turin: ITCILO.