Internship

Supporting the development of (e)learning tools

Organisation: Practica Foundation, Papendrecht, Netherlands
Supervisors: tbc, Judith de Bruijne / Marion Cuisin
Period: from Sep / Oct 2021 onwards

Organization

Practica Foundation (www.practica.org) has the mission to improve skills and resources in the field of drinking water supply, irrigation, groundwater extraction and sanitation in various countries of Africa and Asia. Practica develops and selects technologies with great potential to improve living conditions in developing countries and ensures that these technologies become available locally. One of Practica’s core activities is capacity building and training of end-users, managers, entrepreneurs, governmental staff and others. For this purpose, Practica develops training curricula, technical manuals, supporting mobile apps, field implementation guides, and practical games. On our website you can find various examples.

Problem description

Practica foundation has a substantial collection of information sources and training materials available, but our team encounters that it is sometimes challenging to communicate this to actual end-users and local system managers in developing countries (e.g. farmers, local technicians, local water system caretakers, local entrepreneurs and suppliers). Two factors play a role in this:

  1. Materials are sound enough for NGO/GO professionals and practitioners, but contain too much expert language and complicated graphs to make them appropriate for actual end-users.
  2. Materials contain plenty of practical examples, but not all of them include interactive, learning exercises to apply skills.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Practica also encounters a rising demand for delivering flexible, more impactful trainings (in terms of people reached) and enable learning from everywhere. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic lots of people were not able to attend classroom lessons, but kept on learning through their mobile phones and laptops. Thus, the modern age of digitalization enables new forms of learning, while at the same time demands materials containing attractive digital content are made available. Materials that are didactical sound, can be downloaded with low-speed internet connections and are easy to navigate.

Nowadays, our objective at Practica is to provide rather blended forms of learning: partly through missions to countries and giving training in the field, and partly through Zoom webinars and e-learning environments. Existing materials, that have been developed by the Practica team within a time frame of several years, now need to be redeveloped and adapted to these new requirements. Materials should be didactically improved, and rendered widely available to potential end-users.

Objective of the internship assignment

Together with several members of our expert’s team your role will be to support the development of a number of innovative learning tools, which support the uptake of knowledge and skills by end-users of Practica’s technologies.

Activities

The tentative activities of the internship:

  • Reviewing and analyzing earlier work developed by Practica focused on learning and practical application, for example the technical manual on Modular Building, the e-learning modules on Asset Management; the card games on Irrigation; the Drillers Toolbox. A critical eye is expected to define areas of improvement.
  • Investigating whether certain identified gaps are already covered for by other organizations and their available curricula and learning materials.
  • Define together with intern supervisor which learning materials could be strengthened and select preferred ones to be developed by student (within the available timeframe). This could be either e-learning or paper-based games/exercises development (or a combination).
  • Developing a (scientific) methodology to produce learning materials in an iterative process fitting the proposed end-user target group.
  • Online-teaching of basic skills in Moodle/H5P (e-learning environment) and practice with developing content and exercises (potentially build on work done by previous intern).
  • Actual development of (e) learning materials.
  • Real-life testing of learning materials and collecting & incorporating end-user feedback on the produced materials. Preferably within a project and if possible, through an international field visit.
  • Enable the incorporation of new (e) learning materials (developed by the student or Practica experts) by adjusting manuals of Practica
  • Developing and posting external communication about the materials under development to raise more awareness and engage potential end-users.

Starting points

The (e)learning materials to be developed should:

  • Fit the objectives of Practica foundation
  • Be of real added value; not have been developed by another organization already
  • Match the learning goals and educational level of the target group
  • Appropriate to the social context, use of learning methods and visualizations that are recognizable for people living in a developing country
  • Inviting, clearly structured and user-friendly
  • Be as interactive and playful as possible

Requirements

The student must be able to demonstrate:

  • Has a relevant educational background for working at Practica: e.g. development studies/anthropology, water/mechanical/sanitary/irrigation engineering, product design or environmental /land and water management.
  • Genuine interest in didactics, learning and communication. Preferably by demonstrated experience in teaching, curriculum development or training provision: for example by previous experiences teaching at secondary schools, providing student trainings, etc…
  • Eagerness, patience and open mindset to develop materials together with end users. - Cultural sensitivity to be able to develop tools that fit the social context and educational level of the target groups in developing countries.
  • Creative and ability to think conceptually and visually. Preferably have demonstrable experience in producing digital visualizations, or graphic design in general.
  • Very good English communication skills. Additional French communication abilities is appreciated.

Terms and conditions

  • The intern will receive a monthly internship allowance of 250€.
  • The work space will be partly from home and partly from the Practica office in Papendrecht, depending on the Covid-19 national guidelines.
  • A remuneration of transport costs can be discussed, based on the place of residence of the intern.
  • International travel will depend on the travel restrictions, and the availability of partners and budget during the internship period.

As an intern at Practica you have the opportunity to be part of an international team of experts working in several domains (irrigation, drinking water, sanitation and groundwater development), who have accumulated years of experience in the development sector in Africa and Asia. During the implementation of your activities you will have the opportunity to gain knowledge from all these experts, and to gain insights and a better understanding of the development sector.

If you have a specific interest or learning goal during your internship period, Practica also tries to accommodate that and enables you to support an on-going activity of the organization which matches that interest. Interns in the past took up different roles and distinct responsibilities depending on their profile and interests. Open applications, which do not directly relate to this assignment description but to the working areas of Practica, are also seriously considered.

According to one of our previous interns in 2019: “This opportunity will be for you a chance to grow both personally and professionally in a dynamic and enthusiastic environment of professionals passionate about their work.”

Are you motivated? Then don’t hesitate to apply! We look forward to hear from you.