Strategy for the programme on Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Meena Cabral de Mello
GFMER Coordinator of Early Childhood Development
The aim of the programme is to advocate for and build capacity of health providers to promote early childhood development based on the best available scientific and programmatic evidence, with a focus on children under age 3, in low and middle income countries. The objective is to develop and introduce eLearning tools to enable managers and health workers to respond effectively to the developmental needs of young children drawing upon:
- the growing availability of computer technology in developing countries,
- available experience and expertise in GFMER in using computer-aided teaching in a variety of contexts including in-service training, pre-service training, teacher-lead distance learning, and self learning.
The Coordinator of the GFMER's Early Childhood Development programme will:
- Develop a vision, strategy and plan of action for promoting the uptake of Early Childhood Development interventions through e-learning.
- Develop a collaborative network of academic and implementation organizations interested in promoting ECD through e-Learning.
- Mobilize resources from public and private sector donors for the development and implementation of e-learning tools on ECD.
GFMER's activities on ECD will involve:
- Integrating innovative technology solutions to promote globally-accessible learning on Early Childhood Development.
- Expanding the ECD training delivery platform for broader, more effective reach and program scalability through eLearning.
- Building capacity for ECD by organizing eLearning courses for participants from developing countries.
A blended learning approach will be promoted to combine the existing practice of instructor-led training with web-based training allowing for learner-directed, self-paced instruction as well as mobile learning through applications which a learner can access remotely from anywhere using a hand-held or mobile device such as smart phones, mobile phones, and tablets. Integrating innovative technology solutions will draw on the unique capabilities of each medium to boost learner motivation and optimize learning.
The following outputs will be designed and developed:
- Mobile app in the form of an enhanced electronic book on Early Childhood Development (from conception to three years) including media-rich content using audio and video and graphical animation, searchable and bookmarked, hyper-linked text for easy access to source materials.
- A basic online training course on Early Childhood Development for students/workers in nutrition, health and social protection programmes aiming to build their knowledge and skills for working with parents/caregivers.
- An online modular course for decision makers and managers for promoting the integration of ECD within relevant ongoing programmes.
- Development of a series of ECD/parenting messages for mobile devices such as smart phones, mobile phones, and tablets.
- PC-based learning platform which can serve as a virtual classroom and the online learning portal for ECD participants, including links to public social learning platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook), and a blog site to foster collaboration, communication and sharing within the ECD community.