Greetings! I work as the AuthorAID Training Coordinator at INASP.
AuthorAID’s pilot e-learning course on research writing has just ended, and I have interesting results to report.
First, some background: AuthorAID has run several workshops in the past 3 to 4 years. To make our training more widely available, we decided to explore e-learning. We chose Moodle, an open-source virtual learning environment, to run a pilot e-learning course.
We received valuable support from the Research Directorate and Centre for Instructional Technology at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), who encouraged researchers at the NUR to sign up for the pilot course. Twenty-eight researchers enrolled in the course, and nearly 90% have completed it.
The course consisted of nine interactive lessons, spread out over five weeks. The content was adapted from the material in AuthorAID workshops. Thus, topics included approaching a writing project, publishing a paper in a journal, designing tables and figures, writing the abstract, and writing the body of the paper. During the course, many participants asked thought-provoking questions on the forum.
In the final week of the course, the participants analyzed one or more published research papers in their field. They checked the structure and length of the abstract, the structure of the paper, the number of references, and so forth. Then they placed their analyses in a database, so everyone could see and compare the various findings.
After the course, the participants filled out a feedback form and received certificates. I’m delighted that the feedback is quite positive overall.
Early next year, the AuthorAID team will discuss developing an e-learning system for the entire AuthorAID community. I’ll write a blog post once I have more details.