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Paper published on the OneLearns program in Rwanda and Ethiopia


Our paper A Web-Based Program About Sustainable Development Goals Focusing on Digital Learning, Digital Health Literacy, and Nutrition for Professional Development in Ethiopia and Rwanda: Development of a Pedagogical Method has been published in JMIR Formative Research.

Background:East African countries face significant societal challenges related to sustainable development goals but have limited resources to address these problems, including a shortage of nutrition experts and health care workers, limited access to physical and digital infrastructure, and a shortage of advanced educational programs and continuing professional development.

Objective:This study aimed to develop a web-based program for sustainable development with a focus on digital learning, digital health literacy, and child nutrition, targeting government officials and decision-makers at nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Methods:A web-based program—OneLearns (Online Education for Leaders in Nutrition and Sustainability)—uses a question-based learning methodology. This is a research-based pedagogical method developed within the open learning initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, United States. Participants were recruited during the fall of 2020 from ministries of health, education, and agriculture and NGOs that have public health, nutrition, and education in their missions. The program was conducted during the spring of 2021.

Results:Of the 70 applicants, 25 (36%) were selected and remained active throughout the entire program and filled out a pre- and postassessment questionnaire. After the program, of the 25 applicants, 20 (80%, 95% CI 64%-96%) participants reported that their capacity to drive change related to the sustainable development goals as well as child nutrition in their organizations had increased to large extent or to a very large extent. Furthermore, 17 (68%, 95% CI 50%-86%) and 18 (72%, 95% CI 54%-90%) participants reported that their capacity to drive change related to digital health literacy and digital learning had increased to a large extent and to a very large extent, respectively.

Conclusions:Digital learning based on a question-based learning methodology was perceived as a useful method for increasing the capacity to drive change regarding sustainable development among government officials and decision-makers at NGOs in Ethiopia and Rwanda.

Olle Bälter is an Associate Professor in Human-Computer Interaction and head of the research group for Technology Enhanced Learning at KTH-Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. He has been running online courses since 2006 and his research interests are technology enhanced learning and interface design. Since his research visit to Stanford University 2015-2016 he has been working in cooperation with Open Learning Initiative to enable more efficient learning.