The Peacekeeping Training Programme has developed extensive experience in designing and implementing e-Learning courses. Using Internet as a training medium, participants and trainers are brought together in a unique virtual learning environment designed to valorize experiential and collaborative learning. PTP catalogue of technology-enhanced activities includes sixteen courses, divided into four categories: peacekeeping; peacebuilding; environment; cross-cutting training and personal skills. The range of courses offered vary in duration, design tools adopted, and types of learning activities, but they share unique methodologies that support the achievement of learning objectives for continuous professional development.
The Programme adopts instructional design methods that valorize experiential and collaborative learning to develop just-in-time skills of adult learners. It caters for personal learning styles that favor non-linear learning paths through multiple-instructional settings, included blended learning. Courses are delivered in asynchronous mode and place particular emphasis on self-paced learning with participants being primarily responsible for their own learning throughout the duration of the course. Social activities support the learning process to facilitate networking and encourage knowledge sharing.
Courses are moderated by international experts and they include:
- Interactive components, presenting essential concepts and principles;
- Optional reading material, intended to further clarify concepts and principles;
- External links to additional resources (reports, papers, articles, documents and websites related to the lessons), hosted on a cybrary/database;
- Glossary of terms/acronyms, provided as a learning tool throughout the course;
- Case studies and scenarios to support the learning process;
- Community discussion boards, to post questions and comments visible to the moderators and the other participants.
The enhancement of the quality of products and services is one of UNITAR’s strategic priorities. The implementation of quality assurance mechanisms considers the identification and adaptation of quality standards aligned with the activities developed by the Institute and in accordance with the delivery modalities utilized.
In 2008 the Institute integrated a multi-agency process to develop a set of quality criteria and certification process for technology-enhanced learning activities in the field of international capacity building – the Open ECBCheck. This set of criteria supports capacity building organizations to measure the quality of their courses through peer review, with attribution of quality label certificates. As of the end of 2013, four courses have been awarded an Open ECBCheck certificate:
- Introduction to Peace Operations;
- Understanding Conflict and Conflict Analysis;
- Conflict Resolution;
- Protection of Civilians.