From Nairobi to Seattle: Lessons Learned from Ideation Workshops on Digital Principles Training

By Lilian Kathoki and Christopher Neu

How do you scale training for digital development?

As the stewards of the Principles for Digital Development, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) is currently convening a series of Digital Principles ideation workshops to solicit feedback on training topics, modalities, and constraints for organizational training. This initiative builds on research initiatives and interviews by Clear Outcomes to engage donors, government officials, and digital development practitioners, through a series of hands-on practical exercises developed by TechChange.

Workshops have already taken place in Nairobi (hosted by the Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)) and Seattle (hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), with additional sessions scheduled for Washington, D.C. and Medellin, Colombia. This is a brief recap of the sessions, along with summaries of lessons learned.

The workshops start with a brief overview of the Digital Principles, which leads to a series of paired interview questions where participants learn more about training gaps and challenges related to the Digital Principles. In the second part of the workshop, the facilitator invited participants to develop personas for learners, which are then mapped onto a creative matrix where participants reflected on the types of learning activities best suited for each persona with the objective of mapping existing known trainings and resources in an attempt to identify existing gaps.

Assembling a creative matrix

In the closing reflection of the workshop, participants presented their personas and matrices. Key insights across both workshops include:

  1. The greatest training challenge is time. Resources and available courses lagging far behind in training challenges.
  2. Human engagement is key. Whether training online, blended, or offline, it’s important to learn with others.
  3. Skills-based training is valued. Especially trainings that carry certification or transferrable technical skills.
  4. Discussion-based training keeps learners engaged. As well as using real-life examples to tie to relevance
  5. Targeted, on-demand courses have to be highly targeted. Otherwise learners often de-prioritize online training and do not pay attention. Micro-learning has to solve an immediate problem specific to a learner need.

We will be hosting two additional workshops this week with Impact Hub in Medellin, Colombia as well at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C.! We will be sharing our insights and personas, so please stay tuned for further updates.