Collaboration in virtual working rooms (Shared Workspaces)

[Translate into German]: Our virtual working rooms use up-to-date technologies and offer various interactive communication tools, such as video conferencing, online lectures and audio discussion panels (VoIP), forums, pinboards, document management tools, etc.

The working rooms are password protected and can be accessed by team members only. The members of a woking group can as well decide to publish working results and selected documents to the public with an easy-to-use online editor.

Virtual working rooms are mainly used for

  • Preparation and re-working of seminars
  • Accompanying and supervision of a ToT (Training-of-Trainers) sequence [see below]
  • Networks and virtual enterprises
  • Connection of mobile employees
  • Support of workgroups and project-teams
  • Network for suppliers and their customers
  • Communication and projectmanagement in NGO's

Of course, virtual working rooms are also an important part of our e-Learning course concept. Communication amongst participants and with the tutors of an e-Learning is a crucial element for the success of distance learning courses.

The webspaces offer a «Blended Learning» component, a Forum to allow exchange among the participants and a steering tool (visible for the course administration only). All tools are chosen individually according to their suitability for the particular project/program.

Training-of-Trainers

The «virtual» web-rooms often accompany the face-to-face activity «Training-of-trainers». In fact, the collaborative element is part of the concept which has often been applied. It emphasises the performance improvement of training experts and institutions by a set of «Capacity-to-Build-Capacity» activities.

The concept offers a series of «Training of Trainers» courses which are developed to strengthen competencies with regard to design, implementation and marketing of training courses, mainly for water sector services providers. The concept can easily be adapted to other fields.

The ToT modules consist of three subsequent trainings:

  • ToT 1: Course Design & Trainer’s Role as a Facilitator
  • ToT 2: Methods and Instruments for effective and up-to-date Trainings
  • ToT 3: Practical development of an own course curriculum

The web-based reporting and monitoring tools help to structure, prepare and follow-up the regional ToTs. This concept proved to be highly effective. The following recommendations are identified as crucial for the success of the concept:

  • The 3 courses should build on each other
  • The participants group must stay together for all three courses
  • The course target is the training manual which is developed at the end of the ToT series. It has to meet the demand of the local actors (for instance decentralized sanitation) and the demand of the participants.

The emphasis on self-organized learning, participant-centered processes keeps the level of motivation and engagement high and creates an «ownership» among the participants.