Reflections from the Australasian Aid Conference.

Why is process training so important rather than a focus on best information or teaching practices?

Discussions at the conference at ANU, concentrated on aid and funding paradigms. Where to next?

Data provided by Michael Woolcock, (Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank and Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard University), demonstrated that funding has indeed successfully supported infrastructure and services, however, the trajectory of a developing country’s progress is not improving as a result, that is, many countries will not reach even Portugal’s standing within our lifetime. Development is not necessarily a factor of how much funding is allocated. Funding supports building of schools and more teachers, but these do not ensure quality teaching and learning outcomes that then transfers into progress in the country’s economic and social wellbeing.

The gap between current development in initiatives and the desired impact within a society, points to a difference between achieving structures, systems and skills rather than intelligence – intelligence that a country requires to really progress. A social, emotional, intellectual intelligence and a high curiosity quotient. These are fundamental to creating a civil, progressive society with economic, social wellbeing.

So assuming we are aiming to develop civil societies rather than purely ‘skilled’ societies with infrastructure, then our training pedagogy also needs to shift focus from delivery of facts and skills to the process of learning – engaging learners in how to learn and become knowledgeable. To developing learners who are lifetime learners.

This focus promotes problem-solvers, innovators, entrepreneurs who then can change workplace practices, production, economics and cultures. The learning is simple and complex, nuanced and deep. The learners are preparing to address the trends and ‘wicked’ problems that their own communities and countries, and the world, are increasingly facing. These challenges cannot be managed with education that is linear, providing recipes with no thinking outside of the square. Training and education programs are then not designed to support programs and processes that are currently acknowledged as best practice, but increasingly not producing the desired results. Aid and development programs and partnerships require intelligent thinking from citizens so as to a shift country’s trajectory towards economic and healthy communities.

In our bid to support stability within our regions by providing aid funding for skills and infrastructure, we are forgetting that our regions also need to be civil entities requiring us to fund intellegence and caring development initiatives.

Reality Learning is committed to this challenge in preparing those who work and those who live in developing countries, to learn what they need at each point in time, through process-driven learning, that promotes citizens to impact and change their work and life and build their country’s social and economic wellbeing.

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