Youth, Skills, & the Workforce of the Future

Open Learning Exchange

Helping disadvantaged youth learn the skills they need to build and maintain a fulfilling life

Team Lead

Richard R. Rowe

13 Comments
Kevin McAndrew

In response to How people will access our solution:

what level of training or support do the community center 'leaders' recieve? how plugged into the 'nation' are they, and in what ways do you onboard real-time feedback in order to generate new content?

Richard R. Rowe Ph.D.

These are great questions, Kevin. With respect to training and support, OLE's on-boarding process for Exchange Partners includes staffing requirements for a Program Director, Librarian/Curriculum Developer, Lead Coach/Mentor, Tech Genius, and Lead for Monitoring and Evaluation. Our partnership Agreements details a shared responsibility for training Community leads within this structure. We do this currently through Skype, yet are in the process of developing webinars for this purpose. CLC leaders are plugged into the Nation, on average once a week, when they receive near real-time feedback on learning and demographic data (further detailed in our reply below).

Kevin McAndrew

In response to Why our solution is unique:

can this system run on solar power?

Richard R. Rowe Ph.D.

Yes. Planet Learning can easily be powered locally by batteries and solar cells. It is designed to be available to everyone, everywhere, all the time. The system is portable, affordable, scalable and sustainable; it is hardware agnostic; any device that can open a browser can use it. It functions off, as well as on, the Internet. The Raspberry Pi, costing US$35. is often used as the server. The complete system, tablets, server, battery, camera can be contained in a small wheeled suitcase, or backpack, moved from one location to another, up and running in less than a minute.

Kevin McAndrew

In response to Why our solution is unique:

tell me more about how private sector partners are plugging into the community learning centers.

Richard R. Rowe Ph.D.

Hi Kevin, OLE's private sector partners have a login to the Planet Learning system at the Community level from the Manager's view, which enables them to access near real time community learning data with respect to Center activities (members, visits, resources), feedback from Center learners, and basic demographic data (population, births, deaths; economic status of the community). Just as this provides data monitoring and evaluation, the access also continuously works to improve the system.

Kevin McAndrew

In response to How we will measure our progress:

on the third outcome - would you typically also track improvement in baseline or 'pre-graduation' employment status? either in quality or in wage terms.

Richard R. Rowe Ph.D.

Yes, in fact we are currently working on a pilot with Village Health Workers (VHWs) in partnership with MGH and Mbarara University for Technology and Science (MUST) in two communities in Uganda. Here, our partners have integrated pre-assessment quizzes on all courses and are working with surveys for the purpose of gathering baseline data as well, all within the Planet Learning system. Additionally, we are developing a proposed pilot for Somalia that employs Planet Learning to help Somali refugees in Dadaab, Kenya to become “Ready to Return” and, at the same time, provides the conditions in selected Somali communities that enable them to become “Peace Building Communities” functioning as “magnets” for the Ready to Return refugees in Dadaab. Tracking improvement with baseline data is essential in this six to twelve month development program to prepare Somali refugees to become skilled in a trade or service as team member in a Peace Building Community.

Richard R. Rowe Ph.D.

In response to The problem:

Hi Jack, You are right that it is a very general statement. As you know, its limited to 100 words. The problem we are addressing is how to help refugees adapt to constant and unpredictable change. Planet Learning provides refugees an opportunity to pursue a career that fits their interests and skills while enabling them to adapt to the rapidly changing world they live in. It's not a program to teach a specific skill or trade but rather a learning environment that enables them to develop knowledge and skills they need to at least survive and ideally thrive. It's not easy but it happens with most refugees when they are given a chance. Richard

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