The InZone learning ecosystem
Continue being on our side and help us prove that refugee life is just a circumstance.
- Juvenal, InZone Student, Kakuma, Kenya
The project in brief
InZone - Université de Genève
Kenya and Jordan
The project started in 2016 and is ongoing.
At the centre of the InZone Learning Ecosystem is the student, who is supported throughout the learning journey by four different actors: the lecturer, the online tutor, the onsite facilitator and the course coordinator. To enable and enhance collaborative learning within the ecosystem, our online tutors guide students through their course work and our onsite facilitators manage learning on the ground.
The aim of the learning ecosystem is to provide the necessary scaffolding to support tertiary education in low-resource environments. It allows students to become autonomous, make decisions on their own learning project while developing collaborative learning skills.
The learning ecosystem is supported by a refugee-led campus model, which includes former students that are responsible for managing the learning spaces and are involved in developing contextualised learning material. The model has been designed and tested by InZone.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The learning ecosystem is centered around the student, whose learning journey is supported by four actors that interact with them leveraging connected learning technology. Their roles are as follows:
- The lecturer delivers the course material online, encourages the generation of new knowledge, and evaluates the student's learning. In the ecosystem, the delivery of knowledge via an online platform enables the transmission of information to the students, who through discussions, group work and other activities acquire and develop new knowledge.
- Online tutoring is carried out by an online tutor, who is a subject matter expert or a peer with a more advanced level of subject knowledge. The online tutor ‘meets’ the student regularly over an ICT platform to stimulate new knowledge acquisition, discuss the student’s progress and offer advice on being a successful learner.
- The facilitator provides onsite technical support and guidance to learners, helps them to access the learning platform and navigate the physical learning space.
- Course coordination is performed by a Course Coordinator, who has the overall responsibility for the day-to-day running of the course and who works with the other members of the learning ecosystem to enable successful collaborative learning.
Challenges and how they were overcome
• The refugee led management model on which our approach is based is uncommon in the camps were we operate. Initial miscommunication and the refugee recruitment policies have complicated the creation of the refugee led management team
• Obtaining a gender balanced representation among the local refugee based team members and learners is challenging
• Addressing complaints (particularly gender-related) consistently and transparently whilst respecting local cultural norms
How they were overcome
• A clear and regular communication channel was set up to develop the local management team and facilitate communication with the implementing partner
• The creation of a transparent complaint handling mechanism to ensure all complaints are heard and dealt with in a timely manner
• The creation of an outreach procedures that aims at obtaining equal gender representation
Results of the Good Practice
• The skills that some of our students have acquired over time allowed them entry into the local university system and will enhance their chances of securing livelihoods.
• Others have acquires technical skills that were applied on hands on projects for the benefit of other learners and their communities.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The learning ecosystem is designed to encourage learners to become autonomous and develop collaborative learning skills, which are essential to pursue their academic goals in an environment that would otherwise not be conducive to learning. Access to higher education in a refugee camp is extremely limited: the knowledge and critical thinking skills that students acquire thanks to it increase their chances of well-being and their potential of securing livelihoods.
The InZone learning ecosystem is an integral part of our pedagogical approach, which we aim to refine on the basis of academic research and apply to a wider range of higher education courses.
Further support required for the project to continue or scale up
Collaboration with other higher education organisations in order to develop the academic offer and secure external funding
Lou Pisani, InZone administrator, InZone, University of Geneva - Switzerland