Tvoy Kurs: Digital Literacy Training in Russia - Who Trained 100,000 People in 2011?

Yes, we did it! We have really trained 100,000 people in 2011 within our Tvoy Kurs Project and we are very proud of it. See the numbers on our website http://ycdl.ph-int.org/

With all the project deliverables, requirements, statistics, and reports we sometimes fail to acknowledge those who are making the digital inclusion possible - our trainers and volunteers. How do they work? What methods are they using? What are their approaches? In order to highlight the trainers' crucial role in the program, the Tvoy Kurs organized a contest for the best trainer. So what have we learned?

Our figures show that Tvoy Kurs boasts more than 2,000 trainers – or, to be exact, 2,222 trainers registered in our official database as of today. We trust that all of them are people of high responsibility, professional excellence, and a kind and friendly attitude.

We have received fascinating contest applications from many trainers who told us glowing stories about their work and trainees, and shared their successes and challenges. We are very thankful to everyone who chose to take part in the contest, and since many of them deserve to win, our judges had a rather hard time choosing the very best.

Extracts from our participants' submissions say much better about their work. We are pleased to share their simple but effective tips and observations:

Natalya Morgunova, Balakovo, Methodological Center of Balakovo municipal district, Saratov region, “Successful learning is the only source of energy and motivation for overcoming challenges. That is why creating success situations is so important in adult education as well as in teaching children. Besides, as 19th century German educator Adolph Diesterweg said, ‘bad teachers merely present the truth; good ones teach how to find it’ – and that’s why we seek to combine traditional methods of disseminating ready knowledge with new approaches that encourage independent discovery. The success of my trainees is my success!”

Еvgeniya Batuyeva, Perm, A. M. Gorky Regional Library, Perm: “I try to take into account my trainees’ personalities, age, educational background, and initial skills (or lack thereof) of using the computer – or, at the very least, the cell phone. This year our Tvoy Kurs Center has been working with residents of boarding houses for people with psychoneurological disabilities. It has been very tough, since most trainees suffer from attention deficit and other disorders and display general lack of training and self-training, and many of them are severely inhibited and intimidated. However, thanks to our learner-centered approach, carefully customized to individual needs, they were able to complete the course successfully. Thanks to the new computer skills, many of them now have a new source of entertainment and recreation, and some have even found their relatives or landed online jobs.”

Zhanna Gayevskaya, Volgograd, M. Gorky Regional Academic Library, Volgograd: “To merely state that teaching adults – i.e. people with established character, views, and habits – is a challenge is to say nothing at all. But since most our trainees start from scratch, even with the greatest desire to learn it is often frustrating for them, so I emphasize creativity. During the very first class we start MS Paint and learn to draw straight lines and various geometrical figures to get the hang of the computer mouse. My whole course is built around the principle ‘As much hands-on practice as possible’”.

Maksim Vasilyev, Volgograd, Volgograd State Agricultural Academy:“My work at the Tvoy Kurs Center has given me a much better understanding of people, their needs and problems. I have made many new friends, expanded my social network, and come to a firm conclusion: ‘There is no such thing as unteachable students – only bad teachers.’ This is our working motto, and we seek to customize our training for individual needs. I think I am becoming quite good at this, and it makes me very happy!”

Even though initially we intended to select just one winner, in the end the judges decided to award two best Tvoy Kurs trainers:

I. Anastasia Ershova, Togliatti State University: "I have realized that people work much better and try harder when you praise them for even slightest achievements. They have learned to click the mouse - Good Job! They have mastered a double-click - Great Job! One of our trainees confessed that he hadn't been praised that much in his whole life and that was the major reason for him to come to the center. ... I was born in a small village with the beautiful name Apple Ravine, and the Digital Age has come even there. When i came for vacation in summer I told my former school teachers about Tvoy Kurs. The word of mouth worked immediately. The next group of trainees were workers from a local factory. who were at risk of unemployment because of the new computerized equipment. Besides Digital Literacy they learned about e-government services, saving lots of time on getting the necessary documents online instead of going to the city. That is how i spent my summer helping my fellow-villagers solve social issues and fight the unemployment."

II. Yulia Zaitseva, Krasnoyark Regional Academic Library:"Our center works with various groups which differ both in social background and age, and we try to use individual approach with all of them. E.g., senior trainees is the most vulnerable, but at the same time a very demanding group, they prefer to do all the exercises together with the trainer and are interested in hobbies, leisure pastime, communication. When we work with medical workers, educators, and other working professionals we focus the training on Office applications and internet resources according to their professional needs. For the unemployed we have developed a special brochure with Internet job search sites and offer a special resume building training..... We have an endless flow of people, even from the nearby villages, despite the fact that there are many other training centers in our city. And we are ready and trying to help all!"

Anastasia’s and Yulia’s full submissions are available in Russian on the program website ycdl.ph-int.org/news/850/eng/.


(Photos are from Tvoy Kurs centers, but are not related to the mentioned trainers)

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Tags: Digital Literacy, Russia, Tvoy Kurs, trainers, training

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Comment by Ekaterina Fedotova on January 30, 2012 at 12:20

Loreta, it is a short course, so it is very hard to track all those people. We have basic information from centers when they follow up with their trainees, especially when they come to additional workshops; from partner organizations (say employment centers do it by all means); or we encourage them to fill a very short after-study questionnaire to share their achievements. Altogether we can learn about somewhat 30% from all people trained. Besides, there are quite a few impact stories here - http://ycdl.ph-int.org/success/

Comment by Loreta Krizinauskiene on January 30, 2012 at 12:00

Very impressive, Katia, I agree that a lot depends on a good and devoted trainer. Do you have any feedback from participanst re. further ICT usage?

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