Over the past 4 years the Met Office College (MOC) has built a strong collaborative relationship with the Institute for Meteorological Training and Research (IMTR), the equivalent institution within the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD). IMTR is a designated World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Regional Training Centre (RTC), for English-speaking Africa and as such is expected to provide training that supports the regions National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS’s).
The Met Office College and IMTR are collaborating on developing a Basic Instructional Package for Meteorologists (BIP-M) compliant forecasting course, in accordance with WMO Education and Training Standards in Meteorology and Hydrology. The project is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and is part of a larger project called Weather Information SErvices for East African Region (WISER).
The project aim is to develop a course using modern, applied teaching techniques and training best practise which includes the use of technology in a blended approach. This approach leads to improved engagement from the learners and therefore better retention of knowledge and skills.
The point of blended learning is to mix traditional and digital technologies together in a way that helps learners learn more productively. Each should complement the other, doing what each does best. Digital technologies can be used in class, or beyond the classroom, to enhance learning by offering specific types of benefit that are more difficult with traditional methods (Futurelearn.com Blended Learning 2017)
The project began early in 2016 and one of the first milestones was to introduce the concept of blended learning to all involved. 7 members of IMTR along with their equivalents from the Met Office College attended ‘More than Blended Learning’, run by Clive Shepherd who is an expert in Blended Learning.
A blended plan was produced for each of the topics within BIP-M, and from these, learning materials have been developed with appropriate use of technology and applied teaching methods. The materials are co-branded and are supported by documentation. A series of train the trainer exchanges were held at IMTR to support the development.
In November 2016 a new three week “Introduction to Climatology” course was delivered at the WMO regional training centre for East Africa, IMTR Nairobi. This was a pilot course and standalone, but was also BIP-M compliant, so could be incorporated into the forecasting course, as required. Trainers from Met Office College worked alongside trainers from IMTR and the University of Nairobi to deliver a course to 19 delegates from 8 African countries. The course aimed to help participants understand the complexity of the climate system and engage in discussions surrounding climate science, climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation, whilst building capacity of staff at IMTR, the WMO Regional Training Centre for East Africa.
Excellent feedback included comments such as:
“It wasn't all about the trainers, we were very involved.”
“Very engaging and practical (hands on).”
“Interaction in the class with other participants.”
Delegates on the ITC course carrying out activity-based learning IMTR Nairobi Nov 2016
A second phase of the project would allow us to co-deliver the new course at the Regional training Centre in Nairobi and participants from across the East African region would be invited to attend through the WMO. This would allow us to trail the new method of delivery, which proved so successful on the pilot course and to further develop the capacity within IMTR to deliver a similar course in the future.
More details about WISER here