InZone Programmes Responsive to Change, Designed for High Retention and Completion Rates

Motivation is a key component in the acquisition of knowledge and skills irrespective of the context in which learning takes place. Many variables contribute to learners wanting to complete a course, and obstacles abound at most every level of education. In a refugee context there is the assumption that due to the lack of opportunity to access higher education refugee learners are keen to engage and highly motivated to complete their course work. But refugee learners struggle to overcome a myriad of obstacles that stand in the way of learning: trauma, displacement, unfamiliar languages and cultures, supporting a family, covering long distances, often on foot, to reach a learning center, etc.

Cohort of students that completed courses at their end of semester celebration. Photo: © 2017 InZone

InZone programme design thus involves a careful mapping of opportunities and challenges that refugees encounter in the location where the programme will be running, so as to sustain learner motivation and positively impact on retention and completion. While some opportunities and challenges are to be encountered in a large number of programme locations, there are host country-specific differences, topographical and camp-specific variants, variations in infrastructure and regional differences regarding learner interest, to name but a few. As is clearly described in the section on learning pathways, understanding both the protracted nature of refugee existence as well as the uncertainty regarding the solutions that will be available to learners (staying in a camp for a very long time, integrating into a host community, moving on, being resettled or being repatriated), will support refugee learners’ motivation to stay the course and be able to complete a programme even in a location that is different from where they started their learning journey.

 

InZone’s research has shown that one of the most important variables to influence retention and completion rates positively is InZone’s elaborate learning eco-system, designed to support learners both online and off-line. Online bilingual subject-matter tutors interact with learners online to ensure that learners transform information into knowledge and skills. On-site bilingual e-learning facilitators ensure access to learning platforms, organise peer-to-peer learning, ensure that learners regularly come to the learning hub, and provide at times special
support to female learners.

While the resources deployed in a learning hub remain constant, the amount of learner scaffolding decreases over time as learners become more autonomous and manage their learning journey more independently. The most successful graduates of each course are trained as e-learning facilitators for future courses, while online tutors are carefully trained to meet the specific demands of supporting refugee learners in remote locations. The InZone learning eco-system thus creates a culture of learning, of peer support and bilingual subject-matter support that contributes greatly to retention and completion rates.

Story provided by: InZone ©2017