Harvesting Knowledge

A group of GIEP fellows working in India for Summer 2014

Project Abstract

Harvesting Knowledge – Digital Green (New Delhi) Partnership

The Harvesting Knowledge Team aims to increase Digital Green’s capacity to support training of community knowledge workers (CKWs), who are local farmers that help facilitate discussions on new farming practices in their villages through the Digital Green methodology. Their training includes dissemination and facilitation practices for group video screening sessions, data collection practices, and video production to capture agricultural best practices. Traditionally, these CKWs have been trained and certified in-person by Digital Green. With Digital Green aiming to scale up their current operations to train over 10,000 new CKWs, we seek to to explore a technological solution that can help expand the capacity of human-mediated training to meet their growing needs. We plan to design an interactive interface that will enhance the learning experience for both the trainer and the trainees.

Background / Context

Digital Green (DG) is a knowledge platform that uses an innovative technological approach to transform the lives of rural people around the world. The platform’s unique methodology involves participatory local video production of targeted content coupled with human-mediated dissemination.

Due to the proven success of their approach in India, DG is actively expanding its reach and bringing its formula to other regions of need around the world.  To help achieve this goal, DG has partnered with the small design team, Harvesting Knowledge (HK) – a team that is part of the Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) at the University of Michigan’s School of Information (UMSI).

Objective

One of the core tenets of the platform is human-mediated dissemination. This involves community video screening sessions run by local community knowledge workers (CKWs). Traditionally, these community knowledge workers have been trained and certified in-person by Digital Green, with 1 or 2 trainers training a group of 30-40 individuals at a time. Digital Green plans to scale up their operations, and as a result, over 10,000 CKWs have to be accredited in the coming years.

Thus, our objective is to explore a technological solution and design a learning platform’s interface that begins to solve the challenge of cost-effectively scaling up the training process to a large number of Community Knowledge Workers. Our aim is to come up with a technology that can successfully merge into the existing training ecosystem and, in the process, help improve the quality and efficacy of these training sessions moving forward.

Target Outcomes and Outputs

With this project, our primary deliverable is a series of well-reasoned designs and web-based interface prototypes – in the form of a wireframes document with justifications – that will allow Digital Green to expand their reach throughout India and in other countries where they seek to establish a presence.

This interface should take into account:

  • Organization-specific needs (the needs for both Digital Green and their partners)

  • Current best practices from existing MOOCs

  • The unique needs of Community Knowledge Workers

  • The secondary nature of the platform; where the human-mediated trainings are the primary mode of operation for CKWs

The completed design of the knowledge platform will contain the following characteristics:

  • It integrates video–the central focus of the course content–with practice exercises and customized assessments.

  • Partner NGOs and Digital Green can easily use it to create customized courses for training CKWs on dissemination/facilitation techniques, video production, data management.

  • It provides flexibility for users who need to work offline at times.

  • Current or potential CKWs can easily use the system to enhance their experience at human-mediated training.

  • The system should provide a way for CKWs to communicate with their peer group to exchange advice and/or ask for help.

  • Important metrics, such as course enrollment and completion, video screening meetings, adoption of practices, number of newly accredited CKWs, and other measures can be viewed by administrators.

  • Courses should be able to accommodate users with differing levels of literacy and who work with non-English speaking communities.

  • The design will take a mobile-first strategy in order to flexibly adapt from small portable tablets to desktops as necessary

 

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