Using OpenWASH modules for independent and group study
OpenWASH modules can also be successfully used for people studying on their own. Sharing the learning experience with other students and having the support of a tutor is extremely valuable, but it is not essential. Independent study may be most appropriate for you if you want to improve your skills and knowledge in a particular subject area. It has the benefit of flexibility and allows you to accommodate other demands on your time.
If you are studying independently you can choose to select particular study sessions from the modules according to your needs and wishes, but be aware that this type of self-managed learning requires dedication and discipline. You should set a timetable for study and use a dedicated Study Notebook. We recommend that you make use of the ITQs and SAQs to assess your own learning and that you record your answers before looking at the notes provided.
Group study in the workplace
Another approach to using the modules is a combination of independent study with some elements of distance learning. This can be particularly useful in a work-based context.
If you are the supervisor or leader of a group of staff, these modules provide a convenient way of providing training without sending them away for a residential course, which may be expensive and take them away from their jobs. You can set them the task of studying one or more of the OpenWASH modules or part of a module within a set time. The only resources required would be copies of the relevant modules (or internet access). You could also consider adapting the content to your specific work situation, or setting tasks for your group of staff to link their study to their work activities.
Your role, as their supervisor, is similar to the role of the distance/blended learning tutor. If you are considering using the modules in this way, we recommend that you read Section 7. You will need to allocate some time for discussion and feedback sessions with your group of staff, but this will be significantly less than conventional training. Your staff will improve their skills and knowledge, and they will also have the benefit of support from you and from their colleagues who are studying with them.
Group study in the community
You could use the modules to provide training for community groups such as WASHCOs, the Health Development Army or school-based clubs and associations. You should select specific study sessions or parts of study sessions according to the needs of the particular project or enterprise. To develop the materials and adapt them for this purpose requires both aspects of the classroom teacher’s role in planning the session, and aspects of the distance learning tutor’s role in supporting the group in their activities. The learning outcomes, key terms, ITQs and SAQs should all be used in this context to ensure the group gets the most out of the training session.