(08) Training Humanitarian workers through E-Learning during Pandemic: A journey towards a Sustainable World, Muhammad Shahzad, Prof. Dr. Imran Dar
Muhammad Babar Shahzad
Pakistan Currency Exchange Co. (Pvt) Ltd
Prof. Dr. Imran Bashir Dar
Foundation University Islamabad
Abstract: Natural disasters due to climate change affect more than two hundred million people every year. Compared to any point in recorded history, the highest proportion of the global population is floods and pandemic affected in recent years. Notably, the capacity of humanitarian workers through online, blended, and conventional forms of learning is one of the priorities of embedding the Sustainable development agenda 2030 Agenda (WHO, 2018). So, it is a global cause that needs serious effort from not only a single group country, developing or developed ones, but all the signatories of UNO to improve the world through enhancement through humanitarian workers’ learning. The reliance of international bodies like the United Nations and the European Union on local humanitarian staff to provide life‐saving relief assistance in the affected area is continuous. However, the national humanitarian staff failed to save many precious lives due to a lack of training. The World health organisation and the United Nations reported a shortage of humanitarian workers and poor attention to training humanitarian workers for disaster response. Therefore, in the era of technology, we argued that the only solution for getting up-to-date knowledge, capabilities, and skills in lifelong learning is through virtual platforms. A well-established primary factor in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian aid operations is only possible with highly trained humanitarian workers with the relevant technical capacity. We can train humanitarian workers to better response in crises with limited resources through E-Learning.
(1) Whether Digital mode and face-to-face mode are equally effective in training humanitarian workers?; (2) Had humanitarian workers trained through digital mode and face-to-face mood performed equally well academically?; (3) Had humanitarian workers trained through digital mode and face-to-face mood performed equally well in a crisis?; and (4) Had humanitarian workers trained through digital mode and face-to-face mood performed equally well in post-crises aid work?
Few research studies have investigated the effectiveness of e-learning for education, but the results are in both directions and are still inconclusive. The research examined the direct effect of e-learning on employees’ job performance. No notable study has investigated the relationship between e-learning and humanitarian workers’ performance (Carter & Youssef-Morgan, 2022). The expected benefits of training through E-learning are flexibility of location and timing, reduced cost of training, self-directed, and unlimited access to the knowledge and most up-to-date information. The common disadvantages of e-learning are the absence of group studies, the absence of the teacher and student feedback, and the lack of personal capacity building. An online course was developed with the help of a registered nursing college. The course content was based on the already established international practices for emergency response in disaster and developed with the help of national nursing council guidelines. The humanitarian workers were selected from one organisation based on convenience sampling and divided into two groups. The first group comprised forty-eight workers working as primary healthcare providers in these two remote areas of the country. The second group consisted of thirty-four humanitarian workers working in the same area as primary health workers. The first group was given training through online mediums, and the second group was given training via the conventional method. Both groups were sent to the field during the recent flood, and their progress was monitored and compared.
The results revealed that both groups performed equally well. However, group one performed well in the psychological care of the vulnerable population. The mode of education is decoded into dummy variables, 1 for conversation learning and 2 for e-learning. The academic performance of humanitarian workers was obtained from the course teacher, and humanitarian workers’ job performance was obtained from the district manager. The internal consistency of the scale was obtained using the alpha reliabilities of the scales. Descriptive statistics tests are also conducted to measure the mean, standard deviation, and correlation between variables. The humanitarian workers trained through e-learning performed well academically compared to the second group. The reasoning is that the workers having e-learning medium had the leverage to study at their own pace and repeat it at their convenience. Both groups were sent to the field during the recent flood, and their progress was monitored and compared. The results revealed that both groups performed equally well. However, group one performed well in the psychological care of the vulnerable population. These results concluded that we could use online education mode to train humanitarian workers in remote areas. The e-learning exercise enhanced their psychological resilience as they were directed to use their cognitive abilities instead of team dynamics and social setting behavioural consciousness. However, The humanitarian workers trained through conventional education performed well compared to the first group in post-crisis field activities as they exercised their social setting behaviour. Our study demonstrated that training humanitarian workers through E-learning is as effective as conventional methods. However, there are pros and cons to both training methods. More research and longitudinal research are recommended to generalise the results across all settings.
Keywords: Humanitarian Workers, E-Learning, Sustainable Development Goals, life‐saving relief assistance, performance