Packaging knowledge and experience through regional workshops

November 6, 2014 by Kaja Jurtela

Regional workshops are at the heart of the CEF learning activities. They are one of the learning instruments most commonly used at the CEF to share regional knowledge in reforming public financial management systems. As a knowledge broker, the CEF’s role is to package knowledge and experience in a certain area identified as relevant by our member countries. But what do we really mean by »packaging knowledge and experiences«? Packaging is closely connected to capturing and sharing, and this means that when designing a workshop, we have to have a good understanding of public financial management reforms in our member countries, combined with an understanding of the needs of institutions and individuals, while communicating our work with relevant public.

Each workshop is a unique learning event. The aim of every workshop is to close the identified knowledge gap. To put it in other way, by delivering a workshop, we facilitate capacity development of individuals. At the core of capacity development is learning. If learning is situated in a broader development context, it has an impact on institutions and societies. To assure this, we strive to build strong partnerships with our members, assuring the ownership of individuals and institutions when involved in a process of learning.

If learning is the main feature of capacity development, a critical point of achieving meaningful capacity development is to understand how learning is facilitated. By packaging we do not just mean passing someone’s knowledge to someone else but to put a learner in the center of learning. We call this participatory learning. Participatory learning is not only to rely on plethora of learning instruments and activities, or paying attention to different learning styles of individuals, but to enable peer-to-peer learning, or knowledge exchange. In line with social learning theory, practitioners own their experiences which represent a basis for learning and sharing. The workshop provides opportunity for building on, resolving, sharing existing experiences and transforming this into meaningful learning. So, a workshop represents what a knowledge hub really is: it represents a position of a knowledge broker that enables individuals to learn with and from one another.

To me a learning event is successful when it enables participants to learn from one another, share their knowledge and experiences, and use this knowledge to make reforms happen.