ICT SUPPORTED WORK-BASED CONFLICT RESOLUTION LEARNING

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Description of work-based learning based on conflict resolution. Reference is made to conflict resolution work of UOC in Barcelona (in assocation with UNITAR) and Veolia in Dublin (in association with ULS).

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ICT SUPPORTED WORK-BASED CONFLICT RESOLUTION LEARNING

  1. 1. ICT SUPPORTED WORK-BASED CONFLICT RESOLUTION LEARNING A comparative analysis Dr. Alan Bruce, ULS Dublin Maria-Antònia Guardiola, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona
  2. 2. Work based learning  Nature of work – from task to skill to competence  Learning and knowledge – control and autonomy  Serving two masters: self-interest and the organization  Knowing enough to do the job  Knowing enough to value the mission  Achieving autonomy, ethics and responsibility  Enshrining innovation and critical reflection
  3. 3. Traditional structures-new needs  Hierarchic schooling as a preparation for chaos  Assembling facts in a post-modern world  Coping with change  Coping with globalized realities  Divided education: academic and vocational  Social and interpersonal knowledge  Instant, ubiquitous information: ICT and access  Shaping values and empathy – what is needed?
  4. 4. Impacting Conflict  Rapid external change and altered internal organizational needs – new emphasis on learning required  Differences within the workforce – cultural ethnic, gender, linguistic  Issues on roles and the impact of uncertainty  Decline of traditional structures (e.g. trade unions)  Issues underlining conflict: productivity, performance, systemic dysfunction, reward and acknowledgement  The learning organization: strategy, trust, risk
  5. 5. Conflict and Work  Impact: low morale, absenteeism, ineffective communications, low productivity  Significant disruption and time consuming  Responses are challenging: avoid or confront  Resolving conflict constructively requires enhanced learning strategies
  6. 6. Reasons for work based conflict  Poor communications  Different values  Differing interests  Scarce resources  Personality clashes  Poor performance  Contexts of aggression: social structures; economic systems; identity clashes; discrimination; beliefs and culture
  7. 7. Themes of Conflict  Portrayals of the Other  De-humanization  In-groups and out-groups  Fear and Threat  Universal and destructive  Demonizing the Other:  Prejudice  Discrimination  Stereotype  Victimization
  8. 8. UOC and UNITAR  UOC Campus for Peace  Conflict resolution: academic and applied  Critical learning themes linked to humanitarian action and peace construction  Training: competence and best practice  Field delivery challenges  Students diverse and dispersed
  9. 9. www.unitar.org/ptp
  10. 10. UNITAR Training  UN worldwide peace-building and peacekeeping roles  Conflict management and conflict resolution recognized as priority areas (2013 Report)  UNITAR-UOC program seen as major stepping stone to meet Security Council expectations in sustainable conflict resolution  Conceptual and practical tools plus relevant learning exercises  Mainstreaming knowledge and skills about conflict resolution is certainly an important element in building peace capacities, ensuring national ownership and strengthening resilience in post-conflict countries
  11. 11. Target groups  Students represent all components of a modern peace operation including military, police and civilian actors  Non-UN staff participate, including NGO representatives working on peace and human rights  Participants share key (learning) needs: 1) they require academic qualifications 2) they cannot leave their job or country 3) they need knowledge relevant to their job 4) they need skills that can be used right away 5) they need training up to international standards 6) they need to network to share experience and lessons learned 7) they must combine their studies with their work.  Their training needs demand a different type of training not easily met by existing vocational education, liberal education or job training.
  12. 12. Innovative training for conflict zones  Without a clear knowledge and set of skills to mediate conflicts in a culturally-sensitive manner, to protect civilians in conflict zones or to protect human rights in general, peacekeepers cannot do what the world expects them to do.  UN staff may have very limited training on peace and security and few of them know enough about mediation.  The UOC course Conflict Resolution provides much-needed information on best practices to avoid the types of mistakes that in the long-term undermine the credibility and legitimacy of peace initiatives.
  13. 13. UOC Methodology  Development of a significant new level of technological capacity with advanced ICT supported learning enables a significant expansion of scale in recent years for students across the world.  UOC School for Cooperation runs different programs on conflict resolution on line and in English.  UOC’s virtual campus was an efficient system for UN staff taking this program online - students can connect and have a welcoming tutor to help them navigate through the campus.  This is a two-way agreement that also benefits UOC students wishing to take any subjects in the UNITAR course catalogue, as their credits will be validated.
  14. 14. Strategy for Conflict Resolution  The agreement offers ability to undertake practical placements with UNITAR. UOC students will be able to take part in conflict resolution programs run by the United Nations and in peace operations and other post-conflict peacekeeping processes.  UOC School for Cooperation has provided conflict resolution training to UN workers on peace missions from October 2013.  UOC and UNITAR convention based on sharing program and students. UNITAR secured qualitative online programs to improve staff competence on frontline missions.
  15. 15. UOC-UNITAR Focus  Intake for academic year 2013-14 is 87 students selected by UNITAR – mostly soldiers on peace-keeping missions.  The UNITAR/UOC program offers: 1) academic education 2) professional training 3) on-the-job coaching 4) networking.  Current development: a Community of Practice so that students and alumni can keep in touch, share lessons learned and best practices, access course material at any time and contact UN experts for support and guidance.
  16. 16. Transformed society: a new Ireland  Total population: 4.7 million  Non-Irish population: 11%  Change has occurred in 15 years  Ethnic and religious diversity:  Largest populations: Polish, Chinese, Nigerian  Religions: RC 84%; Other Christian 6%; Islam 1%  Highest birth rate in EU  Highest inward migration
  17. 17. Racism and integration: balance sheet  Adaptation to rapid change  Implications of altered demographics: schooling  Lack of transparent settlement processes: bureaucracy  Personal racism: anecdotal witness  Institutional insensitivity  Robust equality legislation since 2005  Absence of xenophobic, racist political movement  Popular acceptance of diversity – impact of recession uncertain
  18. 18. Challenges for innovative work- based learning on racism Access: recruitment Relevance: avoiding or minimizing conflict Support: guidance, mentoring and advice Benefit: legislative compliance and cost reduction Structure: locating responsibility: HR and policy Value: promoting diversity Personal: confidence, ownership, adaptability Corporate: image, retention, promotion
  19. 19. Veolia (Luas tram system)  RPA Established 2001- two lines open in 2004  Highly successful in terms of passengers – extensions planned  Key staff: drivers (100) and revenue protection (300)  Security increased since 2009: anti-social behavior and violence
  20. 20. Problems and issues Increased racist incidents towards staff: insult and abuse Hostility, poor fare compliance, legal basis Increased stress and absenteeism Attack and injury – threat and victimization Issues between staff: avoidance and hostility Bullying and harassment Avoidance, insensitivity, poor communications Prejudice and intolerance
  21. 21. Designing training for conflict resolution Focus on diversity management Key principles of engagement: curiosity, shared actions, open communications Roots of conflict Dealing with prejudice and stereotype Understanding difference and fostering curiosity Shared mission, understanding change Rights based strategy Based on real employment context Case studies
  22. 22. Operational roll-out 2013  Preliminary meetings: March 2013  Background research and observation: April 2013  Materials design: May-July 2013  Training delivery: July-October 2013  Evaluation and follow-up  Future sectors and categories
  23. 23. Summary outcomes for conflict training  Relevance of content, structure, methods  Value for learners in facilitated discussion  Focus on racism and racist attitudes helpful  Defining delivered benefit through work focus  Soft skills critical – with hard technologies to support  Importance of best practice and solution-focused approach  Learning in a time of crisis  Anticipating change  Communications critical  Legacy, sustainability and embedding
  24. 24. Thank you Dr. Alan Bruce abruce@lsystems.com Maria-Antònia Guardiola mguardiolalop@uoc.edu

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