Since we started in 2012, mVAM has worked to share our knowledge with others — this was encouraged by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund, our first donor, and this blog is part of that commitment to sharing and documenting what we do. In the last few years, we have set up a learning lab to scale up capacities in data collection and analysis but also to share data and learning with the broader community. In this regard, we’ve seen others inside WFP and other organizations reuse the methodologies and lessons learned we have been sharing on our resource center. But we wanted to go even further in our information sharing. In this spirit, we’re now working to set up a fully fledged online course how to implement a remote mobile data collection system. We want to allow anyone anywhere to learn about using remote mobile data collection for food security monitoring and then use it in their own work.
So, what can you or your colleague, or a friend who has never heard of mVAM before, learn by taking the course? The course walks you through the overall life cycle of remote food security data collection and covers specific issues such as designing a questionnaire or an appropriate sample frame. By the end of the course you’ll be familiar with remote data collection approaches and tools. As well as understanding where and when it is appropriate to use these tools you’ll be able to design and implement short remote mobile-based surveys using SMS, voice and IVR technologies. You’ll even get your own certificate once you’ve completed the course. Pretty exciting stuff, we know.
The course is completely free. We’ve done our best to mix it up, using videos and presentations and online resources to share our knowledge and make the course as interactive as possible. We’ve even invented a fictional case study country ‘Vamistan’ that participants can follow to really reflect on how they can harness mobile technology.
We’ve partnered before with Leiden University and we have been lucky enough to have the support of their Online Learning Lab when designing the course. In August we had a visit from one of their online learning experts, an Instructional Designer who gave us tips on course design and didactics. This week one of Leiden’s ‘video experts’ came to Rome to film those members of the team who appeared in the videos.
The lab has a lot of experience in this field, their courses are reaching over 480,000 participants in 196 countries. So we’ve been working with leaders in the field to deliver a high quality online course. We’ve been having fun making it and we’re looking forward to sharing the finished product. It should be up and running in the near future so stay tuned! We’ll tell you exactly how to sign up and share the news. We hope you’ll check it out!