Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Eighty percent of the rural population are living below the poverty line and unemployment rates are high.
In an attempt to strengthen Haiti’s economy and give people a way out of poverty, the Government of Canada is funding Ayitic Goes Global: Empowering Women through Digital Markets. This initiative enables young women to find employment in the digital economy by equipping them with the technological and data skills necessary for accessing remote work in the digital sector.
At the centre of the project is The University of the West Indies, who, along with global partners, has been working to deliver the elearning system that makes Ayitic Goes Global possible.
“Haiti is faced with extreme conditions such as high unemployment, inefficient transportation systems and severely damaged educational infrastructure from the 2010 earthquake,” explains Dr Maurice McNaughton, Director at the Centre of Excellence for IT-Enabled Innovation at The University of the West Indies’ Mona School of Business and Management.
The challenge Dr McNaughton and his team faced was finding an interactive, responsive and multilingual platform that could deliver online digital skills training in a sustainable way in a resource-constrained environment.
“Our search for a flexible training delivery platform that would enable online and offline access modes and allow for limited bandwidth infrastructure with intermittent availability led us to select the Adapt Authoring Tool for developing engaging, responsive elearning content, and Can Studios as our hosting and technology support partner,” says Dr McNaughton.
The University of the West Indies recognised the potential that our Adapt Authoring Tool had for building an effective blended learning strategy.
As well as training and support, we also provided a hosted instance of Adapt, which allows authors to work from any location and for learning content to be developed both at the university in Jamaica and on-the-ground locally in Haiti.
Ahead of the course launch, in April 2018, the team have been working on updating and building templates, which will allow future courses to be generated faster and more efficiently.
One of the major difficulties The University of the West Indies faced was the issue of limited bandwidth availability in Haiti.
To overcome this, we developed a system that allows each course to be uploaded onto an app on an Android tablet, which is then hooked up to head office. Students can then access the data directly from the tablet offline, rather than through an online learning management system.
Dr McNaughton sees the success of this project as a significant opportunity to apply the learnings gained and teaching products developed to a wider initiative that is seeking to build a comprehensive data literacy programme across the Caribbean.
“The growing data economy demands a much more agile, responsive and creative approach to corporate training,” says Dr McNaughton.
“We are already finding that much of the competency-based educational philosophy and pedagogical innovations that we are exploring in the Haiti project can be repurposed to address these shifting demands [in business].”
Through close collaboration with The University of the West Indies our technology has provided the infrastructure needed to bring the Ayitic Goes Global course to market, transforming the lives of women in Haiti and playing a role in the long-term growth of the country’s economy.