Office of the President of the Philippines

COMMISSION ON INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY

HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP

1.0

Project Terminal Report
for the period August 2007 – June 2011
http://alseskwela.ning.com

30 June 2011

eSkwela Project Team Human Capital Development Group Commission on Information and Communications Technology Office of the President, Philippines

Maria Melizza D. Tan Head Executive Assistant, CICT-HCDG eSkwela Project Manager Avelino A. Mejia, Jr. eSkwela Project Officer – Sites Jose Feliciano C. Josef eSkwela Project Officer - Content Development Yuko Lisette R. Domingo eSkwela Project Officer - Instructional Model Dyan Corpuz-Suresca eSkwela Project Staff - Admin/Finance & Content Development Mary Jane A. Alvarez eSkwela Project Staff - Instructional Model Daryl Roxas eSkwela Project Staff - Sites Vanessa Dalma eSkwela Project Staff - Sites Mark Dhel Sinapilo eSkwela Project Staff - Technical & Content Development Aimee Emejas eSkwela Project Staff - Instructional Model & Admin/Finance

Sec. Ivan John E. Uy ICT4BE Program Director, August 2010-2011 Prof. Patricia Arinto Project ICT in Education Consultant Dr. Lloyd Espiritu Project Content Development Technical Consultant Dr. Emmanuel C. Lallana Commissioner, CICT-HCDG, 205-2007 eSkwela Project Head Commissioner Angelo Timoteo M. Diaz de Rivera Officer-in-Charge, CICT-HCDG, 2007-2008 ICT4BE Program Director Commissioner Consuelo S. Perez (Connie) ICT4BE Program Director and Commissioner, HCDG 2009-June 2010 John Macasio Kathryn Pauso Nelvin T. Olalia Marissa Wong Eloisa Arlene P. Abrenica Rhea Kristine P. Callo Kristine Abbie A. Arcena Roland G. Cua Christina Maureen L. Salang Ann Carl V. Bailey Elena Marie N. Enseñado Maria Carmina Mosura

CICT-HCDG 2nd Floor, CICT – NCC Bldg., C.P. Garcia Avenue Diliman, Quezon City 1101 www.cict.gov.ph; http://cict-hcdg.wikispaces.com Office Number: +63-2-9286105 local 2632 TeleFax Number: +63-2-9207412

DepEd-BALS team Dr. Carolina S. Guerrero, Director Dr. Carmelita P. Joble, Asst. Director Dr. Edel B. Carag, Chief, Literacy Division Dr. Sevilla Panaligan, Chief - Continuing Education Division Ma. Melissa Albino Georgia Usares Abigail Lanceta Roderick Corpuz National Trainers for Learning Facilitators Reynaldo Aragon Marie Joy Arias Leticia Bangcong Jenelyn Baylon Irene Barzaga Ivy Coney Gamatero Maricel Langahid Hermiette Lerog Marlyn Lozada Angelyn Malabanan Alan Nacu Avelino Santillan Henry Tura Regional Trainers for Network Administrators Joy Bihag Cris Dinozo Hansel Javier Lindsey Roger Redoblado Aldwin Opre Junior Trainers: Neopito Abonitalla Nelvin Bermudez Philip Bilgera Alfonso Estolas Delfin Macoco Teresita Manceras Clemente Politico Allan Villacampa

Content Reviewers Cairon Abantas Christopher Albino Melissa Albino Marie Joy Arias Manny Azucena Irene Barzaga Leticia Bangcong Jenelyn Baylon Sharon Buti Priscilla Calde Nida Caramat Stephen Cezar Roderick Corpuz Leo Dedoroy Maria Susan P. Dela Rama Nicolas H. Deroca Marcial Elecho Ariel Emmanuel Lana Escario Victor Fedirigan Noel Fulgueras Ivy Gamatero Nenita Ganzon Lorena Gulfan Josephine Intino Exusperio G. Jacinto Abigail Lanceta Maricel Langahid Rey Liwagon Liza Lontok Marlyn Lozada Lany Maceda Joy Magsayo Judy Mendoza Cecille Nayve Eugene Panesa Nestor Pascual Famy Pepito Rene San Juan Melissa Sanchez Winette Santos Carlo Magno Sydeo Clarisa Toribio Romeo M. Tubungan Mercedes Villafaña Eddie Vilvar Ces Yagdulas Alona Yap

Module Guide Developers and Reviewers Cairon Abantas Grace Adriano Christopher Albino Corazon Aloro Ramelyn Antalan Reynaldo Aragon Marie Joy Arias Leticia Bangcong Irene Barzaga Jenelyn Baylon Leo Dedoroy Lana Escario Victor Fedirigan Ivy Coney Gamatero Baltazar Gayem Maricel Langahid Hermiette Lerog Marlyn Lozada Angelyn Malabanan Arnel Marte Diosdado Medina Arnold Montemayor Alan Nacu Norielyn Narciso Oliver Palad Jesus Pagliawan Avelino Santillan Karen Ivy Tuazon Henry Tura Pepito Ventura Marissa Virtudazo

Major Partners and Supporters APEC Education Foundation Intel Microelectronics Philippines eGovernment Fund Technical Working Group Prof. Tim Unwin, Department of Geography Royal Holloway CICT-Human Capital Development Group iSchools Project CICT OSEC, Admin/Finance units UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines Content Development Partners Benguet State University Bataan Peninsula State University Bukidnon State University Cavite State University Central Luzon State University Sandiwaan Center for Learning Western Mindanao State University Western Visayas College of Science and Technology Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Event Management Partners Benguet State University Bataan Peninsula State University Batangas State University Bicol University Bukidnon State University Bulacan Agricultural State College CARAGA State University Cavite State University Cebu Normal University Central Luzon State University Davao del Norte State College Eastern Visayas State University Tarclac College of Agriculture Western Mindanao State University Western Visayas College of Science and Technology

Executive Summary

The eSkwela Project is a flagship project of the Commission of Information and Communications Technology (CICT) together with the Department of Education-Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS) that provides ICT-enhanced educational opportunities for the country’s out-of-school youth and adults. Funded initially by the APEC Education Foundation (AEF), it currently gets its funding from the e-Government Fund provided by the National Government. Under this project, community-based e-Learning Centers are being established across the country where ICT-supported alternative education programs are taking place. With the use of relevant interactive elearning materials, blended and collaborative modes of instruction, and performance-based assessment in a problem/project-based learning environment, it seeks to bridge the widening digital divide and social chasms between those who are educated and those who are not. Through a multi-stakeholder approach, the communities are expected to participate intensively in the project by setting-up, managing, and financing the center’s operations as well as providing support for community-based projects. CICT-HCDG partners with local governments, DepEd divisions, non-government and civic groups, and communities to extend the reach of eSkwela to other areas in the country. In line with the overall goal of providing Education for All (EFA) and the strategic direction set by eSkwela’s pilot implementation, eSkwela 1.0’s main aim was to capacitate DepEd-BALS as well as the field implementers and supporters of the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program in utilizing appropriate and relevant ICT4E resources to broaden access to quality education and make learning fun, interactive, and more engaging. Further, the project targeted a 100% increase in the number of Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test passers among the learners in its implementation areas. eSkwela 1.0, which ran from July 2007 to June 2011, sought to operationalize the eSkwela model for the eventual turnover to DepEd-BALS as a regular Program. This translates to a projected 220 ALS implementers and 5,000 learners systematically using ICTs in the teaching and learning process in 120 eSkwela sites by 2010.

Executive Summary

Key innovative features Being the very first ICT in Education intervention for the alternative learning system in the country, it had such a wide room for pioneering innovations and experimentation. Capitalizing on the flexible nature of the A&E Program, the eSkwela Project Team made sure that the intervention used a multi-faceted yet comprehensive approach, thus avoiding the pitfalls of previous ICT in Education projects. As such, it had the following major components: 1) The heart of the eSkwela Project is its customized Instructional Model that serves as a concrete application of ICT integration in the delivery of the A&E Program. In support of a blended and self-paced learning environment, learning facilitators design and use learner-centered ICT-supported module guides that engage the learners to actively participate in their own learning process. Based on agreed-upon individual learning agreements, learning facilitators assign learners a wide range of ICT-based supplementary materials and activities to work on. Likewise, learners are encouraged to collaboratively use the various ICT tools extensively to create, upload, and maintain their respective learner e-portfolios and possibly build learning resources for others. a. The content development efforts of eSkwela is considered as the biggest content development initiative in the country with 283 A&E modules, 4 voctech courses, and 7 computer literacy modules being developed for free public distribution. This particular sub-component involves 212 developers and reviewers from partner universities, DepEd-BALS, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The automated systems being developed include the eSkwela Learning Management System and monitoring and evaluation systems that are needed to efficiently implement the instructional model as well as track site establishment, operations, and sustainability.

b.

2)

Community mobilization and social marketing activities are conducted to promote the project to local communities. It aims to secure the support of local stakeholders and interest groups for the infrastructure and personnel requirements of an eSkwela Center as well as the financial, technical, and institutional sustainability of the Center.

ii

Executive Summary

A local steering committee composed of stakeholder representatives is then formed to oversee the operations and ensure sustainability, formalized through a Memorandum of Agreement. 3) A variety of stakeholders’ capability-building workshops are conducted to prepare the implementers in managing the eSkwela Center and the proper implementation of the Instructional Model. Customized training workshops are designed and run for the regional coordinators, national trainers, center managers, learning facilitators, and network administrators. Additional trainings are provided to handhold learning facilitators and learners through the next stages in using ICT in a project-based learning environment. Regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities are conducted to assess the implementation and progress of individual eSkwela Centers in terms of site operations, application of skills trained on, and the initial gains of eSkwela to the learning community. Such activities have allowed the project team to mentor and handhold the newer implementers and if needed, conduct on-site refresher courses. An inclusive /consultative and collaborative atmosphere among the numerous stakeholders has been established from the very beginning. Communication lines are kept open through the project website (http://alseskwela.ning.com/) between the project team and the site implementers to encourage participation in this community of practice. Sharing of performance, challenges, progress, lessons learned, good practices, and initial gains are then gathered and used for continuous project enhancements. This positive perception to M&E activities on the various aspects affords the team the opportunities to get and incorporate feedback from the implementers and learners. All enhancements, interventions, and model stabilizations done on the project since its initial project conceptualization have been based on the results of these M&E activities and action plans developed during such gatherings.

4)

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Executive Summary

By the end of the project life of eSkwela 1.0 (30 June 2011), it had the following outputs and accomplishments: AEF eSkwela 1.0 - eGov Fund 2006, 2007, 2009 pilot target accomplished rate Functional customized ICT4E (ALS) Instructional model Enhanced Framework 1 1 1 0% eModules & corresponding 191 * Module Guides (A&E) (113 of which have 35 248 23% developedv (to be used for been certified by free) BALS) eModules (others: livelihood & CILC) 0 61 11* 82% developed (to be used for free) Mature/Replicable center model eSkwela Franchise Manual 0 1 1 100% Roadshows conducted for 0 17 27 0% advocacy Operational sites (mostly community 4 102 91 + 10** 10% initiated) Trained/qualified implementers on prescribed instructional model and center operations Enhanced / New Training 2 7 7 0% Designs Trained field implementers 140+ 1,884 1,718 *** 9% Established management and M&E mechanisms and tools Mechanisms 1 4 4 0% Enhanced / Customized / 1 2 2 0% New Automated Systems
* includes modules that are certified, undergoing certification, and good for certification; delays in content development processes discussed in Chapter 4 ** 10 sites are about to operate, pending minor operation details (slow set-up process dependent on pace by community stakeholders) *** slots were not filled up because some sites “share” implementers thus forfeited their provided workshop slots; some had conflicts in schedules and travel concerns; had difficulties in getting technical people to be trained

Most of the targets set in 2007 were met, with a few slippages. As with any project, targets and corresponding activities /tasks went through regular discussions, review, and revisions, when deemed appropriate. The project is finishing up the 283 targeted e-learning modules certified by BALS, the seven (7) Computer and Internet Literacy e-modules, and the four (4) e-courses for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) that covers Horticulture, HVAC-Refrigeration, Automotive Servicing, and Bartending. From a pilot run of four (4) sites in 2006-2007, a total of 95 CICT-assisted eSkwela Centers are operational by the end of June 2011, with 10 more set to start operations in the coming months. Most of the centers are community-led shared facilities, meaning the communities were the ones that sourced the infrastructure, the connectivity, the personnel, and sustainability costs – CICT just came in for the social mobilization, training, systems and

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Executive Summary

content, and monitoring activities. There are centers on top of public markets, inside container vans, in existing community e-centers (or publicly owned internet cafes), and even two local implementations that transport mobile laboratory set-ups from village to village on board motorbikes. All these were made possible through the gracious assistance of local partners who have demonstrated the true meaning of synergy. Through the Regional Coordinators, Trainers, field implementers, and eSkwela’s online presence, continuous advocacy is being done for the further expansion of eSkwela sites nationwide towards contributing to the country’s efforts in providing Education for All (EFA) by 2015.Several models are being promoted: ALS Office-based, school-based, barangay-based, city hall-based, mobile (laptop, container van), internet café-based, etc., depending on the respective commitments and resources of the host communities that are responsible for the infrastructure, connectivity, and sustainability concerns of the centers.

Fund Utilization for eSkwela 1.0 Of the total allocation provided for eSkwela 1.0, a total of Php 86,686,212 (97.83%) was obligated as of 30 June 2011 of which Php 86,686,212 (97.83%) was obligated. The total obligation comprised 1.13% capital outlay (CO) and 98.87% maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), broken down as follows: Component Capital Outlay Capability Building Systems Development Content Development Project Management (inc. M&E) TOTALS eGF 2006 8,348,096 21,000,440 581,167 29,929,703 eGF 2007 976,859 3,664,403 2,477,130 15,896,872 5,640,651 28,655,915 eGF 2009 8,789,662 2,652,000 8,084,874 8,574,057 28,100,594 eGF totals 976,859 20,802,162 5,129,130 44,982,186 14,795,875 86,686,212 % 1.13% 24.00% 5.92% 51.89% 17.07% 100.00%

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Executive Summary

Initial Assessment eSkwela, as an educational model that comprehensively incorporates ICT in the learning process, has proven to be one of the most successful initiatives in integrating ICT in education. It sets an example for elearning in the Philippines that give hopes and opportunities to educationally underserved Filipinos. The project’s implementation of the four (4) pilot sites provided the “proof of concept” that the use of ICTs in education is highly suitable to the modular approach of ALS and its emphasis on life skills. Starting small, the project team scaled up the project with caution by adhering to the key success factors observed in the pilot implementation. From site observation and reports/testimonials, the eSkwela project has enhanced the learning environment and made learning more engaging. This is mainly due to the innovative use of ICT (content, systems, discussion forums, projects) to make learning more fun, interactive, audio-visually stimulating, interesting, localized, and self-paced. In addition, the use of the project-based approach guides the learners to apply what they learned to actual scenarios and situations – as such, more aligned to the life skills that BALS aims for. Moreover, the eSkwela learners have much higher passing rates in the standardized A&E Test than those using the print-based model, providing a better-looking return on the community’s investment over the traditional A&E delivery mode. A&E Test Performance Feb 2008 (4 sites) Oct 2008 (5 sites) Oct 2009 (partial: 9 sites) October 2010 (partial: 16 sites) Averages eSkwela Average 57% 65% 45% 63% 58% National Average 29% 23% 21% 33% 27%

The innovative approach to using ICT for the A&E Program not only trains learners about computer literacy but more importantly, uses ICT to learn academics, values, livelihood and practical living. Likewise, it has served as a catalyst for community-led action among public and private partners. It has been a common perception that with eSkwela comes more A&E Test passers – meaning, more constituents have the necessary high school diplomas to become employable, productive, and tax-paying citizens in their communities – in effect, benefiting the local government, industry, and the community-at-large. Having served an estimated 6,309 diverse learners since 2007, the eSkwela Centers around the country are living testimonials to the potentials of ICTs in education. The effects are felt where it matters most: in the marginalized poor, with housewives, with the disabled – sectors that have traditionally gotten the short shrift in the one-size-fits-all arena of formal education. The project had been cited by UNESCO through a Certificate of Commendation from the ICT in Education Innovation Awards 2007-2008. It was recently conferred an Honorable Mention by the 2010 UNESCO King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education and a Laureate by the 2011 Computerworld Honors Program.

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Executive Summary

Next Steps eSkwela was officially turned over to the Department of Education last 29 April 2011 for institutionalization as a regular delivery mode of the ALS’ Accreditation and Equivalency Program. The management of DepEd had repeatedly emphasized that it will sustain eSkwela as part of the regular delivery services of the A&E Program. With policy support and regular funding from DepEd, eSkwela will have more “muscle and teeth” in facing the various expansion and operation challenges. The immediate next phase is eSkwela 1.1 which is an offshoot of the two (2) implementation phases of the eSkwela Project. Proposed by the CICT eSkwela Project Team and backed up by a 42 Million budget from eGF 2010, eSkwela 1.1 intends to bring the enhanced ICT-supported alternative learning system of eSkwela to more communities in the country by delivering the service through the 114 ALS school-based BPOSA (Balik Paaralan para sa Out-of-School Adults) Centers and the 211 ALS Community Learning Centers under the DepEd-Bureau of Alternative Learning System. The project will provide capability building programs and handholding mechanisms to 2,300 field implementers to source community support and implement the eSkwela instructional model, thereby opening up ICT-supported opportunities to more out-of-school youth and adults to complete their basic education requirements, learn new skills (i.e. digital competence, life skills, voc-tech skills), and engage in community activities.

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Executive Summary

eSkwela 1.1 seeks to achieve the following objectives:  to capacitate and guide/handhold more ALS implementers in bringing eSkwela’s ICT in education innovations (project-based learning strategies and localized modules /content) to their local communities as well as in obtaining strong community support for center sustainability; to expand the reach of eSkwela to more ALS learners, approximately 8,200 additional ALS learners per school year; to replicate the good performance in the Accreditation and Equivalency Test among current eSkwela Centers in the new Centers (passing rate among eSkwela Centers are two to three times better than the national average); to bring eSkwela’s ICT in education innovations (project-based learning strategies and localized modules /content) to the high school teachers and students in the recipient BPOSA eSkwela 1.1 beneficiaries towards potentially improving learning outcomes; to establish and maintain strong communities of learning and practice (sharing of experiences and potential mentoring) among eSkwela Centers in the provinces or regions and even within the island groups; and, through a third-party assessment study, to assess the qualitative (e.g. behavioural, social/ relational) and quantitative (e.g. cognitive project outputs, A&E Test) effects of using e-learning vs. print modules in the delivery of the Accreditation and Equivalency Program.

  

 

The eGovernment Fund Technical Working Group highly recommended that DepEd take the lead for eSkwela 1.1.

Conclusion As with any project, the eSkwela Project has a beginning and an end – an inception and a closure. Looking back at the past five (5) years of the project life, inclusive of the project’s pilot implementation and eSkwela 1.0, the bumpy and winding road had made the journey all the more exciting and scenic with the end-point more satisfying to reach. The biggest achievement of eSkwela is that a systematic and widely accepted model of ICT in Education has been made available for the country through the efforts of a big number of like-minded groups and individuals. The success of the project lies in the fact that so many stakeholders had come together to make eSkwela to what it has become – for without them, eSkwela would just be one of those projects that remained “a pilot”. eSkwela has a long way to go, it continues to be a work in progress…if it stops being one and stagnates, then it would have lost its beauty and energy. It is hoped that eSkwela continues to serve as a model to the various ICT in Education initiatives in the country and contribute to the targets set by the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) 2011-20161, specifically in the area of “Investing in People and Digital Literacy for All”.

1

Online version available via URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/58949299/Philippine-Digital-Strategy-2011-2016 Accessed: June 2011. Alternative site - Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineDigitalStrategy?sk=app_190322544333196 Accessed: June 2011.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary Project Team and Major Partners Table of Contents List of Attachments List of Figures List of Tables Chapter 1: History and Background Rationale Background on the A&E Program Project Objectives Pilot Implementation Initial Gains Strategic Planning 2007 Chapter 2: eSkwela 1.0 Project Overview Fund Source Key Innovative Features Implementation Process, Partners, and Resources Used Team Structure Summary of Project Outputs/ Achievements Chapter 3: Project Implementation – Instructional Model eSkwela Instructional Model Version 1: Pilot Implementation Version 2: eSkwela Instructional Model v. 2 General Findings Module Guides
Table of Contents - 1

1 2 4 5 7 10 12 13 18 18 22 23 25 26 26 28 33 52 53

Training Workshops for Learning Facilitators and Trainers Site-focused Monitoring and Evaluation Activities Recommendations eSkwela Instructional Model in General People Involved Capability-Building Training Management Monitoring and Evaluation Conclusion Chapter 4: Project Implementation – Content Development eSkwela Content Pilot Implementation: Content Development with BALS-TWG & SCL eSkwela 1.0 Content Development Tapping SUCs as Content Developers Re-engineered Content Development Process General Findings Challenges and Lessons Learned Good Practices Content Development Conference (CDC) Next Steps and Recommendations Initial Benefits in the Use of the eSkwela eModules Conclusion Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability eSkwela Roll-out Pilot Implementation eGovernment-funded Site Roll-out: Moving from CICT-led to Community-led Center Initiatives
Table of Contents - 2

58 60 61 61 62 63 64 65 66 69 69 69 73 74 75 82 82 85 88 90 92 93 95 95 95 97

Community Mobilization and Social Marketing Systematizing the Site Roll-out Process Stakeholder Responsibilities Center Personnel Regional Coordinators Capability Building Marketing and Communication Program Social Franchise Manual Progress Monitoring and Evaluation UNESCO ICT4E Toolkiet Monitoring for eSkwela Centers Strengthening the Collaboration eSkwela Core Team 2nd eSkwela Conference: Shaping the Future Through Synergy Philippine Community eCenter Network (PhilCeCNet) Roll-out Progress General Findings eSkwela Center Life Cycle Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Good Practices Next Steps and Recommendations Conclusion Chapter 6: Project Implementation – Systems Development and Technical Support Pilot Implementation Systems Used Technical Support Provided Recommendations for Next Steps
Table of Contents - 3

97 101 103 105 107 109 109 111 112 112 115 119 119 119 121 122 126 126 129 131 132 134

134 134 134 135

eSkwela 1.0 Targets System Analysis and Design Proposed Integrated Sub-systems System Architecture Entity Relationship Diagram Server and Hosting Set-up System Development Technical Set-up Development Schedule Capability Building Workshops Challenges and Lessons Learned Good Practices Recommendations on System Administration and Management From the eSkwela Project Team and the UP-JRDC Team From the DepEd-BALS and eSkwela Center Training Participants Technical Support to Sites Network Administrators (NAs) NA Training Hardware and Software Assistance Challenges and Lessons Learned Good Practices Conclusion Chapter 7: Initial Assessment Return on Investment Benefits to Various Stakeholders G2G – DepEd-BALS; CICT’s CeC Program

135 136 138 140 140 143 144 145 145 152 152 153 154 154 155 155 155 156 158 158 159 160 161 161 163 163

Table of Contents - 4

G2C – Community Stakeholders G2B - Learners A Beacon of Hope 2nd eSkwela Conference eSkwela Recognitions FGD Results and Testimonials during the eSkwela Close-out Activities Output 1: An Operational Model of a Computer-based ALS delivery Output 2:: Systematic Use of ICT in Teaching and Learning Output 3: ICT-supported Educational Innovations for the Community Output 4: Strengthening BALS Output 5: Rewards of Good Instructional Design (Content Development) Output 6: Effective Project Management (Content Development) Lessons Learned Recommendations For the DepEd-BALS Central Office For the eSkwela Regional Teams For Site Implementers For Content Development Teams Training Needs Key Success Factors Chapter 8: Next Steps e-Service System of DepEd-BALS eSkwela 1.1: Expansion of the eSkwela Project through the ALS Community Learning Centers Rationale Objectives Project Components

164 165 167 173 176 179 181 182 187 190 191 191 192 193 193 195 196 197 197 198 201 202 203 203 206 208

Table of Contents - 5

Activities and Timetable Project Team Structure Change Management Plan Sustainability Plan Recommendations on the Next Steps Chapter 9: Financial Report AEF Grant # 1: Pilot Implementation AEF Grant # 2: Conduct of the 2008 CDC and ICT Camp eGovernment Fund: eSkwela 1.0 Total Investment 2006-2011 Outsourced Goods and Services Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Good Practices Changing Guards Too Often Delayed Releases of Documents and Funds Record-Keeping Audited Financial Reports (AFRs) from Contracted SUCs Need for a More Assistive Project Management Perspective Recommendations Chapter 10: Conclusion

209 210 213 214 215 218 218 219 220 222 224 225 225 225 226 227 227 228 229

Table of Contents - 6

List of Attachments Attachment A B Report on eSkwela’s Pilot Implementation submitted to the APEC Education Foundation UNESCO-Bangkok’s Publication on eSkwela’s Pilot Implementation (eSkwela: Community-based E-learning Centers for Out-of-School Youth and Adults, Philippines) C D E-1 E-2 F-1 F-2 F-3 G-1 G-2 H-1 H-2 I-1 I-2 J K L M N O-1 O-2 O-3 Full Version of the eSkwela Project 1.0 LogFrame Detailed Responsibilities of Project Team Members eSkwela Training Needs Assessment Tool version 1 eSkwela Training Needs Assessment Tool version 2 Learning Facilitator On-site Observation Form Learning Facilitator Self-Assessment Tool Learning Facilitator Performance Evaluation by Learners eModule Package Evaluation Form for Learners eModule Package Evaluation Form for Learning Facilitators Training Workshop Evaluation Form for Resource Persons Training Workshop Evaluation Form for Training Management On-site Learning Facilitator Interview/ FGD Questions On-site Learner Interview/ FGD Questions Sample Site Visit Report eModule Package Pilot Implementation Report Post-Learning Facilitator Training – Trainers’ Debriefing Report Activity Report on the Enhancement Training for Trainers Assessment Form: Contracted SUC for Training / Event Management List of eSkwela ALS eModules List of eSkwela Livelihood eModules List of eSkwela CILC eModules
Attachments - 1

Attachment P Q-1 Q-2 Q-3 R S T-1 T-2 T-3 T-4 T-5 T-6 U V-1 V-2 V-3 V-4 V-5 V-6 W X Y Z AA AB AC eSkwela MOAs for Content Development Script/Storyboard Review Form – Reviewer Alpha Review Form – Reviewer Beta Review Form – Reviewer eSkwela Progress Report – eGov Fund 2006 & 2007, October 2008 Financial Projection for a 4-unit, 10-unit, 20-unit Center (exclusive facility) eSkwela Center Application Form Readiness Assessment Form Scorecard Worksheet Template for Grant Proposals Template for MOA/MOU Sample Local Ordinance / Resolution eSkwela Social Franchise Manual version 1.0 Monitoring &Evaluation Form: Site Profile Monitoring &Evaluation Form: Spot check Rating Sheet Monitoring &Evaluation Form: Site Visit Report Monitoring &Evaluation Form: Schedule of eSkwela Learning Sessions Monitoring &Evaluation Form: Minutes of Steering Committee Meeting Monitoring &Evaluation Form: Action Plan 2nd eSkwela Conference Report Selection Criteria for Recipients of the PhilCeC Program Package Complete List of eSkweal Centers MOA for System Analysis and Design eSkwela System Analysis and Design Document MOA for System Development eSkwela System Documentation (April 2011)
Attachments - 2

Attachment AD-1 AD-2 AD-3 AE AF AG-1 AG-2 AG-3 AG-4 AG-5 AH AI AJ AK AL AM AN eSkwela System Administrator’s Manuals eSkwela System – User Manual for SMS eSkwela System – User Manual for UAMS and IMMS eSkwela System Development Terminal Report Guide Questions for the Focus Group Discussions, eSkwela Close-out Activity FGD Responses – Sites and IM FGD Responses – Content Development Interview with Dr. Lallana and Mr. Macasio on eSkwela Interview with Dir. Guerrero on eSkwela Lessons Learned and Caselets LF Random Survey Instrument MOA between CICT and DepEd on the eSkwela Turnover eGF 2010 Project Plan / Proposal for eSkwela 1.1 AEF Grant (USD 50K) Report Content Development Accounts Payable Sample MOA for Event/Training Management Pending SUC Audited Financial Reports for eSkwela

Attachments - 3

List of Figures Figure 1 2 3 4 Cohort Survival Trend FLEMMS 2003 – Reasons for Not Attending School Comparative Performance of Pilot Sites Citation for eSkwela’s Pilot Implementation by the UNESCO ICT in Education Innovative Awards 2007-2008 5 6 7 8 UNESCO-Bangkok Publication on eSkwela’s Pilot Implementation eSkwela’s Project Team Structure (CICT) eSkwela Instructional Model version 1 Fishbone Analysis on the Implementation Problem of the eSkwela Instructional Model version 1 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 eSkwela Instructional Model version 2 Sample eSkwela eModules Ssample Module Guide Training Phases for eSkwela Learning Facilitators Sample Learner Projects Sample Forum Thread on Wages and Benefits eSkwela Content Development Process version 1 eSkwela Content Development Process version 2 Sample Script and Storyboard for an eModule eSkwela Core Team Strategy for Roll-out Site Application Process Flow Degrees of Monitoring and Role of Feedback Throughout ICT in Education Interventions 21 22 Profile of eSkwela Centers eSkwela Center Life Cycle 124 127 34 34 36 41 57 67 70 78 80 98 101 113 16 23 28 31 2 3 10 11

Figures - 1

Figure 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Proposed eSkwela System Architecture (SAD, August 2009) Proposed eSkwela Entity Relationship Diagram (SAD, Augsut 2009) eSkwela System – General Architecture eSkwela System – UAMS Sample Screenshots 1 eSkwela System – UAMS Sample Screenshot 2 eSkwela System – IMMS Sample Screenshot 1 eSkwela System – IMMS Sample Screenshos 2 eSkwela System – IMMS Sample Screenshots 3 eSkwela System – SMS Sample Screenshots 1 eSkwela System – SMS Sample Screenshots 2 eSkwela ning Group Page for Network Administrators Sample Technical Exchange on eSkwela ning Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Framework Key Discussion Topics during the Focus Group Discussions, eSkwela Close-out Activities 2011 37 38 39 40 41 42 eSkwela 1.1 Project Team Structure eSkwela 1.1 Regional Team Structure Utilization of the AEF Grant #1 – Pilot Implementation Utilization of the AEF Grant #2 – CDC and ICT Camp Utilization of the eGov Fund Allocation – eSkwela 1.0 Utilization of all eSkwela Fund Allocations (Php 97 Million) 210 211 218 219 221 222 141 142 145 146 147 147 148 149 150 151 159 160 180 180

Figures - 2

List of Tables Table 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Enrolment and A&E Test Statistics: Pilot Sites eSkwela 1.0 LogFrame (Brief) eSkwela 1.0 Activities and Projects (LogFrame part 2) eSkwela 1.0 Targets vs. Actual Accomplishments as of 30 June 2011 4 A’s Principle for ALS Implementations Maturity Model on ICT Use in the Classroom eSkwela SWOT Analysis circa September 2007 Module Guide Development and Review (MGDR) Schedule of Workshops and Outputs Learning Facilitator Training Workshop Design (Phase 2) Learning Facilitator Enhancement Training Workshop Design (Phase 3) ICT Camp Design eModule Pacakage Pilot Implementation – Breakdown by Learning Strand 13 eModule Package Pilot Implementation – Survey Results from Learners and Learning Facilitators 14 15 16 17 eModule Package Pilot Implementation – Recommended Enhancements Breakdown of eSkwela ALS eModules Breakdown of eSkwela Livelihood eMdoules Assignment of Content Development to Contracted State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) 18 19 20 eModule Packages Survey Results on eModules – Learners Progress Update on eSkwela eModules as of 28 June 2011 Duties and Responsibilities of eSkwela Local Community Partners (basis of MOA) 21 Comparative Complexity and Indicative Timing of Monitoring Classes
Tables - 1

10 17 20 25 26 30 32 37 46 48 50 53

53

55 73 73 75

92 94 103

114

Table 22 23 Modes of Measurement Appropriate for Different Classes of Evaluation Monitoring &Evaluation Practices for the eSkwela Project vis-à-vis Classes of Evaluation 24 25 eSkwela Monitoring &Evaluation Indicators for Operations Data Gathering Guide for eSkwela Monitroing and Evaluation Indicators for Operations 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 Corresponding eSkwela Roles – Site and National/Regional Levels eSkwela Centers Through the Years Breakdown of eSkwela Centers by Region Breakdown of eSkwela Centers by Location Design for the eSkwela Trainig Workshop for Network Administrators Estimated Number of Learners Served in a Year for 95 Centers Conservative Estimate of the Total Number of OSYAs Served by eSkwela, 2007-2011 33 Comparative Accreditation and Equivalency Test Performance, 2008-2010 34 35 36 LF Random Survey Results on the Application of the eSkwela Instructional Model Multi-mode Capability Building Approach Conservative Estimate of Total Number of Users Served by eSkwela, 2007-2011 37 38 39 40 41 42 Comparative Return on Investment Figures – OSAYs with Other Users Presumed Benefits for the Different Stakeholders of eSkwela 1.1 eSkwela 1.1 LogFrame Proposed Timetable for eSkwela 1.1 Activities Proposed eSkwela 1.1 Regional Team Members Utilization of the AEF Grant #1 – Pilot Implementation 205 205 207 209 212 218 183 188 203 169 119 123 123 124 157 162 162 117 118 115 116

Tables - 2

Table 43 44 45 46 47 48 Utilization of the AEF Grant #2 – CDC and ICT Camp ICT4BE Prgoram eGovernment Fund Schedule eSkwela Obligations – eGov Fund Utilization of the eGov Fund Allocation – eSkwela 1.0 Utilization of all eSkwela Fund Allocations (Php 97 Million) Utilization of all eSkwela Fund Allocations (Php 97 Million) by Expense Category 219 220 220 220 222 223

Tables - 3

Chapter 1: History and Background
The eSkwela Project is a flagship project of the Commission of Information and Communications Technology (CICT), through the Human Capital Development Group (HCDG), in close collaboration with the Department of Education-Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), that provides ICT-enhanced educational opportunities for the country’s out-of-school youth and adults. It likewise aims to help reduce the digital divide and enhance the capacity of these individuals to be successful participants in a global and knowledge-based economy. The initiative responds directly to a national development priority and brings elearning opportunities and ICT for learning resources to mobile teachers / instructional managers and out-of-school learners in the Philippines in an exciting, innovative, and locally meaningful way. Through an initial grant from the APEC Education Foundation (AEF) and a continuing financial support from the eGovernment Fund of the Philippine Government, the project seeks to tackle this problem by harnessing the powers of ICTs in education to broaden access to quality educational opportunities for out-of-school youth and adults who would like a new lease on life. As a priority set by CICT, the Commission recognizes the effective use of ICT in educating outof-school youths and adults as one of the most powerful uses of technology for national development. Under this project, community-based e-Learning Centers are being established across the country where ICT-supported alternative education programs are taking place. These centers serve as venues where out-of-school learners and other community members can learn new skills and competencies, review for the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Exam of the DepEd- BALS, and/or help prepare learners to rejoin the formal school system, if so desired. With the use of relevant interactive e-learning materials, blended and collaborative modes of instruction, and performance-based assessment in a problem/projectbased learning environment, it seeks to bridge the widening digital divide and social chasms between those who are educated and those who are not. The eSkwela Project of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) has always taken pride in its adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach. From the time that CICT entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Education in July 2006, CICT’s eSkwela Project Team has engaged DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), the local DepEd-ALS units (for the various sites), NGO and civic group partners, and the local government units for the implementation and continuous enhancement of eSkwela as well as extend its reach around the country. Partner local communities are expected to participate intensively in the project by setting-up, managing, financing, and sustaining the center’s operations as well as providing support for community-based projects.

Chapter 1: History and Background

Rationale Studies show that an increasing number of school age Filipinos that are out of school. A huge percentage of Filipino children and youth aged 6 to 17 years are not attending school. The Department of Education (DepEd) estimated that, in 2003, there were a total of 5.18 million out-of-school youth (1.84 million out-of-school children aged 6 to 11 years old, and 3.94 million young people aged 12 to 15) in the country.1 Roughly 10% percent of schoolaged children never enter a classroom at all. 2 It is good to note, however, that the dropout rate at the elementary level was at 6.4% in SY 2006-2007, a huge improvement from previous years (9.3% to 13.1%) but remained at around 6 percent since then (6.28% for SY 2010-2011) which is higher than the target of 4.3%. The dropout rate at the secondary level, on the other hand, improved starting from SY 2006-2007 (previous: 15-18%) and remained at around 7.5 to 8 (7.95% for SY 2010-2011) percent in the succeeding years, meeting the target of 8.1% . 3
Enter/Stay 100 80 60 100 40 20 0 Grade 1 Grade 6 Graduate HS I HS IV Graduate College I 66 58 43 23 14 College Graduate 0 34 42 Drop Out

57 77 86

Figure 1 Cohort Survival Trend

A 2003 study by the Asian Development Bank estimated that only four out of ten youths who enter elementary school get to finish high school, as seen in the Cohort Survival Trend graph shown on Figure 1 – the graph shows that for every 100 students that enter the formal education system at Grade 1, only 66 graduate from Grade 6 while only 43 graduate from 4th year high school. Every year, there are more and more young people who should be attending schools but are not, due to various reasons. Every year, there are more and more young people who should be attending schools but are not, due to various reasons. BALS
1

Guerrero, C.S. / Bureau of Alternative Learning System. Alternative Learning System: The Other Side of Basic Education. Presentation delivered by Guerrero, C.S., Director of the Department of Education’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System. Metro Manila: Department of Education, 2004. Gatbonton, J.T. Dropouts 'our immense and invisible failure' Manila Times, 06 June 2010. URL: http://dantonremoto2010.blogspot.com/2010/06/dropouts-our-immense-and-invisible.html Accessed: May 2011 Statistical Indicators on Philippine Development – Chapter on Education. National Statistics Coordination Board, posted on 28 July 2009. URL: http://www.nscb.gov.ph/stats/statdev/2009/Education/Chapter_Education.asp Accessed: May 2011

2

3

Factsheet (as of Sept 23, 2010) - Basic Education Statistics. Department of Education, 23 September 2010. URL: http://www.deped.gov.ph/cpanel/uploads/issuanceImg/2010%20_Sept23.xls Accessed: May 2011.

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Chapter 1: History and Background

estimates from the 2008 Philippine Census data that around 43% or 28 million of the same age range have dropped out of the formal school system.
Percentage Distribution: Reasons for not attending school
employment / looking for w ork lack of personal interest high cost of education housekeeping illness/ disability cannot cope w ith school w ork school is very far no school w ithin the area no regular transportation others

30.5 22 19.9 11.8 2.5 2.2 1.5 0.4 0.2 9.1 0 5 10 15 20
Source: 2003 FLEMMS

25

30

35

Figure 2 Reasons for not attending school (FLEMMS 2003)

In the 2003 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), parents cited the following reasons why their children do not attend schools:
• • •

working or looking for work (mostly males) - 30% nationwide but significantly higher in major urban areas, reaching 51.8% in NCR lack interest in going to school - 22% high cost of education - 20% (n.b. – basic education in the country is free; as such, “cost” would include personal transportation fare, meal allowance, clothing, expenses for materials, projects, etc.)

In the 2008 FLEMMS conducted, nine (9) million of the 67 million Filipinos aged 10 to 64 years old were categorized as functionally illiterates while an additional four (4) million were considered basic illiterates – this means that 14.1percent of the entire population has not finished their basic education.4 In addition, it was noted that 19% of Elementary Graduates are not functionally literate while 10% of those with some High School education are not functionally literate – verifying claims that the quality of Philippine education remains poor. The country has set the goal of bringing down this number to zero by 2015, in support of United Nations’ Education For All (EFA). However, in view of the figures indicated above, the National Statistics Office (NSO) observed that “[l]iteracy rates of Filipinos have not improved significantly through the years. At this rate of improvement, the Philippines will miss EFA Goal 4 on reducing Adult Illiteracy by 50%. (To reach EFA Goal 4 target, we must improve literacy to reach a functional literacy rate of 92% by 2015, from 86.4% posted in 2008.)” 5

4 5

Balane, L. Illiterate Filipinos now 15 million. ABS-CBN Newsbreak, 23 Sept. 2009. URL: http://news.abscbn.com/nation/09/23/09/illiterate-filipinos-now-15-million-and-counting Accessed: March 2010 Preliminary Notes on FLEMMS 2008. AER and E-Net Philippines. URL: http://enetphil.org/main/images/stories/research_materials/Flemms_Notes_2008.pdf Accessed: May 2011

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Chapter 1: History and Background

While the Department of Education seeks to bring these people back to the formal education system, studies show that the existing full-time education model being used by traditional education systems does not work for these drop-outs and out-of-school individuals. In response to this, the Bureau of Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education (DepEd-BALS) has been mandated by virtue of Executive Order No. 356 (September 14, 2004), "to protect and promote the right of all citizen to quality basic education and to promote the right of all citizens to quality basic education and such education accessible to all by providing all Filipino children in the elementary level and free education in the high school level. Such education shall also include alternative learning system for out-of school youth and adult learners." (Section 2 of PA. 9155, The Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001) The bureau has developed and is currently implementing various programs, including the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program. It focuses on the 57 of every 100 students who drop out of the system. It is meant to give a chance for these learners to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty and stunted opportunities that force them to drop out from school so they could earn money but cannot get good paying jobs because they do not have diplomas as proof of their competencies. It boasts of a self-paced alternative learning / nonformal program that allows learners to proceed with their basic education and prepare them to take the Accreditation and Equivalency Certification Test, which if they pass, serves as an equivalent to the High School diploma.6 Background on the A&E Program The BALS’ A&E curriculum, improved under the BEC 2002, has at its core, the enhancement of life skills and lifelong learning skills among its learners, with particular emphasis on five learning strands, as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Communication Skills Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Sustainable Use of Resources/Productivity Development of Self and a Sense of Community Expanding One’s World Vision

The Program differs from the traditional formal education curriculum by making use of a flexible, self-paced learning approach that emphasizes the learner’s needs and the application of life skills. The A&E “curriculum” is cut up into five (5) learning strands, each one composed of a number of life skills modules that are directly useful in real life, such as skills on listening, writing, interviews, basic accounting, filling up forms, computing for one’s electric bill, resolving conflicts, etc. There was even a learner who went into the A&E Program because he needed to learn how to compute for change so that he could ply the public utility vehicle that a relative gave him.

6

Renaming the Bureau of NonFormal Education to Bureau of Alternative Learning System. http://ops.gov.ph/records/eo_no356.htm accessed: November 17, 2007.

4

Chapter 1: History and Background

Unfortunately, despite the big number of target clients, the Bureau receives less than 1% (in the year 2009, the figure was at 0.22% or Php 343 Million of the total Php 156 Billion DepEd budget 7) of the total education budget. The A&E Program only has P800 allotted for every learner. 8 BALS makes use of print modules that were developed in collaboration with SEAMEO-INNOTECH. But due to limited budget, only two (2) sets of print modules are given per district – note: a district has an average of 300 to 500 out-of-school youth clients. To compensate for this obvious lack of materials, CDs of the pdf versions of the modules have been provided so that service providers and sponsors (i.e. local government units, extension programs of universities, non-government organizations, foundations, etc.) can finance the reproduction. Furthermore, since BALS is working on a meager budget, there is a small number of full-time DepEd plantilla holders that the Bureau can tap for the ALS program. As such, a big number of instructional managers come from the formal education sector and various service providers – it has been gathered that they tend to go back to the traditional teaching methods to the detriment of the life skills approach and the “self-paced, multi-level, multi-needs” environment of ALS. To respond to the needs of this underserved sector of society, the Human Capital Development Group of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT HCDG), in close coordination with DepEd-BALS, proposed to establish Community eLearning Centers that would be dedicated to serve the learning needs of the out-of-school youth and adult learners through ICT. These eLearning centers were called eSkwela – a play on the vernacular equivalent to “school”. Towards this end, the eSkwela Project looks into assisting the DepEd-BALS’ production and use of ICTs and corresponding interactive multimedia learning materials for the out-of-school youth and adults in the country. On 26 June 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between CICT and DepEd to work together on the project – shown as Annex A. Project Objectives The problem of out-of-school youth and adults, vis-à-vis the difficulty of providing basic education is not only being experienced here in our country, but in all parts of the world. Government and educators have been looking for new solutions that will deliver basic education more effectively. It is in light of this that the international ICT4E movement came about. The ICT4E recognizes ICTs as a powerful enabler of capacity development towards ensuring basic education for all and lifelong learning. It further promotes the wider use of computers to support teaching-learning processes, promotion of elearning and information literacy, and

7

8

Dar, L. Alternative Learning System is a partner of formal education. Cordillera Express. URL: http://www.cordilleraexpress.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=219%3Aalternativelearning-system-is-a-partner-of-formal-education-&Itemid=4 Accessed: May 2011. Out of School Children and Youth in our Midst. E-Net Philippines. Posted on the website of the Literacy Coordinating Council. URL: http://lcc.deped.gov.ph/lcc/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=191:out-of-school-children-andyouth-in-our-midst&catid=35:news&Itemid=64 Accessed: May 2011.

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Chapter 1: History and Background

establishment of elearning competency centers. ICTs have been found that when used appropriately, ICTs are powerful tools that can: 9
• • • • • • • •

improve motivation and engagement in the learning process; develop multiple intelligences through multimedia presentation of materials; facilitate comprehension of abstract concepts by making them more concrete; develop basic skills (reading, writing, arithmetic) by giving learners opportunities for practice; promote inquiry and exploration through the use of interactive learning resources; enhance information literacy, critical thinking, problem-solving, and other higher order thinking skills; facilitate collaborative and cooperative learning by providing tools for learners to communicate and work with other learners; and develop lifelong learning skills, including learning how to learn.

Computer-based learning systems are now widely used in educational institutions around the world. It has been shown to be the most effective tool to reach and engage those who have dropped out and are not in regular schools. Research and field experience clearly demonstrate the power of eLearning tools to produce self-motivated, self-directed life-long learners. In line with Education for All (EFA), there has been a concerted effort to improve the country’s educational strategies in order to provide quality educational opportunities for every Filipino citizen. One such strategy is the use of ICT to improve the access to such opportunities that can bring about effective transformation in the teaching-learning process. The Medium Term Development Plan of the Philippines (MTPDP) 2004-2010, the National Framework Plan for ICTs in Basic Education (2005-2010), and the 2002 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) advocate the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) as “a powerful enabler of capacity development…targeted towards specific development goals like ensuring basic education for all and lifelong learning, among others.” Furthermore, the MTPDP “provides for the wider use of computers to support teaching-learning processes, the promotion of elearning and information literacy, and the establishment of elearning competency centers.” 10 ICT has been regarded as a major factor in equalizing access to information, to education, to opportunities, and to lifelong learning by making tools and resources accessible to everyone. Building the capacity of the education sector through the use of ICT is a priority concern of the CICT as it seeks to build an ICT-competent workforce and spread the benefits of ICT to other segments of our society. In line with ICT4E goals, the eSkwela Project aimed “to provide disadvantaged youth [and adults] with useful educational opportunities to help reduce the digital divide and enhance their capacity to be successful participants in a global and knowledge-based economy.” 11 Under this proposed project, eSkwela Centers were being established in major
9

10 11

Haddad, W.D. and Jurich, S. ICTs for Education: Potential and Potency. In Haddad, W.D. and Draxler, A. (Eds.) Technologies for Education: Potentials, Parameters, and Prospects. Paris/Washington: UNESCO and the Academy fro Educational Development, 2002. Medium Term Development Plan of the Philippines 2004-2010, NEDA, 2004, p. 2. APEC Education Foundation Guidelines for Submitting Proposals. 2005.

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Chapter 1: History and Background

centers in the country to conduct ICT-enhanced alternative education programs to re-engage out-of-school youth and adults back to education, for free. By offering education alternatives, these centers give hope to learners not only by providing them an avenue to finish their basic education and gain life skills but also by arming them with ICT skills that they can use for livelihood or income generation. The Project had the following objectives: • to help BALS broaden access to basic education by providing access to learning opportunities through a non-formal, community-based e-learning program as an alternative means of certification for literate youths and adults 15 years old and above, who are unable to avail of the formal school system; to support the efforts of DepEd to effectively integrate ICT in the teaching-andlearning process and support the development of 21st Century Skills among teachers and learners via the customized eSkwela Instructional Model; to help BALS produce and use interactive multimedia learning materials for out-ofschool youth and adults via relevant and interactive computer-based multimedia learning resources that will be the primary source of instruction; and to reduce the digital divide by providing disadvantaged youth and adults with access to ICT

Modeling after the Notschool.net of the United Kingdom, the eSkwela Project employed a model that makes optimal use of ICTs in facilitating access to educational opportunities for youth and adult learners who have not completed their basic education (primary and/or secondary school). The novel approach taken by this project is the use of engaging learning experience though eLearning with relevant and interactive computer-based multimedia learning materials, blended and collaborative modes of instruction, and performance-based assessment. Through these interventions, eSkwela sought to bridge the widening digital divide and social chasms between those who are educated and those who are not. Further, it aimed to enhance the capacities of these individuals to empower them towards confidently participating in a global and knowledge-based society.

PILOT IMPLEMENTATION CICT-HCDG was able to secure the initial project funding from the APEC Education Foundation (Korea) back in August 2006. It was one of only six recipient projects chosen among 89 grant proposals submitted to AEF from various APEC member and non-member economies. The pilot implementation officially ran from August 2006 to October 2007. The grant was used to establish pilot eSkwela Centers in four (4) sites, namely: Quezon City, San Jose del Monte, Cebu City, and Cagayan de Oro City. Recipient communities were provided with 21 units of networked computers, relevant peripherals, oneyear Internet connectivity, funds for site renovation, relevant educator’s training, elearning modules (developed in partnership with DepEd-BALS and the Sandiwaan Center for Learning), a customized Learning Management System (LMS), and project monitoring and evaluation activities.

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Chapter 1: History and Background

Feb 2007 Feb 2007

Quezon City C San Jose del Monte

May 2007

Cebu City

Apr 2007

Cagayan de Oro City

Figure 3 eSkwela’s first 4 pilot sites

In return, these communities were expected to commit to the use of the ICT-based eSkwela Instructional Model – using the elearning materials, the customized LMS, and the Internet – within DepEd’s ALS A&E framework. Community stakeholders were likewise expected to participate heavily in the project by managing the Center operations; opening up venues for collaborative, relevant, and engaged learning; and providing support for community-based learner projects. The pilot implementation was able to accomplish the following: • Conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) with OSYs in 3 sites with 78 out-ofschool youth and eight (8) mobile teachers / instructional managers as inputs for the eSkwela instructional design. (year 2006) Conducted stakeholders’ mobilization activities and site inspections in the four (4) pilot sites. Local Steering Committees were formed, Memorandums of Agreement among CICT, the local DepEd Office, and other local partners were reviewed and signed to ensure operations and sustainability; Mobile Teachers/ Instructional Managers, Center Managers, and Laboratory Managers were assigned, learners were selected in coordination with the local ALS Offices. (years 2006 & 2007) Two (2) original training courses for field implementers were developed: Teacher Training on the eSkwela Instructional Design and eSkwela Lab Management Course (focus: hardware maintenance, software installation, and administration of the eSkwela Learning Management System) (year 2006)

8

Chapter 1: History and Background

Conducted six (6) training runs for various stakeholders (years 2006 and 2007): ICTs and Design of Teacher Training Programs (40+ participants) Monitoring and Evaluation in ICT4E Activities (30+ participants) ICT4E Training and Module Enhancement Workshop for DepEd Bureau of Alternative Learning System Technical Working Group for ICT (7 participants) Teacher Training on the eSkwela Instructional Design (38 participants) Sustainability Training Workshop (together with iSchools) (15 participants) On-site Lab Management Training (8 participants) Review Session for eSkwela Implementers on the eSkwela Instructional Design and Think.com (of Oracle Education Foundation) Major site renovations for the four (4) pilot sites were done. Deployment and networking of equipment and fixtures (bid was awarded to Unison in November 2006) and site launches conducted, served 486 learners, under the care of 31 LGU/DepEd Division site implementers (center managers, lab managers, Mobile Teachers/Instructional Managers). (year 2007) Version 1 of the eSkwela Learning Management System using ATutor installed and used in the eSkwela sites, along with the first set of 35 e-Learning modules developed by Sandiwaan Center for Learning (SCL) and reviewed by the BALS-TWG, guided by Digital Courseware Evaluation Rubric developed by the eSkwela Project Team. (2006 & 2007) To highlight the multi-stakeholder approach of eSkwela, conducted the First eSkwela Conference (September 2007) and the eSkwela Evaluation and Planning Workshop (July 2008) where representatives from each site reported on their unique experiences, challenges and concerns, recommendations, and immediate action plans.

9

Chapter 1: History and Background

Initial Gains The 4 pilot sites are still around and are now on their fifth year of operations. The first batch of eSkwela learners had the following data on enrollment and A&E takers and passers for the October 2008 Test: eSkwela Registered Learners to take the A&E exam QC 183 120 SJDM 120 106 Cebu 100 95 CDO 160 85 TOTALS 563 406 Site Actual A&E exam takers 116 90 71 79 356 A&E exam passers 69 25 52 58 204 %age of passers/ takers 59.48% 27.78% 73.24% 73.42% 57.30% %age of takers / total learners 63.39% 75.00% 71.00% 49.38% 63.23% %age of passers/ total learners 37.70% 20.83% 52.00% 36.25% 36.23%

Table 2 Enrolment and A&E Test Statistics of eSkwela pilot sites

It was reported that the 4 pilot eSkwela Centers produced a total of 563 learners in their first year of operations, of which 356 took the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test given in February 2008 and 204 passed. The average passing rate of 57.30% (with a high of 73.42% and a low of 27.78%) surpassed the 36.61% and the 29% average passing rates of the four regions combined and the entire nation, respectively. The following graph shows the comparative performance of eSkwela learners vis-àvis city-wide and regional averages in the A&E exam.
80.00% 70.00% 60.00% 50.00% 40.00% 30.00% 20.00% 10.00% 0.00% eSkwela BALS - City BALS - Region 1 59.48% 30.19% 32.43% 2 27.78% 21.00% 29.00% 3 73.24% 37.00% 38.00% 4 73.42% 46.00% 47.00%

Figure 3 Comparative Performance of eSkwela Pilot Sites

It should be noted that this has been the trend of the eSkwela A&E Test results for the past 4 years of eSkwela site implementation. An assessment of the pattern has been proposed along with an impact study12 under the eSkwela 1.1 proposal (eGov Fund 2010) to look into

12

A third-party impact study that would look at these variables in a controlled setting was proposed to be conducted under eSkwela 1.1 to look at the various interrelated factors that include use of more stringent selection process

10

Chapter 1: History and Background

the reasons behind the good performance of exam takers, compared to those that used a purely print-based model. For its initial efforts, the pilot implementation of the eSkwela Project received a Certificate of Commendation from the UNESCO ICT in Education Awards (2007-2008) under the Non-Formal Educator Category. This provides clear evidence that eSkwela has provided a proof of concept on the appropriate use of ICT in the Alternative Learning System and has set a standard for elearning implementations that local and regional groups may learn from and pattern after. Furthermore, it has a stable working model for effective community ownership and sustainable public-private partnerships through regular capability building and handholding activities, ranging from social preparation to operations monitoring and evaluation.

Figure 4 Citation for eSkwela’s pilot implementation by the UNESCO ICT in Education Innovative Awards 2007-2008

and exam readiness assessment, elearning vs. print modules, more regular review sessions, teacher training, use of the Internet for learning enrichment, etc.

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Chapter 1: History and Background

STRATEGIC PLANNING 2007 The project team conducted the First eSkwela Conference in September 2007 and a follow-up eSkwela Evaluation and Planning Workshop where representatives from the first 4 pilot sites and a few selected external stakeholders and/or experts set forth the vision-mission and strategic goals for eSkwela by 2010 that guided the next phase of project implementation, as follows: Vision: The eSkwela Program will be widely available across the Philippines to empower out-of-school youth and adults to be globally competitive through the effective use of ICTs in alternative learning. Mission: The central purpose and role of eSkwela is defined as: In partnership with various groups, eSkwela provides out-of-school youth and adults with opportunities towards attaining basic education competence and life skills through an ICT-enabled environment. Strategic objectives: 1. 2. 3. 4. To gain extensive acceptance and support for eSkwela nationwide. To become the leading/automatic choice for ICT-based non-formal/ alternative learning and livelihood programs. To serve as a primary model for ICT integration in education. To oversee and monitor physical and virtual eSkwela Centers that are well-managed, sustainable, and replicable.

In relation to these, the project team, along with the pilot phase implementers, recommended that the succeeding phases of the project, to be funded by various grants, needed to focus on the following areas (Chapter 5 of the Report submitted to AEF, February 2008): 1. Development and implementation of an effective eSkwela Marketing Program It was noted that there is a need to strengthen national and local awareness and presence through effective marketing schemes. Such a marketing program is needed to complement the project team’s information campaign efforts during the various social mobilization activities. Marketing materials are likewise necessary in pursuing strategic alliances with various stakeholders (local, national, regional, and international) for heightened interest, acceptance, support, participation/collaboration/tie-ups, and sponsorship. 2. Development of the additional e-learning modules The development of eSkwela elearning modules should continue to be the main focus of the project funds. There are a lot of ALS modules remaining – from the A&E non-core set of modules and the Bridge Program. Requests have likewise been made for modules in Filipino and other Philippine languages. Another option would be to develop elearning versions of the add-on livelihood skills/cottage industry modules that ALS centers regularly provide to learners. These modules will train learners to confidently engage in income-generating activities and various cottage industries.

12

Chapter 1: History and Background

Furthermore, funding for the development of elearning modules has been set aside to expose the teacher-facilitators to the elearning delivery mode for their own professional development. 3. Training (Continuing Teacher Training & Enhancement Program (CTTEP)) There is a clear need to continually focus on the heart of the project, the customized eSkwela Instructional Model, a blended type of learner-centered instruction that ideally would use a combined problem-based and project-based learning approach that is appropriate for the alternative learning system13 adopted by the Department of Education which focuses on developing life skills among the learners. CICT and DepEd-BALS saw that through the ICT approach of eSkwela, learning facilitators would find that ICT affords teachers and learners alike more freedom and flexibility to adopt such an approach while aligning to the self-paced learning plans of learners – something that BALS implementers has found difficult to implement with the conventional paper-based modules and session set-up. There is a obvious need to further improve the instructional model being utilized by providing a richer array of appropriate ICT tools/resources as well as more guidance, modeling, and handholding through an enhanced teacher training and monitoring program. Towards this end, there are still a number of project components that need to be worked on – such as improving the number of available modules, enhancing the features and optimal utilization of the LMS (enhanced interactions on various levels: learner-ICT, teacher-ICT, learner-learner interaction/collaboration, teacher-learner interaction, teacherteacher interaction/collaboration), conducting the next stages of teacher training to focus on ICT-enhanced application of the problem/project-based approach (Continuing Teacher Training & Enhancement Program) based on set capability building standards, conversion of the existing A&E Program Session Guides from conventional delivery to an ICT-enhanced delivery mode, development and conduct of a systematic Performance Monitoring Mechanism for CTTEP, etc. 4. Provision of direction and assistance for the national roll-out (i.e. regional and local implementations of the eSkwela Project) This includes the continuous enhancement and distribution of the eSkwela Social Franchise Manual (Business and Operations Guide). It is also crucial for the project team to design, set up, and manage a reliable communications program that will provide CICT, BALS, and the site implementers opportunities to hold regular online meetings, submit reports, discuss various concerns, share best practices, collaborate, and basically to learn from and help each other out. A constant look at emerging technologies for ICT in Education will also be carried out to continually provide eSkwela partners fresh ideas and models to work with – i.e. low-cost

13

Alternative Modes of Teaching and Learning – Alternative Modes of Delivery. University of Western Australia. http://www.csd.uwa.edu.au/altmodes/to_delivery/ Accessed: November 17, 2007.

13

Chapter 1: History and Background

alternatives for infrastructure set-ups (e.g. thin clients, PC recycling, etc.), innovative ICT in Education practices, incentive programs, etc. An annual eSkwela Conference is likewise useful in bringing all project partners together to celebrate eSkwela as a national program. 5. Design, development, and initial implementation of a rigorous and reliable monitoring and evaluation system It was observed that the ATutor-based Learning Management System (LMS) used in the pilot implementation lacked several features that provide a seamless ICT integration in ALS education. A better/ improved LMS alternative should be looked into, customized to the requirements of eSkwela, especially if it goes online. The recommended Learning Content and Management System (LCMS) and corresponding Executive Information System (EIS) will be customized according to eSkwela’s instructional model. It will serve as a digital documentation mechanism to ensure optimal use of the elearning modules and laboratories. The entire system will be similar to that used by Internet cafés where learners are required to log in and out of the system, use it to access the elearning modules (housed in each center’s server), teacher’s instructions, and online activities and assessment tools. It will also allow them (and their parents) to keep track of their progress, participate in discussion forums, and collaborate with their teachers and other learners online. The system will likewise provide the eSkwela learning facilitators an electronic means to maintain records of their learners, create personalized activities and instructions according to specific needs of learners/classes, and collaborate with others online. The Center Manager, on the other hand, will be able to maintain teacher accounts, student accounts, and a modules database as well as consolidate relevant information including center utilization reports, utilization and evaluation ratings of elearning modules, summary of learner performance, etc. Automated summary reports will then be generated by the system for use by the eSkwela Project Management Office for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Furthermore, there will be a provision where the learners and mobile teachers can evaluate and rate the modules according to set usability and learning evaluation standards. This will assist the PMO in further enhancing the modules. Teachers will likewise be considered users of the LCMS when the CTTEP elearning modules go online. Outcomes will be measured according to the performance indicators that will be determined in line with the Impact Study to be designed for the next phase of project implementation. Regular site visits, actual documentation, interviews, observations, and Program assessment sessions will be held to ensure smooth implementation and review of processes. 6. Design, development, and initial implementation of a Distance Education model There is a constant clamor for the modules and the LMS to be put online for anytime, anywhere access and ALS education as well as opportunities for downloading.

14

Chapter 1: History and Background

This is one area where the eSkwela project team will have to partner with a higher education institution that has a stable implementation of the distance learning model. In line with this, the BALS management is working on an online system for the A&E exam that allows learners to take the exam anytime in accredited testing centers – much like the CISCO or ICDL certification implementations. This will have to undergo serious study and technical planning to ensure the integrity of the examination vis-à-vis online security, among other things. 7. Other initiatives The project team has received various ideas on possible initiatives that it could implement/ conduct. • One such idea is to hold a Content Development Conference that will bring the different eSkwela content development teams together to discuss their experiences, lessons learned, and best practices. It will allow the practitioners to discuss standards related to the development process and quality of output, and in turn, formulate concrete recommendations for the country’s digital content development units, especially those dealing with elearning modules for the basic education sector. As the eSkwela Content Development Consultant observed, eSkwela is implementing, by far, the biggest organized content development initiative in the country – content that will actually be used by learners in physical and virtual elearning centers. As such, conference discourse and corresponding outputs will definitely make a huge contribution to the Philippines’ content development industry and corresponding capability building curricula. Discussions have also surfaced on ways to enhance and enrich the ICT-based learning process among the learners. The project team submitted a proposal to APEC Education Foundation for funding to mount an ICT Camp for eSkwela teachers and learners. Patterning after the Computer Clubhouse concept of Intel, the 2-week to 1-month long ICT Camp will introduce participants to various ICT tools that will enhance their creativity and innovativeness, toward applying life skills learned in the A&E context. Another idea being touted around is the adoption of the Notschool.net concept of linking learners with experts or mentors through ICT to deepen their learning through authentic experiences and real-life applications. Mentoring and modeling have been found to influence people’s decisions related to personal/professional growth and life directions. For this to get implemented and succeed, the project team will have to tie up with various foundations and civic groups. In connection with this, the tie-up with TESDA (for livelihood course scholarships and skills certifications) and the LGU-Public Employment Service Offices will have to be strengthened to motivate learners to pass their A&E exams and move on to a wide range of livelihood and employment possibilities.

For more information / details on the pilot phase of the eSkwela project implementation, please refer to a separate volume on it, submitted to AEF on February 2008 – shown as Attachment A.

15

Chapter 1: History and Background

UNESCO-Bangkok likewise published a booklet on it entitled “eSkwela: Communitybased E-learning Centers for Out-of-School Youth and Adults, Philippines” as part of its series on Innovative ICT in Education Practices: Case Studies from the Asia-Pacific Region.14 It gave a valid assessment of the pilot run to pave the way for duplication of more eSkwela elearning centers around the country. Refer to Attachment B for a copy. The five (5) succeeding chapters discuss the details of the next phase of eSkwela’s – more commonly called eSkwela 1.0 – project implementation as well as progress monitoring and evaluation. There are chapters that discuss the project’s Initial Gains as well as the Recommendations and Next Steps for eSkwela as DepEd as takes over the reins from CICT for eSkwela’s institutionalized operations as a regular delivery mode of the BALS’ Accreditation and Equivalency Program. The last chapter reports on the project’s financial status vis-àvis the allocations from the eGovernment Fund.

Figure 5 UNESCO-Bangkok publication on eSkwela’s pilot implementation

14

Published by the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in connection with the UNESCO, ICT in Education Innovative Awards 2007-2008. ISBN 978-92-9223-247-4. Also available in electronic form via http://www.unescobkk.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ict/e-books/Innovative_Case_Studies/eSkwela.pdf ISBN 97892-9223-248-1. (2009).

16

Chapter 2: eSkwela 1.0 Project Overview
In line with the overall goal of providing Education for All (EFA) and the strategic direction set by eSkwela’s pilot implementation, eSkwela 1.0’s main aim was to capacitate DepEd-BALS as well as the field implementers and supporters of the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program in utilizing appropriate and relevant ICT4E resources to broaden access to quality education and make learning fun, interactive, and more engaging. Further, the project targeted a 100% increase in the number of Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test passers among the learners in its implementation areas. eSkwela 1.0, which ran from July 2007 to June 2011, sought to operationalize the eSkwela model for the eventual turnover to DepEd-BALS as a regular Program. This translates to a projected 220 ALS implementers and 5,000 learners systematically using ICTs in the teaching and learning process in 120 eSkwela sites by 2010. To do so with confidence, the project should have achieved the following measures by 2010 that guided the project team in managing the different components and phasing the targets and priority areas per funding year (refer to Attachment C for the full version of the Project LogFrame): Narrative Summary – component outputs Functional customized ICT4E (ALS) Instructional model Objectively Verifiable Indicator Framework Means of Verification Module Guides (1 for each A&E e-module) Learner outputs M&E Reports e-Module certifications Module Guides (1 for each A&E e-module) Utilization statistics

Operational automated e-learning system and materials

Mature/Replicable center model

Trained/qualified implementers on prescribed instructional model and center operations Established management and M&E mechanisms and tools

350 e-modules by 2010 (inclusive of 282 A&E modules, 54 livelihood modules, etc.) Online Learning Management System operational by 2009 Online A&E Exam by 2010 eSkwela Franchise Manual distributed and utilized by 2009 120 operational sites by 2010 (average of 10 units/site) 500 ALS implementers have completed the various tailored courses by 2010

M&E Reports M&E system, tools, reports Training Reports M&E Reports Site Observations

Mechanisms/systems utilized/operational by 2009

Progress Reports M&E instruments

Table 2 eSkwela 1.0 LogFrame (Brief)

Chapter 2: Project Overview

Fund Source Additional funding that totaled Php 87.5 million was received from the nation’s eGovernment Fund 2006, 2007, and 2009 for eSkwela 1.0, under the ICT4BE Program of HCDG which likewise covers 1,000 iSchools beneficiaries and various Content Development projects. This enabled the Project Team to enhance the models from the pilot implementation and roll out eSkwela to more areas in the country. The original project design for eSkwela 1.0, using the first tranche of the budget allocation (i.e. P30Million from eGov Fund 2006), was supposed to provide the infrastructure requirements of 14 more sites (1 per region) to be established around the country that would eventually serve as models for future wide-scale regional deployment and expansion. However, developments such as inquiries from various parties (LGUs, NGOs, etc.) who are interested in financing the infrastructure component of the project (i.e. site renovation and hardware acquisition and installation) convinced CICT management to devote the new funding on developing additional elearning modules that will be beneficial to the nation’s out-of-school youth and adults and capability-building for the site implementers. This allowed the local communities to tap existing ICT infrastructure that are not being maximized (i.e. in schools, in internet cafes, in barangay halls, in Community eCenters) to serve as the community’s counterpart contribution to the project and thus heighten community ownership for the project. In view of these developments, the allocation from eGov Fund 2006 was used primarily in preparation for the nationwide roll-out of eSkwela – focus was on providing massive advocacy for the project, content development for the next phase of e-modules, and regional trainers’ training. The allocations from eGov Fund 2007 and 2009, on the other hand, focused on requirements for the nationwide roll-out of eSkwela. The APEC Education Foundation (AEF), impressed by the pilot implementation of the eSkwela Project, granted an additional USD 50,000 to finance the conduct of the first runs of the eSkwela ICT Camp (discussed in Chapter 3) and the eSkwela Content Development Conference (discussed in Chapter 4). Key innovative features Being the very first ICT in Education intervention for the alternative learning system in the country, eSkwela had such a wide room for pioneering innovations and experimentation. Capitalizing on the flexible nature of the A&E Program, the Project Team made sure that the intervention used a multi-faceted yet comprehensive approach, thus avoiding the pitfalls of previous ICT in Education projects.

18

Chapter 2: Project Overview

Based on the recommendations from the pilot implementation and the targets set above, eSkwela 1.0 focused on the major components below: 1) The heart of the eSkwela Project is its customized Instructional Model that serves as a concrete application of ICT integration in the delivery of the A&E Program. In support of a blended and self-paced learning environment, learning facilitators design and use learner-centered ICT-supported module guides that engage the learners to actively participate in their own learning process. Based on agreed-upon individual learning agreements, learning facilitators assign learners a wide range of ICT-based supplementary materials and activities to work on. Likewise, learners are encouraged to collaboratively use the various ICT tools extensively to create, upload, and maintain their respective learner e-portfolios and possibly build learning resources for others. a. The content development efforts of eSkwela is considered as the biggest content development initiative in the country with 283 A&E modules, 4 voctech courses, and 5 computer literacy modules being developed for free public distribution. This particular sub-component involved 212 developers and reviewers from partner universities, DepEd-BALS, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

b.

The automated systems re-designed/developed include the Moodle-based eSkwela Learning Management System and progress monitoring and evaluation systems that are needed to efficiently implement the instructional model as well as track site establishment, operations, and sustainability.

2)

Community mobilization and social marketing activities were conducted to promote the project to local communities. Its aim was to secure the support of local stakeholders and interested groups for the infrastructure and personnel requirements of an eSkwela Center as well as the financial, technical, and institutional sustainability of the Center. A local steering committee composed of stakeholder representatives were formed to oversee the operations and ensure sustainability, formalized through respective Memorandums of Agreement. A variety of stakeholders’ capability-building workshops were conducted to prepare the implementers in managing and sustaining the eSkwela Center and the proper implementation of the Instructional Model. Customized training workshops were designed and run for the regional coordinators, national trainers, center managers, learning facilitators, and network administrators. Additional trainings were provided to handhold learning facilitators and learners through the next stages in using ICT in a project-based learning environment.

3)

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Chapter 2: Project Overview

4)

Regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities were conducted to assess the implementation and progress of individual eSkwela Centers in terms of site operations, application of skills trained on, and the initial gains of eSkwela to the learning community. Such activities allowed the project team to mentor and handhold the newer implementers and if needed, to conduct on-site refresher courses. An inclusive /consultative and collaborative atmosphere among the numerous stakeholders had been established from the very beginning. Communication lines had been kept open through the project website (initial: http://eskwela.wikispaces.com, current: http://alseskwela.ning.com/, http://eskwelaictcamp.ning.com, and the Facebook eSkwela Project page) between the project team and the site implementers to encourage participation in this community of practice. Sharing of performance, challenges, progress, lessons learned, good practices, and initial gains are then gathered and used for continuous project enhancements. This positive perception to M&E activities on the various aspects afforded the team the opportunities to get and incorporate feedback from the implementers and learners. All enhancements, interventions, and model stabilizations done on the project since its initial project conceptualization had been based on the results of these M&E activities and action plans developed during such gatherings. The detailed activities and corresponding targets by project component are as follows:

Objectively Verifiable Indicator Functional customized ICT4E Instructional model Framework • Design, development, review, and enhancement of the customized Instructional Model Narrative Summary # of implementers and learners using the LMS (module guides and tools) and producing modulerelated projects Operational automated e-learning system and materials Certification and • Content development and distribution of at least review 80% 500 ALS modules • Utilization of the customized ICT4E Instructional Model •

Important Assumptions Timely release Physical document of funds Validation Commitment Assessment of partners Reports and Module Guides implementers LMS Utilization Records Favorable Implementer and Learner Portfolios peace and order situation M&E Reports

Means of Verification

Systems Design, Development, Testing, and Deployment Mature/Replicable center model # of copies of the Social Physical document • Preparation, production, Franchise Manual and distribution of the distributed / being used by Social Franchise Manual sites # of 1) aware, 2) Records • Community Mobilization Communication including Communications interested, and 3) ready
20

Review forms, actual modules, Certificates, records Acceptance and uploading Forms, Reports, of System for online use Certificates, server

Chapter 2: Project Overview

Means of Important Verification Assumptions & Marketing Plans (RAF, email, minutes) # of operational eSkwela Readiness • Provision of technical Assessment Form assistance in preparing and Centers Records operating the centers Progress Reports Communication (email, minutes) Trained/qualified implementers on prescribed instructional model and center operations (through the (Continuing Teacher Training & Enhancement Program) Enumeration of required ICT4E • Establishment of required competencies Competency competencies Standards Competency Gaps TNA Reports • Conduct of Training Needs eLearning Readiness Analysis (use of instructional model, center Indicator management, network & systems administration) Training Reports Curriculum/Syllabus • Design and conduct of # of training manuals training activities developed # of trainings conducted # of participants Training versions Implementation • Review and enhancement Refresher Courses Gaps seen in of Training Activities evaluation forms, M&E Reports, observations Established management and M&E mechanisms and tools Marketing paraphernalia Conduct of Project • # of promotional activities Meetings Advocacy conducted Interviews Activities # of M&E instruments Reports, database • Design and validation of and reports developed, M&E instruments M&E indicators, validated/accepted, and and reports mechanisms, and tools used M&E system Narrative Summary • Conduct of Site Visits/ Observations # of sites visited and monitored M&E Reports Database

Objectively Verifiable Indicator community stakeholders

Table 3 eSkwela 1.0 Propsed Activities and Projected Targets, LogFrame part 2

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Chapter 2: Project Overview

Implementation process, partners, and resources used Since eSkwela is an enhancement of the existing A&E Program, it used the resources and procedures employed by DepEd-BALS for the conventional A&E Program as a take-off point for the eventual innovative incorporation of ICT as a major element in the customized eSkwela instructional model (see components section below). Content and systems development were contracted out to eight (8) partner universities using a capability-building approach and under a strict quality assurance process. Training and event management were likewise outsourced to partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to enable more efficient simultaneous implementation of the different project components. With regards to actual field implementation, the project had successively implemented a multi-stakeholder approach in the delivery of a comprehensive ICT in Education intervention to out-of-school youth and adults. As mentioned earlier, various stakeholder groups from local communities were tapped by CICT and DepEd to participate intensively in the project by setting-up, managing, financing, and sustaining the center’s operations and sustainability in shared community-based computer facilities – as such, various models have come materialized: there are centers on top of public markets, inside container vans, in existing community e-centers (or publicly owned internet cafes), and even one that is transported from village to village on board a motorbike. Each center is also required to designate a Center Manager, at least two (2) Learning Facilitators, and a Network Administrator – full-time or part-time, as needed – to ensure smooth center operations and effective use of the customized Instructional Model. A Memorandum of Agreement is entered into among the stakeholders, enumerating the responsibilities of each party commonly shared as follows: • CICT & DepEd – site application assessment, guidance in partnership-building, content and systems development, conduct of capability-building workshops, assistance in infrastructure set-up, monitoring and evaluation for continuous enhancement DepEd Division Office, civic group, or non-government organization – assignment and salaries of learning facilitators, learner selection, assistance in capability-building activities, advocacy of ICT integration in education Local government unit and other local community groups – provision of infrastructure and utilities (room, computers, peripherals, internet connection, electricity), selection & salaries of other personnel, additional funding for operations, learner subsidies (note: no tuition fees are charged), and sustainability

Another major move for eSkwela 1.0 was to involve local ALS field implementers in the implementation as well as in review-and-enhancement of the project, in acknowledgment of the fact that the field implementers know and understand the target clients a lot more than the project team. This meant moving away from a purely top-down approach and into a more collaborative meeting of top-down and bottom-up approaches. ALS implementers were tapped to serve as eSkwela Regional Coordinators, National Trainers for Learning Facilitators and Regional Trainers/Support for Network Administrators. Further, it was highly encouraged for the regional-level and center-level implementers to form regional teams and maintain communities of practice that would serve as support units, mentors, sounding boards, and implementation models for themselves. Read about their roles in the next chapters.

22

Chapter 2: Project Overview

Team structure To ensure that the activities were managed and targets were met (for most) in the specified time frame, a dedicated project team was assigned by CICT where each component had a project officer and one or two staff members focusing on the component activities and requirements.

ICT4BE Program Director

CICT-based Project Manager

DepEd BALS counterpart team

Support Unit (Admin/Finance, Technical)

Instructional Model

Content Development

Sites

Training Coordination

Monitoring & Evaluation

Expansion/Roll-out & Coordination

Monitoring & Evaluation

Figure 6 eSkwela 1.0 Project Team Structure (CICT)

The ICT4BE Program Director served as the overall supervisor for the three component projects: iSchools, eSkwela, and Creative Content Development. He/She served as the endorsing authority prior to the approving authority, the CICT Chairman. The Project Manager served as the main point of contact of CICT, DepEd, and other major partners on anything related to eSkwela 1.0. She also coordinated closely with various stakeholders for project implementation, ownership, monitoring, and sustainability. The component units, on the other hand, coordinated with their respective contracted partners and/or field implementers – that is, 1. the Instructional Model (IM) Unit handled work related to the following: o research on IM-related matters and IM monitoring and evaluation (M&E) processes for standardization and replication o design, conduct, and monitoring of various capability building activities in relation to the utilization and enhancement of the customized Instructional Model o development, maintenance, and enhancement of eSkwela Module Guides

23

Chapter 2: Project Overview

2.

3.

4.

the Content Development Unit took care of the following: o coordinated with the SUC content development teams and the designated content experts/ reviewers from DepEd, TESDA, and eSkwela Centers o managed the development process for the eSkwela 1.0 automated systems the Sites Unit was in charge of the following: o conducted research on Site Expansion and operations M&E processes for standardization and replication o managed the processes involved in the establishment, operations, monitoring, and sustainability of eSkwela sites, including close coordination and communication with the national, regional, and local stakeholders of current and new centers the Support Unit dealt with two (2) service areas – work related to: o technical matters, specifically on the design, development, review, enhancement, and deployment of the eSkwela Network Setup in the centers and the automated systems in the central office o administrative and financial matters including documentation and coordination with various internal and external groups for the project team’s operational needs

Two (2) consultants were brought in to provide expert guidance on the implementation of the Instructional Model and Content Development frameworks, standards, and processes. These were the: 1. ICT in Education Consultant o Provided expert guidance (i.e. e-learning expertise, working framework, etc.) to the education technology principles required for the further enhancement of the customized instructional model o Guided the project team design, develop, conduct, evaluate, and enhance the capability building requirements to increase the competencies of eSkwela site implementers to deliver e-learning effectively using a project-based learning approach Content Development Technical Consultant o Provided expert guidance (i.e. standards, technical expertise, process direction, etc.) to the content development process required for the effective design, development, and review of e-learning modules

2.

For a more detailed listing of the project team members’ major responsibilities, please refer to Attachment D.

24

Chapter 2: Project Overview

Summary of Project Outputs / Achievements By the end of the project life of eSkwela 1.0 (June 2011), it had the following outputs and accomplishments: AEF eSkwela 1.0 - eGov Fund 2006, 2007, 2009 pilot target accomplished rate Functional customized ICT4E (ALS) Instructional model Enhanced Framework 1 1 1 0% eModules & corresponding 193 * Module Guides (A&E) (113 of which have 35 248 22% developedv (to be used for been certified by free) BALS) eModules (others: livelihood & CILC) 0 61 11* 82% developed (to be used for free) Mature/Replicable center model eSkwela Franchise Manual 0 1 1 100% Roadshows conducted for 0 17 27 0% advocacy Operational sites (mostly community 4 102 91 + 10** 10% initiated) Trained/qualified implementers on prescribed instructional model and center operations Enhanced / New Training 2 7 7 0% Designs Trained field implementers 140+ 1,884 1,718 *** 9% Established management and M&E mechanisms and tools Mechanisms 1 4 4 0% Enhanced / Customized / 1 2 2 0% New Automated Systems
* delays in content development processes discussed in Chapter 4 ** 10 sites are about to operate, pending minor operation details (slow set-up process dependent on pace by community stakeholders) *** slots were not filled up because some sites “share” implementers thus forfeited their provided workshop slots; some had conflicts in schedules and travel concerns; had difficulties in getting technical people to be trained

Table 4 eSkwela 1.0 Targets vs. Actual Accomplishments as of 30 June 2011

Most of the targets set in 2007 were met, with a few slippages. As with any project, targets and corresponding activities /tasks went through regular discussions, review, and revisions, when deemed appropriate. The project team conducted a evaluation and planning workshops each implementation year – one big event in January or February then a number of smaller ones held for specific groups. By the time that the project was turned over to the Department of Education through an official ceremony held last 29 April 2011, the only items that were pending were econtent, a number of about-to-operate sites (i.e. with one or two implementation requisites still incomplete), and project documentation. Details on the implementation of the individual project components may be viewed in the succeeding chapters.
25

Chapter 3: Project Implementation – Instructional Model
As with the pilot implementation, the customized Instructional Model serves as the heart of the eSkwela 1.0 – it is the one that binds all the other components together and provides the unique service character for the centers. This chapter will discuss the details of the model including challenges, lessons learned, and good practices. The atmosphere maintained by the project team was generally of collaboration, review/reflection, and continuous enhancement. A cycle of 1) design (based on reflections on the experiences and recommendations from the pilot implementation), 2) research and study alternatives, 3) practice, monitoring, discussion and feedback, and 4) eventual enhancement of the instructional model was employed. This was done to ensure that the model/framework being used in the Centers indeed make the teaching-learning experience fun, relevant, interactive, and engaging. A big part of the following discussion was presented during the Vietnam Forum on Lifelong Learning in December 2010. 15

eSkwela Instructional Model Effective ICT in Education calls for a pedagogical framework that is fit for the digital age such as the new learning theory by George Siemens called Connectivism16 which is described as Constructivism in a connected environment. It recognizes that learning and knowledge is developed in a non-sequential, iterative process of connecting with a diverse mix of opinions and making decisions by articulating, reflecting on, and evaluating the connections and options one sees in his environment. Focusing on the development and application of life skills, the A&E Program is aligned to this framework through the iterative 4A’s cycle: 4 A’s Activity Analysis Abstraction Application definition experience and acquire new knowledge and skills new knowledge and skills are linked to what they already know and can do; reflectively think about how new knowledge and skills can be used forming own meaning / understanding; verbalizing it a way of trying out, or applying what the learners have learned to an actual situation

Table 5 4 A’s Principle for ALS implementations
15

16

Tan, MD and Domingo, YL. eSkwela: Breaking Old Habits. Presented in the Vietnam Forum on Lifelong Learning . A copy of the slide presentation used for the Forum may be found at URL: http://www.dpu.dk/fileadmin/www.dpu.dk/asemeducationandresearchhubforlifelonglearning/conferences/vietnaml llforum2010/seminara/resources_3868.pdf Accessed: March 2011. Paper published in the Post-Conference/Forum proceedings by UNESCO-Hanoi, the Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training, and the ASEM Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning (ASEM-LLL) Hub, pp. 160-179. URL: http://www.dpu.dk/fileadmin/www.dpu.dk/ASEM/publications/VIETNAM_FORUM__LIFELONG_LEARNING_-_BUILDING_A_LEARNING_SOCIETY.pdf Accessed: June 2011 Siemens, G. Connectivism: A Learing Theory for the Digital Age. elearnspace website, December 2004. URL: www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm Accessed: May 2007.

Chapter 3: Project Implementation – Instructional Model

At the heart of eSkwela is its instructional model that sought to combine the good things about the A&E Program and the possibilities that ICT offers to enrich a blended learning experience. It was meant to challenge the educational system to break hold of its traditional paradigm and to explore ways by which ICT can enhance the teaching-learning process. The A&E Program, advocating an alternative learning approach, provided that opportunity primarily because of its flexible nature, individualized learning, and focus on life skills. Essentially, the eSkwela Instructional Model was designed as a concrete application of ICT integration in education, customized for the Alternative Learning System of the Department of Education. Through the use of the localized and interactive e-learning module packages (i.e. module guides and corresponding e-modules), the learners, who come from diverse social and economic backgrounds, could gain the core competencies needed to be functionally literate, as required by the A&E Program. In support of a blended learning environment, the teachers are motivated to wean away from traditional chalk-and-talk/lecture-based methodologies and more confidently take on the more crucial role of a facilitator of the learning process by providing topic clarifications, “thinking questions”, relevant analogies, authentic real-life applications, and problem-based projects in addition to lesson guidance and direction, based on the learners’ individual learning plans. The various software applications, the Internet, and the customized Learning Management System are then used by the teachers to assign learners a wide range of ICTbased supplementary materials and activities to work on, such as online tests, blogs, discussion forums, digital simulations, videoconferencing, emails, spreadsheets and graphs, multimedia presentations, digital graphics, etc. As such, instead of having limited and “passive” sources of information (such as the print modules, radio, TV, and old library references) and resources (such as costly pen-and-paper materials, clear books, notebooks, paint, etc.), learners are expected to use the computers extensively to create and maintain their respective electronic/digital learner portfolios. They are likewise empowered to further their own education as well as explore a much bigger reality than they are accustomed to. Learners do not have to be ICT-literate when they apply for a slot at any eSkwela Center – self-discipline and commitment to learning are deemed more crucial. To ensure basic computer skills, the learning facilitators or other community volunteers provide short training courses on the use of the mouse, keyboard, and basic browsing techniques just to get the learners comfortable with the technology. They then get to explore and gain other computer skills such as file management and productivity tools as they go through the different eSkwela modules. Learners have the option to take the A&E Test which, if they pass, would provide them with a Certificate equivalent to an Elementary or High School Diploma.

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Chapter 3: Project Implementation – Instructional Model

Version 1: Pilot Implementation The original eSkwela instructional model presented during its pilot run in 2006-2007 (shown as Figure 7 below) enhanced the print module delivery mode of the A&E Program by incorporating the use of ICTs in the various points of the learner’s engagement. Ideally, ICT was used as early as the Learner Entry phase – using databases, automated tests, and forms for the learner application; conduct and grading of the Functional Literacy Test (FLT); and production and recording of the Individual Learning Agreement (ILA). The model primarily used the Learning Management System (ATutor at that time) to facilitate the learning processes and interactions among the center coordinator, the online learning facilitator, the learner, and the expert/mentor (optional). The LMS was designed to be the main point of contact for all the users to access the module guides, e-learning modules, communication and collaboration tools, automated tests, and learner profiles, portfolios, and academic records. An online A&E test – automated self-generating randomized multi-item exam system – was likewise planned as a future development.
Facilitation of Learning

C

“Homeroom Moderator” (coordinator) and a Network of Mobile Teachers / Instructional Managers / Tutors

Learner Entry: • • Application Diagnostic Test & Interview Personal Objectives Placement + Learning Plan/ Agreement

Learning Management System • Module Guides o Learning Objectives o E-Learning modules o Activities Enrichment Tools for Communication, Interaction, Collaboration

Authentic Learning shown via Learner Work / Portfolio = demonstration / application of life skills; UserGenerated Content (ICT or non-ICT based)

• •

Learner

Learner

• •

Regular Assessment / Evaluation • self, peer, IM/Tutor, Mentor/Expert • qualitative means

Network of Online or Community Mentors and Experts (for authentic learning) A LEARNING COMMUNITY VIA INTERNET & INTRANET

Optional • Readin ess/Mo ck Test • A&E

Optional

• Livelih ood Track

Exam

Figure 7 eSkwela Instructional Model v. 1

It was characterized by a blended type of learner-centered instruction consisting of three elements: computer-aided learning via interactive e-learning modules (note: no module guides yet), teacher-facilitated instruction & learning as aligned with the pace and need of the learner, and collaborative group activities and projects. The learning environment to be maintained was meant to promote literacies for the Digital Age (i.e. 21st Century Skills), lifelong learning, and appropriate and relevant use of ICT that enhance learning.
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Through this model, learning facilitators would find that ICT affords them and learners alike more freedom and flexibility to adopt such an approach while aligning to the individualized learning plans of learners – something that field ALS implementers have found it difficult to implement with the conventional print-based modules and session set-up. 1.1 Problem Scenario Keeping this in mind, the eSkwela Project Team designed and conducted the Teahcer Training Course on the eSkwela Instructional Model that emphasized these ideals. However, through follow-up monitoring activities, it was observed that in the early years of pilot implementation, the trained learning facilitators found it difficult to apply the eSkwela Instructional Model. It was found that the eSkwela Instructional Model was not being efficiently and effectively implemented within the four pilot sites – that is, there was a strong tendency to go back to the conventional teaching/learning methods used, the ICT tools were not optimized, application of problem/project-based learning approach was not prioritized. As such, the team analyzed the situation back in late 2007/early 2008, specifically looking into the following concerns: • How can the team improve the use of the eSkwela ICT-enhanced Instructional Model – i.e. seamless blend of the e-learning modules, teacher facilitation, and LMS, in the context of a project/problem-based approach? What are the specific activities that need to be done to further enhance teacher competencies in the use of the eSkwela Instructional Model? What performance indicators should be used to measure these competencies? What performance indicators (outputs and outcomes) should be used to monitor and evaluate the use of the eSkwela Instructional Model?

• • • 1.2

Lessons Learned: Problem Analysis vis-à-vis Capability Building among Learning Facilitators Focusing on these questions, the team set out to analyze the root of the problem and figure out possible solutions to make the model work. When this mini-study was conducted, the project was still in its pilot stage – the centers had been operating for barely eight (8) months. As such, since the learning facilitators were so used to the conventional/ traditional ways of teaching (i.e. teachercentered, same-paced sequential learning, traditional assessment methods), they were still adjusting to the new instructional model which called for a paradigm shift in the way they did things. It required a shift from the traditional learning model to a lifelong learning model in order to accommodate a Connectivist approach to learning. One major mistake that the team made was to assume that a short 5-day training course would equip the “new recruits” with the knowledge, skills, and attitude to implement the instructional model on their own and without additional guidance. Thus, a major realization that had to be factored in was that such a shift does not happen overnight. It definitely requires time, conscious effort, commitment, and persistence on the part of the learning facilitators to break old habits and in the process, welcome exploration and experimentation for the eSkwela Instructional
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Model to flourish. There was a clear need to consider the maturity model17, as shown in Table 6 that looks at one’s ICT competencies and corresponding comfort levels as contributing factors to the extent of ICT application in his work. As with new “recruits”, regular monitoring, handholding, follow-through assistance, and scaffolding in the form of guidelines and models are necessary to help them in breaking old habits to form new ones, so to speak.

Table 6 Maturity Model on ICT use in the Classroom 17

Through the fishbone analysis shown on Figure 8, the team was able to pinpoint several factors that contributed to the problem, namely: 1. a lukewarm level of acceptance of the instructional model because despite being novel, the model was overwhelming and presented a burdensome shift from the way things were being done • an extreme case of “resistance” was having the learning facilitator require all the learners to navigate and view each screen of an elearning module synchronously, as if they were going through each page of a print module, without acknowledging the learners’ respective needs and pace low teacher competency levels on the ICT-based instructional model • upon review, it was determined that the design of the original training workshop was a mix-and-match of discussions and hands-on activities on ICT in education, office productivity tools, and ATutor – committing the common mistakes of focusing too heavily on the software applications rather than on pedagogical strategies as well as neglecting the ICT competency-and-use maturity model explained below minimal implementation of resource-cum-project-based approach • the team realized the need to re-orient the learning facilitators on resource-based and project-based learning to capitalize on the A&E Program’s focus on life skills as well as the potentials of using ICT to link learners to community activities and projects

2.

3.

17

Adapted from Padongchart, S. A Curriculum Framework for Integrating ICT and Pedagogy in Teacher Education. National Training Programme for Teacher Educators on ICT-Pedagogy Integration Training Manual, June 2006. UNESCO-Bangkok. 30

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Lukewarm Level of Acceptance of Instl Model Burdensome, overlaps with other assignments Inadequate Incentive Package

Low Teacher Comptency Levels on ICTbased Instructional Model Inadequate Teacher Training National ICT Competency Standard for Teachers awaiting adoption Lack of Teacher Training Phases/Stages Lack of Systematic Followthrough Performance Monitoring Mechanism

ICT tools provided still lacking/problematic Pilot implementation (proof of concept)

PROBLEM: eSkwela Instructional Model is not being efficiently and effectively implemented – i.e. there is a tendency to go back to the conventional teaching/learning methods used, the ICT tools are not maximized, application of problem/project-based learning approach is not prioritized
Lack of Inventory of Possible/ Sample Community-based Problems/ Projects Lack of Centralized Think Tank & Repository Lack of Teacher Training & Personal Experience on PBL Lack of Effective Monitoring Mechanism Minimal Implementation of Resourcecum-Project -based Approach

Lack of Documentation on Site Operations, Weak Monitoring Mismatch of Existing Session Guides Pilot Implementation

Lack of Existing Models

Figure 8 Fishbone Analysis on the Implementation Problem of the eSkwela Instructional Model v. 1

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4.

lack of existing models to pattern after • although the potential benefits of ICT in education had been widely discussed, the model was still fairly new to the learning facilitators who need concrete experiences to observe and outputs to scaffold on, thus adhering to the 4A’s approach of ALS

Below was the SWOT Analysis done on the pilot run of the project, from which possible solutions were derived: Strengths Weaknesses • Government Support on the e- • Project was still in its infancy – many Learning Project (funding) birth pains experienced, no hard rules, lack of best practices documented • 4 operational sites • Stable Accreditaion and Equivalency • Site implementers were still “learning the ropes”, resistant to change, Program of DepEd-BALS inadequate experience/weak • Dedicated project team background on ICT integration in education • Lack of internal e-learning expertise • A&E e-learning modules for the project were still few • Existing learning management system (ATutor LMS) lacked features Opportunities Threats • Wide array of potential community • Possible changes in ALS curricular directive, loss of champion partners and volunteers o Presence of manpower and • Loss of funding source, withdrawal of teaching expertise from various sponsors sectors (e.g. SUCs, NGOs, etc.) • Changes in technology who can provide guidance in the • Political vs. Program loyalties and field of education affiliations o Geographic location of potential partners in the target localities of implementation; with existing ICT facilities and/or training programs • Availability of online materials to support existing ALS materials • Potential national and LGU champions
Table 7 eSkwela SWOT Analysis circa September 2007

1.3

Recommended Solutions Based on the fishbone diagram and the SWOT Analysis, an array of possible solutions was posed, including but not limited to the following: 1. Establish a group of learning facilitators to focus on the review and enhancement of the eSkwela Instructional Model by sharing implementation experiences and exploring possible scaffolding resources and mechanisms

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2.

3.

4.

5.

Design, develop, and conduct a ladderized/phased Continuing Teacher Training & Enhancement Program (CTTEP) using a blended learning approach (face-to-face and online), including but not limited to: o Stage 1: ICT Literacy (Introduction to ICT in Education and eSkwela, Productivity Tools) o Stage 2: Workshop on ICT-enhanced Resource-cum-Project-based Learning, Performance/Portfolio-based Assessment o Stage 3: Optimizing the Use of the Internet and the Learning Management System towards a Self-paced, Blended Learning Approach o Stage 4: A Look into Distance Education for ALS o Stage 5: Training Workshop on Conducting Effective eSkwela Sessions Provide additional incentives to pilot implementation teachers to get out of their comfort zones (e.g. laptops, awards, additional trainings and short courses including knowledge exchange conferences, field visits, etc.) Develop and conduct a systematic Performance Monitoring Mechanism for the Continuing Teacher Training & Enhancement Program o Tap experts to monitor, guide, observe, and mentor site teachers in the implementation of the eSkwela Instructional Model Establish a centralized think tank to work on the following: o Convert the existing A&E Program Session Guides from conventional delivery to an ICT-enhanced delivery mode o Gather, review, and provide resources to serve as training materials (focusing on implementation modeling) o Lead in the development of the next set of e-learning materials and the seamless integration with the LMS for the learners

Version 2: eSkwela Instructional Model v.2 In order to enhance the effectiveness and utilization of the customized eSkwela Instructional Model, the following actions were taken: 1. It was determined that there was a clear need to further improve the instructional model being utilized. This was done by providing a richer array of appropriate ICT tools/resources as well as more guidance, modeling, and handholding through an enhanced teacher training and monitoring program. Guided by an ICT in Education expert consultant, Prof. Patricia Arinto of the UP Open University, the eSkwela Instructional Model was reviewed and enhanced. The diagram below was the product of a series of discussions from 2008 to 2009 on the core features of eSkwela. The model continues to promote a blended ICT-enhanced instructional model that uses a contextualized resource-cumproject-based learning approach. Further, this revised model clearly puts the learner in the center of the learning process. The learner, armed with an Individual Learning Agreement

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(ILA), uses the Moodle-based Learning Management System (LMS) to access elearning module packages. An e-Learning module package is composed of an e-

Figure 9 eSkwela Instructional Model v. 2

Learning module (eModule) and its corresponding module guide. Both are necessary supports for learners to achieve their learning goals while ensuring that the learning process continues to be flexible and self-paced. 1.1. The eModules serve as the main resource material used by the learners. It contains the necessary concepts and information about the modules, as well as activities i.e. exercises and games that help learners understand and comprehend the concepts and information being taken up. In order to assist the learners go through the eModules, module guides that are rooted on sound pedagogies and support ICT-supported project-based learning were developed and peer reviewed. More on the eModules in the next chapter.

Figure 10 Screenshots of sample eSkwela e-learning modules

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1.2.

In order to assist the learners go through the e-learning modules through the use of the eSkwela Learning Management System, module guides that are rooted on sound pedagogies that support ICT-supported project-based learning were developed. These module guides ideally provide structure to the learning process while also allowing for flexibility and self-paced learning. The nodule guide is the way by which the eSkwela instructional model is concretely applied. Module guides provide the learner instructions that guide him in interacting with his learning facilitator; accessing/using the customized, localized, and simplified interactive and multimedia e-learning modules; communicating and collaborating with other learners; tapping online mentors/experts, the community-at-large, and other resources; and working on his module project. It is made up of components where activities and learning go along. Looking at the sample module guide shown on the next page, there are parts where learners study the e-learning modules and other electronic resources, where they answer tests and other assessment tools in the module, where they interact with their learning facilitators, online tutors/experts and fellow learners, and also a part where they work on projects as a way to apply what they have learned in the module.

A learner’s typical eSkwela session could go this way: 1. He logs on to his account on the eSkwela Learning Management System (LMS) and accesses an assigned module to him, based on the results of his Functional Literacy Test (FLT), interview, and agreed upon Individual Learning Agreement (ILA). For this session, he is to take the “Participate in Elections” module. He views three or four infomercials of the 2010 Presidentiables through YouTube links provided by the learning facilitator. He is asked to write his thoughts on the infomercials through a pre-module blog. He is then directed to load the e-learning module entitled “My Vote My Right” to take a pre-test and then proceeds to learn about the importance of elections, his rights and responsibilities as a voter, and the Philippine electoral process. He goes to the Internet to learn more about the candidates and the automated elections that will be implemented in 2010. Through the LMS or the e-module itself, he takes the automated quiz or game to assess his level of understanding of the module. He proceeds to post his thoughts and questions on the different threads in the module’s discussion forum. Topics could range from the platforms of the local candidates / presidentiables to his views on the automated elections. Since it is online, his forum entries could be responded to by another learner from his home center or from another part of the country. For his module project, he uses his cellphone to record interviews and actual footages on the community’s local efforts to motivate people to register and safeguard the elections in 2010. Feeling excited, he also to use a word processor to write a song on his right to vote and then use his cellphone to record it. He shows his outputs to the learning facilitator as well as the public via YouTube or Facebook. He ends his module with a post-module journal entry about the module via his LMS blog.

2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7.

8.

9.

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Figure 11 Sample Module Guide

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The LMS allows the learner to use appropriate tools like internet sites, forums, blogs, wikis, mobile phones, digital cameras, various software applications, and other materials to share his thoughts and produce relevant outputs or projects for his learner portfolio. Developed by a “think tank” of thirty-one (31) highly recommended A&E field implementers (i.e. trainers, district ALS Coordinators, mobile teachers) trained on eSkwela and designated by DepEd-BALS, these module guides provide structure to the learning process while also allowing for flexibility and self-paced learning. Learning facilitators will have a choice of using these model module guides for their learners or opt to customize these or create their own, adhering to the guidelines and standards set by the model module guides. The module guide developers and reviewers went through a series of training workshops and intermediate “internalization” periods to educate them on the principles behind the instructional model. They underwent rigid discussions and workshops on the development of these module guides. These likewise equipped them with the skills in designing module guides using the different features in the Moodle system, guided by a combination of the Resource-Based Learning (RBL) and Project-Based Learning (PBL) approaches. The developers went through four (4) Module Guide Development and Review (MGDR) workshops, as follows: # of module guides developed MGDR 1 February 2009 35 MGDR 2 April 2009 57 MGDR 3 July 19-22, 2010 86 MGDR 4 Feb 1-4, 2011 79 Balance (take-home) 25 Total 282* * 2 print modules were collapsed into one e-module
Table 8 MGDR Schedule of Workshops and Outputs

Title

When

During the first MGDR, the participants were taught how to make a module guide, use the learning management system, and manipulate software applications that can be used in making a project. The succeeding workshops began with a review of concepts and principles to guide them internalize the

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customized instructional model further as they wrote the guides for the rest of the eModules. Their module guides were likewise subjected to assessment/critiquing by their MGDR peers and editing by three expert educators. The eModule packages have been uploaded in the eSkwela Moodle-based Learning and Content Management System (LCMS) that serves as the virtual classroom in an eSkwela center. The Moodle-based LCMS was deemed to be more organized, more appropriate, and simpler to use compared to ATutor. The available tools for resources and activities were found to be easier to manipulate. Further, the LMS navigation was found to be easy to learn, both for the learning facilitators and the learners. The initial target was to make the entire system available online so that the LFs and learners from the different centers can communicate and collaborate online. However, due to bandwidth issues (costs, slow/ no connection) in the centers, the system is housed in the center’s main server and can be accessed through the center’s Local Area Network. Use of the Internet, although highly encouraged, is currently minimized to not-so-often online chat sessions, ALSeSkwela ning and eSkwela FB page forum threads and posts. Media elements (e.g. youtube videos, podcasts) have been recently embedded into the module guides to do away with irritatingly slow download times that frustrate learners. A copy of the entire system, saved in the eSkwela server and backed up in the external hard drive, is submitted along with this report. 2. The overall eSkwela training design for learning facilitators was likewise overhauled. 2.1. A customized Training Needs Analysis (TNA) instrument had been designed and is being administered to potential learning facilitators. The TNA looks at four competency domains – technological, social and ethical, pedagogical, and professional – as indicated in the National ICT Competency Standards for Teachers developed by CICT. A special group, composed of eSkwela seasoned learning facilitators and ICT/education teachers from partner SUCs, was formed to conceptualize, design, and pilot the eSkwela TNA instrument back in in September 22-24, 2008 (TNA workshop); December 3-5, 2008 (pilot-test in Cebu and Roces). It

2.2.

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was decided that the instrument should be a self-assessment tool and designed for a 5-to-10 minute administration since it would be more cost-effective, more manageable, and less arduous on both the respondents and the data collators. The first version of the TNA (shown as Attachment E-1) was an attempt for the respondent to indicate his level of competency in each item. However, when it was subjected to the pilot run for a quick-and-dirty reliability and validity test, it was found that the respondents tended to lie about their levels of ICT competency and utilization, mostly either because they did not really read the items or they wanted to look good to others. Since face-to-face validation of the TNA self-assessment results was deemed too tedious and costly, it was decided that the TNA instrument should be redesigned. The group decided to focus on the technical know-how of the participants vis-à-vis the teaching strategies they commonly used since the training workshop would focus on technical skills anyway and how these may be used to enrich the learners’ eSkwela experience. Shown as Attachment E-2, the TNA showed a checklist of “appropriate (ICT) tools will help educators in designing a technology-infused curriculum”. Analysis on one’s level of competency was based on the combination of tools the LF knew and/or used. Further, this was validated through observation and their performance in the actual workshop and during the eSkwela sessions. 2.3. It was a conscious decision to form and train a core of national trainers among the module guide developers to handle the eSkwela trainings. This was a major difference with the pilot implementation when the CICT team served as the trainers. For eSkwela 1.0, the CICT team still accompanied the training teams but only played support to this core of national trainers. It was meant to ensure that DepEd-BALS would have the necessary pool of confident, knowledgeable, and competent trainers once it takes over eSkwela operations. Fourteen (14) members, most of whom had already experienced handling eSkwela sessions, were handpicked from the MGDR group to serve as the eSkwela National Trainers for Learning Facilitators (LFs). The project team made sure that there is a set of at least three (3) trainers for each of the three island groups. To ensure design ownership, this set of trainers underwent the Training of Trainers (ToT) Workshop in June 2009 to collaboratively discuss, finalize, review, and design the enhanced version of the eSkwela Training Workshop for Learning Facilitators and the new course Enhancement Training Workshop for Learning Facilitators together with the eSkwela IM unit and expert ICT4E consultant.

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The main outputs during the ToT were the Trainer’s Guide and Trainee’s Manual that provided an introduction to the training workshop, instructions per workshop module, presentation files/materials, activities, evaluation/feedback forms, a checklist of training management requirements. The trainers, on the other hand, appreciated this practice of involving them in the design of the training workshops. Armed with these manuals, the trainers were tapped to conduct the rollout of the eSkwela Training Program nationwide. The LF Trainers focused on training new eSkwela learning facilitators the proper use of the e-module packages & the LMS in the teaching-learning process. It was found that training participants preferred this strategy since the trainings are more rooted on actual/ concrete field experiences and practices. The participants were more receptive to the trainers who shared insights and reflections on their own ALS experiences. More on this in the section on LF training. It is worthy to note that another set of trainers, designated by the Regional ALS units, trained the eSkwela network administrators on technical set-up and maintenance of eSkwela infrastructure and systems in the centers. This is discussed in Chapter 6 under Technical Support. No field trainers were trained for Center Management since the topic was not deemed to be within the expertise of the field ALS implementers. The trainers for this particular training was outsourced to the telecenter.org Philippine Community eCenter Academy (tPCA18) and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) which had an existing course for Community eCenter Managers. The eSkwela run of the Center Management Training was a short introductory workshop on this course. More on this in Chapter 5. It would have been logical to tap the trainers, especially those assigned in the regions, to assist in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities to ensure the proper implementation of the project, specifically in the utilization of the eSkwela instructional model and the sustainability of the centers. This, however, was not done due to budgetary and scheduling constraints.

18

More information on tPCA on this link: http://www.philcecnet.ph/content/view/162/71/ Accessed: March 2011

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2.4.

In view of the competency maturity model on the use of ICT in Education, the trainings for eSkwela Learning Facilitators had been cut up into several phases, namely:

Figure 12 Training Phases for eSkwela Learning Facilitators

Phase 1: ICT Literacy and Responsible Use of ICT This is done through the local partner community. There are also training designs e-learning modules developed by eSkwela 1.0 for seven (7) Computer and Internet Literacy e-learning modules that may be used as reference materials for would-be learning facilitators who are new ICT users.

Phase 2: eSkwela Instructional Model This workshop trains the participants on the appropriate use of pedagogical strategies and practices to optimize the ICT tools and resources offered by eSkwela (eModule packages, LMS) and the World Wide Web. Participants should be regular ICT users (i.e. uses the Internet and productivity tools regularly) and A&E Program implementers trained under the DepEd-BALS training program. The participants should satisfy the following selection criteria:

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1. 2. 3.

should be regular computer users (not just “know about” computers) should have basic ALS training should have already handled a learning session

The participants are likewise trained on how to manipulate the LMS to enhance existing module guides or develop their own module guides in order to further customize these to specific learning needs and contexts. The training design is shown as Table 9. It is highly encouraged to subject the participants to a site visit or immersion during the training workshop. This will allow them to put into context and simulate whatever they learned during the workshop. They can likewise interact with the implementers and learners to get feedback and insights on eSkwela operations and community support. This is not a regular part of the training design since not all the workshop venues have nearby eSkwela Centers. As such, to give the new learning facilitators ideas on what to expect in eSkwela., the project team came up with a number of video-recorded learning sessions, along with focus group discussions and testimonials of learning facilitators, learners, and other community stakeholders that have been made available online through the alseskwela ning site.

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In addition, the participants are given training manuals that they can bring home and review in the future. Further, a number of instructional videos were developed by the project team in order to assist the trainees in reviewing how to use the LMS and module guides when they go back to their respective centers. These videos form part of the CDs distributed to the individual centers after the training workshop. As a final activity, the training participants are required to register on the alseskwela ning site, and to the LF group in particular. They are encouraged to visit the site regularly to read, post a blog or to a forum thread, upload relevant pictures, and others. It is hoped that through this official social networking site, the learning facilitators will form a community of practice and learn from one another. There are currently 136 members in the LF group, with less than 5% of them actively participating. Obviously, the habit of online social networking for official purposes is not yet ingrained among the learning facilitators. More on this in the section on Challenges. • Phase 3: Enhancement Training This workshop aims to reinforce key concepts, principles, and skills for the effective implementation of the eSkwela Instructional Model in particular those related to designing project-based and resource-based learning, authentic assessment, and facilitating communication and collaboration. As such, participants should be eSkwela implementers who have previously undergone and actually practiced Training Phase 2. The training focuses on how the ICT-supported project-based learning approach can be implemented in an alternative learning system/environment. It builds on the existing knowledge and skills of implementers learned during the eSkwela Instructional Model Training for LFs (Phase 2) and from actual field implementation of the instructional model. In this training, LFs are introduced to software applications and common tools that can be used in creating ICT-supported projects. The LFs are also taught how to design and assess learner projects – focusing mainly on the life skills and learning benefits of ICTsupported Project-Based Learning (PBL) rather than on expertise on

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the software application. They are also challenged to come up with a project that integrates a number of modules – for example, a project on Recycling can combine language use/communication skills, problem solving/analytical thinking, and global awareness. Available software applications are going to be used for the following: Following the principles of PBL, the participants apply the concepts and principles they learned in each session to mini projects that require the use of particular software applications (limited to making slide presentations, desktop publishing, audio production, and video production). The learning facilitators can gauge how long it takes for and the requirements needed by a learner or a group of learners to work on a project. But more importantly, the training workshop shows the learning facilitators that learners can work on ICT-supported projects to make learning more fun, grounded, and relevant. In addition, it shows them that creativity, when encouraged and nurtured, opens up new ideas and possibilities for learner outputs. It is further emphasized during this training that the learners do not have to invest on “hightech gadgets” but can actually use common ICT gadgets (mobile phones, digital cameras, PC headphones with microphones) and open source applications for their projects. Sample outputs by the learning facilitators may be viewed through the Projects tab of the eSkwela ICT Camp ning site (http://eskwelaictcamp.ning.co m/page/lf-projects). Similar to the training on the eSkwela Instructional Model, the core group of trainers was involved in finalizing the design and strategies in facilitating each session. • Phase 4: Distance Education for ALS The implementation of this training phase has been postponed to the succeeding phases of eSkwela. It might be good to note that the project team had previously recommended to DepEd-BALS to subject a select group of “ready” eSkwela implementers to the eLearning

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Development and Implementation (eLDI) course of InWEnt and the UP Open University.19 Note that there are a few eSkwela learning facilitators who have explored and experimented on this mode – Angelyn Malabanan of Quezon City and Georly Dabalos of Davao City – thus linking them with learners from other cities or even abroad (OFWs) who are determined to undergo ALS via distance learning through emails and text-based/webcam chat sessions. The two LFs are using print modules instead of the e-learning modules since there is no policy yet on distributing e-learning modules outside the center premises. The period in between the face-to-face training intervention phases is meant for implementers to practice what they learned in their respective centers and for mentors and trainers to conduct handholding activities through either online or offline modes. It is in this light that trainers and trained learning facilitators are required to become members of the eSkwela social networking sites on ning (http://alseskwela.ning.com) and Facebook (group: the eSkwela Project). The project team, trainers/mentors, and implementers are likewise encouraged to exchange mobile phone numbers to allow a healthy exchange of SMS regarding eSkwela matters – major or mundane, as the case may be. It is through these means that online/offline communities of learning, practice, and sharing is encouraged. eSkwela 1.0 advocates a strong support system that includes actual “felt” availability of people to talk to about concerns, common challenges, and good practices.

19

eLDI-Asia, an approx. 250-hour blended course, is now being offered through the German International Cooperation Program, in cooperation with the UP Open University (UPOU) and the Asian eLearning Network (AselNet). More on the program on this link: http://www.upou.edu.ph/downloads/2011/eldi2011JG1courseannouncement.pdf Accessed: June 2011.

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Day 1

Time 8:00 – 8:30 AM 8:30 – 9:00 AM 9:00 – 10:00 AM

10:00 – 10:20 AM 10:20 – 12:00 NN

12.00 – 1.00 PM 1:00 – 2:00 PM

2:00 – 3:20 PM

3:20 – 3:40 PM 3:40 – 4:20 PM

4:20 – 5:00 PM

2

8:30 – 9:20 AM 9:20 – 10:20 AM 10:20 – 10:40 AM 10:40 – 12:00 NN

Topic Greetings and Updates Discussion of Workshop Rationale, Objectives, and Activities Session 1: Review of eSkwela Instructional Model Concepts and Principles • ICTs in 21st Century Education • eSkwela vis-a-vis ALS A&E • eSkwela Instructional Model o Model components: the eLearning modules, ICT resources and tools o Learning principles: resource-based, project-based, and blended learning o Roles of learning facilitators o Roles of support team: Center Manager, Network Administrator, Stakeholders Break Workshop 1: Planning for Session 1 with learning facilitators • What aspects of Session 1 will be difficult to do with learning facilitators? Why? • How can these potential difficulties and challenges be addressed? What resources are needed? What training strategies can be implemented? Lunch Break Session 2: Introducing the eLearning Modules • How do the e-learning modules (e-modules) differ from the print modules? • How should learners and learning facilitators use the e-modules? Workshop 2: Planning for Session 2 with learning facilitators (Issues and Challenges, Strategies and Resources) Break Session 3: Introducing the Online Classroom (LMS) and the Module Guide • What is an online classroom? How different is it from the traditional classroom? • What is a module guide? What are its components? Workshop 3: Planning for Session 3 with learning facilitators (Issues and Challenges, Strategies and Resources) Continuation of Workshop 3 Session 4: Facilitating/Moderating Online Discussions Break Workshop 4: Planning for Session 4 with learning facilitators (Issues and Challenges, Strategies and Resources)

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Day

Time 12:00 – 1:00 PM 1:00 – 2:30 PM

Topic Lunch Session 5: Implementing Project-Based Learning • Helping learners do the module project • Assessing learners’ projects using the scoring guide Workshop 5: Planning for Session 5 with learning facilitators (Issues and Challenges, Strategies and Resources) Break Session 6: Comprehensive Review of Moodle Features Continuation of Session 6: Focus on learner enrolment and tracking learners’ progress Workshop 6: Planning for Session 6 with learning facilitators (Issues and Challenges, Strategies and Resources) Break Continuation of Workshop 6 Lunch Break Site Visit to an eSkwela Center Workshop 7: Refinement of Training Plan for Learning Facilitators Break Workshop 8: Planning and Monitoring the Pilot Implementation of e-Learning Modules and Module Guides Lunch Break Continuation of Workshop 8 Admin Matters, Closing and Evaluation (NOTE: if an operational eSkwela site is accessible to the venue, a site visit is highly encouraged) Snacks and Farewells

2:30 – 3:30 PM

3

3:30 – 3:50 pm 3:50 – 5:00 PM 8:30 – 9:30 AM 9:30 – 10:30 AM

4

10:30 – 10:50 AM 10:50 – 12:00 NN 12:00 NN – 1:00 PM 1:00 – 5:00 PM 8:30 – 10:10 AM 10:10 – 10:30 AM 10:40 AM – 12:00 NN

12:00 – 1:00 PM 1:00 – 3:00 PM 3:00 – 4:00

4:00 PM

Table 9 LF Training Workshop Design (Phase 2)

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Day Day 1

Time 8:00-8:30 AM 8:30-9:00 AM 9:00-9:30 AM 9:30-10:15 AM 10:15-10:35 AM 10:35-12:00 AM 12:00 NN - 1:00 PM 1:00-1:30 PM 1:30-3:30 PM 3:30-3:50 PM 3:50-4:50 PM 4:50-5:50 8:00-10:00 AM 10:00-10:20 AM 10:20-11:20 NN 11:20-12:20 PM 12:20-1:20 PM 1:20-3:40 PM 3:40-4:00 PM 4:00-4:40 PM 4:40-5:40 PM 8:00-10:00 AM 10:00-10:20 AM 10:20 AM - 11:20 AM 11:20-12:20 PM 12:20-1:20 PM 1:20-3:20 PM

Day 2

Day 3

3:20-3:40 PM 3:20-5:00 PM Day 4 8:00-10:00 AM 10:00-10:20 AM 10:20 AM - 12:20 PM 12:20-1:20 PM 1:20-3:00 PM 3:00-3:30 PM 3:30-4:00 PM

Session/Topic Getting to Know You Expectations Sharing Workshop Overview Session 1. Revisiting the eSkwela Instructional Model Break Session 2. Creativity Workshop Lunch Session 3. ICT-Supported Project-Based Learning Software Training A1: Slide Presentation Software Training B1: Desktop Publishing Break Software Training A1 and B1 continued Assessment of Software Training A1 and B1 Outputs Software Training A2 and B2 Break Software Training A2 and B2 continued Assessment of Software Training A2 and B2 Outputs Lunch Software Training C1: Video Production Software Training D1: Audio Production Break Software Training C1 and D1 continued Assessment of Software Training C1 and D1 Outputs Software Training C2 and D2 Break Software Training C2 and D2 continued Assessment of Software Training C2 and D2 Outputs Lunch Session 4. Designing Integrative Projects (Part 1) • Setting learning objectives • Specifying the task and media for project outputs Break Session 5. Designing Integrative Projects (Part 2) • Selecting resources (information literacy) Session 5 continued Break Session 6. Authentic Assessment (Using Checklists and Rubrics) Lunch Session 7. Online Communication and Collaboration: Tools and Principles Wrap-up Closing

Table 10 LF Enhancement Training Workshop Design (Phase 3)

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3.

The eSkwela ICT Camp was revived. The eSkwela ICT Camp intends to promote the effective use of ICTs in teaching and learning through projectbased learning and the development of User-Generated Content (UGC). It is similar to the Enhancement Training Workshop for Learning Facilitators except that the Camp prioritizes on the teamwork among the learner participants and their learning facilitators to produce ICT-supported projects. Patterned after the Intel Learn and Computer Clubhouse, the ICT Camp aims to provide teach learning facilitators and learners with vital skills in project creation, design and management as well as lessons in collaborative work. During the Camp, the participants are trained on how to work with common ICT tools and open source software in designing and producing learner portfolio projects. The camp is filled with interesting discussions with experts from the field of education and ICT and group workshops that stimulate creativity, build leadership skills, and promote teamwork. The camp focuses on teaching the participants various software applications that they may use to create User-Generated Content (UGC) in line with their assigned module projects, keeping in mind the following project objectives:

To inspire eSkwela outof-school youth and adults in learning life skills and developing technological literacy through project-based learning To enable eSkwela learners and instructional managers (IMs) to share experiences, knowledge, and resources with other learners and IMs from other eSkwela sites To build leadership skills, communication skills, teamwork and camaraderie among eSkwela learners and implementers To enable the participants to design and produce sample ICT-based learner portfolio outputs that other learners can model after

The very first ICT Camp in 2008 for the pilot sites was sponsored by additional funding from the APEC Education Foundation. The succeeding round of the ICT

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Camp (2 runs) in 2010 was funded by the eGovernment Fund. It remains to be one of the most anticipated eSkwela activities since it is the only activity that brings together field implementers and learners from different centers into one venue. For a big number of the learner participants, it was their first time to travel outside their localities and meet people from different communities. Project outputs by the participants from the 3 camps conducted from 2008 to 2010 are available in the camp website: http://eskwelaictcamp.ning.com. These projects serve as models for learning facilitators and learners on what ICT-supported projects may be developed vis-à-vis the eSkwela module guides. Date Day 0 Time Activity Arrival of Participants/Check-in/Registration Welcome Dinner ICT Camp Program, House Rules, Groupings Team Building Activities Breakfast Invocation Welcome Remarks by partner-SUC Opening Remarks and Presentation of the ICT Camp Framework by CICT Creativity Workshop Lunch Introduction to ICT-Project Based Learning and User-Generated Content Break Introduction to Online Communication and Collaboration Tools Blog Writing Dinner Breakfast Recap, Icebreaker Software Training Lunch Software Training Blog Writing Dinner Breakfast Recap, Icebreaker Software Training Introduction of the Challenge Group Study of the Modules Brainstorming on the Group Project Idea Break Project Workshop (Gathering of Materials) Blog Writing Dinner Socials

Day 1

6:30am – 7:30am 8:00am – 8:15am 8:15am – 8:30am 8:30am – 9:00am 9:00am – 12:00nn 12:00nn – 1:00pm 1:00pm – 3:00pm 3:00pm – 3:30pm 3:30pm – 5:30pm 5:30pm – 7:00pm 7:00pm – 8:00pm 6:30am – 7:30am 7:30am – 8:00am 8:00am – 12:00nn 12:00nn – 1:00pm 1:00pm – 5:30pm 5:30pm – 7:00pm 7:00pm – 8:00pm 6:30am – 7:30am 7:30am – 8:00am 8:00 – 12:00 nn 12:00nn – 1:00pm 1:00pm – 1:30 pm 1:30am – 3:10pm 3:10pm – 3:30pm 3:30pm – 5:30pm 5:30pm – 7:00pm 7:00pm – 8:00pm 8:00pm – 11:00pm

Day 2

Day 3

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Date Day 4

Day 5

Time 6:30am – 7:30am 7:30am – 8:00am 8:00am – 12:00nn 12:00nn – 1:00pm 1:00pm – 5:30pm 5:30pm – 7:00pm 7:00pm – 8:00pm 6:30am – 7:30am 7:30am – 8:00am 8:00am – 10:00am 10:00am – 10:30am 10:30am – 12:00nn 12:00nn – 1:00pm 1:00pm – 2:00pm 2:00pm – 3:00pm 3:00pm – 3:30pm 3:30pm – 5:30pm 5:30pm – 6:00pm 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Activity Breakfast Recap, Icebreaker Project Workshop Lunch Project Workshop Blog Writing Dinner Breakfast Recap, Icebreaker Project Presentations Break Presentations Lunch Reflecting on the Project: PBL Principles Action Planning Break Presentation of Action Plans Commitment Setting Closing Remarks Dinner Departure

Day 6
Table 11 ICT Camp Design

4.

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools and mechanisms were likewise enhanced to document and assess the eSkwela implementations in the field. Site visits allow the team to observe and interact with learning facilitators and learners to discuss experiences, successes, challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations. Various instruments were designed and developed including forms for Training Needs Analysis (TNA), LF On-site Observation Form, LF Self-Assessment Tool, LF Performance Evaluation by Learners (Attachments F-1, F-2, f-3), eModule Package Evaluation Forms for Learners and LFs (Attachments G-1 & G-2), and Training Workshop Evaluation Forms for Resource Persons and Training Management (Attachments H-1 & H-2). Guide questions were likewise drafted for the trainer debriefing sessions, on-site LF and learner interviews (Attachments I-1 & I-2), and Focus Group Discussions, discussed elsewhere in this report. The IM unit conducted site visits along with the Sites unit at least once a year – for more fortunate sites, twice or thrice a year. For some sites, site visits were unannounced – this gave the IM unit a better picture of actual session experiences. For other sites, bureaucratic protocols and safety concerns required that the IM unit announce their site visits. All site visits came with site visit reports that were submitted as post-travel requirements – a sample is shown as Attachment J. Online chat meetings were planned but did not push through – scheduling problems and unreliable internet connections made these difficult to pursue. Text messages, phone calls, posts (forum, comment, photos, videos) and one-on-one chat sessions

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through the LF group in the eSkwela ning site and Facebook pages (of the eSkwela project itself as well as those of respective eSkwela Centers) were used as alternatives instead. Based on the posts and FGD results during the close-out activities, it was gathered that the LFs who participated in such activities greatly appreciated the “presence” and sense of availability afforded by these ICT alternatives.

General Findings The change process that the eSkwela instructional model has gone through involved a lot of people. The experiences of and insights from expert consultants and ALS field implementers gave the model a more solid pedagogical foundation. Expectations became clearer and more grounded. This section presents the different challenges encountered, lessons learned, actions taken, and good practices established in the design, development, implementation, and monitoring of the eSkwela Instructional Model.

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Module Guides The pilot implementation of the eModule packages was held in July to September 2009 – right after conducting the improved version of Phase 2 of the eSkwela LF training series (see section on Trainings). It was intended to assess the effectiveness and usability of the module guides among eSkwela learners and facilitators. In order to validate whether the module guide serves its purpose as a tool in a blended approach to teaching and learning, 30 completed module guides were given to 22 eSkwela sites that underwent LF training last June2009 for pilot testing. The pilot sites were given the prerogative to choose which among the available packages they wanted to pilot. Learning Strand 1 Effective Communication 2 Critical Thinking and Analysis 3 Sustainable Use of Resources and Productivity 4 Development of Self and Sense of Community 5 Expanding One’s World Vision # of packages 0 19 9 1 1

Table 12 eModule Package Pilot Implementation – breakdown by Learning Strand

The eModule Package Pilot Implementation min-study (report shown as Attachment K) provided the team with valid observations and recommendations that are being incorporated in the current module guide development and training workshops. The survey results were as follows (rating of 1 to 5 with 5 as the highest): Average Rating Learners LFs 4.02 3.94 3.92 3.30 3.97 4.00 4.00 4.50 3.50 3.66

About the module guide The learning objectives were clearly defined. Nakasaad nang malinaw ang mga layunin. The module guide helped me meet the learning objectives. Nakatulong ang modyul guide para matutunan ko ang mga dapat kong matutunan. There were clear instructions on how to study the module. Merong malinaw na panuto kung paano pag-aaralan ang modyul. The online resource/s is/was accessible to me. Accessible sa akin ang mga online resources. The online resource/s contributed to my understanding of the module. Ang mga online resource ay nakatulong para maintindihan ko ang modyul. The discussion forum/s helped me learn the module better. Ang mga discussion forum ay nakatulong upang higit kong matutunan ang modyul. The project was relevant to the module objectives. May kaugnayan ang proyekto sa layunin ng modyul. There were clear instructions on how to do the project. Malinaw ang mga panuto sa paggawa ng proyekto. The project’s level of difficulty was just right. Tama lang ang kahirapan ng modyul.

3.63 3.78 4.00 3.53

3.52 3.63 3.98 4.00

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About the module guide I had the necessary knowledge and skills to do the project. Taglay ko ang mga kinakailangan na kaalaman at kasanayan para magawa ang proyekto I had enough resources to do the project. Meron akong sapat na resources para magawa ang proyekto. I spent enough time studying the module. Naglaan ako ng sapat na oras sa pag-aaral ng modyul. I did all of the learning activities suggested in the module guide, including the discussion forum and the project. Ginawa ko lahat ngpagsasanay sa modyul guide pati ang discussion forum at proyekto. OVERALL RATINGS Overall I would rate the effectiveness of this module guide as Overall I would rate the effectiveness of the LMS as Overall I would rate the learners’ performance in the modules as Overall I would rate my effectiveness as a learning facilitator as

Average Rating Learners LFs 3.25 3.69 4.29 3.50 3.63 4.26

3.66

3.88

NA NA NA NA

4.45 4.36 4.29 4.39

Table 13 eModule Package Pilot Implementation Survey Results from Learners & LFs

Based on the survey results, the module guides were a bit getting used to but were surprisingly not unwelcome. Observations were articulated as follows: • • the module guides and its components (instructions, online resources, forum, project) were found to be useful and effective in general according to the learning facilitators interviewed, the learners got overwhelmed with the contents of the guide due to their lengthy and multiple instructions, forum questions, and links to other resources – too some time to get used to the learners welcomed the forum activities but there was a tendency to veer away from the thread topic; though some of them still needed the assistance of the learning facilitators in understanding the forum questions, majority were able to express their thoughts and views on the topic being discussed ◦ English and Filipino are the common languages used while some used their local dialect. Learners viewed the discussion forum as an avenue to gain more knowledge and also to share their own familiarity about the subject. Some even expressed enjoyment while posting replies on the forum. Learning facilitators observed that the discussion forum teach the learners to think critically and understand the topic more than memorizing the concept. web/online resources meant to serve as supplementary materials to help learners deepen or widen their understanding on the module, although found to be useful, were generally not accessed due to slow internet connection in the centers projects were viewed positively by the learning facilitators since these provided innovative alternatives to the traditional pen-and-paper projects; learners were not able to work on projects because they lacked the necessary software application skills and gadgets to produce their own content ◦ some learners were able to come up with simple projects and assist others in doing their projects

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• •

although majority had given a sign of approval to this new system of teaching and learning, there are still some learners who found the module guide as an additional lesson that they need to learn and not as a scaffold to the learning process learning facilitators saw the need to orient and guide the learners on how to go about using the module guides for independent learning majority of the learning facilitators and learners requested for module guides in Filipino

Based on the results, the participants discussed the implications on module guide development, training for learning facilitators, and learner support. They also suggested enhancements on the module guide and its components: On module guide components: 1. The discussion forum: • Only one discussion forum per module; or a minimum of one and maximum of two forums • Use relevant or practical forum questions • Allow the use of Filipino in the forum • Treat the forum as a blog where only one learner is using the forum. 2. Online resources: • Maximum of two additional resources per module • Use the resource for a learning activity (e.g. discussion forum, project) 3. Module projects: • Consider the availability of resources • LFs can simplify or modify the projects • Give at least two options for the module project On the module guide as a whole: 1. Indicate the title of both the print and e-module. 2. Provide general directions for the whole module, including reading the entire module guide first before going through the lessons. On learner support: 1. Include e-learning readiness in the learners needs assessment (leading to the ILA). – TNA for learners 2. Provide an orientation to e-learning (use of e-modules and module guides). 3. Conduct a one-week basic computer literacy training (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), including training in basic troubleshooting. (CILC modules are already being developed) 4. Provide training in specific applications needed for module projects (e.g. newsletter making). (being done in ICT camp, but need to develop manual) 5. Provide opportunities for peer support (e.g. grouping learners according level; assigning peer tutors)

On LF training and support: 1. Training program for LFs (continuing professional development or CPD): a. ALS training b. ICT training (including basic troubleshooting) c. eSkwela training I – how to use the modules and module guides d. eSkwela training II - enhancement training or refresher course: further training in ICT-enhanced PBL e. Training on instructional design (e.g.

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designing e-learning activities) 2. Training resources (e.g., training manual) for computer training for learners 3. Community of practice (e.g. conferences, workshops, e-group/online forum, helpdesk)
Table 14 eModule Package Pilot Implementation – Recommended Enhancements

Results of the pilot implementation led to the restructuring of the module guides. The module guide development team agreed that for a module guide to be less overwhelming would have the minimum items: • • • • • a general instruction for the whole module (avoid having one set of instructions per lesson) the number of forum questions should be limited to one the number of resources (news articles, online module, video, podcast, animation, etc.) should be at least two an online quiz as supplementary activity to eModules that are not too interactive (e.g. static pre-test or post-test) a project that came in a variety of forms: ◦ one to three options which the learner/s may choose from, based on his competencies, , interest, availability of equipment/ software ◦ by individual (e.g. letter, interview, comic strip) or by group (e.g. video dramatization)

Further, the module guides were designed while keeping in mind that the learning facilitator plays a big role in guiding and assessing the progress of the learner as he goes through the different items in the module guides. In addition, despite the fact that eSkwela site implementers have already undergone refresher courses/trainings, it was recommended that they undergo ICT-enhancement trainings to ensure conformity with the eSkwela Instructional Model and the implementation of the project as a whole. As such, the project team designed the Enhancement Training Workshop for Learning Facilitators that focused on project-based learning, discussed above. Instructional videos were also developed to provide standardized orientation materials for learning facilitators and learners on the development and use of the module guides. Current implementation In an effort to build the competencies and confidence of learners in using computers prior to attending eSkwela sessions, the centers have conducted computer literacy classes, either through the LF or by tying up with community groups like student volunteers, civic organizations, or LGU groups. At a minimum, the learners are taught how to handle the

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mouse, turn on/off the computer, and use the browser, LMS, and eModules. Some groups move on to training learners on the Internet and various office productivity tools – although it is emphasized that these can come in later once the learners have an actual need to learn such tools for module guide activities and projects. Learning facilitators have also observed that learners who are more adept at using computers help those who are just starting to use it. Most of the learners appreciate these computer classes since it is an additional skill that they can use to get jobs. The LMS and module guides are continuously being used in the centers. Interview with learners revealed that navigating through the LMS was easy because they were given an orientation on how to use it. Instructional videos produced by the team are incorporated into the CD packages given to the sites at the end of the training for future viewing. A video showcasing an actual orientation session by a learning facilitator on the use of the LMS has also been uploaded to youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLFbBaQd KyA) to serve as a guide for other LFs in doing the same for their respective learners. The learners also find the module guides easy to understand, although some prefer these to be written in Filipino. Some learning facilitators have experimented on translating some of the module guides into the local language/ dialect of the community. Some have even started developing their own module guides to further customize these to the community and learners’ unique context and circumstances. Learning facilitators who have gone through the Enhancement Training realized that in doing a project, their learners can apply what has been learned from the eModule. They observed that the learners are excited to do the project because the learners are able to express their creativity and gain additional learning. The learning facilitators in these centers allotted time during the learning session so their learners can

Figure 13 Sample Learner Projects

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work on their individual projects. In some instances, the projects are done in small groups or teams so that learners can share resources as well as learn from and help one another. One center even showcased the outputs of learners as a way of recognizing their work and encouraging them to be creative. Further, the planning phase in project-based learning (PBL) was seen as a means to develop life skills such as leadership skills, giving constructive comments, and cooperation. Lack of resources shouldn't be a hindrance because learners can use available resources like mobile phones. By using what is available, the knowledge learned can be applied as soon as possible. Training Workshops for Learning Facilitators and Trainers In general, the learning facilitators who have undergone the eSkwela training workshops appreciate the phased training approach. Most of the training workshops got an overall rating ranging from 4.2 to 4.4 (Very Good). The participants enjoyed the hands-on training and found the activities very engaging where they are given time to work on their individual or group outputs. The participants, however, found the workshop duration too short – they wanted more time to work on their individual or group outputs. The project team cannot extend these workshops beyond the 4-to-5 day duration due to budgetary constraints and in consideration of the fact that the participants are pulled out from their respective learning centers or offices for several days. In response to this, the project team ensures post-workshop handholding and support through online presence (website, email, chat), site visits, on-site observations, interviews/FGDs, and short refresher sessions. Results of these discussions and observations were taken up by the LF trainers during post-workshop debriefing sessions with Prof. Arinto and the eSkwela IM unit to share observations, good points, challenges met, and recommendations. The trainers went through the following debriefing questions: 1. 2. 3. Which of the sessions or which aspects of the training worked well? Why do you say so? Which of the sessions or which aspects of the training did not work so well? What did you find particularly difficult or challenging? Why? What improvements would you recommend on the training design and its implementation, focusing on five (5) focus areas: • training objectives • requirements for participation in the training • topics (or sessions) covered and the sequence of the topics • training strategy • training materials and other resources

The inputs served as the basis for revisions in the training strategies and content for the next round of trainings to be conducted. Ideas for the succeeding intervention activities were likewise discussed. The trainers generally observed that the training designs could be further enhanced by making the topics less intimidating and more engaging with shorter lectures and longer time

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for hands-on application (Moodle workshop). It was recommended to incorporate the 4As approach into the LF workshop design – to practice what they preach, so to speak. They also saw the need to be further equipped in facilitation as well as in commenting on participants’ outputs constructively. In terms of workshop topics, they suggested that the following be included: 1) a review on the ALS framework (key concepts and principles, and teaching and learning strategies), 2) rating module projects using Moodle, and 3) simple troubleshooting. High-Performing LFs Through the years, there have been high-performing learning facilitators who have shown exemplary levels of competence, practice, and innovation in the implementation of the instructional model. These LFs have been generally comfortable in Stage 3 (Infusing) and Stage 4 (Transforming) in terms of using ICT in their eSkwela sessions – and can serve as models/mentors for other LFs to emulate. They are usually young LFs who are regular ICT users with an ICT college background. They are open to explore, innovate, and share their experiences with others. Training Management As mentioned earlier, the project team saw the benefits in tapping field implementers that the participants can easily relate to as trainers and informal mentors to eSkwela implementers. Further, the IM unit observed that the team-teach approach (at least 3 facilitators for each training run) worked for this set of trainers since they can cut up the modules into those that they are confident to lead in. It emphasizes teamwork and promotes a sense of community among the trainers. The trainers greatly appreciated regular practice of the IM unit to hold a pre-training orientation on Day 0, nightly meetings during the workshop days, and post-training debriefing workshops. These provided them enough time to prepare and discuss assignments and roles, discuss observations/challenges for the day, set adjustments to approach and schedule, and action points for the next round of workshops. Other salient features they brought up were: availability of the trainer’s and trainee’s manuals, detailed documentation of proceedings, facilitation tools (mood barometer, training guide, metacards, etc.), team-teach approach, and maintaining a manageable class size (biggest was 45). Keeping the class size small assures that ample attention is given to each participant and somehow builds a mentor-mentee type of relationship that goes beyond the training days. Leveling the ICT know-how and competencies among the participants had always been a problem. The trainers emphasized the need to stick to the selection criteria set for participants. The need for laboratory assistants (LAs) was also highlighted during training workshops who can provide technical assistance or even a 1:1 workshop guidance during the sessions – note: eSkwela maintains a 1:5 LA:participants ratio in a maximum class size of 30. It was recommended that the participants be divided into groups with at least one participant who is well-versed in using computers. As for the training venue, there should be reliable

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electricity, working equipment and software, and Internet connection – as such, a highly competent Technical Lead has to be assigned to oversee these. As has been the practice in previous eSkwela activities, CICT outsourced the project’s Event/Training Management requirements to a small pool of trusted and reliable partner State Universities and Colleges. These were covered by Event/Training Management Cooperation Agreements (E/TMCA) using the 100% Transfer of Funds scheme, based on a line-item budget projection. The 100% Transfer of Funds scheme has been an effective option for CICT’s project-based activities that do not require meticulous progress checks, such as trainings, conferences, exhibits, and site inaugurations. The contracted SUC took care of the administrative and financial details of the specific events so that the project team can focus on more important project-related requirements. The post-training debriefing workshops discuss the performance of the contracted SUC vis-à-vis service contract responsibilities. Basic Training Management Course In response to some of the articulated needs of the trainers, a Basic Training Management Course (BTMC) was held in April 2011 as the last activity for the LF Trainers conducted by the IM unit. It served as the enhancement training for the trainers as well as an orientation workshop for additional LF trainers from the MGDR and/or eSkwela field implementers. The resource persons sought to build or enhance the facilitation and training management skills of LF trainers in order to implement the 2010-2011 LF basic and enhancement training workshops to be overseen by DepEd-BALS more effectively. During this workshop, the observations and challenges for each module in the LF training were highlighted. After which, the following sessions were conducted to provide the trainers with additional knowledge and skills: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. review of Adult Learning Principles tied up with the Experiential Learning Cycle from the training perspective review on setting learning objectives and identifying appropriate learning methodologies communication principles for listening, paraphrasing conversations and discussion, and crafting main messages administrative preparations before, during, and after conducting a training return demo: delivery of 15-minute learning session per participant PLUS feedbacking from participants and resource persons

Refer to the consolidated Post-LF Training (Round 1) Trainers’ Debriefing and BTMC reports shown as Attachments L and M. Site-focused Monitoring and Evaluation Activities The monitoring and evaluation activities conducted by the project team provided insights into how the LFs understand and actually implement the eSkwela Instructional Model. Despite the revisions and enhancements done on the instructional model, some of the problems encountered when the mini-study on the use of the eModule Packages was conducted are still the same challenges being encountered at present.

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There is obviously a wide range of understanding and practice in the field. Individualized instruction is yet to be fully implemented in all centers. Even if the ILA20 is one of the prerequisites in the A&E program, not all learning facilitators prepare one with their learners. As such, in some of the eSkwela centers, learners go through the same modules at the same time as directed by the learning facilitator. Seeing it as a continuum, in one extreme, there are LFs who limit their ICT use to the eModules being projected in front of a class as a multimedia visual aid, with only the LF navigating through the interactive buttons and activities while learners watch. On the other end of the spectrum, the LFs leave the learners on their own to navigate through respective “interest-for-the-day” eModule packages and interject only when called upon for instructions or clarifications. The difficulty of the project team is that even if it wants to promote the principles that would enable the eSkwela instructional model to be fully implemented, it cannot impose these because of the very flexible nature of ALS implementation. Even the print-based implementation suffers from the same breadth of implementation that makes it difficult to implement a genuine ILA-based self-paced learning that is focused on gaining life skills rather than on solely passing the A&E Test. More on this in Chapter 7 that presents the FGD results compiled during the eSkwela Close-out Activities from January to March 2011.

Recommendations The project team has accumulated the recommendations below from various conferences, focus group discussions (FGDs), and site visits. It is hoped that the eSkwela Instructional Model will continue to evolve and transform into a more dynamic and sound framework that will guide DepEd-BALS, the trainers, the learning facilitators, and the learners in effectively optimizing ICTs for the A&E Program. eSkwela Instructional Model in General Clarifications on the following areas of concern should be arrived at: • a concrete definition of “learner-centered learning” vis-à-vis FLT and RPL results and other factors (number of years since his last school year, motivation to study, goal/level of completion desired – if it is really a diploma he wants or just a number
The Individualized Learning Agreement is based on the results from the Functional Literacy Test, the Recognition of Prior Learning interview, and the agreement between the LF and the learner. It is reviewed regularly to check on learner progress and interest level.

20

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of skills) and corresponding learner categories to determine minimum requirements or required intervention that can be taken from a menu of activities, similar to the practice in Special Education (SPED) classes “prescription” balance between learners’ needs vs. interests – taken against the reality of the A&E Test, this causes major confusion in the formulation of the ILA of individual learners and in the eventual intervention provided by the learning facilitators; and a corresponding checklist of competencies to track learner progress, similar to the ALS approach used by Angelicum College accepted formula and models for blended learning vs. traditional teacher-centered lectures that still occur in ALS field implementations

The evaluation of eModule packages among learners and LFs, similar to the pilot implementation run, should likewise be continued and guided by clear procedures for regular / programmed administration and analysis to guide continuance of practice and enhancements. Despite the positive feedback gained from the initial assessment, there is an obvious need to conduct an official systematic third-party impact study of the eSkwela instructional model on ALS implementation and stakeholders. The study should look into the effectiveness of the eModule packages or the differences in learning experiences of the learners when they use the eModule packages vis-a-vis the traditional printed modules. Funds have been allocated in eSkwela 1.1 for this study. Hopefully, the study would be able to establish more appropriate intervention measures and effectiveness indicators to better guide the future implementation of eSkwela learning sessions and perhaps ALS in general. People Involved Sustaining eSkwela’s efforts would mean sustaining the implementation, monitoring, and further enhancement of the eSkwela instructional model. As such, it is highly recommended that a team of full-time dedicated people in BALS who are well-versed in ICT in Education principles and practices be assigned to the IM unit. The designated eSkwela trainers, on the other hand, have to be continuously guided and at the same time, empowered in the conduct of various eSkwela capability building workshops. They need to continue practicing the tools that they teach and explore beyond those stated in the training manuals. The good practices discussed above on training management should form part of the standard operating procedures for training workshops. In addition, in the same way that LFs undergo assessment, performance evaluation of trainers must become a regular practice to ensure growth in expertise. It should be noted that trainers need to undergo refresher and cliniquing workshops as well. Currently, there is a clear need for the learning facilitators to further understand and appreciate a learning process that is blended, self-paced, and project-based. They also need to learn and practice effective facilitation by encouraging self-prompted exploration and lifelong learning among learners – that is, break away from teacher-centric practices to those that are learner-centric. In addition, they need to strike a good balance between content and execution through ICT when assessing learner projects – ICT has to be seen just as a tool in delivering the content that the learner wishes to put across. Admittedly, these will take time and reflective personal experience to grow into.

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It is recommended that the importance of capability building among eSkwela implementers continue to be emphasized. More importantly, it should be stressed that capability building does not end with their participation in face-to-face training workshops. Self-learning cannot be assumed to be practiced by everyone – it has to become a habit of exploration and experimentation. In line with this, the mechanisms that eSkwela has put in place for regular monitoring and documentation to provide handholding, scaffolding, and models should be likewise sustained and strengthened further. Support groups that encourage sharing of practices, resources, and models are also seen as helpful in further improving the competencies and increasing the confidence levels among learning facilitators to utilize the instructional model that merges the potentials of ICT with the strengths of the Accreditation and Equivalency Program. High-performing LFs and trainers should be encouraged to maximize their potentials by allowing them to explore beyond the minimum requirements as well as to share experiences, outputs, and new knowledge. Good practices and models should be welcomed for their mentoring potentials. In addition, awards and incentives should be put in place to motivate more implementers to innovate and move up the ICT competency stages as well, towards enriching the implementation of the eSkwela instructional model. As for the learners themselves, they should be encouraged to work on and showcase their projects, activities, and portfolios. Communication, interactivity, and perhaps, even collaboration should be encouraged among centers to build a community of learners and supporters, at the city-wide, provincial, and/or regional levels. Capability-Building The decision to recognize maturity models not only for ICT competency-and-use but also for pedagogical practices and community-building made the eSkwela capability building program more reasonable and achievable for everyone involved. Changes do take time and require commitment and persistence – slowly but surely breaking old habits and forming new ones. In line with this, the phased training approach needs to be honored. Site observation and the FGD results during the eSkwela Close-out Activities have confirmed that ALS foundations/implementation weak (ILA – continuum) among learning facilitators. As such, there is a clear need to improve on ALS foundation competencies and understanding as well as a need to re-assess learner and facilitator readiness in terms of proper ILA use. Towards this end, certain topics have to be incorporated, as stated earlier in the chapter. In addition, the foundation ALS training that serves as the pre-requisite training for eSkwela LFs, has to be reviewed and improved to emphasize the proper use of the ILA over adsocmob. In connection with this, the different roles and tasks of mobile teachers have to be reviewed as well since there is a clear need to prioritize skills related to instruction and learning over other responsibilities. An additional training workshop for eSkwela LFs that still has to be designed should be Enhancement Training 2 that will focus on gaining knowledge and skills on actual

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performance-based assessment skills – note that Enhancement Training 1 focused on designing the assessment tools. Training Management As for the training management aspect, it is highly recommended that the regular practice of the IM unit to hold a pre-training orientation on Day 0, nightly meetings during the workshop days, and post-training debriefing workshops be continued. These provide them enough time to prepare and discuss assignments and roles, discuss observations/challenges for the day, set adjustments to approach and schedule, and action points for the next round of workshops. Other salient features included: availability of the trainer’s and trainee’s manuals, detailed documentation of proceedings, facilitation tools (mood barometer, training guide, metacards, etc.), team-teach approach, and maintaining a manageable class size (biggest was 45). Keeping the class size small assures that ample attention is given to each participant and somehow builds a mentor-mentee type of relationship that goes beyond the training days. Leveling the ICT know-how and competencies among the participants had always been a problem. The trainers emphasized the need to stick to the selection criteria set for participants. The need for laboratory assistants (LAs) was also highlighted during training workshops who can provide technical assistance or even a 1:1 workshop guidance during the sessions – note: eSkwela maintains a 1:5 LA:participants ratio in a maximum class size of 30 (exceptions: absolute maximum of 45). It was recommended that the participants be divided into groups with at least one participant who is well-versed in using computers. As for the training venue, there should be reliable electricity, working equipment and software, and Internet connection – as such, a highly competent Technical Lead has to be assigned to oversee these. For DepEd-BALS, there is a need to address pre-training and post-training issues such as sending trainees who are actual ALS facilitators (not office personnel) and actual computer users, trainees being transferred to another office, etc. A suggested option is possibly having the trainees enter into a contract with the Division. As has been the practice in previous eSkwela activities, CICT outsourced the project’s Event/Training Management requirements to a small pool of trusted and reliable partner State Universities and Colleges. These were covered by Event/Training Management Cooperation Agreements (E/TMCA) using the 100% Transfer of Funds scheme, based on a line-item budget projection. The 100% Transfer of Funds scheme has been an effective option for CICT’s project-based activities that do not require meticulous progress checks, such as trainings, conferences, exhibits, and site inaugurations.

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The contracted SUC took care of the administrative and financial details of the specific events so that the project team can focus on more important project-related requirements. The post-training debriefing workshops discuss the performance of the contracted SUC vis-à-vis service contract responsibilities. It is highly encouraged that these assessments be documented through the form shown as Attachment N. This will then serve as the basis for future service contracts. Monitoring and Evaluation eSkwela has always prided itself in encouraging multi-stakeholder engagement by taking on an inclusive, consultative, collaborative approach toward continuous project enhancement and growth, As such, monitoring and evaluation activities had been promoted positively as venues for discussion, sharing, and recommendations. This atmosphere of openness, flexibility, and positive thinking has allowed the project to start forming communities of learning and practice to encourage further exploration, experimentation, sharing of ideas, and mentoring. This should be continued. It is evident that LF capability building interventions should go way beyond the regular face-to-face training workshops that pull them out of their field implementations. It is therefore highly recommended that the succeeding eSkwela core team strengthen not only the staff development aspect but also the tracking, monitoring, and handholding mechanisms to ensure a follow-through and support system for the learning facilitators while they are in their actual field settings. Since LFs are scattered across the country, a reliable ICT-based communication mechanism should be put in place – perhaps through the LF group in the ning site or the eSkwela FB page – along with policy guidelines and rules for engagement. The habit of regular online presence has to be likewise established to complement the ICT approach of eSkwela itself. M&E instruments such as the LF Performance Assessment Forms (i.e. third party observation form, self-assessment, by learner, interview) be reviewed and further enhanced. Standards and guidelines for analysis should likewise be established to assist the assessor and the assessed figure out concrete targets and viable action points. Other evaluation and support mechanisms should be looked into for triangulation – for example, a) videotaping one’s actual session so that the assessor/mentor can review it with the LF mentee for strengths, areas of improvement, and other discussion points, b) conducting LF immersion exchanges to allow observation of good practices in other sites, and c) maintaining online communities of learning and practice among centers within a region to allow healthy exchanges of ideas and experiences.

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Conferences (regional or national), knowledge exchanges, mini symposia, FGD sessions, ICT Camps, and various forms of teambuilding activities should be institutionalized not only to foster camaraderie among the LFs and learners but also to get feedback, insights, consults, recommendations, and offers of support or assistance among them. These are obviously more costly and time-consuming but are more authentic and systematic forms of assessment.

Conclusion It has taken five years and a lot of discussions and experimentations for the eSkwela Instructional Model to stabilize to its current form. It continues to meet challenges especially in field implementation, but it also achieves little successes that add credence to its soundness and viability. Although admittedly, it is a work in progress, the eSkwela instructional model has evolved into a concrete application of ICT integration in basic education that others can learn from. Among the contributory factors to this steady evolution were the flexible approach of the A&E Program, proper documentation, and regular monitoring and handholding activities. But the biggest factor in its steady progression was the pool of dedicated project team members, expert consultants, trainers, and field implementers who have chosen to break old habits in order to form new ones that celebrate exploration, experimentation, analysis, sharing, and openness, ultimately for the benefit of the A&E learners.

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Workers, Wages, and Benefits Forum Question: Not all workers enjoy the minimum daily wage. Why do you think does this still happen despite the existence of rules requiring employers to pay workers the minimum daily wage?

Figure 14 Sample Forum Thread with Learner Posts and Comments
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Chapter 4: Project Implementation – Content Development
In support of the eSkwela Instructional Model that effectively uses ICT integration in the ALS delivery, the project allocated the biggest chunk (47%) of the project funding to Content Development or the conversion of the existing print modules from the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program, livelihood courses, and Computer and Internet Literacy Course (CILC) into eLearning modules. This chapter will discuss the details of the content development efforts of eSkwela, including challenges, lessons learned, and good practices. The initiative mainly relied on outsourced developers but at the same time, engaged field implementers as content experts and reviewers. The project team followed strict implementation processes and guidelines to ensure quality content for eSkwela.

eSkwela Content The content development efforts of eSkwela is considered as the biggest content development initiative in the country with 283 A&E modules, 4 vocational technology (voctech) courses, and 5 computer & Internet literacy modules developed for free public distribution, involving 290 developers and reviewers from seven (7) partner universities, DepEd-BALS, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). As can be experienced by any new project, the Content Development component, along with the eSkwela Project as a whole, experienced birth pains before the development process stabilized and became manageable. This section discusses the results of the process evaluation undertaken on eSkwela’s initial efforts in content development to and the refinements done on the process – the current version of which is being used not only by eSkwela but also by other CICT content development projects. A big part of the following discussion was presented during the Touchpoint 2010 Conference held in March 2010. 21

Pilot Implementation: Content Development with BALS-TWG & SCL Through a Memorandum of Agreement signed on 15 September 2006 under the AEF Grant, the Sandiwaan Center for Learning (SCL) was given the task of converting the first set of 50 secondary level A&E core print modules into interactive multimedia modules, covering the entire gamut of the content development process from instructional design to storyboarding/scripting, and development of alpha and beta versions. A BALS Technical Working Group on ICT was formed to work with the eSkwela Project Team and SCL on this initiative. Agreements were reached with regards to the schedule of deliverables and a corresponding work plan, with the BALS-TWG being tasked to review and certify SCL’s outputs, in terms of alignment to ALS principles and strategies
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Josef, JF. Developing Digital Content for OSYAs. Proceedings of Touchpoint 20110: 1st International Conference on Technology in Education. DLSU Manila, ISSN 2094-4918.

Chapter 4: Project Implementation – Content Development

Per agreement, outputs by SCL were subjected to a module review process by the eSkwela PMO and the BALS ICT-TWG. Towards this end, the group agreed on quality standards to be used to guide the development and evaluation of the elearning modules, based on the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) Quality Principles for Digital Learning Resources – covering both core pedagogic and design principles. A Digital Courseware Evaluation Rubric was developed by the eSkwela PMO. Reviewers from the BALS ICT-TWG were requested to document their evaluation points and recommendations on Module Review Forms. This provided the group with clear documented standards and expectations to work with during the process as against verbal discussions and agreements that can become problematic. Out of the targeted 50 eModules to be developed, only 35 were accepted and certified by accepted and certified by the BALS-TWG and CICT by the end of project life. Due to the lack of or poor ICT-supported instructional design performed on the last set of 15 eModules by SCL (backed up by findings from the BALS-TWG) as well as disapproval of the requested fund extension by AEF, the eSkwela Project Team recommended for the termination of contract between CICT and SCL. Please refer to the Terminal Report of the Pilot Implementation for the various documents as well as more details on this phase of the eSkwela content development component. The discussion that follows is an analysis of the problem that was done during eSkwela 1.0 and thus paved the way for a revitalized design of the eSkwela content development process. Figure 1 shows the content development process used with SCL in developing the first 50 modules.

Turnover of Sources

Module Production

Alpha Review by Reviewers

Alpha Revisions

Beta Review by Reviewers

Beta Revisions

Certification

Distribution

Figure 15 eSkwela Content Development Process v. 1

The project team concluded that the following factors in the first foray of eSkwela into content development project that contributed to the termination of the CICT-SCL agreement. It includes the details overlooked by the eSkwela Project in managing the content development component as well as the limitations and difficulties encountered with SCL. 1. Lack of instructional design. Good instructional design is the backbone of any effective e-Learning module or learning/instructional material per se. In the case of developing e-Learning modules, as the developer has the liberty to use different forms of ICT and interactivity to enhance the final output, good instructional design would dictate what, how, and where these elements would aid in the instruction and learning

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process. Without the proper instructional design, modules would become simple “electronic page turners”. SCL assured both the eSkwela Project and DepEd-BALS that it will produce modules that have undergone proper instructional design (ID) since it has its own pool of welltrained IDs and content experts. However, when the alpha versions came out to be reviewed, it lacked, or in some instances, did not at all have any instructional design to it. Thus, a lot of comments from the Review Committee were about the print modules being copied word for word, it was made poorly, or the reviewers were asking for more interactivity. It was learned that SCL's development team that had been tasked to do the entire development process, although technically competent in Flash programming, was not equipped with sound ID skills. As such, the Review Committee had to overhaul the module ID themselves – causing delays and frustration. 2. Reviewers only entered the process during the Alpha review. Since it was agreed that SCL would handle the instructional design of the modules being developed, reviewers only came into the process with the Alpha version already done. Following that the modules lacked the proper instructional design needed, it was not surprising if a big part of the Alpha version had to undergo major revisions. Bringing them (the reviewers) in earlier – that is, to review the storyboards and scripts – would have minimized pedagogical/andragogical misconceptions and may have produced better Alpha versions. SCL would have also benefited from the knowledge and experience of the BALS reviewers since they are well-versed on the profile of the target clients, the curriculum and the print modules, and the processes and strategies involved in the delivering non-traditional schooling or ALS. 3. Reviewers lacked the skills to review e-Learning modules. Just as the development of print modules differs from the development of eLearning materials, so does its respective review processes. For the DepEd-BALS personnel who were initially tapped to become reviewers for eSkwela Content Development, this was the first time to review materials of this nature. For the first content development process, the reviewers were not given prior training to obtain the proper skills set and technical know-how on how to review e-Learning materials before reviewing the outputs. Because of this, reviewers made their evaluation based on either their own experience (i.e., was able to try out some eLearning modules before or from browsing the Internet) or from their own perception of what an eLearning module should be. Having real expert training on ID for eLearning materials would have clarified the tasks involved as well as set the review standards to be followed and would have thus avoided the ensuing confusions during the review processes. 4. Online reviews proved to be more of a delay rather than a convenient way to do the reviews - Since the eSkwela content review was “added work” for the BALS reviewers, it was suggested that the modules be sent by SCL personally or online to them for the required review, with the submissions being guided by an agreed upon

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timetable. There were a number of face-to-face meetings scheduled to facilitate the feedbacking process but this proved to be more problematic since some BALS reviewers could not attend because they had to prioritize other BALS-related matters. As stated earlier, the lack of ID in the SCL outputs caused a significant amount of delay because the BALS reviewers had to overhaul the entire module design. Reviewer outputs were submitted online in a staggered manner considering the amount of work that had to be done for each module. Furthermore, some of the comments, suggestions and ideas were not properly conveyed by the reviewer or understood by the developer via the online review. Thus after the period for revisions, some of the modules did not reflect the changes that were expected. A valuable lesson learned is that it would be much better to schedule face-to-face meetings for such reviews because ideas are usually better and more easily verbalized and conveyed when the reviewers and developers meet in person. 5. Failure by the development team to incorporate changes suggested by the reviewers. Reviewers have pointed out during several occasions the failure of the development team to incorporate the changes and suggestions made by the reviewer. This problem stems from two previously mentioned problems – reviewers lacking the proper skills to review the modules. Another reason could be the lack of education and e-Learning ID background among the development team members which could have caused misinterpretation of reviewers’ inputs. 6. Poor in-house quality control. SCL clearly did not have an internal quality control system in place as what was seen from their Alpha, Beta, and Final outputs. Issues like errors in grammar and spelling, poor audio recording quality, different voiceovers in one lesson, distracting background music or moving graphics, and/or poor navigation, should have been corrected had SCL done internal reviews. No external reviews. Another key component not included in the first content development process is the learner or end-user reviews. Having this step in the process would have given the development team critical insights and end-user comments with regards to general usability and how effective the modules (both content and form, i.e. video, audio, illustrations, pictures, navigation, instructions, and text) are in conveying the lessons/objectives of each module to its target client. Internal problems within SCL - It should be mentioned also, that SCL was experiencing internal management problems which likewise caused delays mainly in the production and delivery of the expected outputs for review and distribution.

7.

8.

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eSkwela 1.0 Content Development The eGovernment Fund financed the development of the next set of eSkwela eModules, as follows: • 248 ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Secondary level eModules (co-owned by CICT and DepEd) – bringing the total eSkwela ALS eModules to 283 consisting of 100 elementary and 183 secondary level LS# LS1 LS2 LS3 LS4 LS5 Learning Strand Effective Communication Problem Solving and Critical Thinking Sustainable Use of Resources Development of Self and Sense of Community Expanding One's World Vision TOTALS Elem Eng Fil 5 1 39 18 3 1 18 8 3 4 68 32 Sec Eng Fil 15 18 52 31 18 3 23 12 8 3 116 67

Table 15 Breakdown of eskwela ALS eModules

54 Livelihood eModules covering 4 courses (co-owned by CICT and TESDA) Livelihood Course Automotive Servicing Bartending Horticulture Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning / Refrigeration (HVAC/R) TOTALS # of module titles 23 8 12 11 54

Table 16 Breakdown of eskwela Livelihood eModules

7 Computer and Internet Literacy (CILC) eModules (owned by CICT)

The project team worked closely with the counterpart teams from DepEd-BALS and TESDA in deciding on the list. These modules were selected with the eSkwela learners in mind. The CILC modules were an offshoot of the face-to-face CILC workshops conducted by CICT-HCDG. Most of the CILC participants request for free localized multimedia and interactive materials, aside from their training manuals, that would guide them in learning more about the proper use of computers. The decision to include livelihood modules into the development pool was in response to the observation that one major motivation for the learners to study again is that it will open them up to more livelihood opportunities. A number of ALS Community Learning Centers have been offering livelihood workshops to their learners as a value-add service. The livelihood modules for TESDA would then serve as an add-on feature of the eSkwela Project.

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Aligned with the content development project for the ALS modules and TESDA’s own e-TESDA project, eSkwela’s content development effort with TESDA wanted to enhance and enrich the learning experiences of learners by integrating ICT in the livelihood modules – providing multimedia and interactive content in the discussion of concepts, equipment parts, proper workgear, procedures, etc. – thereby providing learners with the requisite knowledge and basic skills as they move on to the hands-on application phase. CICT and TESDA agreed that the eSkwela Centers shall only function as eLearning venues for the TESDA modules and not as hands-on training facilities nor as testing centers. Practical application and testing/certification shall still be done in TESDA-accredited institutions. Attachments O-1 to O-3 provide a complete list of the eModule titles. All these modules are available for free and may be distributed offline and online as long as there is expressed permission from the content owners. Current versions of the eModules are in CDbased format. In view of the Internet bandwidth issues in the country, it would be difficult for the OSYAs and/or ALS Implementers to access these online, especially with the large file sizes of the eModules due to their rich multimedia content. Tapping SUCs as Content Developers In line with CICT’s thrust of building the ICT capacities of its partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) through the eQuality Program, the eSkwela Project looked into the possibility of tapping SUCs to be the content developers for the project. Partner SUCs have already been tapped to implement the iSchools Project in different areas of the country which has proved advantageous for both CICT and the SUC partners. Some of these were also tapped to work on a pilot content development project of CICT-HCDG on SUC researched technologies (i.e. biofuel, piña cloth-weaving, etc.) as well as culture and the arts of a number of Philippine indigenous peoples (i.e. 8 tribes of Bukidnon, etc.). It is worth mentioning, that before contracting the SUCs, the eSkwela Project explored the possibility of tapping DOST-Advance Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) as the content developer for the project. However, negotiations failed due to disagreements on the payment scheme. Seven (7) SUCs were contracted to develop the next set of eSkwela eModules. These were: • • • • • • • Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) Benguet State University (BSU) Bukidnon State University (BukSU) Cavite State University (CvSU) Central Luzon State University (CLSU) Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) Western Visayas College of Science and Technology (WVCST)

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The eModule development was contracted to the following parties, cut up into phases based on fund sources: Development Phase ALS(35) – pilot implementation ALS(120) ALS(60) ALS(28) ALS(40) Livelihood(54) CILC(7) Fund Source AEF eGov Fund 2006 eGov Fund 2007 eGov Fund 2007 eGov Fund 2009 eGov Fund 2006 eGov Fund 2007 Contracted Party SCL BSU, BukSU, CvSU, WVCST BPSU, CLSU, WMSU CvSU BPSU and WMSU WVCST WVCST

Table 17 Assignment of Content Development to contracted SUCs

It was a conscious decision to tap the same set of SUCs for the latter content development phases/sub-projects to do away with the challenges brought about by a steep learning curve in terms of development as well as the nuances of relationship management among stakeholders. It also proved to be more cost-efficient for the eSkwela Project as no additional trainings for the development teams were required. Attachment P presents to the set of MOAs entered into by CICT for eSkewla’s content development efforts. These SUCs form part of CICT’s eQuality Program, as discussed in Chapter 3. This strategy worked well for both sides since it contributed to further strengthening the alliance while building the capability of the SUC faculty to train future ICT multimedia and e-learning professionals. Re-engineered Content Development Process Before contracting these groups to begin the development phases, the eSkwela Project Team decided to re-evaluate and rethink the content development process to incorporate lessons learned and good practices from the pilot implementation. It was a common decision for the project team to tighten controls and be more engaged in the entire process – from the selection of print modules/turnover of materials to instructional design to eModule review. The new process employed several changes that basically centered on providing proper instructional design to the modules being developed, retooling all those who were involved in the process, and refining the review process, as follows: The first step that the eSkwela Project Team took in re-evaluating its content development process was to hire an expert consultant for the content development component. Because of what happened during the first run, the eSkwela Project Team knew that it was important to hire a consultant whose expertise lies in the field on instructional design and development of eLearning materials and who was highly competent to guide the component in the proper direction. As such, the eSkwela 1.0 content development phases were expertly guided by a technical consultant, Dr.

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Lloyd D. Espiritu, founder of the Instructional Systems Technology Program at the College of Computer Studies and Faculty under the Information Technology Department of the College of Computer Studies at the De La Salle University and his team. With more than 25 years of experience in Instructional Design and in the development of eLearning modules, he led the team in reviewing, revising, and steering the entire Content Development component in the right direction. Another decision made was to retain the role of reviewers but at the same ensuring that they are involved more and much earlier in the process. More field implementers were brought in to serve as reviewers since they provide better insights on learners’ requirements, receptivity, and levels of engagement. As mentioned earlier, involving the reviewers earlier and more in the process may help avoid the problems experienced during the first content development effort of the eSkwela Project. Thus, in the new process, they will be assigned to review and approved all major outputs – storyboards and scripts, Alpha and Beta versions. This would ensure that on the level of storyboards and scripts the modules have the proper instructional design before actual development. In addition, the eModules were to be subjected to end-users – that is, learners from selected eSkwela Centers served as the primary reviewers during the Beta reviews to check if they indeed appreciated, understood, and were able to navigate smoothly through the eModules. This also allowed the development teams to interact with the learners and gave them the chance to understand their learning needs and styles. In view of the fact that everyone was relatively new to the process of developing eLearning modules coupled with the desire to put in tighter controls in the process, it was deemed necessary to conduct customized capability building workshops for those involved. These role-specific workshops were designed by Dr. Espiritu and his team (composed of Ms. Kiran S. Budhrani and Ms. Estefanie D. Ulit) to equip the participants with the right skills, attitude, and technical know-how to produce the required modules according to set standards. These were as follows: a. The development team was given the Instructional Design Training which covered fundamentals of instructional design, storyboarding and scriptwriting for e-Learning materials/modules, and the Interactive Flash Training which was designed to teach developers how to use Flash to produce interactive modules. • Storyboard Development Training – focused on the basics of storyboard development for the development of eLearning modules, applying the

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concepts learned from the Instructional Design training to produce the necessary storyboards that will dictate the general flow of the eLearning modules. The training required that most, if not all, participants were the ones who attended the previous training to ensure fluidity of roles. • Scriptwriting Training – focused on the fundamentals involved in the process of scriptwriting for eLearning modules, including an in-depth discussion on the types of media elements and when and where they can be effectively used in an eLearning module. The training also discussed the standard format and correct syntax (for all media elements and navigation) in which the scripts will be written to ensure a “common language” among all concerned. Participants to the training were the Instructional Designers who attended the two previous trainings and the lead Flash developers so that they would know how to use the scripts for the actual module development. Interactive Flash Trainings – specifically designed to teach the developers how to use Flash to produce interactive modules. The training gave specific examples (and corresponding codes) on navigation and interactive activities that will be commonly used on the required modules. Participants for the training were mostly developers. The lead IDs also attended for them to know the types of activities that the developers are capable of producing.

The training also gave an overview of the development process. Participants to the training were Instructional Designers or scriptwriters of each content development teams. Although each training was role specific – that is, ID Training for IDs/scriptwriters and Interactive Flash for programmers/developers – Dr. Espiritu required that each group was represented in each training in order for both groups to be familiar with the terminologies used by and outputs of each sub-team and for each one to understand the roles and capacities of their team to ensure easier implementation flow during actual development. b. The Reviewers’/Evaluators' Instructional Design Training Workshop, given for reviewers, was designed to equip them with the proper tools and skills sets to evaluate all the outputs – storyboards, scripts, and the Alpha and Beta versions. The training gave the evaluators an overview of their task, format and syntax in which the storyboards and scripts were written and the navigation and interactive activities that they will be reviewing. Participants to this training were the members of the DepEdBALS and TESDA review committees. So far, 290 have been trained inclusive of all roles in the content development process.

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c.

Post-training Consolidation Meetings. The purpose of the Post-Training Consolidation Meetings (PTCMs) was to bring together the entire content development team of each partner SUC who have been training separately from each other in the series of capability-building training workshops, to meet with the Module Development Expert and the eSkwela Project Team. This allowed the entire group to level-off expectations from the different stakeholders, clarify the roles of each member in the entire content development team and process, clarify the outputs of each sub-team, discuss strategies that would make process more efficient, and to discuss the schedules and details for all review processes.

Figure 14 illustrates the revised eSkwela content development process that incorporated the changes recommended and agreed upon by Dr. Espiritu, the eSkwela Project Team, the Project Managers of the partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), DepEdBALS, and TESDA.

Figure 16 eSkwela Content Development Process v. 2

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The boxes marked in green are those steps done by the contracted SUCs during production stages, those in orange are the ones that involved the reviewers going through the output at every stage, while the gray boxes are the administrative responsibilities of the project team. The print modules were ready materials by DepEd-BALS and TESDA. The lists of modules that were to be converted were agreed upon by CICT with the respective agency: the ALS modules came from the core A&E modules while the livelihood modules selected were entry level modules (National Certificate/NC-I and NC-II levels), heavy in theories and concepts, and had readily available print materials. The Concept and Theme Workshop provided a venue wherein the developers and reviewers could discuss the scope of the project or the topics that will be included for conversion, as well as the standard treatment and initial design of screen elements of the modules and other details before any substantial amount of work is done in the storyboards and scripts. This step was the latest addition in the development process. It was incorporated only in the latter content runs for years 2009-2010 due to the need to settle on the general concept, look, and feel of the eModule before diving into the more rigorous work of instructional design. Based on agreed upon schedules and cost limitations, the SUC development teams and the reviewers met regularly during the review sessions to sign off on the following development outputs: a. Instructional Design: Storyboard and Scripts – A storyboard shows a flowchart of the module screen navigation while a script presents the in tabular form, showing a planned screen layout, instructions to the rest of the development team, and various media elements like video, audio/voice-over, animation, graphics, etc. These would serve as the “bible” of the media production crew and the programmers. It would also serve as the basis for the next round of reviews. The sign-off during this stage is crucial because only those major changes/ revisions that were agreed upon during this stage will be accommodated – otherwise, the development process would be too costly in terms of time, effort, and money. Samples are shown as Figure 15. Alpha version – The reviewers from field implementers go through the very first “live” version of the eModule itself, the alpha version. They are supposed to look at the correctness, appropriateness, and quality of produced/incorporated media elements (interface/visuals, text, audio, animation, video) and interactivity (activities, games, quizzes, the buttons, and links). The reviewers may make suggestions or requests for revisions but the development teams would have to agree on these, especially if these are major changes veering away from the signed-off script/storyboard.

b.

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Figure 17 Sample Script and Storyboard of an eModule
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c.

Beta version – The learners review the “almost-final” version of the eModule for usability (readability, “hear-ability”, & navigation), clarity of instructions, and satisfaction level. The reviewers from field implementers, on the other hand, check on the beta versions for the agreed upon changes/revisions during the alpha review.

Template forms were used for each review process to document the inputs and agreements made during the review sessions. These served as guide the SUC development teams on their production. Please refer to Attachments Q-1 to Q3. The final step involved the certification from the partner agency (DepEd-BALS or TESDA) of the eModules for public use. Minor revisions may be done on the eModules if these will be easy enough to work on. Recommendations for major changes at this point, however, are treated as recommendations for the next development phase (i.e. eModule version 2). Guidelines and forms were instituted as part of the eSkwela 1.0 content development process in order to set ground rules in the collaboration. The guidelines were in some way adapted from those used by advertising agencies when they develop Terms of Reference with clients. These safeguard the process in terms of production and review parameters as well as delivery target dates – otherwise, there will be no end to the review and revisions, and the eModules would not have been distributed to eSkwela Centers at all. From experience, the amount of time it took for a set of 30 average eSkwela eModules to go through the entire development process is typically 10 to 12 months from initial agreement to final certification, depending on the development team’s team structure and barring any unforeseen concerns or developments in the areas of management, people, funding, or equipment that would constrain the development schedule from proceeding as planned. The ideal period would have been 5 to 6 months but there were a number of challenges that made this an improbable target. More on this below. An “average” eModule comprises the following features: • • • 300 hours development time Maximum of 50 screens With a maximum of: o 1-hour video OR o 40 illustrations OR o 10-minute purely 2D animation OR

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o

A combination of the above using the following conversion: 30-minute video = 5-minute animation = 20 illustrations

The project team and the contracted SUCs agreed to a contract price of Php130,000 / eModule, an inexpensive alternative to commercial development, in the name of the CICTSUC alliance.

General Findings As with any other project, the content development effort of the eSkwela Project was not perfect, and had its own share of challenges and issues which had to be addressed immediately so as not to cause further delays in the process. This was actually expected as a lot of factors came into play, especially with the sheer size of the initiative and with the number of organizations/people involved in the process. However, along with the challenges and issues, there were a number of successes and good practices that verified the effectiveness of the re-engineered process. These became the basis for the fine-tuning and standardization of the eSkwela content development process, which were subsequently adopted/adapted by more recent content development efforts of eSkwela and other CICT groups. Challenges and Lessons Learned Despite being the second run of content development for the eSkwela, the project team faced a number of challenges ranging from internal administrative issues to partner/people management to external factors. These had huge impact on the content development progress and timetable. One of the major challenges of the content development project is people management in terms of different work styles and culture, attitude, perspectives, baggage from previous content development efforts, intervening priorities, and personal schedules. This translated to differences in concepts and treatments with regards to Instructional Design, different review styles, and missing out on review sessions due to illness or other commitments. Matching the schedules of all the people involved was challenging due to conflicts with their regular workload / non-eSkwela responsibilities. Since they came from different agencies/organizations, the project team could not give direct instructions or review

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schedules without consulting or coursing these through the respective supervisors and agencies. Dealing with such a wide circle of communication network and various intervening priorities caused numerous holdups and frustration. As such, a number of activities /schedules and target delivery dates had to be moved even if the schedules had been previously agreed upon. These factors, either by itself or combined, have caused many delays, especially in the content review and certification stages. In addition, despite having inter-agency partnerships between government institutions, different interpretation and/or practices vis-à-vis implementation of the same set of government policies and procedures caused delays to the project. There were also cases when the teams involved had to idly wait for delayed decisions and submission of prerequisite requirements and/or documents. Another challenge was the fact that some of the ALS and livelihood print modules contained outdated information or examples that did not reflect recent events and developments. Some content clearly had to undergo major instructional design for simplification, contextualization, and localization. Fortunately, the DepEd-BALS reviewers had given permission to the development teams to update/change what is necessary, provided that the changes would be communicated to them. On the other hand, some of the livelihood modules were found to have erroneous content and as communicated by the respective reviewers, some modules were already not being used or had already been replaced by other lessons in the field implementations. This presented a major problem to the developers since such errors or replacements caused unwarranted duplication of work on the storyboards and scripts. As such, the livelihood subproject had to be postponed for a number of weeks to allow TESDA to review and finalize all source materials for conversion. A key realization for the project team was that content development is not something that can be rushed. It is because of this and what was detailed in the previous paragraphs, that projects of this nature would be easier to manage if it starts with a small number to enable the management to immediately identify and address problems that may arise. As such, for the first-time SUC development teams, Dr. Espiritu suggested reducing the first cycle outputs from the 6 to 3 modules each. He believed that since everybody – both developers and reviewers – were doing development work for the first time, it was wiser and more beneficial to everybody involved if the group started out with 3 modules thus providing them the luxury of committing, remedying, and learning from all mistakes possible in the first cycle. As predicted by Dr. Espiritu, a lot of mistakes were committed by the teams on their respective first three modules, serving as guinea pigs of their content development competencies: the ID was wanting; focus during the review was on the general look and feel

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and splash screens rather than on the actual content; formats were not strictly followed; some expectations were not doable vis-à-vis time, contract price, and resource constraints (i.e., RPG-type activities like Ragnarok), etc. The reality of how much work was involved in developing the actual eModules prompted the group to adjust schedules several times and modify expectations, especially in the area of media production. Admittedly, the project team was not able to impose process documentation during the first few rounds of eSkwela 1.0 content development – this was due to the fact that the team members were still adjusting to the newly designed process and forms as well. This proved problematic as the development cycles progressed since there was not enough documentation to support claims from either side that led to “he said, she said” conflicts and delays in the reviewrevision stages. The certification process proved to be problematic as well for the ALS modules since the persons assigned to certify the modules were management-level people who had very busy schedules. Further, since they were not around during the training workshops and the review sessions, their standards were quite different from the development teams and the field-level reviewers whom they designated in the first place. Major revisions on media elements and module flow were suggested at this point, way beyond the intended scope of work at certification stage that involved checking on correctness of content and making recommendations for version 2. This caused a lot of frustration and agitation among the project stakeholders since the eModules had gone through the arduous review process prior to certification. The contracted SUCs, too, faced a number of internal challenges, such as: • • • • availability of talents conflicting schedules / workload of their team members who were mostly full-time faculty members or students (some programmers) in the universities retaining talents for the development teams delayed releases of development funds since progress payments in government still had to go through requests for fund releases from DBM

There were also external factors, those beyond the control of the eSkwela Project Team, development team and reviewers, although rare, that caused delays to the project: typhoons, energy problems that caused frequent blackouts, theft of equipment along with raw eModule program files, sudden resignation of development team members, etc. The project team and all those involved had to contend with several delays in the production and review processes due to the challenges enumerated above. It definitely had been a learning experience for all those involved, a journey filled with trials and frustration, but at the same time dotted with pockets of success and fulfillment. The teams labored on

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despite all the challenges essentially because they knew how much these eModules were anticipated and appreciated by the eSkwela Centers and learners. Good Practices Coming from an initiative that relied solely on the supposed expertise and promises of the development contractor, the content development team put into place various systems and good practices that have proven beneficial to everyone involved and to the entire process as well. Note that a number of these practices evolved through years of experimentation, reflection, and process fine-tuning. 1. Tapping one expert consultant training group. The decision to get one expert training team (Dr. Espiritu’s group) to guide the entire Content Development effort was one of the good practices. From re-engineering of the content development process to conducting the training workshops to handholding the developers and reviewers through the entire process, the project team relied on the expertise of this group to provide direction and guidance. They imparted critical insights on target milestones as well as expected problems which helped everybody concerned manage the project more effectively. Having one training team handle all the trainings proved beneficial to the project and those involved in it. This ensured uniformity and continuity with regards to topics and required training outputs. The phased training designs were flexible enough to dynamically change depending on the pace and the needs of the participants – i.e. on standard procedures and forms required for each step of the process. Also, although the training workshops were customized to the different roles in the content development teams, Dr. Espiritu required that people attend trainings not specific to their roles to familiarize the team members to the overall development process. Doc Lloyd and his team motivated the development teams and reviewers to simplify, contextualize, and localize the modules. He pushed them to be more creative, interactive, and collaborative. For the review sessions, he led the group in constructively critiquing the outputs presented to point out features that were welldesigned as well as those that would have to be changed. 2. Hands-on SUC Management. It was the first time for the seven partner SUCs to be involved in a content development project of this nature and magnitude. Hence, a key factor to the success of the project was competent Project Management (PM) among the partner SUCs. Understanding the demands of the project was essential in guiding the Project Managers in convincing the SUC management, choosing the right combination of qualified/competent and dedicated team members, managing the budget, purchasing the necessary equipment, and setting internal schedules vis-à-vis the deliverables of the project. The PMs generally divided their development teams into sub-teams to work on modules categorized by discipline/theme and with a specific set of reviewers. They

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made certain that there were regular meetings, open communication lines, and good working relationships among the members. Due in part to the project, the SUCs were able to discover and develop their respective content development talent pools that they will be able to tap for their own content development projects and curriculum offerings. 3. Maintaining a pool of dedicated and committed team members. Content development is not an easy task and is, in fact, an added work for those involved in the process – development team members are usually teaching faculty of the SUCs while the reviewers have their own responsibilities in DepEd-BALS and TESDA as personnel from the central office or as teachers/trainers in the field implementations. Content development needs dedicated people who possess the right attitude – meaning, open to and give constructive criticisms, willing to work as a team and having mutual respect to other team members by treating them as partners rather than individual workers or contractors. There had been instances when development work had been taxing to all the people involved – nonetheless, they showed dedication and commitment by devoting much time and effort to the actual production and review sessions. What kept them going was the fact that the eModules that they were developing/ reviewing were to be used by many underserved Filipinos to improve their lives through eSkwela. 4. Diversity paired with collaboration and flexibility. Managing a big number of stakeholders proved to be challenging, but at the same time, presented an opportunity because diversity among the developers and reviewers provided a rich exchange of ideas for the further enhancement of the modules. One major factor that worked for eSkwela’s content development component is maintaining an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership that are open to discussions, experimentation, and revisions as well a firm commitment to continuous enhancements on the process and to finishing the agreed upon deliverables. 5. Starting with just a few. As previously mentioned, everybody had to adjust to their roles and workload involved in developing the actual modules. Reducing the number of modules for the first Cycle was very helpful not only to developers and reviewers, but also to the project management teams (SUCs and eSkwela team alike) in that it made it easier for them to address the initial set of daunting challenges in the face of a steep learning curve. 6. Bringing in field implementers and learners into the process. It proved extremely helpful to involve field implementers/ trainers and actual learners for both ALS and livelihood eModules. The SUC teams were able to ground the

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design and development efforts on actual learner contexts/realities, lingo, experiences and situations, learning styles, and requirements through their interactions with these set of people. Understanding the end-users – their backgrounds, profiles and how they learn – is critical in the design of the modules to better facilitate and enhance the end-users' learning experiences. The first round of discussions and beta reviews, done in eSkwela Centers, served as eye-openers to the SUC teams where their pre-conceived notions of OSYAs were shattered and reconstructed. The developers were encouraged to interact and interview the learners to get immediate feedback on the modules. 7. Holding face-to-face review sessions. Having face-to-face, livein review sessions produced better results by providing an environment that took the people away from their workplaces and other distractions and thus, compelled them to focus on the review process. Face-to-face, synchronous discussions on possible revisions and enhancements lessened miscommunication between the reviewers and developers and improved process documentation. Mid-way through eSkwela 1.0, the project team observed that holding face-to-face team review sessions were more effective than holding one-on-one sessions between the lead ID/developer and the reviewer. The eModules developed through this team approach benefited from the rich discussions, sharing of ideas and experiences, and the collaborative arrangements within these review-and-development teams. Additional face-to-face review sessions were likewise scheduled for the first set of eModules (ALS(120) and Livelihood) since these “process guinea pigs” met a lot of challenges. These intervention sessions were held in the premises of the concerned SUC to allow the developers to instantly make the necessary revisions on the eModules since their equipment are available at their disposal. In addition, the

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reviewers were able to witness the intricacies in developing the eModule and thus, understand why not all recommended revisions get approved. 8. Information management. To keep up with the deluge of information from the various stakeholders and review cycles in the different content development phases, the project team ensured proper documentation through review forms, status tables, and an automated database to keep track of individual eModule progress. These forms of documentation served as basis for status updates, review sessions, consultative meetings/discussions, changes in schedule, follow-up on module submissions, and progress reports. Documenting comments and agreements proved to be beneficial to everyone concerned since these guided actual technical revisions and developer-reviewer discussions. It also became a practice to have reviewers sign off on the review forms once agreed upon revisions had been done on the eModules so as to minimize the “hesaid-she-said” type of conflicts. All in all, the regular review of the content development process coupled with appropriate enhancements and necessary project interventions made through the years proved to be favorable to everyone involved. The latter content development sub-projects (those done in 2009 and 2010) enjoyed a shorter development-and-review time (i.e. faster turnaround) and stricter observance of the guidelines. This is a clear indication that the content development process has matured into a more stable model for future replication.

Content Development Conference (CDC) The project team held two (2) Content Development Conferences, two-day events that brought together CICT’s various content development partners to share experiences and methodologies, learn from and collaborate with one another, and formulate quality standards in this area. These provided venues for the different stakeholders to celebrate the successes achieved and partnerships gained, to sort out concerns, and to network with others. These likewise provided opportunities for the team to gather insights from content developers, reviewers, and end-users in order to generate concrete ideas and recommendations to future content development proponents. The first CDC, held in October 2008, was funded by a small grant from the APEC Education Foundation (AEF). The second CDC served as the close-out activity for the eSkwela Content Development component. These were attended by the content development teams (a mixture of Instructional Designers, Programmers, Media Editors, Graphic Artists), DepEd-BALS content experts / reviewers, TESDA content reviewers, and other content development teams from CICT and various organizations.

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The presentations and ensuing discussions during the open forums and focus group discussions provided the participants with opportunities to reflect on their own content development experiences and consequently put forward recommendations or formulate their corresponding action plans, in three areas: management, instructional design, and technical development. In addition, CICT, DepEd, TESDA, the SUCS, and the other groups present were able to emphasize the need for content development initiatives in light of the country’s ICT in Education and ICT for Development efforts vis-à-vis the administration’s national development agenda. The Conferences affirmed eSkwela’s content development efforts since the use of ICT in education is genuinely appropriate in the Alternative Learning System (ALS) due to its flexible nature and life skills approach.

The participants were able to validate the effectiveness of the changes that the eSkwela Project Team put into effect on the content development process, a more streamlined, involved, and focused process. Some of the highlights from the exchange of ideas in the 2 CDCs include: • The Conference speakers and participants reiterated the need to increase the advocacy efforts on the need to develop appropriate, relevant, localized, and customized econtent for the Filipino people – either professionally developed or user-generated. It takes a totally ICT-literate teacher to appreciate the process of using and maximizing ICTs as a TOOL in teaching and learning. One has to have enough knowledge of what is available and how these can be used in the learning events. Further, one needs to have an understanding of the full learning cycle (i.e. setting objectives, designing learning event, assessment of learning) in an alternative learning environment in order to participate effectively in the content development process for eSkwela. As such, it was suggested that the content development teams be exposed or even immersed in actual ALS implementations that could contribute to the instructional design process. It was also suggested that the end/target users (i.e. learners) get more involved in the development and review process.

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The participants emphasized the need to promote and maintain teamwork and open communication among the different stakeholders in the content development process. Everybody recognized that team building, talent, skills, perseverance, passion/”heart”, and commitment are necessary to make it through. The Conference was able to emphasize the need for constant communication and coordination in order to maintain an amicable relationship throughout the tedious and sometimes frustrating process of designing, developing, reviewing, and enhancing elearning modules.

The capability building approach that HCDG adopted was highly appreciated. SUCs report that the training modules are already being taught to their college students. This indirectly contributes to the country’s efforts in building the capability of Filipinos in response to the manpower needs of the ICT industry. Although far from perfect, the process flow prescribed by eSkwela allows more room for creativity, growth, and skills development. The different people involved appreciated the fact that within this eSkwela community of practice, they have become collaborators in continuously enhancing the process itself. Openness to learning/changes, constant communication, passion and dedication, time management, and talent matching were repeatedly brought up as major factors in building and keeping the team. Some of those who had been involved are now being tapped as content development experts in their own right. The different groups have expressed their confidence in pushing through with plans of developing more content for their respective organizations.

Next Steps and Recommendations A lot was learned from the second run of content development initiatives of the eSkwela Project – not only by the partner SUCs and the content reviewers from DepEdBALS and TESDA, but more so by the eSkwela Project Team and even the team of Dr. Espiritu. Despite gaining a lot of ground, the content development efforts for eSkwela and for national development in general still has a long way to go. It has been confirmed that both DepEd-BALS and TESDA will be continuing their content development for their target clients. CICT has several content mapping and development initiatives that are being implemented through the iSchools Project, Creative Content Development Project, and PhilCeCNet. Other groups like the National Telehealth Program, provincial councils, and the SUC partners are likewise into developing local content in different areas. The eSkwela content development process is already being used for a number of these initiatives. It is hoped that they take note of the recommendations enumerated below. A number of reviewers and developers suggested that an immersion with the endusers be included in the process to allow the development teams to get to know their target

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audience. In addition, it is recommended to find out which medium would be most effective in delivering the eLearning materials to their intended target audience. The eSkwela Project has already converted 283 out of the 500 modules of DepEdBALS, leaving 217 modules to be converted using DepEd funding. It is recommended that DepEd, despite having people who are already familiar with the content development process, still hire an expert consultant to guide the development process and in e-Learning in general, since it will be a new playing field for them. Further, since the technical side of the development process is not within their personnel’s core competency, DepEd should contract these services out to those that do have the expertise – this will ensure that the internal personnel of DepEd will not be unnecessarily burdened by the additional responsibility of content development. The same recommendations can be made for other government agencies or private institutions who wish to develop e-Learning materials. Quality standards that had been set need to be reviewed, fine-tuned, and imposed, especially in the areas of instructional design, level of interactivity, and general look and feel. The minimum parameters should be established and “signed-off” during the Concept and Theme Workshop so as to avoid future misunderstandings due to unclear agreements on eModule details. It should be remembered that the groups should strike a balance between desired eModule elements for learning activities and the limitations of what can be done technically in view of constraints in resources, time, and contract price. The agreed upon guidelines and procedures should be enforced. As such, the implementation targets and quality standards for submitted outputs and should be observed for required media elements and revisions in eModule versions, review forms/notes, deadlines, payment schedules, etc. A mutually agreeable penalty or forfeiture clause can likewise be put in place to ensure strict implementation. A more thorough assessment of the contract price per module based on actual cost should be done vis-à-vis eModule requirements which include man-hour requirements, talent fees (actors, voice-overs), purchase or rent of special equipment (especially for livelihood modules), location shoots, costs for review sessions, etc. The eSkwela contract price was set as a constant for all types of eModules developed under the project but in retrospect, there is a need to get a more accurate estimate based on projected expenses per eModule. A study could be made to get the estimated price per module based on the SUCs’ implementation. This then could become an opportunity to set the benchmark in terms of content development fees for projects of this nature. It is recommended that the Content Development Conference be conducted on a regular basis – perhaps once every two years – on a bigger scale to allow content development stakeholders, not only from CICT and partner agencies but also from other agencies, various industries, and the private sector, to participate and discuss content mapping and development directions for the country. The Philippine Digital Strategy for 2011-2016 has lined up content for possible development – those to be used by government, by schools, by health practitioners, by industry professionals, by farmers, by women, by special groups, by indigenous people, by regular citizens (in Community eCenters and other public access points), etc. The content initiative of PhilCeCNet is a worthy initiative that must be supported. It includes mapping, review, assessment of needs and gaps, and development of local e-content

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for four (4) initial focus areas: agriculture, education, health, and livelihood and entrepreneurship. A portal has been set up for this initiative – it is hoped that it continues to be well-maintained and updated. It should be remembered, however, that there is still a huge bandwidth problem in the country – as such, an offline (CD- or flashdrive-based) version of the portal should be made available. The network should also work with the other agencies or groups for a concerted content development initiative that would provide a clear direction and minimize duplication of efforts.

Initial Benefits in the Use of the eSkwela eModules Based on the pilot implementation of the eModule packages discussed in Chapter 3, the learners find the eLearning Module very much helpful in their study sessions, as indicated in the survey results of the pilot run of eModule Packages shown in Table 18 (rating of 1 to 5 with 5 as the highest): About the module Interesado akong pag-aralan ang mga eSkwela modules dahil nakakapukaw ito ng atensyon. Ang mga games o test sa loob ng eSkwela module ay nakakatulong para maintindihan ko ang aralin. Kaya kong gamitin ang module nang mag-isa. Nagiging mas mabuti ang aking pag-aaral sa paggamit ko ng mga eSkwela module. Ang mga natutunan ko sa eSkwela modules ay makabuluhan sa aking pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay.
Table 18 eModule Package Pilot Implementation Survey Results from Learners – on eModules

4.53 4.42 4.10 4.15 4.14

As yet, no formal study has been done to look into the effectiveness of the eModules or the differences in learning experiences of the learners when they use the eModule packages vis-a-vis the traditional printed modules. Informal interviews through site visits and the focus group discussions during the eSkwela close-out activities, however, have indicated that the learners are appreciative of the eModules because the media and interactive activities aided them in understanding the topics better. It was also repeatedly emphasized that the eModules tended to be the most fun, memorable, and engaging portion of the eModule packages. It can be said that the eModules have displayed the benefits of using ICT as the main platform for learning. The Learning Facilitators observed that the learners’ level of interest on the ALS modules have increased, once converted into digital form. They consider the digital modules way ahead of the print versions in terms of their effectiveness. Further, they no longer have to spend a lot of time preparing for teaching aid materials or talking in front of the class – the multimedia and interactive elements within the digitized modules are much better substitutes. But perhaps an overlooked but equally important benefit of the digitized modules is that these bring back the essence of self-paced learning to ALS. A learner may be going through a module on the Muscular System, the learner seated on his left might be studying

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the Effective Communication module, and still another learner within the same session might be brushing up on his math skills by reviewing the Business Math module. As a result, the teacher is weaned away from the traditional chalk-and-talk one-size-fits-all approach and takes on the more crucial role of a facilitator. Learners and site implementers are now awaiting the distribution of the other eModules to their respective eSkwela Centers. There is also clamor for more eModules in Filipino and even in the local dialects. Access to the modules outside the physical eSkwela sites – i.e. online or CD copies that they may bring home – is also being requested by the learners.

Conclusion To date, the eSkwela Content Development projects detailed in this report comprise the biggest multimedia content development initiative in the country. As Dr. Espiritu stated numerous times before, nobody has ever attempted to accomplish a project this big, in such limited time. A lot of the success of the eSkwela Content Development Projects can be attributed to the dedicated people involved in it – from the SUC management and development teams and Review Committee members to the eSkwela Project Team and team of consultants. As for CICT and the eSkwela Project, perfecting the content development process has gone beyond the objective of providing good eLearning content to existing and future eSkwela/ALS centers. What it hopes is for the eSkwela Content Development Process to become a model and standard for content development projects that different organizations – either within the country or outside – can learn from and hopefully replicate.

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Content dev’t batch

Fund source

Contracte d devt team

certifie d by BALS / TESDA 35 6 6 6 11 16 20 20 2

accepted by CICT, for certn by BALS/ TESDA

Good for Certification (very few revisions left) SUC rvwrs 3

Beta 2

Beta 1

Alpha 2

Alpha 1

Script/ storyboard

TOTALS

SUC 4 3

rvwrs 1

SUC

rvwrs 3

SUC 3 4 2 4

rvwrs 1

SUC

rvwrs

SUC

rvwrs 35 30 30

ALS(35) ALS(120)

AEF eGov Fund 2006

SCL BSU BukSU CvSU

5 10 8 5

4 2 2 4 4

4 1 1

1 1

4

1 2

1 3

2

2

30 30 20 20 20

ALS(60)

ALS(28)

ALS(40)

eGov Fund 2007 eGov Fund 2007 eGov Fund 2009

WVCST BPSU CLSU WMSU CvSU

7

8 3

6

2

2

1

28 20 20

BPSU WMSU

17 9 148 52% 11 46 16% 6 2 3 11 20%

ALS - totals Horticulture Bartending AutoServ HVAC/R Livelihood CILC(7) – recent addition eGov Fund 2006 WVCST

27 10%

7 2%

10 4% 1

2 1%

11 4% 2 4 9 15 28%

5 2%

0% eGov Fund 2007 WVCST

0%

0%

1 2%

0%

0%

15 5% 3 2 5 3 13 24%

5 2%

4 1%

2 1%

1 0%

283 0% 12 8 23 11 54 0% 7

0% 7

6 3 9 17%

0%

5 5 9%

Column indicates whether the pending e-modules are with the contracted SUC or the reviewers at each review stage

Table 19 Progress Update on eSkwela eModules as of 17 June 2011 (estimated completion: Septebmer 2011)

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Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability
In support of the vision-mission-objectives set during the Strategic Planning Workshop held in September 2007, as discussed in Chapter 1, the project team strengthened the Sites unit to reach the target of additional 105 eSkwela Centers by 2010. The project team wanted to attain a critical mass of operational, well-managed, sustainable, and replicable centers to ascertain eSkwela’s nationwide reach, acceptance, and support towards program institutionalization and sustainability. This chapter will discuss the details of the efforts of eSkwela with regards to site advocacy, roll-out, and sustainability, including challenges, lessons learned, and good practices. The discussion will touch on the different areas of concern that include: 1. Community mobilization and social marketing activities that were conducted to promote the project to local communities and secure the support needed to set up, operate, and sustain an eSkwela Center Training workshops for Regional Coordinators and Center Managers that were conducted to equip center managers with knowledge and skills to advocate, manage, and sustain an eSkwela Center Regular monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities that were conducted to assess the implementation and progress of individual eSkwela Centers in terms of site operations, application of skills trained on, and the initial gains of eSkwela to the community

2.

3.

eSkwela Roll-out eSkwela was a collaborative project, borne of its parts – a partnership among CICTHCDG, Department of Education-Bureau of Alternative Learning System (DepEd-BALS), division offices, local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), schools, and civic groups. In addition to the 4 pilot sites, 101 eSkwela Centers had been established due in most part to the active involvement of the local communities, by far the largest initiative of its kind in the country. The project team relied heavily on community stakeholders in setting-up, managing, and financing the centers’ operations. These include the provision of infrastructure requirements – specifically the space/site, renovation of the proposed space, personnel salaries/honoraria, utilities including Internet connection, electricity and security, and more importantly, the means to sustain the Center operations. Local DepEd-ALS Divisions and NGOs come in by designating dedicated or parttime learning facilitators and center personnel for the learning centers. Pilot Implementation The AEF Grant was used to establish pilot eSkwela Centers in four (4) sites in 2007. Recipient communities were provided with 21 units of networked computers, relevant

Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability

peripherals, one-year Internet connectivity, funds for site renovation, relevant educator’s training, elearning modules, an ATutor-based Learning Management System (LMS), and project monitoring and evaluation activities. The local community partners were expected to participate heavily in the project by providing the required space and fixtures, assigning the center personnel, and selecting the learners. They were expected to manage and sustain the Center operations (financially, politically, and technologically); open up venues for collaborative, relevant, and engaged learning; and provide support for community-based learner projects. The four (4) local communities were selected by HCDG management based on geography and expressed support of the local stakeholders (primarily the Local Chief Executive) to this innovative educational intervention. Memorandums of Agreement, enumerating areas of responsibility of each party involved bound these partnerships among CICT, the local government unit, the DepEd Division Office, and a willing non-government organization like Rotary Club or JCI.

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eGovernment-funded Site Roll-out: Moving from CICT-led to Community-led Center Initiatives Community Mobilization and Social Marketing Compelled by the success of the pilot implementation, the project team intended to use the eGov Fund 2006 to establish 14 more sites around the country to serve as regionallevel pilot sites and models for future wide-scale deployment. However, top-level government management decided on prioritizing infrastructure requirements for the formal education sector instead. Fortunately, at that time, eSkwela was already receiving a number of inquiries from various parties (LGUs, NGOs, etc.) who were interested in financing its infrastructure requirements, i.e. site renovation and hardware acquisition and installation. Further, communities can tap existing ICT infrastructure that are not being maximized (i.e. in schools, in internet cafes, in barangay halls, in Community eCenters) to serve as the community’s counterpart contribution to eSkwela and thus heighten community ownership for the project. This prompted the project team to re-design the site roll-out approach to a community-led initiative instead of a top-down donation. The funding was then re-aligned to prioritize project advocacy activities and the development of more eModules for eSkwela. The main idea was to tap and collaborate with current partners in championing eSkwela’s potentials to others nationwide, as follows: • CICT & DepEd – site application assessment, guidance in partnership-building, content and systems development, conduct of capability-building workshops, assistance in infrastructure set-up, monitoring and evaluation for continuous enhancement DepEd Division Office, civic group, or non-government organization – assignment and salaries of learning facilitators, learner selection, assistance in capability-building activities, advocacy of ICT integration in education Local government unit and other local community groups – provision of infrastructure and utilities (room, computers, peripherals, internet connection, electricity), selection & salaries of other personnel, additional funding for operations, learner subsidies (note: no tuition fees are charged), and sustainability

In the early parts of the eGov-funded run of the project, the eSkwela Core Team was specifically created to engage 16 selected implementers from the sites and DepEd- BALS representatives as Resource Persons in the conduct of major activities for the project, as shown in Figure 18. Along with CICT’s eSkwela project team, these representatives were trained and assigned into small teams that would promote eSkwela and train potential DepEd trainers from each region.

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This not only provided the CICT eSkwela Project Team an expanded manpower pool to work with but more importantly, a strong circle of believers and champions within the ALS community who will promote the project and provide practical guidance to those interested in rolling out the project.

Figure 18 eSkwela Core Team Strategy for Roll-out

The very first Core Team Orientation, Planning, and Training Workshop was held in Oct. 2007 to finalize the materials for the upcoming workshops and to train the core team of trainers to ensure consistent implementations across teams. Follow-through meetings/workshops were held to ensure regular consultations, evaluation, and enhancement of assignments and activities. This initial eSkwela Core Team went on to handle the following events: • 17 Regional Roadshows held from November 2007 to January 2008 to promote the eSkwela Project from region to region as well as meet and network with future partners who would be willing to set up their own community-based eSkwela initiatives The one-day roadshows were held from November 2007 to January 2008, with two (2) members from the eSkwela Core Team serving as the Resrouce Persons, except for the pilot runs in Region IV-A and Region III where the non-CICT core team members were distributed to observe the proceedings. There was an average of 42 participants per roadshow – mostly coming from the ALS Units of DepEd Regional

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Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability

and Division Offices, with a few coming from LGUs, NGOs, and other government offices. With the meager fund budgeted for marketing collaterals, the project team designed and reproduced marketing collaterals that included eSkewla business cards, photocopied brochures (on colored paper), project CDs that included a project brief as well as a short Audio-Video Presentation (AVP) produced in cooperation with the eSkwela-QC site implementers and learners. The reception had been very positive. As expected, there were a lot of questions on how to set up and operate eSkwela – with a number of inquiries focusing on CICT’s call for community-led initiatives (i.e. no infrastructure deployment). Afternoon sessions were intended for the Core Team members to meet with the DepEd Regional and Division ALS officials to come up with an initial strategic plan on how eSkwela can be rolled out in their respective regions. Most of the regional representatives set their targets to at least 1 eSkwela Center set up per region by 2008. In general, the roadshows were successful, owing much to the dedication of the Core Team members and support of the SUC partners. In order to get feedback from the participants, evaluation forms were given out during the roadshow. The participants gave an average general rating of 3.57 for the roadshows, with 5 being the highest. • Trainers' Training Workshops to develop a pool of trainers for each region that will be provide training services to groups that would like to implement the project in their respective areas. The trainings were divided into the three main areas of competency:
o

o

o

Center Management to introduce the essential knowledge areas and skill sets that facilitate effective understanding, decision-making, and actions in the management of an eSkwela Center (topics: 1) Leading the Center and Building e-Center Business Strategic Plan, 2) Planning Strategically and Managing e-Center Projects, 3) Managing e-Center Service Implementation) Learning Facilitation to equip Mobile Teachers and Instructional Managers with skills towards effectively using the ICT-based Instructional Design customized for Alternative Learning System in the eSkwela Centers, including a site visit for observations of actual sessions Network Admin/Lab Mgt to equip the participants with skills in the set-up, administration and maintenance of the infrastructure component (computer hardware, software, network) of an eSkwela Center, including a site visit for observations of actual sessions

An equally important objective of these courses, apart from equipping the participants with the appropriate ICT knowledge and skills to prepare them from the eventual

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Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability

transition from the traditional to ICT-based learning platform, was to mold the participants into trainers, as the original intention was to tap them to conduct similar workshops in their respective regions. The Project Team scheduled 10 separate clustered ToT implementations from January to March 2008 – for each region, participant trainers were targeted at 12 for the Center Management (CM) course composed of regional and division ALS officials, 6 Teacher Training (TT)/Learning Facilitation course, and 4 for the Network Administration (NA) course. The participants were selected by the ALS Units in the DepEd Regional Offices, overall verification was done by DepEd-BALS. As with the Content Development and Regional Roadshow components, SUCs were tapped via Training Management Proposals. A total of 350 of the targeted 389 participants were trained, or a 90% participation rate. Being the first wide-scale ICT training for ALS implementers, the eSkwela trainers’ training implementations met a number of challenges that the project team tried to resolve in latter project phases – such as communication problems, unqualified participants being sent from the field (despite the constant reiteration of the selection criteria set by CICT) that required the training teams to revert to Basic ICT Literacy training instead of proceeding with the original Trainers’ Training design. Further, some of the Resource Persons who were tapped lacked the necessary facilitation skills or topic expertise (i.e. emphasis on the ICT4E approach) to effectively conduct the training courses. A review of the training design as well as follow-through activities were likewise undertaken to get the top trainees to proceed on to the next step of Trainers’ Training Workshops to further prepare them to take on the role of eSkwela Trainers. Refer to Attachment R for the eSkwela Progress Report – eGov Fund2006&2007 – October 2008 that includes a more detailed account of these workshops (as the Report’s Attachment B).

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Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability

Systematizing the Site Roll-out Process Since the approach shifted from one that was top-down (“donor-donee”) to one that is more community-led, the project team expected to interact with various types of stakeholders, with different targets and contexts, who would be willing to establish eSkwela Centers in their local communities. As an offshoot of the inquiries from the Regional Roadshows and Trainers’ Training Workshops, the project team clarified the procedures and requirements involved in establishing the partnership among CICT, ALS, and the local community for their local eSkwela implementations.
Contact CICT eSkwela Project Team Download, fill up, and submit RAF & Letter of Intent (multi-stakeholder) CICT assesses RAF & communicates with pointperson Site Inspection & Social Mobilization

Learner Enrollment Process

Infrastructure set-up Draft legal documents personnel selection + competency check Formation of Steering Committee, meeting on partnership parameters

Personnel prepare the LMS & the center

Launch

Personnel Training (CM, TT, NA), if needed

Operations & Sustainability

Monitoring & Evaluation (Steering Committee, CICT, BALS)

Figure 19 Site Application Process Flow

In order to standardize procedures and parameters as well as to lessen confusion for site set-up and operations, the following application process flow was agreed upon (shown in diagram form as Figure 19): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Contact the CICT eSkwela Project Team or the designated eSkwela Regional Coordinator. Download, fill up, and submit the eSkwela Application Form. CICT assesses the Application Form and communicates with the designated point person. CICT conducts social mobilization activities (i.e. meeting with major community stakeholders). Site-specific activities: • Formation of the local Steering Committee and conduct of meeting to discuss partnership parameters that will be reflected on the MOA.

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• • •

6. 7. 8. 9.

Legal documents are drafted. Detailed check of infrastructure set-up. Community selects designated full-time or parttime site personnel based on required roles and competencies – Center Manager, Learning Facilitators (2), Network Administrator • Conduct of personnel training, if needed. Community conducts learner-enrollment process. Personnel prepare the Center including the Learning Management System. Community officially launches the Center (optional). Community operates the Center and ensures its sustainability - CICT conducts regular monitoring and evaluation activities

It was further clarified during community mobilization/social preparation activities that eSkwela can start from a 4- or 5-unit set-up then expand as the Center gains confidence and additional support from the community. Several implementation models were also enumerated, such as: • exclusive/ fulltime facility model (invest “from scratch”): a financial projection is shown for a 4unit, 10-unit, and a 20-unit center as Attachment S shared facility model: tied up with other groups that can offer existing infrastructure such as schools, universities, internet cafés, Community eCenters, LGU/NGO computer centers wherein computer use may be offered for free or in line with another elearning program (e.g. model to be used by the eSkills Network) or a voucher /scholarship system (e.g. Netopia-Lingap Pangkabataan tie-up in Cubao) other models are up for further study such as the mobile lab model (either using laptops or trailerlabs used by the ADOC Program)

To ensure that the procedures are systematic yet manageable, the following forms and templates (shown as Attachments T1 to T6) were made available to guide the interested local groups in this process: a. Application Form and Readiness Assessment Form (RAF) – to assess the actual need for eSkwela in the community and what type of model would be appropriate by
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Chapter 5: Project Implementation – Site Roll-out and Sustainability

b. c.

d. e.

establishing baseline information (through ALS) and checking on the presence or plans for the various project components as well as how extensive the search for local partners has been • Scorecard Worksheet – based on the RAF results, this worksheet establishes a score for the potential site; this will serve as the basis for the next steps template for grant proposals – to assist in getting sponsors or investors for the initiative (to cover infrastructure requirements, training, sustainability) template/sample MOA/MOU – to legalize the partnership/collaboration among the various stakeholders, mainly to clarify areas of responsibility toward assuring project sustainability sample local ordinance/resolution for the LGU (province, city, barangay, SK) to legally and regularly allocate funds for ALS programs, specifically eSkwela an initial version of the eSkwela Social Franchise Manual (Business and Operations Guide) – to guide potential eSkwela stakeholders from conceptualization, social mobilization and marketing, center models, personnel and roles, set-up, operations, sustainability; likewise spells out various requirements and monitoring and evaluation performance indicators and tools

Stakeholder Responsibilities The local stakeholders were advised to go through an in-depth discussion on the implementing guidelines to clarify different issues and concerns such as accreditation procedures (in order to take part in BALS’ Literacy Service Contracting Scheme (LSCS) Project or DepEd’s Adopt-A-School Program), operating hours of exclusive use, monetary equivalent of voucher system for possible sponsorship, online tutor mechanism, accountability of maintenance, etc. Table 20 enumerates the responsibilities to be assigned by the local stakeholders amongst themselves. All these should be agreed upon by the partner organizations as represented in the Local eSkwela Steering Committee and specified in the Memorandum of Agreement. Duty / Responsibility 1. Provide electronic versions of the DepEd-BALS’ print modules and a Learning Management System (LMS) customized for the eSkwela Center. Provide assistance in the set-up, testing, and installation of computer equipment and network peripherals at the eSkwela Center. Assist in the set-up of a working relationship between the parties involved in the implementation of the eSkwela Center. Conduct training activities pertinent to the operation of the eSkwela Center, including training on center management, network administration, teacher training and other training activities deemed appropriate by CICT. Monitor and evaluate (M&E) the implementation and operation of the eSkwela Center as well as recommend the best strategies and options for its CICT DepED LGU Division NGO

2.

3.

4.

5.

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Duty / Responsibility sustainability. 6. Assign and supervise the District ALS Coordinators, mobile teachers and instructional managers who will be assigned as the learning facilitators at the eSkwela Center and who will implement the eSkwela Instructional Model. 7. Select the OSYAs who will participate as learners at the eSkwela Center. 8. Provide for the training expenses and all possible incentives for professional development activities of the center manager, network administrator, mobile teachers and instructional managers at the eSkwela Center; 9. Promote the integration of ICT in the ALS curriculum by, among others, encouraging and supporting ICT-related initiatives and projects of mobile teachers / instructional managers and learners. 10. Facilitate the conduct of eSkwela training activities by providing administrative and logistical support whenever necessary. 11. Grant permission for the utilization of any or all of the following, for the conduct of eSkwela learning sessions: • Space/room • Computer units • Multimedia and network peripherals learning sessions. 12. Ensure that the eSkwela Center has uninterrupted electricity and broadband Internet connection. 13. Link the eSkwela program with existing community initiatives. 14. Make recommendations on the designation of a Center Manager and Network Administrator for the eSkwela Center according to the requirements set by the Steering Committee. 15. Assist in the monitoring and evaluation of the eSkwela Center’s operations. 16. Assign a point person to represent CICT in the local eSkwela Steering Committee. 17. Provide additional funding for the operations of the eSkwela Center as may be allowed by law. *if NGO is an ALS service provider
Table 20

CICT

DepED LGU Division

NGO *

* *

*

Duties and Responsibilities of eSkwela Local Community Partners (basis of MOA) - assignment of responsibilities may vary

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Center Personnel The roles required for center operations were also made clear to the interested parties, as follows: • Learning Facilitator (at least 2 fulltime or parttime) The designated eSkwela Learning Facilitators (District ALS Coordinators/ /Mobile Teachers/ Instructional Managers) shall be responsible in assisting learners as they go through the non-formal education modules of eSkwela. He shall report directly to the designated eSkwela Center Manager and his DALSC. The responsibilities of the eSkwela Learning Facilitator are as follows: 1. 2. Identify the learner’s entry level capacity through the completion of fuctional literacy test and RPL/interview; Define the learners’ learning needs and identify the most appropriate means for meeting those needs through the formulation of Individual Learning Agreements with the learners; Provide necessary support for learners to achieve their learning goals through the use of eSkwela eModule Packages and other supplementary materials; Monitor the eModule Pacakages used by the learners based on their respective Individual Learning Agreements; Perform formative and summative assessment of learners’ learning; Assist the learner in the completion of assessment requirements for accreditation and certification; Attend eSkwela-related meetings, conferences, and training workshops, as necessary; and Submit all the necessary reports on the learners to the eSkwela Center Manager.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Network Administrator (1 fulltime or parttime) The designated eSkwela Network Administrator shall be responsible for ensuring that the Center’s equipment and systems are working properly. He shall report directly to the designated Center Manager and employer (LGU, NGO, DepEd Division, etc.) on aspects regarding eSkwela operations and sustainability. The responsibilities of the eSkwela Network Administrator are as follows: 1. 2. 3. Ensure that the hardware, software, and systems of the center are maintained in good working order and updated, as necessary; Maintain and update the eSkwela Learning Management System; Recommend strategies to ensure technical sustainability of the Center;

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4. 5.

6.

Attend eSkwela-related meetings, conferences, and training workshops, as necessary; Submit the following reports to the eSkwela Center Manager at the end of every month or as needed: System Monitoring Report, Incident Report/s, and other relevant reports; and Undertake additional tasks to benefit the Center as directed by the eSkwela Center Manager.

Center Manager (1 fulltime or parttime) The designated eSkwela Center Manager shall be responsible for overseeing, monitoring, and sustaining all aspects of the Center’s operations – both as an eLearning Center and as a Community eCenter. He shall be the main link among the eSkwela Project Management Office of CICT and local eSkwela Steering Committee. He shall report directly to the Head of the local eSkwela Steering Committee. The eSkwela Center Manager is designated to manage the day-to-day operations of the Center, including but not limited to the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. ensure that the Center Policies and Procedures are enforced at all times; ensure that the facilities of the center are maintained in good working order; take responsibility for the administration of any money collected by the center on a daily basis, if any; maintain relevant up-to-date records for the center;

Together with the eSkwela PMO and the local eSkwela Steering Committee: 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. set up a schedule to maximize the use of the Center, with priority given to non-formal educational purposes; plan for and ensure political, financial, and technical sustainability of the Center; promote the Center to the community; keep the community informed of the activities of the Center Attend eSkwela-related meetings, conferences, and training workshops, as necessary; Submit the following reports to the eSkwela PMO at the end of every quarter or as needed: Progress/Operations Report, Monitoring and Evaluation Report, Financial Report, and Incident Report/s; and Undertake additional tasks to benefit the Center as directed by the local eSkwela Steering Committee and/or the eSkwela PMO.

11.

The eSkwela Core Team view these roles as crucial to the overall operations sustainability of each Center. As can be seen, each role has a different set of competencies that would be quite overwhelming for a “one-man-team”. For some Centers, especially the smaller ones, these roles are shared among two or three personnel – especially if the learning facilitator has technical background, like the eSkwela Centers in Loyola Heights-QC and Davao City. Some centers that are near each other share a Network Administrator since the need for technical services is quite seasonal (networking problems – LAN or Internet connection, updating of eModule Packages, backing

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up of LMS, etc.). Some centers prefer to employ technically competent network administrators who are trainable to serve as substitute or assistant learning facilitators, as has been the practice in eSkwela-Roces QC and Naga City. The project team has repeatedly emphasized the role of the Center Manager as the binding glue that would bring everything together. The person who passionately pushed for the establishment of an eSkwela Center in the community usually ends up as the Center Manager – as has been the experience in Cebu City, Cagayan de Oro City, Orquieta City, Tanauan City, San Fernando-Camarines Sur, and San Fernando-La Union. He knows the ins and outs of local area specifics like the status of infrastructure, complex community stakeholder contexts and how to deal with them, and learner profiles. It takes a certain level of leadership and clout – as well as competencies very different from those of learning facilitators and network administrators – to become an effective center manager. Regional Coordinators Since CICT does not have regional field teams that can ably promote and roll-out eSkwela in their areas, the project team saw the necessity of expanding the eSkwela Core Team. Along with the designation of National Trainers for Learning Facilitators and Regional Trainers for Network Administrators, the project team proposed the designation of field coordinators that will primarily assist the Sites Unit in the roll-out process. The original intention was to involve six (6) Cluster Leads from the DepEd bureaucracy and corresponding SUC partners to oversee the expansion of eSkwela in Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, NCR, Visayas, Western Mindanao, and Eastern Mindanao. However, during the eSkwela Evaluation and Planning Workshop in July 2008, the clustered approach would be more difficult to implement due to regional assignments of DepEd personnel – in short, a major concern was the potential encroachment of “territories”. It was emphasized further that administrative and financial concerns would be more manageable if the designation be done on a regional or division level basis. SUCs, while willing to assist, would be better relegated to a supporting role unless official partnership agreements were reached – this would allow clear delineation of roles and responsibilities. A detailed report on the eSkwela Evaluation and Planning Workshop 2008 is included in the eSkwela Progress Report eGov Fund 2006&2007 – October 2008 (Attachment R) as Attachment C. In view of this development, in 2009, DepEdBALS officially endorsed 15 eSkwela Regional Coordinators (RCs) from DepEd Regional Offices to assist in the eSkwela roll-out / expansion efforts. Since then, they served as the official representatives of the eSkwela project team in the regions, especially in the areas of project advocacy, social mobilization/ preparation activities, site set-up, handholding, and monitoring and evaluation. Eventually, regional and special runs of the eSkwela training workshops were also supervised by the Regional Coordinator. So far, they have been very helpful in following-up and sustaining the continuous stakeholders’ interest and support.

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In concordance with the purpose of eSkwela 1.0 as stated in the project logframe: “operationalized eSkwela model for the eventual turnover to DepEd-BALS as a regular Program”, the decision to designate eSkwela Regional Coordinators from the DepEd community likewise prepared DepEd to take over eSkwela for regular operations by the end of project life. The designation of Division Coordinators was likewise recommended but the project team decided on concentrating on empowering the Regional Coordinators first in order to work with a smaller and more manageable group. The official designation of eSkwela Division Coordinators would have to be done unofficially in the meantime within the purview of the Regional Office. The group disclosed that Regional Coordinators themselves have already drafted and passed their roles and responsibilities to BALS during the BALS-organized e-Learning Conference last December 2009. The Core Team finalized these as follows: 1. Set-up of eSkwela Centers – provide handholding assistance to individuals and organizations interested in setting up an eSkwela Center within the region, which includes the following: • using the guidelines set by the project team, recommend sites as recipients of the computer hardware package from special infrastructure programs (e.g. the Philippine CeC Program) • coordinate with the project team on identified potential eSkwela Centers and supporters/partners within his / her assigned region; • respond and provide assistance to inquiries; • conduct project orientation meetings with potential partners; • assess eSkwela Application Forms and recommend strategies on how to meet the requirements in setting up and eSkwela Center • validate data gathered in the Application Forms through site visits; • facilitate the preparation of eSkwela capability building activities • Prepare the draft Memorandum Of Agreement (MOA) among the eSkwela partners, as well as include revisions from the partners in the final version • Represent the eSkwela Project in related events and activities in the assigned region (i.e. launch, education events/info campaigns) o Prepare project advocacy materials as needed (brochures, sample eModules, tarps, slide presentations) Operations and Sustainability of the eSkwela Centers – monitor and evaluate the eSkwela Centers within the region, including the following: • Provide templates of the M&E forms to Center implementers; • Gather accomplished M&E forms on a regular basis • Conduct announced and unannounced site visits • During site visits, conduct the following M&E methods: o Steering Committee meeting o interview / focus group discussion with learners & implementers o observation (documented in a site visit report) • Consolidate and analyze M&E data through periodic reports, to be submitted to DepED-BALS

2.

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Using the M&E data as basis, recommend strategies on improving the operations of the eSkwela Centers and ensuring their sustainability.

Capability Building Keeping with the standards of eSkwela that required all those involved to be properly trained and guided, training workshops were also conducted for the benefit of the Regional Coordinators and the Center Managers – people who had to ensure that the eSkwela Centers continue to operate and expand for the benefit of the country’s out-of-school youth and adults. In May 2010, the project team conducted the Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop for eSkwela Regional Coordinators (RCs), attended by 15 designated RCs from the DepEd regional/division offices. It aimed to orient and train the RCs on the project’s monitoring and evaluation mechanisms as well as discuss Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in guiding community stakeholders in setting up, operating, and sustaining eSkwela centers. The enhanced training workshop customized for eSkwela Center Managers, on the other hand, was conducted in September-October 2010, with experts from the telecentre.org Philippine CeC Academy (tPCA) serving as Resource Persons. The training workshop, based on the National Competency Standards for CeC Managers, is a fragment of the tPCA/DAP course on the Essentials of CeC Management. It covered various topics that allowed them to internalize the eSkwela model. The major portion of the workshop, however, focused on topics that went beyond managing eSkwela learning sessions such as the eSkwela Center Life Cycle, ServiceOriented Management, Operations and Sustainability Planning for a Scoail Enterprise, Social Marketing and Networking, and Monitoring and Evaluation. The workshop ended with Action Planning among participants from each region to discuss possible community-building and collaboration. A number of Regional Coordinators and Center Managers have likewise undergone tPCA’s full 5-day course at DAP. It provided more in-depth discussions on Center Management that also included Proposal Writing, Resource Management & Mobilization, Communications Planning, Business Financial Planning & Management among others. No field trainers had been designated to handle Center Management Training since this is a specialized course that needs to be handled by Resource Persons with a solid Social Enterprise perspective. Marketing and Communication Program In support of the Site Expansion/Rollout, the project team implemented a marketing and communication program. The Marketing Program was meant to complement the project team’s information campaign efforts during the project’s regional roadshows. Marketing

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materials were seen as necessary in pursuing strategic alliances with various stakeholders (local, national, regional, and international) for heightened awareness, interest, acceptance, support, participation/collaboration/tie-ups, and sponsorship. Among the collaterals produced, and distributed were: • • • • • • • • designed,

information brochure project poster and event tarpaulins center signages news articles in national and local broadsheets AVP – collation of videos shot during site focus group discussions Interview/FGD videos national and local TV news segments end-of-project booklet

Copies of these collaterals are available in the CD under the folder “eSkwela collaterals”. The communications program, on the other hand, provided the eSkwela stakeholders an internal mechanism to hold regular face-toface and online meetings, submit reports, discuss various concerns, share best practices, collaborate, and basically to learn from and help each other out. This allowed the stakeholders to regularly discuss updates, goings-on, best practices, challenges and possible solutions, recommendations, etc. - allowing the CICT project team to conduct online monitoring and evaluation activities. Online eSkwela presence can be found through the following URLs: • http://alseskwela.ning.com – provides crucial information and updates on the project; used for project and ICT4E advocacy, reaching supporters and potential partners, currently has 515 members, maintained and updated by the eSkwela project management team o This is an online networking group that aims to maintain the communication and collaboration among eSkwela stakeholders: Regional Coordinators, Network Administrators, and Module Guide Developers, Site implementers, partners, etc. o It is a virtual space created so the team can update each of the groups and/or vice versa through chat sessions, forums, and even file sharing. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_127912216250 – eSkwela Project’s Facebook page, currently has 1,200 members

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• • • •

o social networking site that implementers and learners from different centers can use to interact with one another; various eSkwela centers have their respective FB pages (i.e. Tanauan, Alaminos, Davao City, San Jose del Monte, Libon-West, Candon, St. Andrew’s School, etc.) http://eskwelaictcamp.ning.com – social networking site for ICT Camp participants to share files and outputs http://eskwela.wikispacs.com – former project website (deleted) http://www.philcecnet.ph/ - the PhilCeCNet website which occasionally features eSkwela sites; note: eSkwela is considered a CeC http://www.ischools.portal.ph/index.php/30-ischools-interactive.html - iSchools Portal that shows the list of beneficiary schools that our regional representatives could tap for eSkwela expansion

The project team also regularly communicated with the local stakeholders through SMS, email, or telephone calls, social marketing/community mobilization, and regular monitoring and evaluation activities. Social Franchise Manual The eSkwela Social Franchise Manual was meant to guide local stakeholders on everything essential there is to know in the set-up, implementation, management and sustainability of an eSkwela Center. From August 2006 to April 2011, the CICT project team handled the management of the eSkwela Project. In the process of “handholding”, or providing personalized assistance and keeping communication lines open to each Center and its proponents, the project team learned of the project's nuances and drew from this experience in the improvement of project design and execution. Similar improvements were made in site replication and the eSkwela instructional model. Now its second version, the eSkwela Social Franchise Manual (shown as Attachment U) is a written version of the “handholding” assistance provided to the eSkwela Centers during the project's time with CICT, and will serve as a guide for individuals and/or groups – be it local DepEd Offices, local government units, NGOs, faith-based groups, civic groups, private sector - who want to take an active role in providing ICT-enhanced education to the out-of-school population and add to the growing number of eSkwela Centers in the Philippines. The manual takes one through the interest phase to set-up phase to operations and onwards to sustainability. Some topics included are basic center requirements, financial projections, learning sessions, social marketing strategies, monitoring and evaluation indicators, and the various forms and templates used. Effective May 2011, the Department of Education – Bureau of Alternative Learning System (DepEd-BALS) had assumed program management of eSkwela. Version 1.0 of the eSkwela Social Franchise Manual reflects this significant update and written in detail throughout the document.

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Progress Monitoring and Evaluation ICT in Education initiatives, although hugely supported, get a lot of flak for the dearth of documentation that pinpoint specific results on teaching and learning, specifically on learner performance. Existing programs and initiatives lack the necessary indicators that measure appropriateness, relevance, and the return on investment of the intervention to substantiate proposed next steps. Daniel Wagner of InfoDev puts it clearly by saying, “While there is clearly much promise in the use of ICT for education, there is, at the same time, a widespread ignorance of the specific impact of ICT on education goals and targets. The issue is not whether ICT is “good” or “bad”, rather it is how to choose wisely from the large menu of ICT4E options. This is, simply put, a cost-benefit analysis. Creating a relevant and actionable knowledge base is a first step in trying to help policy makers make effective decisions. This is essential in the case of ICT4E for which — unlike, say, improved literacy primers — there are high entry costs (such as investments in new infrastructure), significant recurrent costs (maintenance and training), and opportunities for knowledge distortions due to the high profile (and political) aspects of large ICT interventions.”22 From the very beginning, Prof. Tim Unwin23 of the international ICT4D movement, had emphasized to the project team the significance of monitoring and evaluation in relation to the sustainability and overall success of the project. As such, the project design had Monitoring and Evaluation as one of its major components to ensure grounded project delivery and sustained impact on the target beneficiaries. UNESCO ICT4E Toolkit The Sites Unit used the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework espoused by the UNESCO ICT in Educaiton Toolkit in deciding on the baseline information and corresponding M&E indicators and mechanisms that are relevant to the project. The Toolkit is comprised of a “set of tools [that] in collecting and analyzing data, diagnosing situations and issues, formulating scenarios for appropriate ICT interventions, generating implementation plans, evaluating implementability and effectiveness of ICT interventions, and making necessary post-evaluation decisions.” 24

22

23

24

Wagner, D.; DayB.; James, T.; Kozma, R.; Miller, J.; Unwin, T. Monitoring and Evaluation of ICT in Education Projects: A Handbook for Developing Countries. InfoDev, November 2005. URL: http://www.infodev.org/en/Publication.9.html Accessed: June 2011. Prof. Tim Unwin served as one of the major resource persons of eSkwela during its pilot implementation. He is Professor of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and UNESCO Chair in ICT4D. He is also Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. He also served as Director and then Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum's Partnerships for Education programme with UNESCO and led the UK’s Imfundo initiative that created partnerships to deliver ICT-based educational initiatives in Africa. He established an ICT4D Collective at the University of London which undertakes research, teaching and consultancy in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development. He continues to support eSkwela to this day. More on Prof. Unwin on this URL: http://www.gg.rhul.ac.uk/tim/ Accessed: June 2011. ICT in Education Toolkit for Policy Makers, Planners and Practitioners. Joint collaboration among infoDev (World Bank), UNESCO-Bangkok, Academy for Educational Development, Knowledge Enterprise, LLC, and Japanese Funds-in-Trust. URL: http://www.ictinedtoolkit.org/ Accessed: August 2008.

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Figure 20 shows the process flow and time elements of an ICT in Education intervention and its appropriate levels of monitoring at the corresponding stages of project implementation.

A

B

C Figure 20 Degrees of Monitoring and the Role of Feedback throughout ICT in Education interventions

D

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The section classified as Phase A focuses on the progress monitoring of the project implementation – if the activities have been conducted and the intended/target outputs have been delivered satisfactorily. Phase B looks at the effectiveness of the ICT intervention – if the activities and outputs were able to result in the desired effects or stimulation on the direct clients /beneficiaries or in this case, the eSkwela implementers – including better facilitation of learning, higher confidence in using ICT-supported activities and project-based learnintg, a general improvement in the delivery of the A&E Program via ICT, etc. Phase C then checks on the actual changes on the ultimate clients/beneficiaries, the eSkwela learners – including better comprehension skills, higher motivation to excel and succeed, improved A&E Test results, use of life skills and ICT skills in various applications outside the learning venue, etc. Phase D finally evaluates the project’s contribution to the national development goals like increase in literacy, reduction of poverty, general improvement in socio-economic life among Filipinos, etc. The role of feedback on the implementation and outputs/results/impact is emphasized and categorized into those related to implementation issues as well as planning issues in order to determine appropriate modifications, improvements, or even re-designs for the next stage/s in implementation. Put in another way, Table 21 lays out the various classes of monitoring and evaluation that are appropriate according to the implementation timing in an ICT in education intervention. Note that the process gets more complicated as one goes through the different phases. It emphasizes the need for interventions to go beyond merely focusing on the degree of implementation (Class 1) by looking at the degrees of proper use, user satisfaction, and effectiveness as well.

Table 21 Comparative Complexity and Indicative Timing of Monitoring Classes

The table likewise clearly shows that evaluation for Results and Impact Monitoring, shown here as classes 5 and 6 (i.e. Phases C and D), would normally have to wait for at least 5 years since the start of the intervention before monitoring can be effectively conducted – i.e. a beneficiary must have completely gone through the full intervention. This implies that it takes that much time to expect beneficiaries to internalize and apply what they learned or gained from the intervention on their actual lives, beyond the intervention parameters. This is reminiscent of the maturity model of ICT Competency Development (and Application) that was emphasized in Chapter 3.

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The ICT in Education Toolkit also enumerates the different modes of data collection that are used in these monitoring and evaluation classes, presented here as Table 22. Form of Data Collection Records Journals/diaries E-mail archives Computer Web server logs Surveys Interviews Focus groups Observations Video recordings Teacher tests Embedded quizzes in computerized instruction National or standardized tests Psychometric affective instruments Performance assessments Class 1
* * * * * * * *

Class 2
* * * * * * * * *

Class 3
* * * * * * * *

Class 4

Class 5
* * * * * * *

Class 6

* * *

* * * * * *

Table 22 Modes of Measurement Appropriate for Different Classes of Evaluation

Monitoring for eSkwela As seen in the previous chapters, the project team put in mechanisms and developed instruments to ensure that there is progress monitoring and evaluation is imbued into the entire project life. These covered various aspects of the project, from business operations to teacher competencies and the effective use of the customized instructional model as well as the appropriate strategies and procedures needed. Corresponding instruments were designed, reviewed, and enhanced by a committee from the eSkwela Core Team to ensure ownership, validity, and reliability. The pilot implementation of eSkwela was by no means a smooth ride. As with many new projects, eSkwela definitely had an exhilarating start dotted with gratifying moments yet tempered by numerous birth pains and lessons learned. The project’s implementation of the four (4) pilot sites provided the “proof of concept” that the use of ICTs in education is highly suitable to the modular approach of ALS and its emphasis on life skills. Starting small, the project team scaled up the project with caution by adhering to the key success factors observed in the pilot implementation. Results from various monitoring and evaluation activities were the bases for various modifications and enhancements in the project design, components, and activities – serving as impetus for subsequent interventions for eSkwela 1.0. Monitoring for eSkwela 1.0 focused mainly on Phases A and B – i.e. Classes 1, 2, 3, and 4. Monitoring that looked at changes in learners (Phase C or Class 5) was done informally through interviews, testimonials, and focus group discussions. Phase D does not fall within the current project scope and may be recommended as a next step for DepEd and other related agencies – perhaps as an offshoot to the impact study to be funded by the eSkwela 1.1 budget.

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Class 1 2 3

Item Monitored Degree of Implementation Degree of Proper Use Degree of User Satisfaction

Instructional Model yes yes yes, through training evaluation forms, FGDs

Content Development yes yes

Sites Roll-out yes yes yes, through site meetings, interviews/ FGDs, observations yes, through site visits, observations, interviews, FGDs yes, through site expansion no

4

Degree of Effectiveness

yes, through beta reviews and onsite module evaluation yes, through site visits, yes, through observations, interviews, beta reviews, FGDs, LMS responses interviews, and projects FGDs a bit, through interviews, FGDs no a bit, through actual projects and interviews no

5

6
Table 23

Degree of Subsequent Application Degree of National Effect

M&E Practices for the eSkwela Project vis-à-vis Classes of Evaluation

Various activities such as site visits, interviews, focus group discussions, training evaluations, observations, surveys, online meetings and posts, and conferences were regularly conducted to get feedback on progress, performance, challenges, lessons learned, good practices, initial gains, and recommendations – mainly focusing on Classes 1 to 3 and a little bit of Class 4 evaluation. Guide questions, forms, templates, and different levels of reports (site visit, activity, project component) were used to document such information. These reports are available in the project website (http://alseskwela.ning.com/) for dissemination to the stakeholders. Automated systems were also developed to make the process more efficient. eSkwela sites likewise maintain their own set of records – either paper-based and electronically through their site servers and/or online/offline repositories. Some of these records are the reports they are required to submit to the DepEd Division Offices and DepEd-BALS. The project team requires a copy of these statistical reports for consolidation of data via project spreadsheets and forms. Other records are those posted by implementers and learners on the eSkwela LAN-based LMS such as quiz results, forum threads, projects, and learner portfolios. The project also encouraged the exchange of emails, chat archives, forum threads, blogs, photos, videos, and other archival files to be posted or uploaded on the Facebook and

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ning sites as additional data collection alternatives. Unfortunately, the project team did not have enough time to peruse all these materials for a more formal and in-depth analysis. At least, the study to be done under eSkwela 1.1 will already have a lot of available material to work with. Hopefully, other studies can be done on eSkwela including case studies and experimental set-ups (with control groups) to measure Class 4 (Effectiveness) plus a more systematic learner tracking program and a follow-through study via a semi-longitudinal study on the Class 4 study subjects in order to measure Class 5. Initial discussions had been done on looking into the effectiveness of the eSkwela Instructional Model as a viable alternative to the conventional ALS delivery mode (that of using print modules and purely traditional face-to-face sessions) as part of the third-party study to be done under eSkwela 1.1. The project team recommends the current ICT4E indicators be further analyzed, customized, and simplified (i.e. specific indicators with no ambiguity), taking into consideration those enumerated by UNESCO and other international ICT4E groups. A meticulous design has to be done to set control and experimental variables before the conduct of the actual study – it would be good to note that the Education Departments/Colleges of a number of partner SUCs are willing to help out on this initiative. CRITERION INDICATOR 1. Frequency and regularity of steering committee meetings 2. Frequency and regularity of PTCA meetings 3. Amount of funds raised from the community 4. Additional ICT equipment and supplies provided by the community 5. Tie-ups with other communityoriented projects/activities 6. Level of awareness of the eSkwela project within the community 7. Disconnection of utilities service (due to non-payment) 8. Additional eSkwela partners (NGOs, private individuals, cooperative) 9. Type of support raised from the community
Notes: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Direct Measure Objective Adequate Quantitat ive Disaggre gated Practical Reliable

*

*

*

*

*

*

* * * * * * * * *

* * * * *

*

*

*

*

*

*

In Equipment donation form, include status form, specification and details. Look at SK fund (10% for OSY/ALS) Proposal to rename PTCA for ALS Steering Committee Form: include signature

5. Include eSkwela center in Barangay meetings Table 24 eSkwela M&E Indicators for Operations

Table 24 enumerates the various eSkwela M&E indicators for operations, categorized into seven (7) criteria. These were validated among the project team and the Core Team

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members during the 2nd Training Needs and Analysis (TNA) Workshop in December 2008. Some of these are being used for the regular M&E activities while the others may be used for succeeding M&E activities for the more complex evaluation classes. The M&E indicators were likewise according to Subject (who/what to monitor), Nature/Type (quantitative or qualitative, or both), Mode (What instrument to use), and Frequency, as follows: Indicator 1. Frequency and regularity of steering committee meetings 2. Frequency and regularity of PTCA meetings 3. Amount of funds 4. Additional ICT equipment and supplies provided by the community 5. Tie-ups with other communityoriented projects/activities Who will monitor Center Manager Center Manager Center Manager Center Manager NGOs, implementers , LGUs Community, NGOs, implementers Who to monitor members of steering committee Members of PTCA Nature/Type Mode Frequency

Quantitative

Records

Quarterly

Quantitative Quantitative Quantitative /Qualitative

Records Records, Interview Records, interview, email, observation Records, survey, interview, journals Records, focus groups, interview, survey Records

Quarterly Annual Twice a year

Center Manager

Quantitative /Qualitative

Annual

6. Level of awareness of the eSkwela Center project within the Manager community 7. Disconnection of utilities service (due to nonpayment) 8. Additional eSkwela partners (NGOs, private individuals, cooperative) 9. Type of support Center Manager and Lab manager Center Manager

Quantitative /Qualitative

Annual

Quantitative /Qualitative NGOs, implementers , LGUs, Private Individuals

Monthly

Quantitative /Qualitative

Records, survey, interview Records, Interview, e-mail archives

Annual

Center Manager

Quantitative /Qualitative

Annual

Table 25 Data-Gathering Guide for eSkwela M&E Indicators for Operations

Attachments V1 to V6 present the various M&E forms and templates used for the Sites component.

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Strengthening the Collaboration As previously emphasized, an inclusive /consultative and collaborative atmosphere among the numerous project stakeholders had been established from the very beginning. Communication lines had been kept open through the project websites between the project team and the site implementers to encourage participation in this community of practice. The team made it a point to involve field implementers in the major decisions and activities of the project – from the Instructional Model design and implementation to Capability Building to Content Development to Site Expansion to Applications Development. Sharing of performance, challenges, progress, lessons learned, good practices, and initial gains were then gathered and used for collaborative regional and site action planning as well as continuous project enhancements. This positive perception to M&E activities on the various aspects of eSkwela afforded the team the opportunities to get and incorporate feedback from the implementers and learners. All enhancements, interventions, and model stabilizations done on the project since its initial project conceptualization had been based on the results of these M&E activities and action plans developed during such gatherings. eSkwela Core Team The eSkwela Core Team eventually grew to include designated eSkwela Regional coordinators and national trainers for Learning Facilitators and Network Administrators in correspondence to the roles site implementers. Annual Core Team Evaluation and Planning Workshops were held to review the project’s past year implementation vis-à-vis its objectives/direction and targets and to discuss of the proposed plans and activities for the year. These workshops also provided an opportunity for concerned parties to clarify their roles in the particular project phase. corresponding relationship Site Steering Committee Center Manager Learning Facilitators Network Administrator National / Regional CICT & BALS Regional eSkwela Coordinators National Trainers for LFs Regional Trainers for NAs

Table 26 Corresponding eSkwela Roles – Sites and National/Regional Level

2nd eSkwela Conference: Shaping the Future Through Synergy (March-April 2009) The eSkwela Conference, with the theme “Shaping the Future Through Synergy”, brought together the individuals and groups instrumental in implementing eSkwela - mobile teachers/instructional managers, learners, Alternative Learning Systems (ALS) Regional eSkwela Coordinators, ALS module guide developers, content developers from partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Local Government Units (LGUs), civic/nongovernment organizations - in line with the multi-stakeholder approach employed for the Project. The conference was attended by about 146 participants, along with Guest of Honor Ms. Luli Arroyo-Bernas.

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The eSkwela Conference served as a venue for participants to engage in dialogue and interaction, generate concrete ideas and steps for an improved project implementation, as well as build synergy and strengthen working relationships among eSkwela partners and stakeholders. The featured activities in the Conference included: a) talks and fora on the eSkwela project components; b) best practices and testimonials from eSkwela implementers, partners, and learners; and c) strategic planning workshops for both project management and project implementation levels.

A number of plenary speakers shared their insights on eSkwela 2.0, the future of elearning in the Phililippines, and self-paced learning. The Conference also served as a venue for project partners, site implementers, and learners to give testimonials to the effect that eSkwela had on their personal lives. These will be further discussed in Chapter 7. There were also talks on tapping other opportunities to widen the range of community involvement for eSkwela Centers. Rotary Club has been a very active partner for a number of eSkwela Centers. The good thing about the partnership is that the club’s scope of engagement does not stop with payments for utilities and personnel honoraria. The club also engages in values formation for the learners – such as the Kalumpang (Marikina) program to remove ISTAMBAY, a word play, which means Ikaw, Sila, Tayo, Ay Mga Batang Ayaw Yumaman. The program requires that each Rotarian adopt 2 or 3 learners to guide them morally, mentally, spiritually. It is heartwarming to note that other eSkwela Centers have similar programs (livelihood, environmental drives, scholarships, career tracking) and activities (field trips, retreats, sportsfests, camps), sponsored by partners LGUs, civic groups, or NGOs. The eSkwela Center in the City of San Jose del Monte shared the 300-hour student volunteer program that they have with the National Service Training Program (NSTP) of Bulacan State University that benefit OSYAs. Volunteers provide services in the orientation and mapping and advocacy programs, deployment, and completion (feedback and best experiences). NSTP volunteers also assist in the teaching and learning process at the eSkwela center, take part in the intervention strategies, such as the Agap Sagip – No Drop Out Strategy, and help out in the Mobile Teaching Program as well as in the LGU funded Education Service - the EVR-BEAM.

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The participants also discussed areas of concern, recommendations, and clustered action plans in their respective groups during the breakout sessions: sites, instructional model, and content development. As a reaction to the cluster action plans and commitments, Dr. Carolina Guerrero shared the plans of BALS vis-à-vis DepEd’s ICT4E Maser Plan. She enumerated the dreams and targets of BALS in sustaining the progress and working on enhancements to ICT-enabling the ALS Program – most notable of which were the major expansion of eSkwela to each school division; the online A&E Test that would allow learners to take the test anytime, anywhere and that would provide immediate test results; and the BALS-MIS which would make real-time, updated, and informed decision-making possible. The Conference also had eSkwelympics and Thanksgiving Dinner-Luau that served as teambuilding activities among the different types of eSkwela partners and implementers. For a more detailed report on the 2nd eSkwela Conference, please refer to Attachment W. Philippine Community eCenter Network (PhilCeCNet) CICT’s Philippine Community eCenter (PhilCeC) Program aims to establish a CeC [defined as “self sustaining shared facility providing affordable access to ICT-enabled services and relevant content”] in every municipality. According to the Philippine Digital Strategy25, “1,200 communities have been connected to the Internet through the CeC program”. There are plans to establish additional CeCs, strengthen existing ones, transform selected internet cafes and school computer labs to CeCs, build capability of CeC knowledge workers, and map/develop relevant content for CeCs.
The PhilCeC Network, on the other hand, is a multisectoral conglomeration of CeCs nationwide that was established in support of knowledge sharing, stakeholder support, CeC standards and procedures as well as provides expertise and generates and mobilizes resources for the network. “It is a learning and collaborative community of CeC stakeholders contributing to the achievement of the
25

Philippine Digital Strategy 2011-2016. The strategy “builds on its predecessor, the Philippine Strategic Roadmap for the Information and Communication Technology Sector 2006-2010. …[It] looks at how ICT can make a difference in key areas such as government and governance, in education, our economy, in employment and our industries and small businesses; and how it can be used for national development, empowering citizens, fighting corruption and poverty, and transforming government. This strategy aims to show how ICT can help fulfill the priorities of the Aquino Administration.” Launched 29 June 2011.

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Philippine CeC Program vision and delivery of its mission, thereby ensuring responsive, efficient, valuable and sustainable CeCs.”26 PhilCeCNet is also the umbrella organization for tPCA, discussed earlier as the main project partner in the conduct of the eSkwela Center Management Training. PhilCeCnet management stressed that the capacity building for the CeC Knowledge workers (such as the CeC manager, technical as well as finance and administrative staff) is vital to the success of the PhilCeC program. Strategies had been identified for future PhilCeCNet implementation, including standardizing capacity building programs for CeC knowledge workers; partnership strategies to institutionalize CeC plantilla positions; and development and adoption of competency standards for CeC workers (National Competency Standards-CeC Knowledge Workers). Since eSkwela is considered as one of the delivery services for CeCs, the project team worked closely with PhilCeC Program and PhilCeCNet in bringing eSkwela to more areas in the country. Existing CeCs have decided to provide eSkwela learning sessions twice or thrice a week to the community “to expand their services in a bid to achieve a convergence of content, service, and product to particularly benefit Out-of-School-Youths and Adults who would like to pursue education.” 27 In addition, the 2010 run of the PhilCeC Program also provided each region with equipment packages and capability-building courses. Originally targeting a total of 16 sites at 8 units per site, the program donated the packages to 31 new eSkwela centers at 4 units per site (exception: Oroquieta City received 8 units to replace the recipient community from ARMM, reason being no DepEd representative from ARMM was coordinating with the project team). These communities underwent the the eSkwela application process and have passed the selection criteria shown as Attachment X. Attachment Y shows the complete list of eSkwela Centers, those under the PhilCeC Program are clearly indicated.

Roll-out Progress In the first year of implementation of eSkwela 1.0, despite the roadshows and ToTs that were conducted in all regions, setting up community-initiated eSkwela Centers took some time to take off. The optimistic targets set during the Regional Roadshows did not pan as expected. Although there were a number of expressions of interest, these were not immediately pursued. Some groups were expecting the top-down approach of having hardware deployed from a donor agency – needless to say, they decided not to prioritize eSkwela anymore because of this. Some groups thought that they had to subscribe to the 21-unit set-up of the pilot sites (i.e. misunderstanding the roadshow assertion of starting small with 4-units and working up to more units through time) which unnecessarily bogged down their efforts. Other
26

Philippine CeC Network Portal. URL: http://www.philcecnet.ph/content/view/6/7/ Accessed: March 2011.
Alexandra, J. eSkwela recognizes PhilCeC program, to remain a CeC model post-transfer to DepEd. URL: http://www.philcecnet.ph/content/view/534/ Accessed: May 2011.

27

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groups that were willing to work for their own Centers claimed that it was quite difficult to get local stakeholders to invest in eSkwela since it did not have the required critical mass yet – worse, these same stakeholders did not even understand what ALS was in the first place. In an effort speed things up a little bit, the project team decided to go beyond regional- and division-level DepEd contacts and prioritize interested NGOs, LGUs, or other groups who were agreeable to the collaborative approach and wanted to set up eSkwela centers. True enough, from a pilot implementation of 4 sites in 2007, there are now 92 operational sites nationwide. Year 2007 (pilot) 2008 2009 2010 2011 1st sem Total Additional eSkwela Centers 4 3 15 40 33 95

Table 27 eSkwela Centers through the years

This is broken down by region as follows: To operate within 2011 NCR 11+1* 2 CAR 4 1 15 0 2 2 3 4 4A 4 4B 4 1 5 10+1* 3 6 3 1 7 4 2 8 11 2 9 7 0 10 4 0 11 5 1 12 3 13 2 ARMM TOTALS 95 10 * inactive ceners – one was hit by Ondoy, the other by political issues REGION Operating sites
Table 28 Breakdown of eSkwela Centers by Region

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With 10 more Centers that are “about-to-operate” (i.e. with minor details still pending) in the second semester of 2011, this will bring the total number of eSkwela Centers set up by 2011 through CICT guidance to 105. Note that a series of LF and NA training workshops were conducted in the years 2009 and 2010 to go alongside the surge of new eSkwela sites. The graphs in Figure 21 break down the 95 existing sites by location, income class, and hardware configuration. As can be seen, most of the eSkwela Centers are still in cities and/or first and second class municipalities, comprising 61% or 56 of the 95 sites. It is assumed that this is the case because of two (2) factors: 1) the drop-out rate in these areas is high due to the migration and lure of jobs, and 2) there are more potential program sponsors (LGUs, NGOs, civic organizations) in these areas that are capable of supporting and sustaining the program.

Figure 21 Profile of eSkwela Sites
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Based on the location of the Centers, a big number are located in school premises (i.e. school laboratories are used or the ALS center is within a school compound) and Community eCenters, at 32% and 31%, respectively. The others are housed in government buildings (e.g. DepEd Division Office, library hub, training center) or in NGO/civic group premises. Most of the centers adhere to the shared facility model at 59% which means that 56 of the 95 existing centers are also used for other community activities such as computer literacy courses for LGU personnel and other constituents, online research for students, ICT training centers, and other services. The advantage in using shared facilities is that the center managers and/or learning facilitators do not have to worry about the infrastructure and connectivity requirements since these are already provided by the Center itself. Further, there are assigned technical people who are competent to handle the technical concerns. Majority of the centers (48%) have 4 to 8 units, most of which got their units from the PhilCeC Program or from other community sponsors. Twenty-six percent (26 %) or 25 centers have 9 to 14 units while 24% or 23 centers have 15-20+ units. Aside from the 4 pilot sites, the “big” centers would be the ones that hold eSkwela sessions in multi-unit and multipurpose school laboratories or those that had been generously sponsored by their local partners (usually the LGU). The biggest center is that of St. Andrew’s School in Paranaque City with 56 units (shared model). There is one center that currently has no units since it was hit by Ondoy in September 2009 and has not recovered yet from the tragedy – Kalumpang, Marikina. It is interesting to note that innovative eSkwela implementations had surfaced: • the learners of eSkwela-Angeles City (Pampanga), former guest relations officers (GROs), use their respective personal laptops during eSkwela sessions, totaling 18 units the LGU of Alaminos City provided the complete infrastructure and broadband requirements of 16 shared eSkwela Centers in the city’s outlying high schools through its Education without Borders Program via the Wireless Internet-based Government System (EDWINGS) – a division-wide expansion; the LGU is likewise working with TESDA for a programmed eSkwela-livelihood intervention the LGU of Ormoc has set up 10 additional eSkwela Centers to cater to those in the remote areas of Ormoc City, also a division-wide expansion (DepEd- Cagayan de Oro has similar plans) the San Fernando Christian Community of La Union used a second-hand container van discarded by a construction company as an internet café-cum-eSkwela Center eSkwela-San Fernando, Camarines Sur was the first mobile eSkwela set-up that allowed the learning facilitators and center manager to bring laptops via a motorcycle to the

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• •

learners from different remote barangay halls for eSkwela sessions rather than requiring the learners to commute or walk to the centers o three other implementations followed the same model: 1) eSk wela-Libon, Albay (with the official eSkwela tricycle that ferries the laptops and the learners as well), 2) eSkwela-Sta. Isabel, Naga City (using a sturdy mobile and light workstation set-up instead of laptops); 3) Lingap Pangkabataan has been using the group’s education van intended for its Mobile Education and Child Protection Project or Bahaghari to do the same thing; the van was awarded by UNICEF and Sony Ericsson eSkwela-Calubian partnered with a TESDA Institute for a programmed eSkwelalivelihood intervention through the institute’s laboratory and other facilities eSkwela-Burauen, Leyte is the first center that made use of the internet café model through a sponsored voucher system; Netopia-Lingap Pangkabataan will follow suit by July 2011 serving out-of-school youth and adults through Netopia Ali Mall

Please refer to Attachment Y for a complete listing of the 95 existing and 10 about-tooperate eSkwela Centers. The detailed spreadsheet/database showing individual center information may be viewed from the CD, filename “Master List: eSkwela Centers, as of 30 June 2011” as well as through the automated Site Management System (eSkwela SMS) which will be discussed in Chapter 6.

General Findings In the years that eSkwela Centers have been around, the eSkwela core team had gained a lot of knowledge, experience, and insights that no book can encapsulate fully. Below is an attempt to document these experiences along with the challenges met, lessons learned, and good practices applied in eSkwela 1.0. eSkwela Center Life Cycle Figure 22 illustrates the life cycle that was observed for an eSkwela Center vis-à-vis community engagement. It is a more general diagram of the Application Process Flow depicted in Figure 19. It starts off with a local community signifying initial interest brought about by eSkwela advocacy campaigns – either through the marketing collaterals, websites, conference presentations, site visit (as a field trip for PhilCeC Program trainees), or even word of mouth. A call or a short meeting would then ensue. The application and assessment process follows with the submission of the Application Form to the project team and the return of the Readiness Assessment Form (through the Scorecard) to the local community. This ensures that the community thinks things through – i.e. various requirements that are essential in center operations – before

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actually committing to eSkwela. This step emphasizes that setting up a center might be easy enough but sustaining its operations is a different matter. It is vital that there is one pointperson to champion the cause and to coordinate with all the groups to be involved. This person will most likely be designated as the eSkwela Center Manager.

Figure 22 eSkwela Center Life Cycle

The set-up process is the logical next step once the community finally decides to commit. It normally takes some time between the initial call/meeting and for the actual set-up process to commence – it has been observed to range between 6 to 8 months. The reason normally is the non-completion of requirements as specified in the Application Form, generally because some stakeholders who initially committed support did not follow through, thus leaving the lead proponent searching for other partners. The set-up process formalizes the commitments through a MOA that have been reviewed the Steering Committee members. It is also the period when all preparations are made – personnel training, hardware (if new) and software set-up, and learner selection. Some centers have to wait for the scheduled training workshops to avail of the free eSkwela training. If the group wishes to conduct their own training run in coordination with the regional eSkwela team and trainers, then the expenses are covered by the partners. Local communities typically hold a soft launch as well as a major launch, but this is entirely the decision of the local partners. The regular center operations depend on the agreed upon schedule for holding eSkwela sessions – for shared facilities, sessions are held twice or thrice a week, 8 hours each

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day. A session should run from 3 to 4 hours so that the learners would not feel shortchanged. Further, this affords the Learning Facilitator/s more time to conduct individualized or group face-to-face facilitation. The Network Administrator and the Center Manager do not have to be present at the center sessions at all times – again, their assigned periods and tasks would have to be discussed among themselves, guided by the list of responsibilities provided during the application and set-up stages. It is during this step that learners are oriented and trained on the proper use of the module guides. For most of the centers, computer literacy classes are held for learners who are non-computer users. It is highly discouraged to hold teacher-centered sessions as this is against the foundations and principles of ALS itself – in addition, the computers, LMS, and the PBL training are not maximized thus misusing the eSkwela investment. Handholding measures in terms of site operations and the appropriate use of the eSkwela instructional model are put in place through the conduct of regular M&E activities by the project team (and soon, by the regional eSkwela teams). It has been observed that implementers value the community of practice built among the project team and other implementers - having someone “available” via SMS, emails, chat, forum, and the eSkwela websites matters a lot to them. Although emphasized in the MOA, center performance and corresponding sustainability measures (social, political, technical, financial) are reviewed and assessed from time to time by the Center Manager along with the Steering Committee and other site implementers. It is highly encouraged that the committee undergoes strategic planning exercises to clarify the center’s future direction and community’s sustainability action plans. For a number of communities, once the center operations have been stabilized, the site implementers have already internalized their roles, and enough learners can attest to the benefits of eSkwela ( usually after a year or two of operations), they look into expanding the reach of eSkwela to more community constituents. Some communities decide perhaps on getting more computer units for the existing center. A number opt to partner with groups or institutions that have a huge number of computer units that are not maximized – perhaps a school or an internet café. While others decide on coming up with new centers or engaging in mobile set-ups to reach far-flung barangays – thus, bringing education nearer the learners. This decision to expand begins the center life cycle once again, but with the initial eSkwela Center serving as the model implementation and the current implementers serving as mentors to the next set of implementers.

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Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Good Practices It dawned on everyone concerned that setting up an eSkwela Center takes time, especially in getting the buy-in of other local partners to support the Center and dealing with differing styles and priorities of various stakeholders. For one thing, there is an obvious need for stronger advocacy on the Alternative Learning System (focusing on the Accreditation and Equivalency Program) itself. Add to this, a greater appreciation and deeper understanding of effective ICT in Education is necessary – that is, stakeholders should look at the actual appropriate and relevant utilization beyond mere deployment of hardware and software for computer literacy. The multi-stakeholder approach is considered both a good practice and a major challenge. Although it provides a win-win solution to various eSkwela Center concerns, it also means more people to talk to – more schedules, personalities, perspectives, and priorities to adjust to. The project team had learned how to maintain good relationships with local partners despite changes in leadership among local partners – everybody is welcome to support eSkwela). The team had taken a stand that the institutions and not personalities are the local partners. Social mobilization and project advocacy activities are on an on-call basis – that is, these are dependent on the availability and interest level of the potential local partner. Considering limited staff and the sheer number of inquiries on eSkwela set-up, meeting with /orienting each interested group or individual eats up a lot of time. As such, advocacy and marketing collaterals, project briefs, presentations, and FAQ sheets on eSkwela had been developed to cater to these groups and have been made available through the Regional Coordinators, CICT office, and eSkwela websites (both ning and FB). Another good move was training ALS implementers to serve as eSkwela Regional Coordinators and Trainers – they now serve as the first line of defense, so to speak, in championing and explaining what eSkwela is all about, essentially decentralizing the process. Video testimonials and documentations have likewise helped in giving potential and new stakeholders and implementers a good idea of eSkwela. It proved challenging to impose the site application process and the MOA since many potential stakeholders see these as tools of bureaucracy. Despite the initial objections from “difficult” parties, the project team did not budge and did not entertain incomplete application forms and requirement commitments. The team stuck to a cautious expansion lest misguided centers damage the reputation of eSkwela. Eventually, community stakeholders saw the need for such a process. Despite this, some local partners still insist on setting up an eSkwela Center anyway without consulting with the project team – this has led to problematic start-up and regular operations. For such cases, the project team ensured to steer them back to the imposed process that has already been tried-and-tested. Lately, the branding of the “e-learning center” initiative of DepEd-BALS had caused much confusion in the field despite having the same set of foundation

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characteristics with eSkwela. There’s a clear need for DepEd-BALS to see that operating and sustaining ICT-based center is not same as running a regular community learning center. Different skill sets, resources/ requirements, and partnership engagements are involved. The bureau as well as various partners and implementers would need to gain center management perspective and strengthen the required competencies in order to appreciate eSkwela Center operations and sustainability. The MOA, coupled with local resolutions and ordinances, proved to be very useful to ensure center sustainability despite changes in local community leadership since it lists down the areas of responsibility for each party. Risks of partner withdrawal of continuous support/ sustainability of the center have been mitigated through the presence of these legal documents. However, it had a constant bottleneck in terms of reviewing, revising, routing, and signing the documents – experience dictates that this process takes around one month for each of the two to three partners. The team had generally anticipated delays brought about by red tape in order to make adjustments and misplaced documents. A number of Centers started operating without the signed legal documents due to these delays. A number of site implementers oversimplify center operations and sustainability requirements. In fact, some implementers had been assessed to fall below the selection criteria set by CICT prior to training interventions while others would only like to obtain a copy of the eSkwela learning package without undergoing training. Several cases of mismatched expectations and differences in work styles and personalities as well as resistance and apprehension to changes in roles and strategies had badly affected working relations within sites and divisions. These make the set-up and operations of eSkwela Centers much more difficult than it has to be. To counter this sort of negativity, the team had acknowledged maturity models and valued differences as well as the need for the need for proper orientation. It had put in place mentoring / handholding/ support and regular M&E mechanisms to impose the proper use of the instructional model, continuous onsite competency enhancement, and stronger community building. Through all these challenges, the project team appreciates and applies the following good practices: • keeping open lines of communication and a healthy level of trust with local partners and implementers which has proven to be essential in center sustainability and effective M&E imposing eSkwela setup and operations processes and making these easy to understand through forms, guides, and a variety of advocacy and marketing materials/collaterals maintaining a reliable pool of eSkwela Regional Coordinators, trainers, and field implementers to serve as eSkwela champions maintaining eSkwela’s online presence (Ning, Facebook, cict.eskwela@gmail.com) helps in maintaining communication with eSkwela stakeholders assisting and supporting local partners and implementers find ways to be able to implement despite challenges (no computers, no support from LGU, etc) encouraging the local communities and implementers to innovate (e.g. developing a computer-based FLT and a Center portal; conducting additional activities for learners) securing testimonials from partners, implementers, and learners to attest to the success of eSkwela and its effects on their individual lives and the community
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being available to various stakeholders for consultation (online / offline)

Next Steps and Recommendations Funding has been provided for the implementation of eSkwela 1.1 or the logical next phase of eSkwela – that is, the massive roll-out of eSkwela in all DepEd Divisions through 114 ALS school-based BPOSA (Balik Paaralan para sa Out-of-School Adults) Centers and 211 ALS Community Learning Centers under DepEd-BALS. This will be further discussed in Chapter 7. As DepEd takes on the reins in implementing eSkwela, it is highly recommended for the agency to maintain, if not improve on standards set by CICT in setting up eSkwela Centers. These would include the following: • • maintaining a sufficient pool of dedicated personnel to handle eSkwela Center-related matters abiding by the Center Life Cycle, with particular focus on insisting on the fulfilling the requirements enumerated in the Application Form and imposing the legal documents conducting regular and appropriate capability-building activities for Center Managers to help ensure sustainability of the eSkwela Centers, covering such areas as Social Marketing, Proposal Writing, Presentation Skills, Resource Management and Mobilization, Communication Planning, Change and Relations Management, business planning and financial projections – it would be wise to continue working with tPCA for these capability building interventions maintaining the current online presence of eSkwela through various means and requiring the individual Centers to do the same through an eSkwela Portal – eSkwela should be a model of appropriate ICT use for effective coordination and collaboration continuing the stringent M&E activities and mechanisms not only to handhold the implementers but also to provide the different stakeholders an opportunity to share experiences, insights, and recommendations for enhancements

The project team encourages DepEd-BALS to continue exploring strategic partnerships which would help in eSkwela expansion such as the alliance that it got for ALS in general through the Building Inter-Agency Grand Alliance Towards Institutionalization of Nationwide Alternative Learning System-Education for all (BIGATIN-EFA) Project between DepEd and various groups. Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the DepED together with the National Youth Commission (NYC), League of Provinces (LPP), League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), Liga ng mga Barangay sa Pilipinas (LnB), and the Sangguniang Kabataan National Federation (SKNF), seek to “establish network linkages with various organizations …to deliver the ALS programs and projects in a wider coverage” and thus benefit more out-of-school youth and adults nationwide.28 A similar alliance may be institutionalized with the League of Corporate Foundations, Inc. (LCF), the SUC Extension Programs, the Internet Café Association of the Philippines,
28

Morada, F. DepED partners with various agencies to promote alternative learning system URL: http://www.deped.gov.ph/e_posts.asp?id=282 Accessed: March 2011

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and / or the established ICT Councils around the country. DepEd has to capitalize on the momentum of eSkwela through the three (3) international recognitions and recent media exposure to get more support for more Centers and implementers nationwide.

Conclusion The eSkwela project team recognized a number of factors that had made site roll-out and sustainability exciting and fulfilling despite all the challenges. Multi-stakeholder engagement, coupled with community ownership, is definitely the way to go. This, however, is not as simple as it seems – one must approach it in an orderly fashion, lest the efforts boomerang back to you. An idea, intervention, or initiative – or any product for that matter – may be designed and developed well but marketed poorly. The project team was aware of this when it was decided to bring eSkwela to the communities for local support and sustainability. As such, eSkwela was designed holistically, that is, not just a sole deployment of infrastructure or a stand-alone training intervention but as a whole package with intertwining components (social mobilization/advocacy, infrastructure & connectivity, training, content, applications, community involvement, M&E). The roll-out process had been meticulous and cautious but worked well with the other considered factors – availability of support, readiness, ownership, and sustainability concerns. The project team went against the call for fast-tracked processes and an impromptu massive expansion precisely because eSkwela was admittedly a work in progress, an idea that still had to simmer and “cook” to gain a certain level of acceptance and appreciation. From the experience of assisting and guiding 95 sites – plus 10 about-to-operate sites – into existence and sustained operations, the project team realized that when the following are done… …first, one must tie up or ground ICT with relevant services and actual life applications towards assisting users achieve a higher goal in their personal lives, do not limit the potentials of ICT to basic ICT literacy …second, working models and evidences of success (experiences, testimonials, accomplishments, albeit imperfect) should be provided – let these promote the benefits of the initiative, coupled with a non-judgmental M&E mechanism, and a reliable support system …third, promote and employ a true sense of inclusive and collaborative community of practice and learning, awash with openness, flexibility, innovation, and exploration …then local communities will embrace and clamour for the ICT-supported/enhanced intervention that one is advocating …such as eSkwela.

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To enable the project team and site implementers to effectively and efficiently manage the various components of the eSkwela Project, appropriate applications/systems and technical support were put in place. Based on experiences of the pilot run, original systems and technical support mechanisms were reviewed and revised/ enhanced for eSkwela 1.0. This chapter will discuss the implementation details of the technical aspects of eSkwela, including challenges, lessons learned, and good practices. This particular component relied on both 1) internal experts for day-to-day technical support and technical training as well as 2) an expert team of systems analysts and programmers from the University of the Philippines’ Java Research and Development Center (UP-JRDC) for the systems development. BALS representatives and field implementers were engaged as system “clients” and stand-in testers.

Pilot Implementation Since eSkwela relies heavily on the availability and reliability of technology, technical support has always been provided to the project team as well as to the sites. A project staff position had specifically been assigned to oversee all technical matters, including the use of automated systems such as the LMS and component databases, module installations on center computers, system configurations and maintenance, networking concerns, and others. Systems Used For the pilot implementation, the deployed computer units came with a special eSkwela installation that showed a customized window where learners and learning facilitators pick out the desired eModule via a pull-down menu. The use of the ATutor LMS and other free online educational applications was also promoted to encourage implementers and learners to use such tools as forums, online quizzes, and blogs as well as other online multimedia and interactive resources such as skoool.ie (of Intel) in their learning process. It was observed that even if participants were ecstatic in learning about these during the eSkwela Teacher Training Workshops, the novelty of using multiple ICT tools and resources eventually wore off. The implementers reasoned that these tools that are accessed via multiple windows, although innovative and engaging, got too confusing and overwhelming for both the implementers and the learners. As such, they resorted to just sticking to the eModules provided since it was the simpler alternative. Technical Support Provided Network administrators (then called “laboratory managers”) were trained on basic LAN networking and maintenance and troubleshooting for possible errors and malfunctions. They eventually became designated as the laboratory custodians who enforced laboratory policies and guidelines. From time to time, they are allowed to act as assistants to the learning facilitators since technical problems rarely occurred.

Chapter 6: Project Implementation – System Development and Technical Support

The project team’s technical person was on hand to conduct the training for network administrators and to serve as the “helpdesk” for the four (4) pilot sites. He also supported the other project components in the documentation requirements of component-specific data on to the project server. Recommendations for Next Steps In connection with these observations, recommendations were put forward during the Strategic Planning Workshop 2007. Primary recommendation was that the next project phase should look into a more robust and user-friendly alternative to the ATutor LMS used. The system was to be customized according to the requirements of eSkwela to provide a seamless ICT integration in ALS education, especially if it goes online. It was proposed that the LMS be combined with an Executive Information System (EIS) that will serve as a digital documentation and monitoring mechanism that will provide the project team real-time data on the users as well as extent of use of the eModules and laboratories. The entire system will be similar to that used by Internet cafés where learners are required to log in and out of the system, use it to access the eModules (housed in each center’s server), teacher’s instructions, and online activities and assessment tools. It will also allow them (and their parents) to keep track of their progress, participate in discussion forums, and collaborate with their teachers and other learners online. The system will likewise provide the eSkwela learning facilitators an electronic means to maintain records of their learners, create personalized activities and instructions according to specific needs of learners/classes, and collaborate with others online. The Center Manager, on the other hand, will be able to maintain teacher accounts, student accounts, and a modules database as well as consolidate relevant information including center utilization reports, utilization and evaluation ratings of elearning modules, summary of learner performance, etc. Automated summary reports will then be generated by the system for use by the eSkwela Project Management Office for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Furthermore, there will be a provision where the learners and mobile teachers can evaluate and rate the modules according to set usability and learning evaluation standards. This will assist the PMO in further enhancing the modules. Teachers will likewise be considered users of the LCMS when the Continuing Teacher Training and Education Program (CTTEP) eModules go online. eSkwela 1.0 Targets At the latter part of the pilot implementation, a thesis group form De La Salle University (DLSU) worked on the eSkwela LMS v. 2 as their thesis output. The group defended their output last September 2008. Although the LMS is a working version, it was determined that the output would still require further customization, revisions, and additions, especially to allow online access and use. Further, since the system was done by a group of students, after-project support and training will prove to be difficult. The project team also started exploring the idea of customizing the iSchools Project Monitoring and Evaluation Information System (PMEIS) that was being developed by the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) at the time. However, the iSchools-PMEIS

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took much longer to be developed and tested. The eSkwela project team could not afford to wait too long to finally customize the system according to eSkwela’s requirements. In view of these developments, it was decided that the project would need to get a new partner that will study and analyze all the processes and corresponding data requirements to come up with an integrated eSkwela system that will be used not only by the individual centers but also by the project team. Information will be stored and organized in rationalized databases for easy retrieval and filtering. The system will also assist the project team in effectively monitoring the different aspects related to center operations and sustainability, implementers’ training, and users’ LMS utilization and feedback. Ideally, there would only be one portal for to house/link the eSkwela site for both internal project users as well as for the general public (various information and updates on the eSkwela Project, with pages on different areas), the LMS, and the PMEIS.

System Analysis and Design Towards this end, CICT contracted the Java Research and Development Center of the University of the Philippines College of Engineering (UP-JRDC) to formulate the System Analysis and Design (SAD) for eSkwela, using a portion of the eSkwela eGF 2007 budget – refer to Attachment Z for a copy of the SAD MOA. This was done in preparation for the development of the online systems to be determined as necessary for the smooth implementation of the project toward regular operations. Requirements include a customized Learning Content and Management System and a Project Monitoring and Evaluation Information System. The objectives of the SAD exercise were to: 1. Determine the requirements of the eSkwela systems for the efficient and effective delivery of the customized instructional model and monitoring of the various operating components; Develop a design/model that will serve as the baseline for the development/ integration/ customization of the eSkwela systems.

2.

The customized LMS was intended to serve as the main interface among the learners, the eSkwela learning facilitators, the Module Guides, and the eModules. This ensures an efficient way of using ICT tools to deliver, access, use, and store ICT-based learning tools and materials essential in the eSkwela learning process. In the same manner, the customized Monitoring and Evaluation system was supposed to be an efficient way of monitoring, reporting on, and assessing the various components in the eSkwela operations. As with any System Development project, the required systems development for the eSkwela Project began with the System Analysis and Design phase that came up with the System Requirements, System Specifications, and a Systems Design/Model.

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The SAD sub-project generally followed the schedule shown below. Movements in schedule were caused by non-availability of majority of the TWG on the proposed dates as well as a few delays in fund releases.               Hiring of Personnel Preparation of Initial Requirements Analysis to be submitted to the CICT Review of Initial Requirements Analysis by CICT Second Workshop Preparation of Draft System Requirements Specifications (SRS) to be submitted to the CICT Review of Draft SRS by CICT Final Workshop for Validation of SRS Integration and Finalization of SRS to be submitted to the CICT Review of SRS and Acceptance by CICT Buffer (for revisions on SRS) Preparation of System Design and Model Review of System Design Document by CICT Buffer (for revisions on System Design Document) Acceptance of System Design Document

An eSkwela Technical Working Group (TWG) was tasked to identify, validate, and finalize system requirements with the UP-JRDC team through the conduct of three (3) workshops. It was composed of duly designated representatives from CICT’s eSkwela Project Team, DepEd- BALS, representatives from seasoned sites, and Education Technology representatives from partner State Universities and Colleges (SUCs). Discussions during the workshops centered around current vs. desired practices, tools used, target changes in procedures, roles of different system users, and relationships among various data enumerated/presented. The workshops gave the TWG an opportunity to review and further organize the existing eSkwela systems. The UP-JRDC team asked specific questions that forced the project team to make policy decisions on center implementation and data utilization – such as clarification and distinction among different roles in a Center (a person might have different roles and must separate those roles during the exercise), process flows, protocols, regularity of report submissions, access hierarchy/limitations of different roles (who gets access to what?), etc. The project team was likewise prompted to streamline and collapse/merge the forms and instruments used for its various M&E activities to increase system efficiency. The TWG members were required to sign-off the SAD documents that would serve as the basis for succeeding system development efforts for eSkwela. Deviations from these documents require Change Request Forms to be justified and approved / agreed upon.

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Based on the discussions, the UP-JRDC team proposed six (6) separate but integrated sub-systems for the automated eSkwela System, as follows: [below is a condensed version of the eSkwela SAD Document, submitted August 2009, shown as Attachment AA] 1. Personal Learning Environment (PLE) System The PLE keeps track of the learner's life at eSkwela, from Learner Entry to Learner Exit. It tracks learner's performance through the learner's portfolio. It also allows viewing of print modules. Accessible to the following roles:  Center Manager: maintains learner’s tracking record  Learning Facilitator: monitors learner's performance and maintains learner’s portfolio; monitors the usage of resources that are available  Online Tutor (may be different from the face-to-face LF): subject domain expert  Learner: fills up and submits accomplished forms like ILA, Weekly Learning Log, etc. Linked to:  Site Management System  Instructional Model Management System 2. Content Developers Track Report System (CDTRS) The CDTRS does the progress monitoring of deliverables (inputs and outputs from each proponent of the content development team). Each proponent can view, add, and update each track ticket to assess the overall status of completion for each module or component that is generated or submitted by a proponent. The system shall also include a notification or reporting feature for proponents who have pending deliverables and also a quantitative way of expressing the progress of a module (through percentages). Accessible to the following roles:  Instructional Designer: conceptualizes the modules received and translates it to scripts, storyboards, and screen designs  Programmer: converts the scripts to eModule applications (alpha and beta versions)  Media Editor: responsible for the production of all media contents (graphics, videos, sounds)  Project Manager: oversees the project implementation of the specific content; monitors the progress and delivery of the modules  Content Developer Manager: part of the eSkwela Project Team that acts as the overall lead in planning, coordinating, and implementation of all content development activities

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3.

Instructional Model Management System (IMMS) The IMMS keeps track of the learning facilitators in the eSkwela sites by providing data of their training histories and needs. It tracks training invitations, attendance and evaluation. Evaluation of LF's consists of self and learner evaluation. The system also tracks data on module guides, particularly, their evaluation and usage. Accessible to the following roles:  Instructional Model Manager: part of the eSkwela Project Team who tracks the Learning Facilitator's trainings and development  IM team: a selected pool of BALS, CICT, and LFs  Learner: evaluates the module content and the performance of the LF  Learning Facilitator: evaluates the module guide  Observer: person from CICT or DepEd-BALS who evaluates the LF's performance

4.

Sites Management System (IMMS) The SMS is used by the Sites Unit of the eSkwela Project Team in monitoring and addressing the transactional requirements of the site implementers in relation to set-up and operations of remote eSkwela sites, and facilitating the development and tracking of the administration and operations of established remote eSkwela sites. It acquires necessary and adequate information from sites needed to generate the site's profile and description of its current state and progress before and after its establishment as an official eSkwela site. The system is designed to generate the reports that would be needed to assess the site's qualification in becoming an eSkwela Center and assess the effectiveness of the project, particularly the use of the module guides, the profiles of the learners, and the performance of the learners based on predefined assessment methods and metrics. Accessible to the following roles:  Sites Manager: part of the eSkwela Project Team who tracks the status of the remote eSkwela sites and their implementers; main point person for the general public as well as the site implementers  Site Implementer Applicant/Stakeholder: submits an eSkwela Application Form (a registration mechanism for sites); upon approval, the site applicant account will become a site stakeholder account  Center Manager: personnel that is stationed in the remote operational site  Laboratory Manager/ Network Administrator: technical/networking personnel stationed in the operational site Linked to:  Incident Report System: file logs and incident report of the site  IMMS

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5.

Incident Reporting System (IRS) The IRS reports and tracks all the module inquiries, technical and educational management assistance requested by the site implementers. It includes the reporting and informing of the site management side of cases and noteworthy situations related to learners and learning facilitators (may range from inquiries related to hardware assistance to information relating some special cases of learners in their sites). It also tracks and identifies the status of completion of the incidents reported by site implementers which require site management action. Accessible to the following roles:  Site Incident Reporter: registered user of the remote site (either the site implementer or a learner)  Incident Report Manager: part of the Sites Unit of the eSkwela Project Team who tracks all the incident-related communications and reported from the remote sites Linked to:  SMS

6.

User Account Management System (UAMS) The UAMS monitors the people involved in the eSkwela project. It serves as a database of personnel such as learning facilitators, center managers, content developers, module guide developers and other personnel of the eSkwela project. In short, the system maintains a profile of each user of the eSkwela System. Accessible to the following roles:  System Administrator  eSkwela Personnel (includes LF, CM, IMM, CD, SIR, SM, LM, and SIM): provides information to the system about his profile.

System Architecture The proposed software architecture is shown as Figure 23. The SAD Document enumerates and defines the various components and databases that comprise the system architecture. It also describes the work flow and privileges for each type of user/role that logs into the system. There is a total of 35 modules/components, 15 databases, and 18 roles available in the proposed integrated eSkwela System. Entity Relationship Diagram The entity relationship diagram is shown as Figure 24. It presents the interrelationships between entities or roles (user types) in the eSkwela System. To understand it more easily, below is an attempt to simplify the interaction between the learner, the LF, the module guides, and some of the forms:

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Figure 23

Proposed eSkwela System Architecture (SAD, August 2009)

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Figure 24

Proposed eSkwela System Entity Relationship Diagram (SAD, August 2009)

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1.

Learner Together with his/her learning facilitator, he/she can update his/her tracking record and portfolio. Learner needs to evaluate his/her learning facilitator through an evaluation form for the learning facilitators, as well as complete the Module Evaluation Form for the module content assessment.

2.

Learning Facilitator The LF can update his/her learner's tracking record and portfolio. The learning facilitator can also import and export his/her learner's data for possible utilization of other centers. He/she must accomplish the Module Guide evaluation form. These module guides can be customized by the learning facilitator.

3.

Module Guides Managed by the IM team, it is a tool for learning facilitators that provides structure to the learning process in eSkwela. It can be customized by the learning facilitators. It has a discussion forum that will be facilitated by the online tutor. Module Evaluation Form This form must be accomplished by the learners who will evaluate the contents of the modules that they are using in eSkwela. This form will be then reviewed by the IM Unit of the eSkwela Project Team.

4.

Module Guide Evaluation Form A form that must be accomplished by the learning facilitators that will evaluate the module guides.

5.

LF Evaluation Form This form must be completed by the learners and observer that will evaluate the performance of the learning facilitators.

6.

LF Self-evaluation Form This form must be completed by the learning facilitators to evaluate their execution of their roles in eSkwela.

Server and Hosting Set-up The UP-JRDC team suggested a network topology where the central server is located in the central office and the individual eSkwela facilities have a designated server. The central server will contain the latest build of the PLE, UAMS, site management module, user profiles and portfolio, module guide and the forum section. Each eSkwela facility will have a local copy of the PLE module, UAMS and related data, and module packages (module guide and module content) and will be synchronized through selective synchronization, taking into

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account the problematic connectivity status of some remote sites. The synchronization steps were likewise presented. Web-hosting options were also enumerated that apply only to the central server (or servers), which will house all eSkwela Project's component modules. These modules need to be accessible online to the remote sites' servers and users. On the other hand, server(s) deployed and installed on the remote sites need only to be visible to the site's internal network, thus web hosting is not necessary. Eventually, even if the UP Team recommended cloud computing over the other three options, it finally settled on using a web-hosted Virtual Dedicated Service / Virtual Private Service (VPS) as part of its system development package (see next section). The VPS option avoids investment costs while allowing the team full administrative access to the leased virtual space. In this mode, the physical equipment and maintenance will be taken care of by the provider, while the operating system and platform will be the responsibility of the eSkwela Project owner. Depending on the agreement, the provider may make archives of various states of the server for backup purposes. Since the virtual server is hosted in VPS data centers, power and Internet connectivity is guaranteed to be up and running without any significant outages. Portability is not a problem – the virtual server may be moved from one physical server to another. Full system redundancy can be implemented by duplicating the virtual server with which the system administrator will configure the master-slave relationship. Recurring cost includes the VPS subscription, salary for the technical personnel (lower than in other options), and domain name registration/subscription. There is an option for the eSkwela Project Team to switch to Cloud Computing once the VPS subscription expires.

System Development On March 2010, CICT went on to contract the UP-JRDC team to develop three (3) of the six (6) sub-systems proposed in the SAD phase, using a portion of the eSkwela eGF 2009 budget. The 3 sub-systems were developed based on the agreed upon system requirements: 1. 2. 3. User Account Management System (UAMS) Instructional Model Management System (IMMS) Site Management System (SMS) – with portions of the Incidence Report Management System incorporated

The decision to prioritize the 3 sub-systems was in part due to limited fund availability. Also, eSkwela just shifted to the Moodle-based LMS in 2009 – that is, all the module guides and training workshops are based on the Moodle interface. Shifting to the PLE would require another major shift for the LFs and learners that might not be openly accepted. Please refer to Attachment AB for a copy of the System Development MOA. Also included in the contract was the conduct of corresponding training workshops for the administration, system management and end user trainers. System Documentation as

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well as Administration and User Manuals were required deliverables, along with the Terminal Report. These were submitted in April 2011 and are shown as Attachment AC, AD1, 2, & 3; and AE, respectively. A 6-month Software Warranty Period had already started on May 1, 2011 which also marked the activation of the 12-month VPS subscription which also formed part of the development package. Warranty coverage:    Provide fixes to bugs and/or errors that may arise from the intended use of the System. This, however, will not include major revisions to the System source code. Provide immediate technical support to system crashes or failure; and, Document all bugs, errors, and/or system crashes/failure and corresponding fixes/solutions to be part of the troubleshooting guide of the System after the warranty period.

Technical Set-up The server-side components of UAMS, IMMS and SMS were developed using CodeIgniter, an open source PHP web application framework. As agreed upon, the System is currently housed in a web-hosted VPS (12month subscription) and can be accessed remotely by individual eSkwela sites in realtime through the use of a web browser (Firefox, Chrome, or Safari) connected to the Internet, as shown in Figure 25. The following are the technology being used:    Operating System: Ubuntu 10.04 Server Web Server: Apache 2.2.14 with PHP 5.3.2 and WebDAV Database Server: MySQL 5.1.41

Figure 25 eSkwela System General Architecture

Development Schedule The System Development sub-project generally followed the schedule shown below – the entire process took almost a year to be completed.    Hiring of Personnel Review of eSkwela system analysis and design document. Preparation of Final Requirements Analysis to be submitted to the CICT
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          

Review of Final Requirements Analysis by CICT Start of Development Alpha Version Development Phase Submission of Alpha Version Quality Assurance and Testing of Alpha Version Beta Version Development Phase Submission of Beta Version Quality Assurance and Testing of Beta Version Integration and Finalization of System Documentation Review of System Development Documentation, User and Administrator Manual by CICT Training and Acceptance of the System

Movements in schedule were caused by a number of major revisions or change requests in process flows and screen layouts, workarounds due to non-development of the PLE, data aggregation performance issues, internal UP-JRDC project team concerns, and a few delays due to late fund releases. Admittedly, the eSkwela project team was still enhancing the process flows based on field experiences and stakeholder feedback – the UPJRDC team was generous enough to accommodate enhancements or revisions mid-way.

Figure 26

eSkwela System – UAMS Sample Screenshots 1
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Figure 27

eSkwela System – UAMS Sample Screenshot 2

Figure 28

eSkwela System – IMMS Sample Screenshot 1
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Figure 29 eSkwela System – IMMS Sample Screenshots 2

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Figure 30 eSkwela System – IMMS Sample Screenshots 3

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Figure 31

eSkwela System – SMS Sample Screenshots 1

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Figure 32

eSkwela System – SMS Sample Screenshots 2
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Capability Building Workshops The DepEd-BALS e-Team, the designated eSkwela Regional Coordinators, and a number of site implementers were trained during the End-User Trainers’ Training Workshop held last March 2011. Training manuals distributed were: (1) the eSkwela System Administrators Manual, (2) the eSkwela System- User Manual for SMS, and (3) eSkwela System- User Manual for UAMS and IMMS. The e-Team, along with Director Mari Paul Soriano and two staff members from the DepEd Technical Services Unit, attended the final system briefing with the CICT technical staff members and the UP-JRDC team last May 2011. They vowed to use the System for the regular operations and monitoring of eSkwela, under DepEd management. Challenges and Lessons Learned The project team met a number of challenges during the SAD and system development phases, as follows:
1.

Newbies to systems development Participants of the SAD coming from the eSkwela Project were all newbies to system development. Although, all were knowledgeable in all of the processes of the eSkwela Project and eSkwela Center operations, it was difficult for them to visualize the processes into an automated system. This then translated to change requests for additional processes, roles or changes in database relationships, and screen layouts during the development phase.

2.

Dynamic and variety of roles of the eSkwela Project/Center The SAD team had difficulty in mapping the roles and relationships between systems due to the dynamism of the eSkwela Project (i.e. continuously being enhanced) and the variety of roles/implementers that are required/ recommended in the daily operations of an eSkwela Centers. This made it difficult to pin down the final version of process flows, forms used, and desired reports. Further, since development of the system works in respect to what was agreed upon during the SAD phase. But due to the first challenge mentioned above (challenge #1), additional or changes in the process, roles, or relationships realized or seen during the development stage were not easily/readily accepted by the developers as this would translate to additional cost and work hours. Difficulty and limitations set during the SAD phase could have been avoided if: (1) the UP-JRDC team suggested or showed the capabilities of an automated system in relation to the process being mapped out during the SAD phase, and (2) the eSkwela participants were able to see or visualize how the processes could be translated into an automated system during the SAD phase.

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3.

Budget constraints Due to the limited budget available for systems development, only three (3) out of the identified six (6) were developed under the RAD phase of the project.

4.

Adoption of the eSkwela Systems of DepEd-BALS/DepEd Although the systems developed would be useful to DepEd-BALS and the eSkwela Centers, transferring the system to DepEd-BALS proved to be a challenge because of the lack of a dedicated personnel with the required technical skills to appreciate the system intricacies and maintain/update it for DepEd-BALS. A possibility would have been to bring in the DepEd-Technical Services / ICT Unit (ICTU) as early as the SAD phase. This came up during a meeting about the transfer and adoption by DepEd/DepEd-BALS of the system developed. It would have ensured that the system being developed match the systems architecture being deployed by DepEd. This however, was not an oversight by the eSkwela Project team, as it asked/recommended to DepEd-BALS to invite/bring in the DepEd-ICTU during the start of the project.

Good Practices Despite the challenges experienced, a number of good practices proved helpful in keeping the SAD and system development phases on track: A good working relationship was established between the eSkwela Project Team and UP-JRDC Team early on in the SAD phase. Despite the limitations set during the SAD phase, this good relationship between the two teams allowed for the approval of some of the additional requirements and recommended changes to the system. It was also a big advantage that the eSkwela Project Team itself had some technical people who were able to relate more easily to the discussion. These people had a better understanding of the systems development process and technical requirements in the eSkwela Project team also made it possible for the changes to be accepted. The recommendations and changes that were submitted to the development team were those that were assessed by the in-house technical people to be necessary and doable vis-a-vis the scope and limitations of the project and development work required to implement those changes. Insistence on the use of the Change Request Document made the requested revisions clearer since these were clearly documented/ specified in this format. eSkwela Project team admits that it could only describe up to a certain point of familiarity the processes involved in running an eSkwela Center. To be able to capture the processes and make the system really useful to eSkwela implementers, the site implementers of existing eSkwela Centers were tapped during the SAD phase and the System test-runs held during the End-User Trainers’ Training Workshop. DepEd-BALS representatives from the central office were also tapped to make sure that the system will also be useful to them.

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Recommendations on System Administration and Management From the eSkwela Project Team and the UP-JRDC Team The project team encourages DepEd-BALS and the various eSkwela stakeholders to maximize the use of the system. Great concern, however, surrounds the observation that the technical knowledge of end-users (DepEd-BALS in particular) in terms of system administration and systems development may not be enough. Despite having DepEd-BALS’ full support verbalized, the concern over full implementation of the system has not been addressed. It was repeatedly emphasized that DepEd-BALS needs to hire a fulltime technical person to serve as system administrator and Technical Support for the eSkwela Centers. He/She would need to have the following background:        Linux and Windows Administration/Troubleshooting Computer Troubleshooting (software and hardware) Advanced Networking Skills Interpersonal / People Skills Experience in Moodle and CodeIgniter Development and Customization Experience in PHP and MySQL Database (Backup and Restore MySQL Databases, in particular) Experience in Web Administration, Installation of Apache Web Server

The continued use of the VPS is highly encouraged. The current rate is a mere 40.00USD/month or 480.00USD/year. The teams do not recommend an in-house deployment by DepEd-BALS since this option requires any resources (server(s), services of a local Internet service provider (ISP), high-quality network equipment for Internet connectivity such as switches, routers, etc.) and highly competent technical expertise. Further, it would be too troublesome. Installation, configuration and maintenance of the server(s) is also up to the project owner, necessitating the services of skilled technical personnel. Consequently, the system administrator should be able to implement a fail-safe or redundant system for the central site which is highly recommended. Flexibility and scalability of the system depends on the technical personnel hired. Scaling the system for added capacity or implementing a fail-safe system connotes subsequent cost for additional equipment needed. Recurring expenses for this option include bandwidth subscription, electricity and network room upkeep, domain name registration/subscription, and salary for system/network administrator(s). System reliability depends on the central site's server specification, skill and competence of technical personnel hired and the reliability of Internet service provider(s). Lastly, the eSkwela Project Team agrees with the UP-JRDC team in recommending that the current system be enhanced further and that the remaining systems be developed: Content Development Tracking Reporting System (CDTRS) and Personal Learning Environment (PLE). The PLE, in particular, would be of great interest since it can be used by other educational institutions or groups as well in promoting self-paced and lifelong/lifewide learning. A validation of the eSkwela System Analysis and Design of these 2 systems,

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however, needs to be performed since there is a possibility that requirements may have changed since the document was written (August 2009). From the DepEd-BALS and eSkwela Center training participants On the second day of the End-User Trainers’ Training Workshop for the eSkwela System, the participants enumerated the following recommendations:  Recommendations for the current version (to ensure use): o Pilot implementation of the system use within the coming months: at least 3-4 centers per region o Incorporate systems end-user training to training runs for center implementers o Establish an end-user support / helpdesk to be maintained by BALS o Create official eSkwela email acounts for the RCs and implementers o BALS needs the systems documentation to show the DepEd ICT Unit ASAP as well – to get internal agency tech support for the systems (this was done during the final briefing last May 2011, with the DepEd’s Technical Services Unit in attendance) o Incorporate DepEd’s policy and procedural measures  issuance DepEd memo imposing the use of the system  avoid protocol bypass  incorporate non-DepEd centers into the process flows Recommendations for the next version (enhancements) o Incorporate regional and division levels in the protocols o UAMS: additional fields/ information esp. for learners (e.g. division, civil status, tracking); printing of reports o IMMS: improve the Filipino translation of learner survey form o SMS: include qualitative data entries, graphic uploads for monitoring purposes Convince DepEd management to maintain the VPS and ning subscriptions

Technical Support to Sites As with the pilot implementation, technical support and assistance were regularly provided to eSkwela Centers. Network Administrators (NAs) Since eSkwela is dealing with a LAN-based learning environment, the role of the Center Network Administrator is emphasized as early as the site application process. The selection criteria had been revised by the project team and the Regional NA Trainers as follows:
1.

Advanced level of knowledge and skills in setting up a computer system ○ Can identify the parts of computer and its function. ○ Can connect and install computer peripherals.

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Can install/reinstall operating systems (Windows XP or higher version and Ubuntu 8.04+) ○ Can install hardware drivers and additional applications
2.

Knowledge and skills on basic troubleshooting and maintenance ○ Understand the meaning of common error messages. ○ Can determine hardware or software problems. ○ Install and update anti-virus, anti-spyware and other software applications to secure and maintain computers and networks. ○ Can develop laboratory policies, procedures, and practices related to use of computers/technology. Knowledge and skills on basic Networking concepts ○ Understands networking concepts ○ Set-up simple local area network.

3.

The trainers agreed that the selection criteria should be strictly followed because the allotted time for each session may not be enough if there are trainees who do not fit the criteria. NA Training Capability building workshops for Regional NA Trainers and Center NAs were likewise conducted – in fact, this particular training design was reviewed and enhanced just last April 2011. Along with this, a Network Administration Training Manual/Handbook was developed and distributed. The Regional NA Trainers recommended that the maximum number of participants for each training run would be 20 and the minimum would be 15. Since there are a lot of hands-on activities that require hardware, network, and software installations, a small number of participants would make the sessions more manageable. The most recent version (April 2011) of the training design is as follows: Note: The first day of the training will be conducted together with the learning facilitators and will be handled by the LF Trainers. By the second day, the network administrators will be separated from the LFs for their technical training. Day 1 Time 8:30 – 9:00 AM 9:00 – 9:30 AM 9:30 – 10:00 AM 10:00 – 10:20 AM 10:20 – 11:20 AM Topic Getting to Know You Activity Expectations Sharing Workshop Description, Objectives, Schedule; Housekeeping Announcements Break Session 1. ICTs in 21st Century Education

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Day

Time 11:20 – 12:00 NN 12:00 –1:00 PM 1:00 – 2:30 PM

2:30 – 3:10 PM 3:10 – 3:30 PM 3:30 – 5:00 PM

2

3

4

5

8:00 – 8:30 AM 8:30 – 9:00 AM 10:00 – 10:20 AM 10:20AM–12:00NN 12:00 – 1:00 PM 1:00 – 5:00 PM 8:00 – 8:30 AM 8:30 – 10:00 AM 10:00 – 10:20 AM 10:20AM–12:00NN 12:00 NN – 1:00PM 1:00 – 3:00 PM 3:00 – 3:20 PM 3:20 – 5:20 PM 8:00 – 8:30 AM 8:30 - 12:00NN 12:00 – 1:00 PM 1:00 – 7:00 PM 8:00 – 8:30 AM 8:30 – 12:30 PM 12:30NN– 1:30PM 1:30 – 5:30 PM 5:30 – 6:00 PM

Topic Session 2A. eSkwela and the A&E Program Lunch Break Session 2B. The eSkwela Instructional Model: Key Concepts and Principles  Model components: the eLearning modules, ICT resources and tools  Learning principles: resource-based, projectbased, and blended learning Session 3. Introduction to the eSkwela e-Learning Modules Break Session 4. The eSkwela “Classroom” and the Module Guide  Module Overview  Learning Resources  Discussion Forum  Project Recap, Q&A Session 5: Role of Network Administrators Break Session 6: Hardware Identification and Troubleshooting Lunch Break Cont...Session 6 Recap, Q&A Session 7: Operating System Break Cont...Session 7 Lunch Break Cont...Session 7 Break Session 8: Comparison of Windows and Ubuntu Recap, Q&A Session 9: Networking Lunch Break Cont...Session 9 Recap and Q&A Session 10: Installation of the eSkwela Learning Management System Lunch Break Session 11: Basic Moodle Task Wrap-up and Closing

Table 30

Design for the eSkwela Training Workshop for Network Administrators

Please refer to the section on NA Training Review Workshop on Attachment M (Activity Report on the Enhancement Training Workshop for eSkwela Trainers) for the detailed topic outline of Sessions 6 to 11.

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Hardware and Software Assistance Online or offline technical assistance was given to sites for commonly occuring technical concerns which included:       Networking concerns – LAN and Internet connection Server malfunction Installer malfunction / Corrupt files Virus problems No technical person / NA available to do the installation and/or system back-up System Restore

These included development and deployment of one-click CD installers/back-up that contained the LMS and the eModule Packages. For newly trained Network Administrators whose eSkwela Centers are “about-to-operate”, the basic package (25 modules) is provided. While for established/operating sites, the current CD version already has the 148 certified eModule packages incorporated. These CDs were regularly updated as new eModules became available for distribution. Further, a step-by-step installation guide is included in the CD and the training manuals. A constant look at emerging technologies for ICT in Education is also being carried out continually to provide eSkwela partners fresh ideas and models to work with – i.e. low-cost alternatives for infrastructure set-ups (e.g. privatepublic partnerships, thin clients, PC recycling, mobile laboratories, etc.), innovative ICT in Education practices, incentive programs, etc. Challenges and Lessons Learned The project team met a number of challenges in this aspect: 1. No Network Administrator assigned or inadequate technical know-how of the designated Network Administrator Encountering different technical issues in centers due to varied laboratory setup and configurations This includes having different operating systems, having pre-installed software that conflict with the LMS (i.e., firewall preventing network access, DeepFreeze software, anti-virus software), shared facilities with other Center users, N-computing set-up, mobile USB router set-up, and the like. 3. Communication challenges There are cases that the NA may have a different viewpoint or diagnostic of the technical issues which can lead to misunderstanding and applying an inappropriate
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solution. At other times, the NA could not specifically pinpoint or describe the problem properly. This was made more difficult since the technical support was not done face-to-face and that the project team did not have remote access to the units in the Centers. As such, performing a diagnostic check-up regarding the current state of the computer/s or server would be advisable before providing troubleshooting options and/or procedures. This can be done through the use of remote applications or by asking relevant questions leading to the issue – similar to what a help desk agent does. 4. eSkwela Ning subscription The subscription of alseskwela.ning.com, where the Network Administrator’s group (see Good Practices) is housed, is only up to July 2012. Due to current government rules and regulations, DepEd-BALS is forseeing a problem continuing this subscription due to credit card payment and bidding issues. Good Practices Setting up a Network Administrators’ group page in the eSkwela website which serve as the resource page of the NAs proved to be beneficial to both the centers and the project team. It, in effect, has built a community of practice and learning among the NAs. Each group member is encouraged to provide peer-to-peer troubleshooting by assisting in coming up with the solution if he/she has already experienced the problem – solutions need not only come from eSkwela Project Technical Team. Members can search the posts to check if they are encountering the same problem already posted, hence lessens manhours for troubleshooting
Figure 33 eSkwela ning Group Page for NAs
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repeat problems. As a result, members become more confident in handling technical issues because of the group page. Further, NAs have access to an FAQ sheet prepared by the project team. It lists down the most commonly encountered technical issues regarding set-up and maintenance of the eSkwela LMS. Illustrated and step-bystep guides to common procedures regarding the installation, set-up, and common admin tasks for the eSkwela LMS are also made available. Some of the procedures even have video guides to accompanying them. Another good practice that the project team has Figure 34 Sample Technical Exchange on ning implemented is the use of online collaboration and remote application for technical support. Some Remote access programs like TeamViewer, online chat like GTalk or Yahoo! Messenger, and email.

Conclusion Setting up, operating, and sustaining eSkwela Centers not only depends on competent site implementers but also on the effective installation/configuration, set-up, and maintenance of the computer infrastructure, eSkwela systems, and Internet connection. This is not an easy task that can be assigned to just anybody. The project team has devoted much time and effort on building the capability of designated Network Administrators to ensure that the centers’ infrastructure set-ups run efficiently and properly. As with the other types of site implementers – Learning Facilitators and Center Managers – the NAs appreciate the fact that the project team provides not only face-to-face training workshops but also handholding via online and offline options to access (and even volunteer) technical support and assistance. Automated eSkwela Systems have likewise been developed in an attempt to optimize the use of ICT for the benefit of eSkwela project owners, implementers, and learners. It is also hoped that DepEd-BALS and the Regional and Division Offices be mindful of assigning the right people to manage, maintain, and enhance these technical aspects of eSkwela.

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Chapter 7:

Initial Assessment

The Terminal Report on eSkwela‟s pilot implementation stated, “During the project inception stage, in line with efforts of the project team to manage or mitigate possible risks, a SWOT analysis vis-à-vis an identification of risks was done. The major risk that CICT anticipated centered around possible project delays that would be caused by various agents like slow and tedious government procurement processes, inherent difficulties in multi-party coordination, changes in political and educational leadership in DepEd and among stakeholder communities, changes in stakeholders‟ priorities, nonagreement in project specifications, etc. It was also feared that there would be resistance among teachers and learners to the integration of ICTs in the teaching-learning process – as such, the adoption of the customized eSkwela Instructional Model will not take off as planned. Another major projected risk was the non-delivery of desired outputs by the content development [processes].” The risks and anticipated challenges during eSkwela‟s pilot implementation still held true during the eSkwela 1.0 run: multiple stakeholders, partner relations management, internal and external bureaucratic processes and procedures in Philippine government (including procurement processes, financial transactions, contract negotiations), delayed DBM releases, changes in leadership /management, different reporting structures, cultures, and protocols among agencies and offices, etc. As seen in the previous chapters, with the hard work put in by many individuals and the support given by various groups, the project benefits gained far outweigh the many challenges endured by the project. In a span ofive years, eSkwela has become a model implementation of innovative ICT in Education intervention that provides opportunities, resources, tools, and corresponding capability building programs towards building the competencies needed in the 21st Century, with three (3) international citations to back up this claim. The previous chapters looked into the various project components as well as the challenges met, lessons learned, good practices adopted, and recommendations put forward for each component. This chapter, on the other hand, attempts to encapsulate the different forms of feedback on the eSkwela Project as a whole. It will highlight the results of the Focus Group Discussions conducted with various stakeholders during the eSkwela Close-out Activities held in the first half of 2011.

Return on Investment To review, 95 CICT-assisted eSkwela centers are already up and running by the end of June 2011, catering to an estimated 6,300 diverse learners since 2007. This figure is based on the center profiles shown in Chapter 5, as of 30 June 2011.

Chapter 7: Initial Assessment

The number of units in each center ranges from less than 3 (1), 4 to 8 units (46), 9 to 12 units (25) and 15-20+ units (23) – averaging to about 10 or 11 units per center. Further, it is estimated that the 56 centers (59% of total) considered as shared facilities are limited to 6 to 8 hours/day of eSkwela sessions for three days per week only (with two batches of learners per week) while the rest of the Centers (39) conduct fulltime eSkwela sessions for 6 to 8 hours/day five days a week (with three batches of learners per week). Provided that a 1:1 learner:computer ratio is maintained to enable self-paced learning during facilitated sessions, the estimated number of available computer units (972) translates to an estimated 2,321 learners served in the 95 centers for this “school year” or an average of 24 learners per center, as shown in Table 31. With an estimated 2,500 learners served in eSkwela Centers from 2007 to 2009 and an additional 1,488 learners in 2010, this brings the total number of learners served to 6,309 by June 2011 (an ROI of Php15,375 per OSYA learner served based on the total Php97 Million investment on eSkwela, combining both AEF and eGF grants), as shown in Table 32.

Number of Centers Number of Units Available Average Units/Center Estimated Number of Learners Served in a Year assuming 2 or 3 batches /week for each of the 95 Centers Average Number of Learners Served in each Center

not shared 39 377 10 1,131

shared 56 595 11 1,190

TOTALS 95 972

2,321 24

Table 31 Estimated Number of Learners served in a year for 95 Centers

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total Learners Served: 2007-2011
Table 32

Total Number of Centers 4 7 22 62 95

TOTAL OSYAs served 2,500 1,488 2,321 6,309

Conservative Estimate of the Total Number of OSYAs served by eSkwela, 2007-2011

With 10 more CICT-assisted sites set to start operations in the next few months, eSkwela is by far the largest initiative of its kind in the country. The project has trained a total of 1,858 people (see Table 4 in Chapter 2) to contribute to project implementation that include national trainers, center managers, learning facilitators, content developers, module guide developers, and local ALS officials. They now serve as the project‟s field collaborators and local champions – its official advocates. Including these individuals into the ROI computation would result to Php 11,877 per stakeholder trained (learner + implementers, etc.) based on 8,167 “eSkwela-altered” individuals.

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Benefits to Various Stakeholders As previously mentioned, through the various monitoring and evaluation activities conducted, the project team was able to gain insights on eSkwela‟s initial benefits to the various stakeholders. Below is an attempt to summarize these according to three categories:    Government-to-Government Government-to-Community Government-to-Beneficiaries

These discussions, along with the ROI, usually appeared in the project nomination forms submitted to the different award-giving bodies for the innovative use of ICT in Education and were likewise presented in various fora and conferences where eSkwela was presented, to be discussed in a later section. G2G –DepEd-BALS; CICT‟s CeC Program As mentioned earlier, the project exists primarily in support of DepEd-BALS‟ delivery of the Accreditation and Equivalency Program (refer to the portion on Project Description). The project has likewise served as a proof of concept that ICTs can really be incorporated in the learning process even at the basic education level – with a proper mindset; enough appropriate resources; effective training, handholding, and monitoring processes; and stakeholders who value the outcome of synergistic collaborations. Catering to the 57 out of every 100 students who drop out of the formal basic education, the eSkwela Instructional Model promotes a model that optimzes the use of ICT in facilitating access to educational opportunities for youth and adult learners to obtain their basic education

I've referred to eSkwela as the future of Philippine education. By this I mean that eSkwela is a “disruptive innovation”. In business, “disruptive innovations either create new markets or re-shape existing markets by delivering relatively simple, convenient, low cost innovations to a set of customers who are ignored by industry leaders.” In the case of eSkwela, the use of ICT in alternative learning has given rise to a new, powerful model of effective lifelong learning to the out-of-school youth and adults in the country. When I say eSkwela is the future of education, I do mean that future all schools will be exactly like eSkwela's present form. eSkwela is the future because it is NOT based on “time served” model education. It is the future because it is NOT patterned after nor does it serve the interest of the industrial society. eSkwela is the Future because it is Learner Focused. It is the Future because it is Life Skills Oriented. It is the Future because it is ICT empowered. It is the Future because it makes learning fun! Like other disruptive innovations, eSkwela was created by 'outsiders' – people form CICT not DepED.Outsiders who have no vested interest in sustaining an old and arguably failed model of education. - Emmanuel C. Lallana, PhD Opening Remarks, Turnover Ceremonies, April 2011

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in a fun, appealing, and engaging way. Enhancing the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Program of the Department of Education, it not only trains learners about computer literacy but more importantly, uses ICT to learn academics, values, livelihood and practical living. Its implementation through the years has provided proof that the use of ICT in education is highly suitable to the modular approach of ALS and its emphasis on life skills and thus sets an example for digital competence and e-learning in the Philippines. As for the Community eCenter (CeC) Program of CICT, eSkwela has shown another mode of service that the Community Centers can tap to serve its target clients further, well beyond ICT literacy training workshops. eSkwela is a concrete program that the communities can benefit from (refer to the G2C discussion). The trend continues, as more local stakeholders from different areas in the country intend to provide for the ICT infrastructure requirements of eSkwela through its existing facilities. In fact, due to this deep confidence in the potentials of eSkwela, the Philippine CeC Program regularly invites resource persons from eSkwela to discuss the service during its Knowledge Exchange and various capability building programs. Various foreign groups had also been directed to eSkwela Centers as part of their country visits, through the international group telecentre.org Foundation that is closely tied up to the PhilCCeC Program. As a bigger show of support, it had also invested heavily on eSkwela by providing 128-computer-unit packages to 31 new eSkwela Centers in 2010-2011. It has also welcomed eSkwela implementers in its network that can avail of training grants, connectivity grants, etc. G2C – Community Stakeholders: While CICT worked with DepEd in extending the reach of ICT and education to the often underserved out-of-school youth and adults sector through eSkwela, it greatly relied on local communities to take a step towards integrating ICTs in its way of life. In the M&E site visits conducted, local eSkwela partners gave positive feedback on how existing computer/internet labs were being used optimally, as spurred by eSkwela. With the integration of eSkwela, these labs went beyond providing computer access, connectivity, and basic computer literacy and onto using ICTs for education.

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Existing Community eCenters continue to express interest in integrating eSkwela as an additional government service; most of the eSkwela sites are shared ICT facilities already available in the community (i.e. school-based, CeC-based, NGO-based, etc.). The trend continues, as more local stakeholders from different areas in the country intend to provide for the ICT infrastructure requirements of eSkwela through its existing facilities. In the M&E site visits conducted at the existing Centers, eSkwela partners from the local communities gave positive feedback on how existing computer/internet labs are now used optimally, as spurred by eSkwela. With the integration of eSkwela, these labs have gone beyond providing computer access, connectivity, and basic computer literacy and onto using ICTs for education. More importantly perhaps, the eSkwela Project has provided an effective template for the public (LGUs, local DepED) and the private (civic/church/non-government organizations, local business) sectors to work together; as local eSkwela partners, these groups provide for the resource requirements and sustainability of their eSkwela Center. eSkwela Centers all over are being supported by LGUs, NGOs, or church organizations by providing infrastructure, connectivity, and financial sustainability requirements, the DepED division offices and other groups provide assistance by fielding its mobile teachers and instructional managers as learning facilitators. eSkwela had encouraged community stakeholders to work in synergy, thus becoming a catalyst for community-led action. In addition, it had been emphasized that the community can benefit on the projects produced by the learners – which can be on community information (e.g. community website or mapping of eateries/tourist spots), events (e.g. brochure on fiestas), issues/concerns (e.g. a video on the electoral process), LGU programs (e.g. a short photo essay on the recycling programs of the community), etc. This approach makes A&E learners more aware and involved in the current climate, needs, and issues of the local community. Further, with eSkwela comes more A&E Test passers, as had been the trend. This means more constituents have the necessary high school diplomas to become employable, productive, and tax-paying citizens in their communities – in effect, benefiting the local government, industry, and the community-at-large. More eSkwela learners mean more passers, more employable citizens, more jobs, and thus more income for communities. Bringing in a deep sense of ownership as well as a grounded belief in the powers of collaboration and synergy, local stakeholders see eSkwela as a concrete step in innovating education for the benefit of their local communities and bringing hope for the marginalized. Testimonials from various stakeholders are available in video format, blogs, and forum threads at http://alseskwela.ning.com and in the Facebook group page of eSkwela. G2B - Learners: eSkwela uses ICT-supported interdisciplinary and thematic approaches to learning and teaching that promote learning through interactive and innovative ways, and in the process, learners go through a more appealing and timely learning experience.

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From initial observations, it was gathered that learning facilitators and learners likewise become excited and creative in experimenting with strategies and activities through their exposure to the applications and various educational resources and tools provided by the eSkwela content, systems, and the Internet. These experiences prepare them in taking the accreditation and equivalency certification test that when passed opens up more opportunities like college education, techvoc courses, and employment. From site observation and reports/testimonials, the eSkwela project has enhanced the learning environment and made learning more engaging. This is mainly due to the innovative use of ICT (content, systems, discussion forums, projects) to make learning more fun, interactive, audio-visually stimulating, interesting, localized, and self-paced. In addition, the use of the project-based approach guides the learners to apply what they learned to actual scenarios and situations – as such, more aligned to the life skills that BALS aims for. Balancing the numerous challenges and constraints with continuous review and corresponding enhancements, eSkwela is definitely considered a wise investment by the national government, foreign grantor, and local stakeholders in bringing about educational innovations for the benefit of the marginalized and local communities. Testimonials from beneficiaries abound that give credence to the vast potentials of eSkwela in fulfilling dreams and transforming lives. Taking from the KISDI article by Secretary RoxasChua: “The project‟s impact has been multifold: 1) settingup of strategically located eSkwela Centers (usually located in village halls, Community e-Centers, or on top of public markets), 2) providing equal access to innovative basic education opportunities to the educationally underserved, including the marginalized poor, housewives, and persons with disabilities (PWDs), and 3) achieving a significantly higher passing rate than the national average in the Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test given by the Department of Education”29.

A Beacon of Hope “Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or walk around.” This quotation by Michael Jordan holds true for most of the learners in eSkwela Centers. Countless learners have shared how the different programs of the Alternative Learning System have given them a second opportunity towards achieving their dreams – of which, completing their basic education is a crucial step.

29

Roxas-Chua, RA. Empowering the Underserved through ICT. Korean Information Society Development Institute (KISDI): ICT World Today, Summer 2009, pp. 8-11. URL for download: http://www.kisdi.re.kr/kisdi/common/download?type=D&file=ENG_RESEARCH_ICT%7C25017%7 C2 Accessed: July 2009.

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eSkwela, as an educational model that comprehensively incorporates ICT in the learning process, has proven to be one of the most successful initiatives in integrating ICT in education. It sets an example for elearning in the Philippines that give hopes and opportunities to educationally underserved Filipinos. eSkwela provides equal access to innovative basic education opportunities to the educationally underserved, including the marginalized poor, elderly, housewives, young mothers, and persons with disabilities (PWDs). Of the estimated 6,300 learners that have been served by eSkwela since 2007, around 75% of them are in the 15-27 yo age range. The rest are older learners who took advantage of the chance “to get back on track”, so to speak. One of the main benefits that learners regularly mentioned is being able to gain computer literacy skills through eSkwela, a welcome addition to the life skills provided by the conventional Accreditation and Equivalency Program. Learners do not have to be ICT-literate when they apply for a slot at any eSkwela Center – self-discipline and commitment to learning are deemed more important. To ensure basic computer skills, the learning facilitators or other community volunteers provide short training courses on the use of the mouse, keyboard, and basic browsing techniques just to get the learners comfortable with the technology. They then get to explore and gain other computer skills such as file management and productivity tools as they go through the different eSkwela modules. From site observation and reports/testimonials, the eSkwela project has enhanced the learning environment and made learning more engaged. Learners have been observed to be are more motivated to attend the sessions and go through the modules - mainly due to the innovative use of ICTs that make learning more fun, interactive, self-paced, and less intimidating. It had also been reported that eSkwela had raised learners‟ self-esteem and have become more communicative and expressive. This is mainly due to the innovative use ICT (content, systems, discussion forums, projects) to make learning more fun, interactive, interesting, localized [yet global in orientation], and self-paced. Since the module guides make use of various Internet links and discussion forums, learners get exposed to other resources and insights beyond their learning sessions and local communities.

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In addition, the use of the ICT-supported project-based approach guides them to apply what they learned to actual scenarios and situations – as such, more aligned to the life skills that BALS aims for. Learner teams have produced outputs where they applied what they learned, expressed their views, and had fun planning and working with others. Some learners have even used the ICT skills they gained from eSkwela to become peer ICT tutors or even to earn extra income. Moreover, the eSkwela learners have much higher passing rates in the standardized A&E Test than those using the print-based model, providing a better-looking return on the community‟s investment over the traditional A&E delivery mode. A&E Test Performance Feb 2008 (4 sites) Oct 2008 (5 sites) Oct 2009 (partial: 9 sites) October 2010 (partial: 16 sites) Averages
Table 33

eSkwela Average 57% 65% 45% 63% 58%

National Average 29% 23% 21% 33% 27%

Comparative A&E Test Performance, 2008-2010

Some eSkwela learners and “graduates” include:  Phil Rey Neri, a wheelchair-bound young paraplegic (has muscular dystrophy) from Cagayan de Oro City thanked eSkwela for giving PWDs like him a second chance at education. In 2008, he was among the top 10 graduates at their local ALS Commencement Exercises. He dreams of landing a scholarship and becoming an IT specialist in the future. A 65-year-old community leader would like to finish her elementary and high school degrees through eSkwela because she wants to serve as a role model to her constituents. Further, she learned how to surf the Internet and research on possible community activities and services through eSkwela. Pearl Bianca Dansing from Cebu City, a 21-year old single mother completed her basic education through eSkwela to give her 3-year-old child a better life. She shared how amazed with the new class environment that makes use of computers and digitized modules. She admitted that she and her classmates, which include child laborers, street children, children in conflict and commercial sex workers, enjoy their eSkwela sessions and find the learning environment effective. They regularly attend

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their learning sessions, since they learn a lot from using the digitized modules, use of other peripherals, among others. She believes that the ICT skills she has gained through eSkwela would be useful when she applies for job. She has already passed the A&E Test and is now taking up BS IT, currently working on her CISCO certification. Now 23, she works parttime at a call center and dreams of assisting in the efforts of eSkwela when she becomes employed. Laica Malit, 15, originally from Bato, Davao City, walks with crutches because she was born with a short left leg. She had always wanted to finish her studies but could not be ably supported by her family. She accepted an offer by nuns to transfer and live with them in Quezon City. She is currently a learner in eSkwela-Holy Trinity and serves as a regular beta reviewer for new eSkwela eModules. She enjoys learning in eSkwela so much because of the multimedia and interactive resources which she voraciously explores. eSkwela has allowed her to underego her schooling with no fear of humiliation from constant teasing and bullying. She is now preparing to take the October 2011 A&E Test. A 56-year-old mother works for her diploma as she and her daughter go through eSkwela sessions together. They enjoy using the e-learning modules because of their multimedia elements and interactivity that have somehow made learning more enjoyable. Flordeliza Dabuet, 26, a wife and mother from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan dropped out of school at the tender age of 14, citing lack of family finances as her reason. Flordeliza eventually got married and had children, all of whom are now of schoolage. At present, she runs a household with her husband, raises her brood of three, and operates a small home-based business, whilst going to school, in an eSkwela Center near her place to “make something of myself.” She said (translated): “I knew I had to do this for myself – my eldest child is 15, and will be graduating from high school soon. I want my kids to be able to say that their mother has a diploma, even a high school one, so that we won‟t be looked down upon – so that nobody can be snide and say, „Well, your mother didn‟t even graduate high school.‟ And it gives me confidence – even now, as a student, I have knowledge that I can use my knowledge and skills in conversations, with anyone, anywhere.” Lerma Lopez is one of new learners in Eskwela Lucap . She is 23 years old, a single mother. She left her daughter in Leyte just to work so that she could help finance the expenses of her daughter and parents. She is working as a beautician at Cloies facial Care and Spa, San Jos Drive, Alaminos City. There are many of them in the family, about 8 of them and she is the 2nd from the eldest. Her parents could not sustain in sending them to school because her parents don't have better jobs that could help finance their expenses in school. Her mother is just a housewife and her father is just a farmer. But this is not Janice wanted her life to be so she decided to enroll herself in eSkwela through the help of Madam Aleta Begonia. Poverty is not a hindrance for her to quit learning. She is a good example of a student who always find ways and will never

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surrender striving very hard for the fulfillment of her dreams. [from the FB post of eSkwelaAlaminos] Nancy Acala, 38 yrs old and a mother of 10 children was one of the learners of eSkwela Tanauan, Leyte. An Accreditation & Equivalency Passer last October 2010 and recognized as one of the 3 perfoming learners in DepEd-Leyte Division. She is a special grantee of the LGU Tanauan Municipal Scholarship Program and is now starting her journey as a college freshman at Eastern Visayas State University Tanauan Campus taking up Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Major in Physical Science. [from the FB post of eSkwela-Tanauan Leyte] In general, learners are thankful that with eSkwela, they are not “left-behind”. Because with eSkwela, there is hope! From the perspective of learning facilitators, network administrators, and center managers, they vouch that they also benefit from the project by undergoing different trainings to enhance their competencies vis-à-vis ICT use and innovative educational/management strategies. The eSkwela content, systems, and Internet resources motivate them to wean away from traditional chalk-andtalk/lecture-based methodologies and more confidently take on the more crucial role of a facilitator in a self-paced blended learning environment. Although admittedly going through a learning curve and corresponding adjustments, some learning facilitators had shared that eSkwela has allowed them to be more facilitative and true to the ALS ideals – that of customizing and contextualizing the learning episodes to the learners‟ needs and learning styles. There is observed reduction in the duplication of efforts – since the certified e-learning modules and the module guides are provided, the learning facilitators do not have to make their own teaching guides and/or materials. Implementing eSkwela sessions had meant less work but also more work – less work since the module guides provide the learners the direction they need and the LFs do not resort to lectures and paper-based quizzes/drills too much anymore; more work since allowing the learners to go through self-paced learning based on their ILAs mean that there are more variety in questions and clarifications during learning sessions.

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In addition, since the LMS provides automatic grading and immediate feedback for regular types of assessment tools (i.e. for pre-tests, post-tests), learning facilitators have more time to do the other tasks required of them – i.e. daily monitoring of learners‟ progress vis-àvis individual learning agreements, one-on-one consultations, counseling, responding to forum entries and project queries, among others. As such, they had become more creative in managing eSkwela sessions by conducting learner orientation, tapping and welcoming volunteer groups, proposing and agreeing on laboratory/session policies and guidelines, peer tutoring, group work or projects, using various offline and online ICT tools (e.g. online quizzes, simulations, video production software, social networking sites) to engage learners and the community, etc. In addition, the project has benefited in tapping the more experienced eSkwela implementers to train and mentor those who are newer to the model thus building communities of learning and practice – indeed, synergy in action. In general, they are very happy to see “The e-learning modules have made easier for us. Hindi na that learners are kami magbabasa kasi may voice-over yung modules kaya excited to attend pinakikinggan na lang ng mga learners and then we explain. eSkwela sessions and We don‟t impose on them to learn the computer right away. participate in We teach them and let them learn on their own time. Yung activities. Further, they mga matatanda one-on-one teaching an ginagawa namin, see firsthand how some learn faster than the others. Pero yung mga younger learners‟ behaviors learners, madalas ayaw na nila magpaturo kasi madali nilang and life perspectives natututunan yung paggamit ng mga modules and they study are altered through on their own.” eSkwela and the community spirit it - Angelyn Malabanan, eSkwela-Loyola Heights LF espouses. They have Barawid, R. in “Taking ALS to the Next Level”. repeatedly mentioned Learning Section, Manila Bulletin, 13 January 2011. that the simple fact that learning through ICT improves learners‟ confidence since they believe that they are at par with those in school. They have also attested to the fact that learner graduates from eSkwela have either enrolled in college, got employed in the government/private organizations, became self-employed, or pursued other livelihood programs in ALS or TESDA. Irene Barzaga, one of the eSkwela implementers who had been tapped to serve multiple roles including Module Guide Developer, eModule Reviewer, National Trainer for LFs, and Roces, QC Learning Facilitator. She talked about the use of eSkwela Modules and the Learning Management System. She said that she had witnessed how the use of ICT enhanced the learning experiences of learners. Digitized modules enabled her learners to easily grasp the topics as well as improved their computer skills. Using the LMS, on the other hand, made it easier for her to track the performance of her learners, set-up & assign homework activities, and find & enhance new activities that other teachers have made. In her role as a module guide developer, she said that it paid to be creative. She said that she must always think of different activities that will pique the interest of learners so as not to get bored.

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She emphasized that the “center of any educative process is the learner.” She explained that the teacher‟s task is to guide the learner in the learning/development process. “The success of the teacher will also depend upon her understanding of each learner as a unique individual, who is responding to a very complex environment,” she added. On this note, she shared about her experiences with her Aeta learners who initially hesitated in using computers but are now familiar with web resouces. She candidly shared that she considers it one of her biggest achievements to have her learners get confident in surfing the internet and browsing Friendster and Youtube. The community likewise benefits from the project by reducing the number of out-ofschool youth and adults in their locality and increasing the number of productive and employable constituents, to wit: “Every time we advocate to the communities, we always use eSkwela as a come-on to our public,” says Vilma Aruta. Known as “Teacher Vi” to her students, Mrs. Aruta is one of the trained learning facilitators. “First, the idea of computer-aided learning really excites them. And the fact that the lessons are offered for free – in these hard times, the fact that education can be available to them is something that our learners cherish a lot. Many of them have never even touched a computer before. Many of them had given up on ever coming back to school again. Many of them have abandoned their dreams. To say that they’re excited about going back to school again – and on computers, at that - is putting it mildly.” For more testimonials and stories on eSkwela, please refer to the following:       eSkwela end-of-project booklet: http://www.slideshare.net/mameltan/e-skwela-endofproject-booklet-7784656 videos on the eSkwela ning site: http://alseskwela.ning.com/video blogs on eSkwela: http://alseskwela.ning.com/profiles/blog/list and http://www.eskwelablog.blogspot.com/ forum threads on the eSkwela ning site: http://alseskwela.ning.com/forum eSkwela Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_127912216250 news articles on eSkwela: http://alseskwela.ning.com/page/eskwela-in-the-news

2nd eSkwela Conference The 2nd eSkwela Conference brought together several personalities who laid claim to the many benefits and potentials of eSkwela, worth mentioning in this report. Guest of Honor Ms. Evangeline Lourdes Arroyo – Bernas delivered the keynote address. She highlighted the benefits of collaboration and synergy, as seen from the eSkwela experience – not only between CICT and DepEd, but also with partners and networks from the larger community, and hopefully soon, with other government departments “such as DOST, TESDA or even the SME

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council under the DTI, as well as real world practitioners in the private sector and NGO community.” She likewise enjoined the participants to maximize the potentials of ICTs in providing educational opportunities to more and more Filipinos locally as well as abroad. She urged them to be share and be open to ideas and possibilities to “see what synergies can be created, so that the whole of eSkwela can be so much larger than its parts.”

“We all know that our formal education institutions only reach a minority of young Filipinos who should be in school. eSkwela is a perfect platform to go beyond the school system and reach those who are not in school or even those beyond Philippine borders.”
-

Luli Arroyo

Plenary speakers talked about the following:  eSkwela 2.0: “The perfect is the enemy of the good,” quoted Dr. Lallana. “The future of eSkwela depends on our ability to convince education stakeholders of its (superior) role in addressing the challenges of 21st century education in the Philippines”, he added. He stressed the importance of getting the support of stakeholders, from government officials, the education community, though leaders and opinion makers, civic organizations, the business community, and the youth, particularly the OSYs in making eSkwela 2.0 possible.  the future of e-learning in the Philippines (Dr. Lloyd Espiritu): He said that if e-learning would focus on lifelong learning, or continuous selfimprovement, it would cater to 90 percent of the population. If the goal of e-learning, though, is only to pass the A&E Exam and to finish high school and attend college, it only benefits five (5) percent of OSYAs. Therefore, the focus of e-learning would be, ideally, lifelong learning.  instructional design for eModule development (Dr. Lloyd Espiritu): “It‟s not just about attracting the students to the eSkwela center, it is about giving them a pleasant first time experience, it is expecting them to try more than one, it is about applying what they have learned, it is hoping they do come back, bringing along a friend or family member, it is wanting them to become students again.”

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the challenges in implementing ICTsupported self-paced learning towards gaining life skills (Prof. Pat Arinto): Self-paced learning for life skills is equal to life skills for self-paced learning. She then looked forward to building a community of practice in ICT-supported ALS. She recommended “ICT-supported continuing professional development fr mobile teachers and instructional managers that is just in-time, site-based, reflective and collaborative”.

Content Development (Lydia Pinili, ICT Coordinator of BPSU): To get involved in content “Seeing lives transform from that of oblivion to development activities is not one of hope through eSkwela Proect reminds us simply a mission but a that our country – the Philippines – will one day commitment to serve the rise up and be counted as among the countries underserved sectors of the which put prime importance to one of its society, the OSYAs. It takes a valuable resources – the youth. The project whole lot of heart and passion gave us a new pair of eyes that sees beyond the to stay on with the initiative portals of our University, and a heart that bleeds mainly because due to its for passion for this group of people. For us, special nature, it requires a eSkwela became not just a project but a mission huge investment of one‟s – a higher call.” effort, time, patience, and creativity. Exposure to and - Lydia Pinili actual interaction with the Lead, BPSU Content Development Team target users – namely, the learning facilitators and the learners – immensely contribute to the appreciation and understanding among content developers of their huge responsibility in making the e-modules interesting, relevant, and appropriate.

In general, the Conference participants acknowledged that there is an urgent need for the public sector to realize the transformative value of technology in education, with eSkwela serving as a model. It was also emphasized that there is a corresponding need to train people in using new technology – and not just focus on equipping them with infrastructure per se, something that eSkwela had repeatedly emphasized. Participants also mentioned the significance of having an integrated education system and a learning culture that would best meet the current learning styles.

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eSkwela Recognitions For its innovations and initial benefits, the project received three (3) international recognitions, as follows:  for the pilot implementation: a Certificate of Commendation from the UNESCO ICT in Education Innovation Awards 2007-2008 – Non-Formal Educator Category

With funding from the Japanese Funds-in-Trust, the Innovative Practices in ICT in Education project of UNESCO-Bangkok identified, documented, and shared innovative ICT in Education practices. This was done in recognition of the potentials of ICT in bringing quality education to everyone, everywhere so as to effectively bring 21st Century skills to all learners, helping them be active members of knowledge societies and motivate others to enhance even more innovations. A total of 146 nominations from 19 countries were submitted and reviewed by four judges from leading ICT in Education institutions, using six broad criteria: Objective/ Achievement/Effectiveness, Innovativeness, Appropriateness, Motivation, Applicability/Replicability/Usefulness, and Copyrights. Only 13 were eventually selected for the three award categories: Teacher and Teacher Educator Category, Education Planner and Administrator Cateogry, and Non-Formal Educator Category. There was one winner for each category, the rest received Certificates of Commendation. Official website: http://cms2.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=6359

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for eSkwela 1.0: an Honorable Mention by the 2010 UNESCO King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education

Funded by the Kingdom of Bahrain, the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize has been awarded every year since 2005. It recognizes individuals, institutions and other groups “that have established projects and activities that demonstrate good practice in, and creative use of, information and communication technologies for enhancing learning, teaching and overall educational performance. [The] winners are selected by the [UNESCO] Director-General on the basis of the recommendations of an international jury with five independent members of different nationalities. The theme of the 2010 prize was Digital Literacy: Preparing Adult Learners for Lifelong Learning and Flexible Employment.” It was intended by UNESCO to draw attention to the critical role of adult education in the development of an inclusive, participatory and sustainable society. Of the p applications from 34 nations/ groups worldwide, there were only two (2) Top winners and two (2) Honorable Mentions. Official announcement: http://www.unescobkk.org/education/ict/onlineresources/databases/ict-in-education-database/item/article/projects-in-ireland-and-thephilippines-receive-honourable-mentions-in-ict-in-education-prize/

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for eSkwelas 1.0: a Laureate by the 2011 Computerworld Honors Program – Training/Education Category “The 2011 Computerworld Honors Program[, is presented annually since 1988 by Computerworld and The Computerworld Information Technology Awards Foundation,] recognizes those organizations which create and use information technology to promote and advance the public welfare, benefit society and change the world for the better. The categories are: Business Responsiveness, Collaboration, Digital Access, Economic Opportunity, Emerging Technology, Environment, Health, Human Services, Innovation, Safety & Security, and Training/Education.” eSkwela was one of the 255 laureates selected from 1,000++ entries worldwide, evaluated by the Chairmen‟s Committee Advisors and Computerworld editorial leaders (around 18 members). Official list of laureates: http://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/CWHONORS2011/35791/

The conferment of these citations on eSkwela serves as a concrete affirmation that the collaborative efforts employed by the project to continuously improve its core components are in order. In the local scene, eSkwela centers and implementers have likewise received citations in the 1st CeC Awards during PhilCeCNet 6th Knowledge Exchange Conference (KEC) – Ms. Rosa Alma V. Olitoquit, Center Manager of eSkwela-San Fernando, CamSur won 1st place in the CeC Knowledge Worker category. eSkwela-Tanauan, Leyte and eSkwela-Boac, Marinduque were among the five finalists for the CeC category. The winner, FITS-CeC of Alfonso Lista, Ifugaohad not commenced its eSkwela services at that point. Recognitions were also given during the 2010 National Conference for Non-Formal Educators - eSkwela LF Trainer Mr. Reynaldo "Long" Aragon won 2nd place for the Most Outstanding ALS Mobile Teacher; eSkwela Regional Coordinator for Region X and eSkwela Center Manager-Cagayan de Oro City Mrs. Edith Lago-Ortega won 1st place for the Most Outstanding ALS Supervisor. The project team made sure that such successes are celebrated and announced on the eSkwela ning site and FB page.

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“The excellent results and achievements demonstrate how important is convergence of efforts to the government and community to get better education. With this project, outof-school people have the opportunity to be successful in society participating in an alternative way to complete the high school level. …I believe this experience is challenging to [the] formal education in the Philippines in order to reform the official curriculum and find other ways to improve the quality of Education.”
- Mr. Manuel Cok Aparcana Peruvian Ministry of Education Official comments on the eSkwela Projec during the International Conference on APEC Education Foundation-funded Projects 2008

FGD Results and Testimonials during the eSkwela Close-out Activities The project team conducted a series of clustered Close-out Activities with the theme “Celebrating Partnerships Toward Strengthening ALS Innovations through ICT” in the first half of 2011 as its final set of activities. It was intended for the project team to report on the overall eSkwela progress and as an opportunity to officially bid farewell to the project‟s myriad set of supporters and stakeholders as eSkwela closes as a project and is prepared for its upcoming turnover to DepEd for institutionalization and regular operations. In line with CICT‟s desire to strengthen the working relationship among the different members of the eSkwela community, these clustered activities aimed to celebrate the successes achieved and partnerships gained by the project towards providing enhanced ALS delivery in the local communities. These likewise provided opportunities for the team to gather feedback and insights from site implementers and learners in order to generate concrete ideas and recommendations to DepEd-BALS for eSkwela‟s regular operations and future enhancements. The events scheduled for sites focused on site-related project components, Sites Rollout, Instructional Model, and Technical Support. These were participated in by various eSkwela stakeholders and implementers i.e. center managers, learning facilitators, selected learners, regional coordinators, national eSkwela trainers, representatives from local government units, and civic/non-government organizations involved in the implementation of the eSkwela Project. A separate event has held for the Content Development component that had SUC development teams, content experts/reviewers, and module guide developers in attendance. A major portion of these events was dedicated to Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with participants, grouped according to their eSkwela roles. Selected participants from each major group were also requested to give testimonials on their eSkwela experiences. In the absence of a full-blown quantitative impact assessment of eSkwela, these FGDs and testimonials were meant to elicit the stakeholders‟ qualitative perception of eSkwela, their specific roles; verify/validate the project team‟s initial assessment of eSkwela‟s challenges, good practices, and initial benefits; and secure their recommendations for eSkwela‟s continuance and growth (or termination, as the case may be).

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A third-party resource person, Ms. Kathryn Pauso, was invited to lead the exercise. Ms. Pauso was perfect for the part since as a former eSkwela project staff member and research consultant for DepEd-BALS, she understood the project – but was likewise detached as an external facilitator. Further, her extensive background on research gave her an edge by providing her with an objective research perspective. She used the following Four-level Training Evaluation Framework30 by Donald Kirkpatrick:

Figure 35

Kirkpatrick’s Training Evaluation Framework

Through FGDs, group activities, and surveys, it was targeted that the following outputs will be presented: 1) perceived changes attributed to the Project; 2) lessons learned and caselets; 3) recommendations for sustainability. Below is a summarized version of the rapid evaluation on the FGD outputs, with some inputs from the project team. Ms. Pauso arranged the results in areas of concern or “outputs”. The discussion centered on the following key topics:

Figure 36

Key Discussion Topics during the FGDs, eSkwela Close-out Activities

Guide questions and details may be found in Attachments AF and AG-1 to AG-5.
30

Kirkpatrick, D. L. (1994). Evaluating Training Programs. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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Output 1: An operational model of a Computer-based ALS delivery Findings: eSkwela project was able to deliver this output. Before eSkwela, ALS was delivered through print or radio. In the five years it has operated, the project was able to provide the computer-based instruction for ALS.  Most of the eSkwela Centers practice the blended approach, and not the purely computerbased instruction. Both learners and learning facilitators still feel the need for face-to-face instruction. This is a confirmation of the project team‟s observation – the blended approach is in fact reflected in the eSkwela Instructional Model. From the very beginning, eSkwela was implemented not to replace or take out the role of the learning facilitator in the learning sessions. The learning facilitators are expected, however, to get out of the chalk-and-talk lecture-heavy teacher-centered approach to one that is more self-paced and facilitative in a blended learning environment. The training workshops for LFs and the eModule packages were designed to enable this type of set-up.  There are some indications of implementers innovating on the eSkwela model. As mentioned in Chapter 3, two (2) Learning Facilitators are already implementing an online distance learning ALS. With the move towards e-Test, the BALS might also explore online ALS delivery that is not dependent on the center-model. However, connectivity issues still hound the centers. Further, since the eModules were not designed for online delivery, BALS would need to re-configure the eModules for faster and easier online access/downloading. Lastly, there is effort at the BALS Central Office to deliver ALS through mobile devices. Note that a student group from the University of the Philippines (thesis requirement under Prof. Rommel Feria) had come up with a software application that can be used by DepEd-BALS for their m-learning effort s. The eModules, however, had to undergo some sort of further simplification and downsizing. It was recommended that the group look further into the instructional design aspect to make the learning episodes shorter through chunking. In addition, DepEd-BALS has to consider the mobile phones used by ALS learners since running the eModules would require bigger screens found in smart phones that are still quite expensive for the learners.

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DepEd-BALS is encouraging the adoption of the “Community e-Learning Center (eCLC)” model in the rest of the country. It was gathered, however, that there is confusion in the use of the “Community eLearning Center (eCLC)” model as opposed to sticking to the “eSkwela” branding. Despite Dir. Guerrero‟s explanation that “eSkwela” serves as an end-goal (defining it in terms of the 20-unit infrastructure set-up rather than the ICT-supported delivery mode of the instructional model) of eCLCs (described as “starters”, lacking in certain eSkwela requirements). Since they do not see any major difference in the models, current implementers prefer to stick to the eSkwela branding to leverage on its 5-year history, brand-recognition, and multiple successes. In order to differentiate levels of implementation that the project team has likewise observed in the Centers, a star-rating or perhaps labels pertaining to competency maturity levels or development stages (e.g. UNESCO‟s labels: emerging, applying, infusing, transforming31) is proposed instead. This sort of rating can also be used to determine the implementation level of the learning facilitators as well – and as such, can serve as an indicator to determine appropriate guidance or interventions.

Output 2: Systematic use of ICTs in teaching and learning Findings: There are different levels of practices across Learning Facilitators. Use of ICTs in teaching and learning has been mostly limited to the minimum requirements in trainings. Obstacles to ICT integration are traced to both the current NFE A&E design and the technologies used in the project.  It has been common to believe that teachers adopting ICTs follow a maturity model in terms of ICT competency development. However, data has been inconclusive whether Learning Facilitators do progress on the maturity model over time. Based on the LF Random Survey (survey instrument shown as Attachment AH) intended to gauge application of the eSkwela Instructional Model by LFs given out during the Close-out Activities, it was found that most of the sites follow the minimum prescribed practices from the trainings (at least a rating of 2). However, a lot of these sites are newly operating sites, so these findings are not conclusive. The LF Random Survey cannot tell whether the practices would still mature (or gain ratings closer to 5). A more systematic well-designed study has to be conducted soon in order to assist the new eSkwela project team in designing appropriate activities and interventions for them.
31

Collectively called the “Applied Moret‟s Matrix”. The System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results: The Use of ICT (SABER-ICT) initiative of World Bank uses the terms latent, emerging, established, or mature. SABER-ICT intends to determine the standard terms to be used eventually “to help avoid unnecessary confusion”. URL: www.worldbank.org/education/saber-ict Accessed: June 2011.

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1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6.

7.

8. 9.

10.

Question How do you conduct your learning sessions? How do you use Moodle? To what extent do you and your learners use the module guide? To what extent do you and your learners use the e-learning modules? To what extent do you and your learners use online quizzes? To what extent do you and your learners use supplementary instructional resources from the Internet (“online resources”)? To what extent do you and your learners use supplementary instructional resources from sources beyond the Internet (“offline resource materials”)? To what extent do you and your learners use forums? To what extent do you and your learners work on the ICTsupported projects? To what extent do you and your learners use project assessment tools?

Luz1 2.6 1.8 1.6 2.5 1.6

Luz2 1.9 1.4 1.5 1.7 1.5

Vis 2.0 1.6 1.6 2.2 1.6

Min 3.1 1.8 1.9 2.9 1.6

1.7

1.5

1.5

1.6

1.6

1.5

1.6

1.8

1.9 1.5

1.7 1.5

1.4 1.9

1.7 1.9

1.3

1.3

1.1

1.9

Table 34

LF Random Survey Results on the Application of the eSkwela Instructional Model

Based on the LF Random Survey results, ICT has been pervasively adopted in the instruction part – e.g. delivery and module use. Adoption has least pervasive in project assessment.  For a number of learning facilitators, the adoption from typical classroom setting to the A&E Instructional Model has been hard enough. The difficulty was doubled in eSkwela with the introduction of computers. From the perspective of the project team, imposing the use of the eSkwela Instructional Model proved to be challenging since the flexible nature of the implementation of the A&E Program itself provides too wide a berth to work with, since the ILA is supposed to be the primary basis for customization. However, the learning facilitators themselves admitted that they have difficulties in being faithful to the learners‟ ILA (ideally self-paced) or in being truly facilitative. A number of LFs to the fact that they have a small number of computer units for the big number of interested learners, as such they resort to the assigning 3 to 4 learners to

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one computer unit or worse, going back to the lecture-based approach where the LF uses a projector to show the eModule package to the “class” as a visual aid. Some LFs, however, admit that despite having a huge number of available units for the learnrs, they really are not comfortable to shift from the traditional teachercentered approach which basically goes against the ALS principles. A number of LFs claim that the learners themselves request for group-paced sessions (i.e. one module simultaneously taken up for everybody). They said that it is a common belief that the A&E Test requires a “core set of modules” to be reviewed (note: some division offices issue memos to this effect). In this regard, the ILA has no actual bearing on the learning resources and activities to be taken up or given to the learners. Focus is then shifted to more learners passing the A&E Test rather than actually gaining life skills based on each learner‟s needs – thus making the eSkwela Centers more as review centers rather than learning centers. There is a call for a more holistic approach to the learning process to prioritize value formation and life skills rather than just passing the A&E test. A representative from an NGO requested that the current practices surrounding the FLT/ILA needs to be reviewed and enhanced. She observed that there are certain basic competencies that appear “pass” in the FLT but are not reflected in the actual performance assessment through the learners‟ application forms or interviews. Note: Based on previous M&E activities, it had been observed that a big number of learning facilitators do not conduct the interview for Recognition of Prior Learning or even come up with respective learners‟ ILAs despite having the learners take the FLT. It was likewise raised that perhaps, it is not the ILA itself that is the problem but the implementation and progress monitoring guidelines and the capability building related to it. From the discussions, it was observed that the learning facilitators can easily define or enumerate the steps in determining learners‟ ILAs but they do not really practice or observe how the ILA should guide the interventions intended for respective learners due to various reasons. There is a need to reassess learner and facilitator readiness in terms of ILA implementation. More on this in the next bullet. In addition, a number of learning facilitators who are DepEd mobile teachers admitted that they cannot spend too much time to prepare for eSkwela sessions (i.e. customize resources and activities based on ILAs). This, they said, is because they are burdened with so much work beyond the teaching-learning aspect that they have low motivation to practice new ways, explore, and innovate. Some LFs are assigned multiple roles in

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addition to their role as eSkwela learning facilitators who need to manage learning sessions and adsocmob tasks.  The LF FGD surfaced some hindering factors to ICT adoption. The hindering factors can be grouped into two – those that are related to the NFE A&E Curriculum and those that are related to the technology. 1. Curriculum-related Factors Learner Entry The only tool used is the Functional Literacy Test. Recognition of Prior Learning and Individual Learning Agreements are not used. LFs do not use the RPL. A lot of them do not know how to integrate the results of the FLT and RPL into the ILA. An individualized learning plan is then not created. There is ongoing disagreement about how to use the ILA. Is it supposed to be based on learner interest or should it be based on learner needs as identified by the LF based on the Functional Literacy Test? LFs tend to let the learners choose what they want to study first because they seek to retain them in the program. Some LFs insist that all learners have to study the minimum or core modules because there are a basic set of skills that all the learners should know, based on the A&E Test. There is a request for the 10-month (800 hours) “learning” duration to be reviewed, including a more thorough assessment of pre-intervention learner competencies. A “formula” of sorts is suggested to assist LFs in determining the appropriate number of hours needed and the assignment of modules, based not only on FLT results but also looking into the number of years since last schooling, reading and writing levels, etc. A stricter policy on the implementation on the ILA and corresponding monitoring on learner progress should be developed and enforced. Instruction Delivery The NFE Curriculum is modular but it does not insist on mastery of base module before proceeding to the higher modules. Assessment of Learning In connection with instruction delivery, assessment of module learning remains to be very subjective and not based on clear standards. Readiness assessment for learners to take the A&E Test is being practiced by a number of centers, but they get confusing signals from DepEd-BALS as to its stand on the matter. LF questions the validity of the A&E test. One questions the criteria for grading the essay. Another LF questions the suitability of multiple choice questions in measuring life skills. LFs want to know who develops the test, and where do they base the questions on. There is currently a huge emphasis on the test as basis of teacher performance

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[as well as division office performance, for that matter]. LFs rush the lessons because the test is coming – Centers becoming review centers where one-sizefits-all learning sessions conducted to churn out more A&E Test passers. There is clamor for a different way of measuring LF performance apart from the A&E test passing rate. 2. Technology-related Factors Instruction Delivery Learners still get tired with the computer-based lessons. At most, learners can only cope with two hours of computer based lessons. Internet surfing takes learner's attention away from the lessons – i.e. exploring beyond the module guide choices (good: exploration of other resources) or even beyond the module topic itelf (distraction). Some use the last 15 minutes of the session to allow learners to use the Internet as an incentive. Some learners are not yet ready to use the computers. Several factors determine readiness to use the eModule packages: 1. computer literacy, 2. language of instruction - some learners read the print-based modules while going through the e-learning variety because they cannot read well in English, 3. lack of self-discipline to take computer-aided instruction alone seriously. One LF mentioned that because of this, the A&E modules seem more apt for Secondary level only. Some LFs mentioned the limitations of a purely computer-based instruction. A lot of the learners still need to build up discipline, one of the needed characteristics to enable self-study. For some, the use of computers had the adverse effect expected from ICT-enabled learning; instead of encouraging interactivity, learners tended to simply react to the modules. It is different when learners have actual contact with the LF because they are forced to read, comprehend, and perform. Learners do not take the eModule packages as seriously as they would when dealing with a LF. The e-Learning Modules also do not help in the essay part of the A&E. Given these obstacles, some LFs treat the eLearning modules as supplementary materials to the print-based modules. For them, this is the best way to maximize the advantages of both print-based and computer-based instruction. It was a consensus that there is still a need for blended learning. The digital modules are not effective when teaching Math skills. In that case, a lot more examples are needed and board work is important to ensure that learners are really solving the problems. Some learners still want someone to discuss the lessons to them. They want someone to explain, not just read by themselves. Some learners need someone to be available when translation is necessary.

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The digital modules work best for communications. The conversations help in improving pronunciation. Hearing interviews also build life skills of learners. One LF mentioned that the newer modules are better than the SCL modules. There is immediate feedback and it is more interactive unlike the old modules that were similar to the text versions.  Several observations were also raised about the use of technology in ALS. All of these refer to instruction delivery. This could be because the modules are seen by the LFs as the most important component in the eSkwela project. Based on the foregoing discussion, it was agreed that the NFE A&E Curriculum needs to be reviewed and revised.

Output 3: ICT-supported Educational Innovations for the Community Findings: eSkwela is appreciated by the local partners, implementers, and learners for its innovations and approach to community engagement.  The implementers valued the continuous capability building approach of eSkwela. Despite the fact that most LFs are still at the “emerging” or “applying” stages in terms of ICT competency and use of the eSkwela Instructional Model, they have at least gone past being apprehensive about the potentials of ICT in education by actually using it in the learning sessions, albeit sticking to the minimum requirements. It is, after all, “a modernization of ALS”. Joining eSkwela improved their ICT skills and helped them to catch up on what is current and relevant to learners. They said that they learned to look for online resources as well as innovate on the tools given. The FGD afforded them the chance to listen to the experiences of others – especially for the newer implementers, they look up to the more seasoned ones for advice and guidance. Pockets of innovation were shard and celebrated covering areas such as learner orientation, laboratory policies (cup up/down), use of additional resources and tools (e.g. online thesaurus/dictionary), use of Skype and YM for monitoring, etc. There had been numerous requests for a more systematic mechanism for handholding, mentoring, modelling, and monitoring – a “multi-mode capability building approach” depicted in Table 35. Further, they requested for site visits, knowledge/experience

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exchanges, and site immersion with seasoned or model LFs so that they could learn from one another within this community of practice. This is training beyond the traditionally run face-toface modality of nationallevel workshops. 

Table 35 Multi-mode Capability-building Approach

The learners liked the eSkwela environment for being informal, interesting, with lots of bonding opportunities among learners and LFs. They feel accepted in the Centers., The eModule packages make learning fun and engaging (“Tagline pa lang already connotes fun”). Learners are more interested or motivated because of the computers. They find eSkwela as more accommodating of learners‟ needs (i.e. more audiovisual). They appreciate the different features of the eModules for being interactive and multimedia. The LFs report that a number of learners appreciate the fact that the LMS provide more choices that allow them to check out eModules that are of interest to them or even repeat those that have gotten their fancy. Further, they receive reliable and consistent feedback from the digital modules. They find the eModule packages helpful as refresher materials and because they are applicable in daily life. They definitely find the eSkwela modules better than the PDF versions. They attest to learning better through these. They also like the fact they can use different modules per learner.

Dennis Aw-As of eSkwela-SOSCFI, Benguet suggests that LFs should “Have fun with Moodle and learn the technology.” One of his strategies is to let the learners play with solitaire first to get accustomed with using the mouse. It is in line with making eSkwela a fun learning environment. As an NGO, eSkwela is just a component of their overall interventions. There are several complementary programs to eSkwela like Responsible Parenthood Program, skills training, seminars, and youth camps. They also provide referrals for learners who passed the A&E to other vocational or livelihood training programs.

A learner reports that she appreciates the Back button and Menu options because these allow her to go back to sections in the eModule countless times, in peace and without fear of ridicule. She compares the experience in a lecture-based setting where she gets laughed at for asking clarificatory questions that causes her to just keep quiet despite not being able to understand nor keep up with the lesson being discussed. Unfortunately, however, there is still no policy with regards to allowing free distribution of the eSkwela Modules so that learners may bring these home, unlike print modules. Also, the learners tend to rush through eModules than print modules, negatively affecting mastery progress for some learners – this may be remedied

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through systematic progress monitoring of LFs. Learners report that the eSkwela experience has also raised self-esteem – in fact, the computer-assisted delivery provides a sort of status symbol for them since being able to access such a “high tech class” lifts them from being secondclass citizens. They get to learn basic ICT skills through eSkwela. They requested that the ICT Camp be a regular activity because it allowed them to learn and apply new ICT applications that they may use to earn extra income, plus they get to travel, see new places, and meet new friends. LFs report that learners have become better at communication, collaboration, research, and working on ICT-supported outputs on their own. Further, they learn from co-learners and community service. Learners see LFs as important because they serve as translator, tutor, motivator, and adviser/ confidante. They appreciate that the LFs are more focused on them, are more patient, and flexible than the formal school teachers that they had. Eleven months after our launching, 16 out of our 23 learners took the A&E Exam, and four of them passed. Not bad for a green horn. Our percentage of passing is in accord with the national norm. To date, we have 22 learners, and those who did not pass the A&E Exam, encouraged by those who passed, are coming back to try again. We are in our nascent years. We are still struggling. But there are blessings to count – blessings that would not have been possible without the eSkwela. From day one, eSkwela has continued to provide us the assistance we need. We have gotten used to being confident because we know that Eskwela is just an email or a call or even a text away. We feel like the contestant in the movie, “Slum Dog Millionaire” – confident that there is no way but up because Eskwela is there to take our call for help. We are grateful. How can we express our gratitude? We cannot give Eskwela the prestigious awards that come from the likes of UNESCO. But we want you to know that Eskwela is carved in our hearts. - UP Prof. Josefina A. Agravante Center Manager, eSkwela-Holy Trinity Parish, QC Testimonial given during the eSkwela Close-out Acitivity-Luzon 2, February 2011  The local partners appreciated the project management style of the CICT project team that promoted and prioritized community partnership for eSkwela.
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Further, despite seeming restrictiveness, the various requirements and processes imposed by the project team proved to be beneficial to the local partners since these threshed out the different details which if left hanging would cause the failure of Center operations and sustainability. Output 4: Strengthening BALS Findings: Even if the project was only intended to create a computer-supported modality in ALS, it has also contributed to organizational development in both BALS Central and Field Offices.  The project helped Director Carolina Guerrero in gaining a better understanding of the potentials of ICT in education. She is the first to admit that she was completely ICT-illiterate prior to eSkwela. The project also gave her the tools to ensure that her vision for learning could materialize. 
“At the back of my head, ALS learners are

already on their 2nd chance. I want to make sure that they stick to the program this time. They are already drop-outs, they cannot drop out again. So that would mean ensuring modalities, materials, and methodologies are interactive, collaborative, and modern. I may not know how ICT works, but I know how I want the learning experience to look like.” Interview with Director Guerrero

The project also gave the BALS Central Office the head start it needed to transition to ICT use. Now, it has the most aggressive plans in terms of ICT implementation into the ALS programs and systems, through the eService Program. The project also built BALS‟ capacity on Instructional Design. They established a Content Development Process. They also mobilized the needed internal human resources to implement it like the Reviewer‟s Pool. BALS also learned to outsource the content development to SUCs.

The project worked with the Regional Offices to help manage the different eSkwela Centers in the country, giving it the regional presence and a boost on program advocacy to ensure its “brand recognition” and sustainability in the field. The partnership also built program management skills at the Regional Offices. The Regional Offices are taking over most of the support functions the eSkwela Project Team. The project also established a center application process that enabled both DepED and Non-DepED implementers to establish eSkwela Centers.

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Outputs concerning Content Development Output 5: Rewards of Good Instructional Design Findings: Even if content development (both for the eModules and Module Guides) for eSkwela presented a lot of challenges, the joy and fulfillment in seeing learners engaged and having fun while learning the modules far outweighs the frustrations and difficulties.  One must have an appreciation of the end users‟ / learners‟ context, objectives/targets, learning styles, and processes, and in order to come up with good instructional design (ID). The learner must be the inspiration of the design. For this, IDs must be subjected to brief immersions and interactions with learners to verify or revise assumptions and impressions, preferably prior to the start of ID work, and not just at the tail end of development (i.e. beta review). Those in charge with ID, review (content experts), and actual module development must work hand in hand in devising creative strategies to migrate print content into a creative and interesting digitized format, thinking of module enrichments to make modules localized and interesting, updating content, and selecting additional resources and determining effective activities. They should be open to receiving comments and ideas for output revisions as well as to the potentials of the use of various ICT in education. Having an instructional designer who is an educator, familiar with the module topic, and has a bit of technical background is a plus because he can balance module strategies and activities with the limitations in programming vis-à-vis time and cost constraints. In the same way, the content expert/reviewer needs to be oriented on technical possibilities and limitations in order to come up with mutually agreeable module designs. Output 6: Effective Project Management  As with the eSkwela Project as a whole, effective project management is needed in content development. The Terms of Reference has to spell out all the details necessary for the smooth implementation of the process. Choosing the right people for the team is crucial. Further, the number of members involved should be dependent on the number of assigned modules, timeframe, and extent of work to be done. Commitment, competence, professionalism, availability,

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and a team attitude are crucial factors in selecting the members of the team. Turnover of personnel had been a major problem for a number of development teams.  Maintain an internal quality control mechanism. Maintaining a pool of internal content experts/reviewers to guide the ID and developers in the development process is a good practice. Proper documentation should be strictly observed. Tools and instruments should be agreed upon and used from the very beginning. Signing off on agreements should be regularly practiced. The SUC partners have gained a lot of first-hand experience on content development that a number of them have already begun to teach content development process as actual courses. Some have even branched out to other content development projects.

Lessons Learned The project team seeks to pass on lessons it has learned from the past five years. These lessons are intended to guide BALS as they take over the project and to inform future similar projects. 1. Implementers tend to revert to conventional technologies. Encouraging paradigm shift takes time, regular progress monitoring, and flexible and appropriate interventions. One of the ways to facilitate paradigm shift or ICT integration in ALS is to provide continued capability building for implementers. Capacity building is not gained only through face-to-face trainings. It can be delivered through mentorship, building communities of practice, and providing constructive feedback during monitoring activities. ICT integration in Education does not mean purely digital instruction. It is better to encourage blended learning because it empowers the implementer to select and design appropriate use of technology for a particular learning objective and for a specific learner‟s needs and context. Implementing and sustaining eSkwela is not easy to run by one person. It needs various dedicated personnel and supportive partners to run sustainably. Collaboration is the key. Just make sure that the goals and targets are clear, roles are defined, and that potential risks and challenges have been thought through. Effective project management requires that processes be systematized and enforced – but at the same time, relies on regular assessment and feedback among stakeholders for continuous enhancement. Creativity must not be lost in implementing and sustaining programs and projects. Proper documentation is important.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

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8.

Promoting collaboration, camaraderie, and openness endeared the project to all concerned. Despite all the challenges, the project team, partners, implementers, and learners were having fun! A positive and healthy perspective on monitoring and evaluation matters. Stakeholders appreciate the fact that they have not been left alone in the process. Maintaining a regular presence (online or offline) that promotes the maxim “we‟re in this together” might be taxing for the project team but went a long way in gaining trust and support from the stakeholders.

9.

Having a young and dynamic team was a clear advantage. Empowering them boosted the project‟s potentials even further. Partners and implementers look for success stories and models to pattern from. Start small and document experiences. Provide them with enough information for guidance. Practice what you preach – i.e. use of ICT for program,/project advocacy, communication, and sharing of information. It pays to celebrate successes as well as to admit weaknesses and imperfections. This allows one to see the potentials of a certain intervention and the power of collaboration among stakeholders. As software applications go, projects also have a version 1, a version 2, a version 3, and so on. It takes a certain amount of openness and flexibility to entertain growth prospects.

10.

11.

Recommendations With these in mind, below are recommendations that the CICT eSkwela Project Team to the different stakeholders: For the DepEd-BALS Central Office: 1. Review and revise current A&E NFE Instructional Model and its implementation and monitoring. This includes: (1) Improvement on tools to assess learner baseline, (2) Improvement on system to implement ILA, (3) inclusion of ALS implementers on test development, and (4) consistency on criteria for grading the essay portion of the A&E Test. Retain the name eSkwela not eLearning Centers to leverage on eSkwela‟s brand and success as well as avoid confusion. Come up with a systematic way to gauge Center status and LF ICT in Education competency and utilization levels through clearly defined grading levels or star ratings. Develop of eSkwela Modules and Module Guides in Filipino and in Mother Tongue.

2.

3.

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4.

Exercise strong program management in order to: (1) ensure sustainability and (2) continue improvement. Take on a culture that values troubleshooting and openness for continuous enhancement, lessens bureaucracy (i.e. having the team directly and easily accessible to stakeholders, with less paperwork and waiting due to protocols), and promotes the optimal use of networking and social marketing. Increase resource inputs for ALS/eSkwela through: (1) .MOOE allocation; (2) institutionalized.SEF/ IRA/ SK Fund %. Implement CICT‟s social entrepreneurial approach to bring down investment cost for the agency: (1) Look at different Center models (i.e. use shared facilities in target communities), (2) Encourage Non-DepED partners, (3).Manage the nationwide expansion and implementation by using the mechanisms and instruments put in place by the eSkwela project team. Continuously innovate and improve on the model based on actual feedback and expert advice. Involve non-DepEd eSkwela providers/ centers in the activities and major decisions. When engaging partners, consultants, and contractors, make sure that there is a clearcut Terms of Reference to guide the efforts. Implementing rules and guidelines as well as target deliverables should likewise be spelled out and agreed upon from the very beginning – include clear roles and boundaries of DepEd-BALS team. Assign people who can dedicate enough time for the content development process, especially if DepEd-BALS insists on fielding its own people to do the Instructional Design of the modules. Fund/ support further research studies on eSkwela and other ICT-based ALS delivery modes. Clarify and publicize implementation policies and guidelines, such as the Application Process or a policy on allowing learners to get copies of the eModules to bring home, etc. Remember that eSkwela Centers require more than just computers. Let the Readiness Assessment Form guide everyone concerned in ensuring availability of requirements, assigning of stakeholder roles and responsibilities, planning out the Center activities.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

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For the eSkwela Regional Teams 1. Maximize the M&E process to move beyond checklists. Instead, use this to cultivate a troubleshooting practice between the Regional Team and the Centers. Focus on instilling life skills, not just the A&E passing rate. One-off trainings is not they only way to build capacity. Establishing mentors within the region will encourage innovation and continuous capability building among the implementers. There are not many people who know/ understand ALS/ eSkwela (note: it goes way beyond a computer literacy program). Engage in social marketing / advocacy campaigns on ALS / eSkwela. Encourage Non-DepEd partners to implement eSkwela. Include them in the program. Make it easy to establish partnership, provide access to resources, and include them in the community. Manage or maintain communities of practice. The best and cheapest kind of help available is the experience of other implementers. Maximize the eSkwela Ning Site or Facebook Groups/ Pages to enable communication and sharing of experiences.

Georly Mae Dabalos of eSkwela-Davao City has to be one of the most innovative LFs in the eSkwela community. She was able to maximize the ICT functions in order to improve on the learning process. She created an online Freedom Wall which encourages students to speak up. Georly modified the module guides. However, she was halfway through it when the Moodle crashed. The program apparently crashes after exceeding a file limit. She suggests that teachers create back-ups for the module guides by creating it in your PC first. Georly and her learners also enjoyed using the Ning. However, when it started requiring payment, they shifted to an FB group. She also uses the FB group to get in touch with the passers. Georly is starting to move towards transforming the ALS learning experience. She has created an online Functional Literacy Test and online enrolment system. This opens the eSkwela to Filipinos abroad who still need to gain a high school diploma. She tried uploading the eSkwela modules but it is eating up memory space in their websites. For her, she suggests that LFs search for educational games and useful software for their learners. Georly also takes advantage of different technologies in delivering instruction. They use the television and player to show movies in class. They also do role playing and script writing activities for the learners. It was a challenge to shift from face-to-face instruction to ICT-based. Together with her ES, they tried to solve the question “How do we accommodate 24 learners with only 12 computers?” They agreed to limit the enrolment to 24 learners per center. Learners tend to destroy the infrastructure, vandalize the tables, and steal headsets. They shifted to a U-shaped lay-out because it is hard to see what the students are doing in a classroom lay-out.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

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7.

Maintain the Application Form and Readiness Assessment Process for center applicants. This guides potential centers on the requirements of building an eSkwela. Provide the same (or even better) operations management and support that the CICT eSkwela project team provided - e.g.technical support, monitoring and evaluation, handholding, building community of practice.

8.

For Site Implementers 1. Tap volunteers. There are a lot of possible volunteers in the communities. From NSTP students, to SUC Extension Program teams, to retired teachers, to stay-at-home mothers, there are a lot of volunteers who could help out the Center – not necessarily in monetary form. This eventually builds up community support and heightens advocacy for eSkwela. Build networks, partnerships, and linkages but do select the right partners. Learn to screen partners for commitment to the program. Take advantage of sharing existing facilities like computer shops, libraries, and computer laboratories. Incorporate add-on programs to make the eSkwela learner intervention more holistic, like field trips, retreats, etc. Ask for community groups to sponsor or lead the activities. These make learners‟ experiences richer and could be tied up with certain modules, thus serving as relevant topics for learner projects. Tie up with the community for learner incentives such as scholarship programs (college, voctech) and learn-to-earn programs. De-load Learning Facilitators from other tasks that may be delegated elsewhere so that they may concentrate better on providing appropriate facilitation and guidance to eSkwela learners. Innovate. Innovate. Innovate.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

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For Content Development Teams  Utilize and continually enhance the tried-and-tested eSkwela Content Development Process and tools. Just make sure that the Terms of Reference are clearly spelled out. Incorporate a change request mechanism into the process. Map out available content based on needs. Avoid duplication of efforts (and costs) – assist the PhilCeCNet and iSchools Project in these efforts. Enforce agreed upon processes and quality of deliverables. Ensure outputs are at par with guidelines set in the TOR, otherwise these should be grounds for rejection (or even termination) and non-payment of fees. Documentation should be strictly implemented and signed off by all parties concerned. Look into developing more localized content for the Filipinos – and make these affordable (free if possible) and accessible. Work with various partners to develop local content for local industries and livelihood. If there is no print module to work with (i.e. starting from scratch), a content presentation phase (includes research into specific content to use) has to be included in the beginning of the entire process. Time frame and costing should be further studied (estimates are at 6 months to 1 year, cost should be based on number of screens and media used). Reusability of media library should also be explored.

 

  

Instead of imposing on a top-down training program, a Training Needs Analysis must be conducted. The following training topics were mentioned during the eSkwela Close-out Activities:     For Learning Facilitators: Counseling, Crisis Management, Learner Assessment, ICT skills For Center Managers: Social Marketing, Writing proposals, Social enterprise For eSkwela Regional Teams: Monitoring, Troubleshooting/ support system, Community building For BALS: Program management, Model development/ improvement

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Key Success Factors Ms. Jane Alvarez, project team member, posted the following entry on the eSkwela blogspot account in 13 January 2009 ( http://eskwelablog.blogspot.com/2009/01/best-practicesfor-2008-eskwela-la.html ), entitled “eSkwela a la Carte: Recipe of a Three-Year old Project”. It lists down the key success factors that held true for the five-year run of the eSkwela Project. “Implementing the project is no walk in the park for we have stumbled upon challenges and constraints, but we have surmounted them in the end. We are just thankful that we have satisfying end results to set off our shortcomings. And looking at how eSkwela is working right now, I can say that it is one great dish to offer. What makes a good dish, though, are the ingredients contained therein, and these are the reasons why eSkwela turned out to be as valued as it is today.  Proper delegation of tasks eSkwela is not a one-man project. Tasks are properly delegated among our team members as well as external partners, allowing our project team to be flexible and not get bogged down in the minutiae. Our team members are distributed among our four units (Content Development, Monitoring and Evaluation, Instructional Model and Technical) according to his or her competency. However, each individual is not confined to a specific unit; one can be tapped by another when cases are called upon.  Competent staff As the literature says, an organization‟s best asset is its people. An organization performs well if its members can effectively assemble and collaborate. In addition, there is wisdom, which touches upon the experiences of individuals. The quality and depth of knowledge provides diversity within the team. But more than the competency, every member of the team is willing to learn and explore new ways of doing things, is not easily discouraged by obstacles, and has the heart for the project.

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Smooth group dynamics We are a pool of different personalities; each has his/her own unique traits and eccentricities. It is an individual‟s recognition of his or her personal values that makes us work professionally. Also bringing the project together is the bond that exists between our own personal values and the over-all goals of the project.

Guidance from expert consultants Seeking guidance and recommendation from expert consultants does not lessen our sense of ownership to the project. It only increases our confidence for we know that we are treading the right path.

Good working relationship with partner agencies Aside from having a highly satisfying rapport with our expert consultants, we also have a harmonious relationship with our partner agencies. Working hand-in-hand with other agencies, we acknowledge as well as take in different but interdependent contributions.

Dedicated and collaborative site implementers Consider us lucky to have site implementers who have an equal burning passion to make the project a success. Our site implementers whose enthusiasm to leverage the condition of the underserved sector of the society are always present. Our field partners are known for their untiring efforts to collaborate with us in mutual aim of continuously improving each of our units for the sake of our end users. Our interdependency is clearly understood and managed because of constant communication and active collaboration with one another.

Reflective and up-to-date monitoring and evaluation It may sound simple enough, but there are risks that are “insignificant” at the beginning of the project that becomes “catastrophic” due to neglect. Capturing all risk in a risk register ensures – at the very least- there is a record of it and it will not be lost. Furthermore, by documenting everything, references are readily available for any disputes.

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As practiced, the team regularly conducts postmortem meetings to hash out any issues, improving production support as well as the project processes. Issues that caused any delays or restructuring of project focus and in implementation as well as “morning after” support problems are always collected. These are used to analyze procedures for improvement, and are not regarded as opportunities for personal criticism.  Capability building approach supports the eQuality program of CICT Taking into account different perspectives, both internal and external, our capability building approach is one of our project‟s great achievements. In addition, we take into consideration the dynamics between and among our project components. Capability building is the heart of our project performance. By harnessing our capabilities, we overcome constraints that can hamper our targets. Likewise, we grab opportunities that can accelerate our development plans.  Participatory approach in all activities and decision-making The management team values its stakeholders as one of the major key players in the development of the project. It is always a must that our stakeholders are provided with updates about our milestones and that their expectations are being met. The design of our processes is open to those who are directly affected, giving them the chance to speak out about possible effects. In return, we pass on to them the sense of ownership and accountability for the project.”

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Chapter 8: Next Steps
“For all of us who are here today, the challenge is to grow eSkwela into a grove of trees that covers the entire Philippine archipelago. What is asked of us is not easy. We need courage. We need skills. We need resources, dedication and passion. We need commitment. And most of all, we need a certain amount of madness. Why, madness? Because, to quote a martyr of the struggle for Africa’s total liberation: ‘You cannot carry out fundamental changes without a certain amount of madness.’32” - Emmanuel C. Lallana, PhD Opening Remarks, eSkwela Turnover Ceremonies, April 2011 The Commission on Information and Communications Technology had officially turned over the management of eSkwela to the Department of Education for institutionalization and regular operations, under its Alternative Learning System during the eSkwela Turnover Ceremonies last 29 April 2011 at the Ayala Techno Hub, Diliman, Quezon City. A Memorandum of Agreement legally bound the two parties to the implications of the turnover, shown here as Attachment AI. All that is left with the CICT eSkwela Project Team are project documentation, liquidation of funds, and the completion of the deliverables under the content development component. The project team has pegged 30 September 2011 as the deadline of submission of all these pending deliverables to the appropriate offices and thus, the termination of all eSkwela project-related activities within CICT. The management of DepEd had repeatedly emphasized that it will sustain eSkwela as part of the regular delivery services of the A&E Program. With policy support and regular funding from DepEd, eSkwela will have more “muscle and teeth” in facing the various expansion and operation challenges. Through the Regional Coordinators, Trainers, field implementers, and eSkwela’s online presence, continuous advocacy is being done for the further expansion of eSkwela sites nationwide towards contributing to the country’s efforts in providing Education for All (EFA) by 2015. As stated in previous chapters, several models are being promoted: ALS Office-based, school-based, barangay-based, city hall-based, mobile (laptop, container van), internet café-based, etc., depending on the respective commitments and resources of the host communities that are responsible for the infrastructure, connectivity, and sustainability concerns of the centers. This chapter will discuss eSkwela 1.1 that will be spearheaded by DepEd through an eGF 2010/2011 grant. It will likewise tackle various recommendations for eSkwela’s next steps – after all, eSkwela continues to be work in progress.

32

Sankara, Thomas. URL: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Sankara Accessed: May 2011.

Chapter 8: Next Steps

e-Service System of DepEd-BALS Looking at the big picture, eSkwela is just one of the programs in the ICT Plan 20112015 of DepEd-BALS, in line with its vision to be the leading producer of Filipino lifelong learners. DepEd-BALS will do so by developing exemplary programs and open creative learning opportunities to achieve multiple literacies for all. In her presentation33 during the eSkwela Close-out Activities and Turnover Ceremony, Dir. Carolina Guerrero reported that through an ICT-enabled learning paradigm by 2015, DepEd-BALS targets to reach 10 Million out-of-school children, youth, and adults (OSCYAs) in 10,625 barangays through its various ALS programs. Through its e-Service System, DepEdBALS is embarking on the development of additional e-learning module packages, the eMIS, eM&E, and the eTest (computerized version of the Accreditation and Equivalency Test). The Bureau has also tied up with IBM and the Asia-Pacific College for the eMentor Program, with Globe Telecom and Smart Communications for their initial foray into mLearning services, with Knowledge Channel for the production of 38 “Ibang Klase” TV episodes, and with various community radio stations for the expansion of the Radio-Based Instruction (RBI) of ALS. DepEd-BALS promises to continue to strengthen eSkwela 1.0, work on eSkwela 1.1, and plan for eSkweal 2.0 in the next few years. For eSkwela 1.0, orientation and consultation workshops among key stakeholders of the 95 (+ 10 about-to-operate) CICT-assisted eSkwela Centers will be continued, along with capability building and M&E activities from 2011 to 2015. There are also plans to develop and deploy new eModule Guides in 2012 and implement the first round of revisions for the eModules in 2013. eSkwela 1.1 and eSkwela 2.0 will be discussed in more detail below.

33

Available online via URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/50753365/Dir-Carole-Close-Out-PresentationFinal-davao Accessed: April 2011.

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eSkwela 1.1: Expansion of the eSkwela Project through the ALS Community Learning Centers eSkwela 1.1 is an offshoot of the two (2) implementation phases of the eSkwela Project, namely the pilot phase (funded by the APEC Education Foundation) and the enhancement & initial expansion phase or eSkwela 1.0 (funded by eGF 2006, 2007, 2009). Backed up by a 42 Million budget from eGF 2010 (unconfirmed reports have indicated that DepEd was able to request that the fund come form eGF2011 instead), eSkwela 1.1 intends to bring the enhanced ICT-supported alternative learning system of eSkwela to more communities in the country by delivering the service through the 114 ALS school-based BPOSA (Balik Paaralan para sa Out-of-School Adults) Centers and the 211 ALS Community Learning Centers under the DepEd-Bureau of Alternative Learning System. The project will provide capability building programs and handholding mechanisms to 2,300 field implementers to source community support and implement the eSkwela instructional model, thereby opening up ICT-supported opportunities to more out-of-school youth and adults to complete their basic education requirements, learn new skills (i.e. digital competence, life skills, voc-tech skills), and engage in community activities. Rationale Despite the initial positive assessment results on eSkwela as expounded in the previous chapters, and despite believing in the potential benefits of the project to their communities, the local stakeholders that are tasked to source infrastructure requirements have been quite slow in the uptake of the eSkwela project mainly due to collaboration, investment, and sustainability concerns. It takes the local community stakeholders around six (6) to eight (8) months from the time they submit an eSkwela application form to the actual expression of commitment (i.e. start operations, MOA signing, etc.). From Chapter 7, it was determined that around 6,300 OSYA learners have been served by the CICT-assisted eSkwela Centers. Assuming that the 56 shared facilities allow around 100 other users and students from the community to access the eSkwela modules as supplementary or research materials, the total number of users who benefit from eSkwela is estimated at 11,909 – this translates to a revised ROI of Php 8,150 based on the total Php 97 Million investment on eSkwela, combining both AEF and eGF grants. Number of Centers 4 7 22 62 95 TOTAL OSYAs 2,500

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Total Served: 2007-2011
Table 36

1,488 2,321 6,309

Estimated # of other community users with access to eSkwela materials 5,600 11,909

Conservative Estimate of the Total Number of Users served by eSkwela, 2007-2011

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This is quite a low impact considering that eSkwela can benefit a lot more Filipinos including the estimated 9 million functionally illiterate Filipinos (11% of the country’s current population) and 12.3 million young Filipinos aged 6 to 29 years who were not attending school (20% of whom are not interested in traditional school). Further, DepEd-BALS reports that in 2008, the National Statistics Office estimated that there were 27.5 Million out-of-school youth and adults aged 15 years old and above, of which 1.3 Million has not even reached Grade 1. The innovative approach of eSkwela to learning through the use of ICT will hopefully motivate these “potential ALS learners” to continue their studies – it is just that too little infrastructure has been sourced to provide this service right now. It is in this light that the Commission on Information and Communications Technology-Human Capital Development Group, together with the Department of EducationBureau of Alternative Learning System, proposed to use the facilities of the 114 ALS-schoolbased BPOSA Centers and the 211 ALS Community Learning Centers. By partnering with various local community stakeholders (LGU, NGO/civic organization, company, internet cafés, schools, etc.), the current ALS implementers from these centers can tap the existing computer facilities within their local communities to expand the reach of eSkwela to more ALS learners, without the need for the national government to invest on more infrastructure requirement. This move to invest an additional Php42 Million on eSkwela will definitely support the efforts of the national government in providing education for all. The Project Proposal is shown as Attachment AJ. Although ALS was not mentioned in President Aquino’s 10-point Basic Education Agenda, it did state that “we need to provide an educational alternative to better prepare the students for the world of work”34. There is constant clamor as well on the urgent need to provide quality education for all (MDG-EFA) to bring about an increased number of productive and employable workforce. Further, Education Nation – a national coalition of education reform advocates – urges the government to maximize the role of “alternative learning systems (ALS) in the education sector and the world of work.”35 Assuming three (3) batches of learners every week for each of these facilities (with an average of 10 units/lab for BPOSA sites and 4 units/lab for CLCs), eSkwela would be made available to an estimated 5,952 more learners per school year or around 8,273 OSYA learners per year for all eSkwela Centers. Add to this at least 200 formal school students from each of the 114 BPOSA schools who will have access to the eSkwela materials, the total number of beneficiary users of the eSkwela content would be at around 30,000 per school year.
34

35

Noynoy Aquino’s 10-point Basic Education Agenda. Ammado website. 26 March 2010. http://www.ammado.com/nonprofit/46130/articles/14263 Accessed: Sept 2010 10 must-dos to improve RP education. Philppine Daily Inquirer.13 June 2010. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/learning/view/20100613-275415/10-must-dos-to-improve-RPeducation Accessed: June 2010

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Based on this, the current ROI figure of Php8,150 will go down to Php3,071 by 2012, Php1,782 by 2013, Php1,256 by 2014, and Php969 by 2015 – by this time, a new grant for eSkwela 2.0 would then already have been proposed to include enhanced versions of the eModules and other delivery modes. Projected Running Projected Running ROI: OSYA ROI: OSYA total OSYAs Totals other users Totals learners learners + served served only other users 2011 6,309 15,375 8,151 2012* 8,273 14,582 22,800 42,982 9,532 3,234 2013 8,273 22,855 22,800 74,055 6,082 1,877 2014 8,273 31,128 22,800 105,128 4,465 1,322 2015 8,273 39,401 22,800 136,201 3,528 1,021 * starting 2012, an additional Php42M had been incorporated into the investment value
Table 37 Comparative Return on Investment Figures – OSYAs and with other users

As can be deduced from Table 37, it would be much better to open up the use of the eSkwela materials to users other than out-of-school youth and adults, more beneficiaries mean better returns. Based on various feedbacking sessions conducted with current site implementers and learners, below are the various benefits for the OSYAs, the community, and the formal schools adopting this approach for eSkwela 1.1: Stakeholders DepEd for OSYAs: Perceived Benefits • increase the number of trained implementers who will be able to implement eSkwela effectively in the target centers • more learners reached • computer literacy • digital competence • participation in the ICT-enhanced A&E Program (more engaging and motivating) • application of ICT-supported Project-based Learning (in support of life skills acquisition) • access to other sites through online communication/ collaboration • additional skills (ICT or techvoc through TESDA partnerhips) for income generation/ livelihood • more constituents who are employable (via A&E Program / Test) and productive, tax-paying cicitzens • more taxes coming in (tied up with 1st benefit) • multi-stakeholder partnerships for community projects/activities (mostly in kind; services) and “learner pathing” • potential use of learner-developed projects for community advocacy projects • educated voters (that may be “loyal” to you because they benefited from your program) • more optimized use of computer infrastructure and Internet connection investments (more beneficiaries from the investment) • teachers and students have access to the ICT-enhanced materials
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for the government, industry, and community-atlarge:

for formal schools

Chapter 8: Next Steps

Stakeholders (elementary/second ary) and other users

Perceived Benefits (module guides and e-modules) to potentially improve learning outcomes • model of concrete application of ICT-supported Project-based Learning

Table 38 Presumed benefits for the different stakeholders of eSkwela 1.1

The eGovernment Fund Technical Working Group highly recommended that DepEd take the lead for eSkwela 1.1. Objectives eSkwela 1.1 seeks to achieve the following objectives: •
to capacitate and guide/handhold more ALS implementers in bringing eSkwela’s ICT

• •

in education innovations (project-based learning strategies and localized modules /content) to their local communities as well as in obtaining strong community support for center sustainability; to expand the reach of eSkwela to more ALS learners, approximately 8,200 additional ALS learners per school year; to replicate the good performance in the Accreditation and Equivalency Test among current eSkwela Centers in the new Centers (passing rate among eSkwela Centers are two to three times better than the national average); to bring eSkwela’s ICT in education innovations (project-based learning strategies and localized modules /content) to the high school teachers and students in the recipient BPOSA eSkwela 1.1 beneficiaries towards potentially improving learning outcomes; to establish and maintain strong communities of learning and practice (sharing of experiences and potential mentoring) among eSkwela Centers in the provinces or regions and even within the island groups; and, through a third-party assessment study, to assess the qualitative (e.g. behavioural, social/ relational) and quantitative (e.g. cognitive project outputs, A&E Test) effects of using e-learning vs. print modules in the delivery of the Accreditation and Equivalency Program. The project’s Logical Framework, as shown in the Project Proposal, is as follows:
Hierarchy of targeted results Objectively verifiable indicators (OVI)
2

Baseline data

Target

Data sources

Data collection methods
6 Request data from DepEdBALS and individual sites

Frequency of monitoring
7 Once: 3 or 4 months after the A&E Test 2011 is conducted

Responsibility to collect data

1 Ultimate outcome Increase in the functionally literate rate and increase in the number of productive citizens (i.e. employable, with basic education diplomas) among Filipinos Intermediate outcome Increase in the number

100% increase in the A&E Test passing rate in the implementati on sites

3 National average is 21% - 29% eSkwela average is 45% - 65%

4 Project site average of 42% - 58%

5 A&E Test results 2011

8 Sites DepEd-BALS

utilization

Not yet formally measured

75% average among

M&E results

Survey, FGD, conference

2x at the latter part of the project

Regional teams, eSkwela PMO, third-party

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Chapter 8: Next Steps

Hierarchy of targeted results

Objectively verifiable indicators (OVI)
2 satisfaction rate among eSkwela learning facilitators in the implementati on sites on the ICT4E resources of eSkwela

Baseline data

Target

Data sources

Data collection methods
6 report, impact study report

Frequency of monitoring
7 life

Responsibility to collect data

1 of skilled ALS implementers comfortable and confident in utilizing ICT4E resources to broaden access to quality education and training others to acquire similar competencies

3

4 respondents

5

8 impact study consultant

Immediate outcome Improved access to the eSkwela service Improved capability of ALS field implementers to conduct eSkwela learning sessions as well as operate/sustain eSkwela Centers

Additional/ new sites/centers

52 current sites

Additional of at least 200 operational sites 2,200 additional

Site Reports

Forms & Reports

Monthly

Regional teams, Sites unit

additional implementers trained satisfaction rating among learners

920 already trained

Training Reports

Forms & Reports

After every training

Regional teams, IM unit

Not yet formally measured

75% average

M&E results

Survey Interviews/ FGDs

Once or 2x: latter part of the project

eSkwela PMO, third-party impact study consultant

Outputs Centers are operational Community stakeholders have committed to center sustainability eSkwela instructional model utilized for the A&E Program

# of additional sites/centers % of additional operational sites with sustainability commitments from respective community % degree of utilization of the eSkwela Instructional Model among operational sites

52 current sites

320

Site reports

Forms & reports

Monthly

Regional teams, Sites unit

100%

100%

MOAs Site Steering Committe e minutes Site reports

Legal document Reports

Semi-annual

60%

75%

Instruction al Model M&E reports eSkwela Impact Study

Site Visits Observatio n Reports FGDs

Twice starting Month 6

Regional teams, IM unit, eSkwela PMO, third-party impact study consultant

Inputs: Social Franchise Manual

# of manuals issued

0

325

Site Reports Training Reports

Recorded distribution Forms & Reports

Once for each site regional runs for each implementer category upon NA training, automated M&E as needed

Sites unit

Training

# of trained field implementers for add’l sites # of e-content and systems

0

2,200

Regional teams, trainers, IM unit

Software (content & systems)

342 (283 ALS + 5 CILC + 54 livelihood)

342 w/ minimal tech problems

Site Reports M&E results

Forms & Reports

Technical & Sites units

Table 39

eSkwela 1.1 LogFrame

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To be able to accomplish these targets, the following strategies were proposed: • • • Acquire a clear directive from top DepEd management on the use of available schoolbased facilities as well as guidelines for sustainability measures Capacitate more ALS field officials and implementers to serve as Regional eSkwela Team members (roles: trainers, coordinators, and site implementers) Tap LSBs, NGOS, SUCs, and other community groups to ensure sustainability through binding LGU (municipality/city or barangay level) resolutions and ordinances – via DILG-DepEd support, similar to the BIGATIN alliance (discussed in Chapter 5) Advocate eSkwela support and sustainability as well as “learner pathing” through the Regional ICT Councils

Project Components Based on the aforementioned objectives, eSkwela 1.1 will focus on the following key areas: • Social Preparation / Project Advocacy including: o stakeholders’ networking and orientation o operations & sustainability planning o technical support o distribution of the eSkwela Social Franchise Manual (Social Enterprise and Operations Guide) Capability Building on customized courses for: o Regional Coordinating teams (from ALS units in the regional and selected division offices) including additional national and/or regional trainers for LFs and NAs o designated Learning Facilitators on ALS and eSkwela (1 DALSC / MT + 2 Ms from the school) o Center Managers (assigned by the Division; can be shared across centers) o Network Administrators (assigned by the Division; can be shared across centers) o selected learners and community stakeholders on PC Recycling Rigorous monitoring and evaluation to provide o handholding in terms of the proper utilization of the instructional model and systems o assistance and guidance in eSkwela set-up, operations, and sustainability o analysis of lessons learned and good practices o assistance and direction in the promotion, establishment, and maintenance of local communities of learning and practices o third-party assessment on the effects of the eSkwela instructional model on learning Project Management to ensure o proper coordination among all stakeholders o clear direction and on-schedule activities that are within budget o accurate model and system integration o timely interventions and incentives (competitions, awards, recognitions, etc.)

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Activities and Timetable If the proposal is to be followed, eSkwela 1.1 will run for 14 months and will cover the following activities: Activities /Milestones Social Preparation / Project Advocacy • Project Orientation for and Detailed Planning with Major Stakeholders (Project Team, DepEd trainers, SUCs) • Regional Orientation and Finalization of Community Commitments Capability Building • Trainers’ Training • Center Mgt & Sustainability • Learning Facilitators & Network Admin for new sites • Special Workshops (PC Recycling – all centers) Sites (Expansion, Coordination, M&E) • Core Group M&E Workshop • Site Visits and other Regional M&E activities • Communities of Learning/Practice for handholding and knowledge exchanges / experience sharing • Inter-Region PBL Portfolio Competition • Island Group Conferences (all centers) – close-out Project Management • Initial Team Planning • Third-Party Study • Mid-stream Assessment (core group) • Core Group Close-out • Submission of Terminal Report
Table 40 Proposed Timetable for eSkwela 1.1 Activities

Duration Month 1 Months 1 to 3 Month 2 Month 3 Months 4, 5 Months 9, 10 Month 5 Months 3-14 Months 4 to 15 Months 11 to 13 Month 13/14 Months 1-15 Partially done Months 5 to 9 Month 9 Month 14 Month 15

Put in another way, the schedule can be categorized in this manner: • Core Group Workshops o Orientation and Planning (Month 1) o Training of additional Trainers and Regional teams (Month 2) o M&E Workshop (Month 5) o Mid-Stream Assessment (Month 8) o Close-out (Month 15) Site-related Workshops and Activities o Project Orientation & Action Planning o ALS Training for IMs from the schools o Appropriate Training for all designated LFs/NAs o Center Management Training for all designated CMs o Regional M&E Activities (Months 3 to 14) o Island Group Conferences (Month 13/14) o Inter-Region PBL Portfolio Competition (Months 10-12) Project Evaluation / Impact Study of eSkwela 1.0 (Months 5 to 9)

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Project Team Structure The CICT eSkwela Project Team has discussed the vital role of a strong and empowered project team that will ensure smooth implementation of eSkwela 1.1. DepEdBALS management decided to adopt the project team structure used by CICT, as shown in Fgiure 37. Further, during the Organizational Meeting on the Implications of the Turnover held last 16 March 2011, the project team also presented a proposed structure that includes the regional eSkwela teams that will assist the eSkwela unit in DepEd-BALS, as shown in Figure 38. Depending on the decision of each DepEd Regional Office, each regional team will be composed of 4 to 5 individuals designated as the Regional Coordinator, Regional Trainers for LFs and NAs – these members will serve as the regional leads in the social preparation and implementation requirements for eSkwela 1.1. They will also be the ones approached by other entities or groups (LGUs, NGOs, etc.) that would be willing to set up their own eSkwela Centers outside the eSkwela 1.1 scope of target centers.

Project Director

Project Manager Support Unit (Admin/Finance, Technical)

Regional eSkwela Teams

Applications & Content Development

Instructional Model

Sites

Figure 37 eSkwela 1.1 Project Team Structure

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Chapter 8: Next Steps

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers) Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers)

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers)

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers)

BALS team (10)

-following CICT’s
project team structure

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers) Divisi on Coor Divisi on Coor Divisi on Coor

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers)

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers)

Regional Team (4-5) (RC, LF and NA Trainers)

Divisi on Coor

Divisi on Coor

Figure 38 eSkwela 1.1 Regional Team Structure

The project team, together with the eSkwela Regional Teams, will form the eSkwela 1.1 Core Group to ensure that DepEd-BALS will have the regional manpower structure to sustain the eSkwela initiatives despite end-of-current-project. DepEd / DepEd-BALS management will provide macro guidance and supervision of these additional eSkwela Centers in the areas of for policy direction and regular operations, along with all documentation requirements (reports, manuals, etc.), data systems, and processes. It would be recommended that DepEd-BALS continue their tie-up with the established local stakeholders for the political and financial sustainability of these centers as well as the SUCs for technical support at the regional level. The CICT eSkwela project team also recommended the Regional Coordinators and Trainers that should be retained, re-trained, or replaced to form part of the Regional Teams. The DepEd-BALS eSkwela team proceeded to assign people that it may tap for the different roles in the regional teams. A representative per division will likewise be tapped to work with the Regional eSkwela Team in various project efforts – the list is available with DepEdBALS.

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R1 R2 R3 RCAR R4A

Regional Coordinators Vivian Luz Pagatpatan Romulo Ancheta Reynaldo Licay Jose Bogwana Elaine Balaogan Mariflor Musa Ricardo Tejeresas

Trainers - LF

Trainer - NA Philip Bilgera Delfin Macoco

Division-level Coordinators

Alan Nacu Marlyn Lozada Jenelyn Baylon Jesus Pagliawan (inactive)

Hansel Javier Alfonso Estolas Cris Dinozo Clemente Politico Lindsey Roger Redoblado

R4B

R5 R6 R7 R8

Avelino Santillan Vivian Yarte Victoria Briones Reynaldo Aragon Marie Joy Arias Leticia Bangcong Henry Tura (inactive) Allan Villacampa Joy Bihag

R9

Lucena Yañez

R10 R11 R12 R13 ARMM NCR

Edith Lago Antonio Pasquito Jr. Johnny Sumugat Marilyn Antiquina Maricel Langahid

Neopito Abonitalla Teresita Manceras Aldwin Opre

Hermiette Lerog Angelyn Malabanan Irene Barzaga Ivy Gamatero

Nelvin Bermudez

Felicino Trongco

Juan Obierna

In black: performing well In blue: needs further training and guidance In red: recommended for replacement Vacant slots: need to be assigned by DepEd-BALS
Table 41 Proposed eSkwela 1.1 Regional Team Members

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Change Management Plan There will be no major transition for DepEd-BALS since eSkwela 1.1 is just an expansion of the existing project model to more implementing sites – the major difference only being that the Bureau will take the project lead instead of CICT-HCDG. The parties that will experience transition anxieties will be the field implementers. For school-based BPOSA Centers (assumed to have laboratories since these are located in big / central schools), the perceived major hindrance is the apprehension of school management on operating hours, security, and financial concerns (hardware maintenance, security, utilities, supplies). The project team had often encountered resistance at the level of school management with regards to the implementation of eSkwela via their school laboratories – the resistance usually stems from their worries about their laboratory units’ upkeep/ maintenance, security, etc. Further, a number of school personnel still do not have clear understanding of what ALS is all about. For the existing ALS Community Learning Centers, the major anxiety will come from getting the necessary support from the local community to gain access to more computer facilities for the eSkwela learners. In this regard, the eSkwela Project Team emphasizes the need for a thorough the conduct of project orientation and planning workshops for the core group itself (Month 1) as well as among the community stakeholders as regional project orientation activities (Month 1 to 3). During these project orientation workshops, the team shall discuss the details of eSkwela – what ALS is, what eSkwela is, sample content/simulation of learning sessions, potential benefits for target learners as well as formal school students (access to localized content), cost-benefit analysis, limitations, possibilities of stakeholder engagement, etc. The team will likewise go through the details of the eSkwela MOA that specifies the responsibilities of each party. Testimonials from the current sites will also be provided to show them what eSkwela has already brought to their local communities. The line-up of activities will likewise be presented to give them an idea about the training and handholding
activities.

Also included in the plan are advocacy campaigns directed to the League of Mayors and Municipalities to gain local support for the respective community eSkwela implementations (possibly invoke the BIGATIN alliance). During such time, the team will highlight the experiences and good practices of current eSkwela Centers that are school-based or LGU-based, such as the centers in Tanauan Leyte, Ormoc, Alaminos, Oroquieta, and St. Andrew’s Paranaque. As with the current eSkwela sites, other stakeholders from the local communities will be tapped by the regional coordinators and center managers in sourcing the necessary personnel and budget for this tie-up – as such, proper orientation will prepare the local community in adopting eSkwela. A social franchise manual will be given to each site to provide written documentation on proper set-up, implementation, and sustainability guidelines. There will be a series of training workshops (Months 3-5, 9-10) for the site implementers – Center Managers, Learning Facilitators, and Network Administrators to ensure that they have the competencies to manage the sites as well as implement/use the instructional model properly. Additional trainers will likewise be trained (Month 2) – they will be selected from regular DepEd ALS field implementers to ensure that ALS is fully

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internalized and that BALS ownership is achieved. As previously mentioned, there will be handholding activities (Months 3 to 15) tied up with the M&E activities. These handholding activities aim to supplement whatever was learned during trainings and workshops by guiding the field implementers in the actual operations when they get back to their respective sites. The regional team, with the guidance of the DepEd project team, will likewise establish online communities of learning and practice to make the networking approach more effective. These networks, to be established along with the current sites, will emphasize sharing of experiences/resources and potential collaborations. Sustainability Plan For technical sustainability, the eSkwela 1.1 project team and Regional teams will continue to provide technical training to the designated school lab managers of BPOSA Centers and a designated division-level network administrator (1 per division) in terms of maintaining, backing-up, and updating the eSkwela systems namely, the Learning Management System (LAN-based), the Site Management System (online), and the Instructional Model Management System (online). As for financial and institutional sustainability (especially in the effective utilization of the instructional model and the observance of the eSkwela-operating hours for community OSYA learners), this is covered by an eSkwela Memorandum of Agreement entered into among the school, the DepEd division and the local partner (LGU, NGO, industry foundation, or civic organization). Further, as with all eSkwela implementations, all the activities from social preparation / project orientation to capability building workshops to handholding/M&E, are all geared towards ensuring continuous operations and sustainability of eSkwela in these sites. In particular, the eSkwela Center Management Training Program provides the school and DepEd central, regional, and division management knowledge and competencies in sustaining these learning centers. In some cases, local government resolutions and ordinances are likewise entered into to serve as basis for financial support from the LGU, despite changes in leadership. Institutional sustainability is also strengthened by a mother Memorandum of Agreement that will be proposed to be entered into between CICT and DepEd for this particular project to cover all these concerns.

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Recommendations on the Next Steps This massive expansion, although exciting, will surely bring its own set of challenges and concerns. The different procedures, systems, and activities for social preparation, capability building, community engagement, and monitoring and evaluation will have to be institutionalized to optimize synergy among the various project partners and site implementers. It might become too overwhelming and confusing for everyone (especially the project team) is this is not done. As the famous line goes, “there’s no need to reinvent the wheel”. The eSkwela Social Franchise and the various manuals provided should be fully utilized. As for expanding eSkwela’s reach further, it is highly recommended that the project be presented to the new government administration for policy support and wide-scale expansion. This would mean a possibility of eSkwela services being available in each of the 136 cities and 1,495 municipalities in the country by 2016. The team had seen first-hand that ICT4E-related business-process re-engineering and change management should be given time to incubate as well as done with caution and with the involvement of the stakeholders. The learning curve on ICT use in ALS is further complicated by the individual teaching / learning philosophies, personal views regarding ICT-based/Internet resources, and resistance to changes. Further, the same emphasis of ALS on self-paced, facilitative, and flexible learning that supposedly makes the use of ICTs attractive and motivating features actually cause serious monitoring concerns on the acceptable levels of flexibility and customization among field implementations vis-à-vis eSkwela’s minimums and standards. Towards this end, continuous need for capability building initiatives and interventions is greatly needed. The funds spent on these should be treated as investments. The learning facilitators, despite being very open and flexible to the self-paced ICT-supported approach, are going through a learning curve – definitely a slow-churning journey of discovery and exploration. As such, follow-through and handholding mechanisms and the provision of a corresponding support system should be highly valued. Through a team-teach and progressive/developmental competency approach (i.e. with maturity model), encrouage seasoned implementers to provide and share implementation models, simulations, field visits, and tips. Motivate newer ones to explore and share their experiences through their small communities of practice. Regular monitoring activities by the project team should be used to mentor and handhold the newer implementers and if needed, conduct on-site refresher courses. Continue the inclusive /consultative and collaborative atmosphere among the numerous stakeholders that had been established from the very beginning. Monitoring and evaluation must be seen as a means to continuously review, re-plan, and enhance eSkwela – as been emphasized several times in this report, this positive perception to M&E activities on the various aspects affords the implementation team the opportunities to get and incorporate feedback from the implementers and learners.

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With the expert guidance of experienced ICT4E consultants, quality standards, processes/procedures, and implementation models had been established and were regularly reviewed. These guide the stakeholders on what “eSkwela” means and stands for. For this purpose, field documentation (i.e. reports, statistics, qualitative reviews, online meetings) is highly encouraged and should form part of standaard operating procedures. Maximize the automated systems in this aspect. Implementers and partners are at the core of community acceptance and ownership of eSkwela – due importance should be given them. The existing unofficial communities of practice and learning should be strengthened and empowered. The eSkwela Core Team should continue to provide guidance, models, incentives, celebrations of success to motivate all those involved to move from one level of ICT in Education competence maturity to another. The online eSkwela systems and websites should be used and further enhanced to maintain interaction among all parties involved in order to support the establishment and strengthening of small pockets of communities of practice that value exploration, experimentation, and sharing. If DepEd is serious in emphasizing and strengthening lifelong and lifewide learning among Filipinos, eSkwela materials should be made available to more people for free via Community eCentters, internet cafés , schools, etc. CICT, DepEd, TESDA, and other groups such as the Regional/ Provincial/ City ICT Councils and various non-government organizations and civic groups should actively promote the use of these materials and approach to assist in the education efforts in the country. As such, the required written permission from DepEd should be issued soon – note: TESDA has already given a similar written permission for the wide-scale distribution of the eSkwela Livelihood eModules. As for Monitoring and Evaluation: eSkwela 1.0 has put forward various M&E indicators, as enumerated in the eSkwela Social Franchise Manual. As with any project component, these indicators are by no means exhaustive or perfect. As such, crucial ALS and ICT in Education indicators would have to be reviewed, discussed, clarified, and determined vis-à-vis existing practices and desired targets. Indicators that look into competency levels, actual utilization, desired behavior/attitude, target benefits, etc. should be specified with the aid of ICT in Education experts and practitioners. The results of the various FGD sessions should be considered – including but not limited to the following: • • confusion on ILA implementation confusion on prioritization of A&E focus (passing of test or gaining of life skills) and corresponding role of eSkwela Centers/CLCs as review centers or as centers of lifelong learning requirements from and tasks of learning facilitators internationally accepted ICT in Education indicators (enumerated in various websites, journals, and books from UNESCO, InfoDev, etc.; to be standardized via the World Bank System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results (SABER)36 initiative which DepEd itself is involved in)
System Assessment and Benchmarking for Education Results: The Use of ICT (SABER-ICT). World Bank. URL: www.worldbank.org/education/saber-ict Accessed: June 2011.

• •

36

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In the same manner, various third party groups should be appropriate and relevant studies on eSkwela’s various components. funding allocated for this but more studies would have to be done. and responsive to the results of such studies by way of regular enhancement of eSkwela.

engaged in conducting eSkwela 1.1 has a little DepEd should be open review and continuous

The online delivery or distance education of eSkwela is not yet ready due to problems with internet connection in certain places or even in increasing the community subsidies to pay for dedicated broadband services. The implementation of eSkwela 2.0 as a logical next phase will have to focus on this learning modality, along with the development of other relevant, localized and customized elearning modules; continuous enhancement and conduct of capability building workshops (notably for the distance education model); and even possibly, m-learning. A major component of this next phase is the integration of eSkewla with other communitybased services to provide possible “life paths” for the learners – including service learning through the eSkwela learner projects, evoctech courses, tie-up services for potential employment and community service, etc. eSkwela has a long way to go, it continues to be a work in progress…if it stops being one and stagnates, then it would have lost its beauty and energy. It is hoped that eSkwela continues to serve as a model to the various ICT in Education initiatives in the country and contribute to the targets set by the Philippine Digital Strategy (PDS) 2011201637, specifically in the area of “Investing in People and Digital Literacy for All”.

37

Online version available via URL: http://www.scribd.com/doc/58949299/Philippine-Digital-Strategy-2011-2016 Accessed: June 2011. Alternative site - Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineDigitalStrategy?sk=app_190322544333196 Accessed: June 2011.

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Chapter 9: Financial Report
As previously mentioned, the funding for the eSkwela Project came from two main sources: the APEC Education Foundation (AEF) Grant for the pilot implementation and the conduct of the first rounds of the ICT Camp and Content Development Conference (2008); and the eGovernment Fund (2006, 2007, 2009) for eSkwela 1.0.

AEF Grant # 1: Pilot Implementation The AEF Grant, amounting to USD 200,000 was approved in December 2006. The grant was issued in two tranches namely August 2006 (65%) and April 2007 (25%). Only 90% of the fund was used – i.e. USD180,000 was released from the USD200,000 fund – because of the termination of the contract with Sandiwaan Center for Learning. More on this in the AEF Report (Attachment A). The table below shows how the grant was spent: Component Capital Outlay Site Renovation Content Development Capability Building Connectivity Project Management TOTALS USD $62,041 $7,691 $66,057 $17,596 $1,158 $15,858 $162,713 Peso 3,051,416.00 378,345.00 3,250,000.00 366,398.00 56,991.00 901,179.82 8,004,329.82 %age 38.1% 4.7% 40.6% 4.6% 0.7% 11.3% 100.0%

Table 42 Utilization of the AEF Grant # 1 – Pilot Implementation

eSkwela Fund Utilization - AEF Grant 1

Project Management 11% Connectivity 1% Capability Building 5% Capital Outlay 38%

Content Development 40%

Site Renovation 5%

Figure 39 Utilization of the AEF Grant # 1 – Pilot Implementation

AEF agreed to let CICT hold on to the balance of USD 21,729.32 or Php 1,031,273.71 (USD 17,287.22 or Php 850,410.18 plus interest) @ the then exchange rate of $1 = Php46.28 – an unintended savings of 12% of the $180,000 released portion – and

Chapter 9: Financial Report

convert it as part of the second AEF Grant for the conduct of two eSkwela events discussed below.

AEF Grant # 2: Conduct of 2008 CDC and ICT Camp The second AEF Grant, amounting to USD 50,000, was offered by AEF management due to the strong performance of the pilot implementation of the eSkwela Project. AEF officially approved the fund in May 2008 to finance the conduct of two major eSkwela events: the Content Development Conference and the ICT Camp. As mentioned earlier, the remaining cash balance of the initial grant (USD 21,729.32 ) was used to cover a portion of the costs, thus, the second grant actually amounted to just USD28,270.67. As stipulated in the contract, the fund was also used to finance the official travel of the Project Manager to Seoul, Korea to report on the project at the International Conference on AEF Activities 2008. It was also used to conduct the project’s Post-Event Evaluation and Planning Workshop in preparation for the next round of implementation. AEF has also agreed to purchase Four (4) netbooks that were given to the 4 AEF-sponsored eSkwela sites (Cagayan de Oro City, Cebu City, City of San Jose del Monte, and Quezon City). These additional purchases were made possible by the devaluation of the Philippine Peso against the US Dollar from P42:$1 at the time of the proposal to P46.28:$1 at the time of implementation. More on this in the AEF Grant (USD50,000) Report shown as Attachment AK. Component Capital Outlay Content Development Conference ICT Camp Project Management TOTALS USD 2,160.76 24,756.39 20,103.69 2,979.16 50,000.00 Peso 100,000.00 1,145,725.35 930,398.70 137,875.28 2,313,999.33 %age 4.3% 49.5% 40.2% 6.0% 100.0%

Table 43 Utilization of the AEF Grant # 2 – CDC & ICT Camp

eSkwela Fund Utilization - AEF Grant 2

Project Management 6%

Capital Outlay 4%

ICT Camp 40%

CDC 50%

Figure 40 Utilization of the AEF Grant # 2 – CDC & ICT Camp

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eGovernment Fund: eSkwela 1.0 eSkwela 1.0 was funded by three funding allocations from the eGovernment Fund as part of CICT’s ICT for Basic Education (ICT4BE) Program, comprising 7.5% of the total yearly Php 400 Million program allocation – the iSchools Project got 87.5% while the Creative Content Development Project got 5%. The Special Allocation Release Orders for each of the funding years are shown below: Funding Year 2006 2007 2009 SARO Number C-06-10408 C-07-10790 C-09-03649 Date Issued 29-Dec-06 28-Dec-07 28-May-09 1st NCA Release Mar-07 Feb-08 Aug-09

Table 44 ICT4BE Program eGov Fund Schedule

eSkwela 1.0 was supposed to get Php 30,000,000.00 each year for the three rounds or a total of Php 90,000,000.00. For eGF 2009, however, the project team’s request for a project vehicle amounting to Php 1,388,500 was not granted by DBM until official approval is given by the Office of the President, as is usual practice. The vehicle was supposed to be used for the M&E site visits. The project team decided against making the request from the Office of the President since it will take too much time to process (inclusive of the procurement process). Of the total allocation provided for eSkwela 1.0, a total of Php 86,686,212 (97.83%) was obligated as of 30 June 201, as shown in Table 45. Allocated to eSkwela 1.0 30,000,000 30,000,000 28,611,500 88,611,500 Obligated as of 30 June 2011 29,929,703 28,655,915 28,100,594 86,686,212 % of SARO 99.77% 95.52% 98.21% 97.83% Savings 70,297.00 1,344,085 510,906 1,925,288 % of SARO 0.23% 4.48% 1.79% 2.17%

Funding Year 2006 2007 2009 TOTALS

Table 45 eSkwela Obligations - eGov Fund

The total obligation comprised 1.13% capital outlay (CO) and 98.87% maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), broken down as follows: Component Capital Outlay Capability Building Systems Development Content Development Project Management (inc. M&E) TOTALS eGF 2006 8,348,096 21,000,440 581,167 29,929,703 eGF 2007 976,859 3,664,403 2,477,130 15,896,872 5,640,651 28,655,915 eGF 2009 8,789,662 2,652,000 8,084,874 8,574,057 28,100,594 eGF totals 976,859 20,802,162 5,129,130 44,982,186 14,795,875 86,686,212 % 1.13% 24.00% 5.92% 51.89% 17.07% 100.00%

Table 46 Utilization of the eGovernment Fund Allocation

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Figure 41 Utilization of the eGovernment Fund Allocation

Since the project took on a multi-stakeholder approach where the local communities are the ones that invest on the infrastructure set-up and connectivity of the centers, the funds used to procure Capital Outlay (CO) stood only at 1.13% of the total expenses or Php976,859, as shown in Table 46 and Figure 41. This amount was used to purchase equipment that were used by the project team, including a data server, four (4) laptops, a digital camera, a video camera, printers, and walkie-talkie radios. Procurement was done through the CICT-Bidding and Awards Committee. Targeted CO purchases under the eGF 2009 did not push through due to the delayed release of the Annual Procurement Plan, tedious procurement process, and personnel concerns within the CICT Supplies Unit. As mentioned in Chapter 4, content development was allocated the biggest chunk of the fund. Almost 52% or Php 44,982,186 of the total obligations went to the payment of contracted State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and reviewers for the development of 309 eModules and corresponding eModule Guides. Since the content is still being completed until September 2011, the contracted parties have not been fully paid yet. In this regard, this component still has Accounts Payable amounting to Php 12,311,556.10 still lodged with DBM, shown as Attachment AL. Capability building activities for various eSkwela stakeholders (Regional Coordinators, Trainers, site implementers) had a 24% share of the total expenses, at Php20,802,162. Project Management activities, including staff hiring, site visits, Core Team workshops, various Monitoring and Evaluation activities, the eSkwela Conference, and the eSkwela Close-out Activities, used up 17% of the budget at Php 14,795,875. Supplies and marketing collaterals were also included in this expenditure category at around Php1.5 Million. As can be seen, a huge amount had been invested on making sure that the stakeholders are highly involved in the overall planning and assessment of the project throughout its phases through the Core Team workshops and Close-out Activities. Activities

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such as the eSkwela Conference were also held to share experiences and strengthen the community spirit among the stakeholders. The remaining 6% or Php 5,129,130 was spent on the design and development of the eSkwela System described in Chapter 6. Of this amount, Php 4,352,000 was used to contract UP-JRDC for the SAD and system development phases while the balance of Php 777,130 was used for the various system workshops conducted.

Total Investment 2006 - 2011 Combining the AEF Grants and the eGovernment Fund allocations, a total of Php97 Million was spent on the eSkwela Project while it was under CICT management from 2006 to 2011. As mentioned in Chapter 7, the estimated Return on Investment at this point comes out to Php15,375 for each of the 6,309 OSYA learners served. Component Capital Outlay Capability Building Systems Development Content Development Project Management (inc. M&E) TOTALS TOTAL all 4,506,620.00 22,098,958.39 5,129,130.20 48,232,185.91 17,037,646.78 97,004,541.28 %all 5% 22.78% 5.29% 49.72% 17.56% 100%

Table 47 Utilization of all eSkwela Fund Allocations (P97 Million)

As seen in Figure 42, Content Development has the biggest segment of the pie at 50%, followed by Capability Building (23%), Project Management/M&E (17%), and a tie between Capital Outlay and Systems Development (5% each).

Figure 42 Utilization of all eSkwela Fund Allocations, 2006-2011

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AEF-1 Hardware Site Renovation (pilot) Software Trainings, Seminars, Conferences Travel Internet Subscription Outsourced Services Training & Event Management Other Events (PM /M&E) Content Development Systems Development Project Management (advocacy, etc.) Project Staff/Consultant contracts Supplies and Materials TOTAL OBLIGATIONS: 8,004,330 901,180 3,250,000 56,991 366,398 3,051,416 378,345

AEF-2 100,000

2006

2007 741,659

2009 -

All Funds 3,893,075 378,345 235,200 1,358,049 539,420 56,991 0

235,200 991,651 137,875 64,678 113,968 -

-

222,898 -

930,399 1,145,725

7,356,445

3,664,403 2,725,349

11,993,024 2,588,030 6,643,810 2,652,000 15,855 3,856,829 128,147 28,100,594

25,089,997 5,313,378 46,791,122 5,129,130 1,803,716 5,896,582 519,536 97,004,541

21,000,440

15,896,872 2,477,130 886,682

239,762.50 276,726 2,313,999 29,929,703

1,799,990 114,663 28,655,915

Table 48 Utilization of all eSkwela Fund Allocations (P97 Million) by Expense Category

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Content development might seem to have the highest priority based on these figures. In actuality, however, eSkwela is all about balancing the different project components to ensure that “all bases are covered”, so to speak. Content development had the biggest investment because it involved a lot of time, talent, and effort to accomplish – but it does not necessarily mean that the other components are less important. Outsourced Goods and Services Table 48 lists down the obligations by the expense categories provided by the eGovernment Fund Committee for the progress reports. As can be observed, a big portion of the funds used for the eSkwela Project was used to outsource goods and services – Php82,323,627 or 85% of the total obligations. For the pilot implementation, Sandiwaan Center for Learning was contracted to work on content development. For eSkwela 1.0, on the other hand, CICT tapped a number partner of State Universities and Colleges under CICT’s eQuality Program for eSkwela’s Content Development as well as for Training/ Event Management requirements. Content, System Analysis and Design, and System Development MOAs, as discussed in Chapter 4, used the progress payment scheme – meaning, payment is done upon submission of agreed upon deliverables over 3 or 4 stages. Event/Training Management, on the other hand, were covered by Event/Training Management Cooperation Agreements (E/TMCA) using the 100% Transfer of Funds scheme, a sample of which is shown as Attachment M. The 100% Transfer of Funds scheme has been an effective option for CICT’s project-based activities that do not require meticulous progress checks, such as trainings, conferences, exhibits, and site inaugurations. This approach was adopted because the project teams as well as the internal CICT Finance Unit admitted that they are not capable of handling all these simultaneous project events/workshops efficiently on their own – which included processing of cash advances, procurement, reimbursement, travel itineraries, etc. for around 50 to 80 participants per event for at least 2 to 5 events per month in different parts of the country. This does not include the rollout of 6 training designs for 320 iSchools beneficiaries for each funding cycle (with at least 30 participants per school) all over the country. This type of contracted service was made possible through the alliance built among CICT and the partner SUCs with the SUCs just getting a measly 10% management fee for their services, way below regular practice (2025%). SUCs that were tapped had provided event and/or training management for several iSchools and eSkwela events in the past and have proven to be reliable partners for such activities. A list of these SUCs can be found in the acknowledgements pages of this report’s cover section.

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Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Good Practices As had been previously discussed, the project team encountered several challenges in the implementation of the eSkwela Project – managing the project’s Admin/Finance requirements was definitely not smooth-sailing either. Changing Guards too often CICT, being a new government agency, had been hounded by several leadership and structural changes. Top leadership had four changes (inclusive of 3 Chairmen and 1 OIC) from 2005 to 2011. The internal admin/finance structure had as many turnovers – from TelOf to NCC to CICT/TelOf. The Resident COA as well “changed guards”. Moreover, the entire Philippine bureaucracy went through a change in the overall administration with the assumption of President Aquino last June 2010. These changes brought along corresponding revisions in processes, styles, response times, and personalities. Several rounds of briefing, orientation, updates, and renegotiations had to transpire, causing implementation slowdowns / delays, re-scheduling, or even total semi-drastic design alterations at times to accommodate the procedural modifications. In an effort to minimize further delays, the project team had ready briefing materials (hard copies, videos, etc.). As with the foregoing structural changes mentioned, the project was also assigned to different DBM-BMB-C units or individuals from 2008 to 2011. The orientation materials described earlier helped a bit. The documents had to be reformatted into the tables and forms that DBM requires to which the project team is unfamiliar. Delayed Releases of Documents and Funds Experience dictated that the team set internal document processing time to “at least a month and a half” to accommodate paper-routing (i.e. Office of the HCD CommissionerOSEC-project team-Budget/IAS/Finance-project team for additional new attachments or requirements-Finance-OSEC-COA for pre-audit-Finance) – which means that three (3) months prior to an event/training, the project team should already be finalizing all the necessary admin/financial documents for processing and approval. Sending out invitations to participants and simultaneously preparing for an event or workshop commenced at least a month and a half prior to the event. This is done to accommodate the bureaucracy concerns within the DepEd structure (Central-RegionalDivision) and documents that “got lost in transit” as well. With regards to financial matters, SARO and NCA releases from DBM were frequently delayed - maybe because of their own internal routing concerns. The project had several NCA releases that went way past the middle of the month. In addition, recent changes in the processes included the inclusion of the Internal Audit Service Unit of TelOf in the document review process (2 additional days), a pre-audit phase by the Resident COA of most disbursement vouchers (DVs), and worst, the monthly reversion of unused NCA at month-end.

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In view of the fact that the NCA releases were usually issued in the 3rd or 4th weeks of the month plus the previous argument by the Finance and COA units that they cannot process the documents until the NCA is actually released, the ICT4BE Program teams proactively and diligently searched for possible modifications or for short-term or long-term win-win solutions – several meetings were held to discuss and improve work and document flows, realignment of event savings lodged with SUCs was also done as a workaround to delayed NCA releases, new internal templates were used, etc. In addition, documents go back and forth at times because new additional sets of attachments are requested despite previous agreements (with Minutes of Meetings) on the standard set of attachments required for each expense category/type. Choosing battles wisely, the program teams adjusted to the imposed variations and different interpretations of the same set of guidelines or policies to keep the project going, despite numerous frustrations and delays. Timetable and resource adjustments were not uncommon. It was also a conscious decision for the project team not to finalize event/training dates until the funds had actually been transferred to the contracted SUC – which was highly dependent on the NCA release, the internal document processing time, the pre-audit clearance. Maintaining a good and collaborative relationship with SUC partners had definitely been helpful, too. Record-keeping The ICT4BE Program fund was lumped together with CICT’s common fund. A separate project fund/account would have been made it easier to keep track of individual project expenses and balances. In the absence of a database system, the respective project teams maintained their respective worksheets that were tallied from time to time with the records of the Finance Unit. This made it more difficult to prepare reports for DBM and the eGov Fund Committee. It would have been much more efficient if a centralized automated database, with the required hierarchy of user privileges incorporated, was developed and utilized. A centralized database or even a document management system (not even a Knowledge Management System) would have also been advantageous to all parties concerned since searchable pdf files of forms and attachments could have been used instead of the voluminous photocopies (i.e. at least 3 sets) that are currently required for submission of documents – and even get lost somehow. CICT could have served as a role model in this aspect. For now, a dedicated project finance representative who serves as liaison and “extra hand” to the Finance Unit, has the responsibility of screening the documents for templates, entries, and required attachment as well as record-keeping of all project-related transactions and documents. Posting of reports and other documents (LAN-based for internal access and viewing at least), in line with transparency in government, might also be a good idea.

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Audited Financial Reports (AFRs) from Contracted SUCs CICT management agreed to the 100% Fund Transfers for Event/ Training Management contracts with SUCs, provided that the SUCs submit their respective AFR and liquidation for each event /training they handled. Unfortunately, a number of SUCs have not completed their liquidations yet due to various reasons – e.g. simultaneous events managed, internal processing concerns, realignment of savings recently approved, etc. The list of pending SIC AFRs for the eSkwela Project is shown as Attachment AN. Need for a More Assistive Project Management Perspective Implementing the project within the confines of government has its own benefits but it also puts too many constraints on the timely and efficient delivery of the service. As mentioned, a lot of the delays encountered are due to delays brought about by bureaucratic and inefficient government procedures that are not aligned/ considerate to the nature of projects and time-bound fund availability. Unfamiliar with nature of project management, certain offices or units push that projects finish on time without considering that delays in government fund releases and timeliness of signing of paperwork greatly impact schedule of events/activities The project could have benefited with more management support in terms of a more flexible “project orientation” by institutionalizing internal policies and mechanisms that are more supportive of the special nature of projects, like those practiced by NCC-FOO, SUCs, or DOST. Allowing realignment of event savings to finance other project-related events was a good start. The team could have benefited from more visible support to combat cyclical problems concerning staff-hiring, document turn-around time, financial contracts, paper-heavy documentation, etc. Perhaps, the units concerned could have assisted the team more in initiating discussions or looking for alternative courses of action (that are still within legal means) or finding more efficient ways of doing things. The project team had to cancel a total of Php 1.57 Million worth of events and marketing collaterals because of various delays. This amount included:  Marketing collaterals projected way back in 2008 but never bidded (met some problems / confusion during the past HCDG Commissioners’ term), currently recommended for cancellation due to project turnover to DepEd plus price differences between 2008 and 2011. Budget originally intended for the Turnover Ceremonies originally intended for release in late 2010 or early 2011 but NCA only came in by mid-April 2011 – note: the event had already been re-scheduled on 29 April 2011.

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Recommendations The government needs to automate its processes and systems soon. CICT, in particular, needs to serve as a role model in encouraging paperless transactions. The project team has a lot of experience and insights that may serve as start-off points in designing that system (or perhaps customizing an existing one to the needs of project management). Projects have to have their own separate accounts to make it easier to keep track of transactions and documents as well as come up with instant and up-to-date reports. It might be helpful for the eGovernment Fund Committee to hold an orientation or training workshop for government admin/finance people on project management and its unique requirements as compared to regular operations. Further, the eGov Fund Committee could represent all the eGov-funded projects in a meeting with DBM, COA, and Finance units regarding the special nature of government projects vis-à-vis bureaucratic concerns and perhaps even recommend system automations towards implementing a more supportive, efficient, and transparent mechanism to project management in government. A true-blue look into Business Process Re-engineering for government transactions, coupled with a well-designed centralized automated system and clear guidelines on attachments and documentary requirements, can assist these various groups in gaining access to up-to-date “transparent” reports that do not have to require time-pressured project management teams to comply with the different formats of the various offices (but asking for the same set of information). In order to make ICT work for a more efficient and transparent government, attitudes towards long-held paper-based multi-point/person transactional processes would have to change as well. Perhaps the eGovernment Fund Committee could look into certain projects that can pilot these in small-scale first.

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Chapter 10: Conclusion

To quote from the Report on the eSkwela Pilot Implementation: “The appeal of the eSkwela Project lies in its objective of bringing equal opportunities to an underserved part of the population in terms of broadening access to educational opportunities through ICTs. eSkwela has been seen by many as one the country‟s concrete applications of ICT in Education, owing to its flexible nature that affords a blended approach to self-paced, constructivist learning. Being one of the most ambitious elearning efforts that the country has seen, it is expected that the project will set a standard of excellence and quality for e-learning in the country. CICT, DepEd-BALS, and partners earnestly believe that the initial efforts will have a snowball effect on the country‟s ICT in Education initiatives – both for the formal and alternative education systems.” As with any project, the eSkwela Project has a beginning and an end – an inception and a closure. Looking back at the past five (5) years of the project life, inclusive of the project‟s pilot implementation and eSkwela 1.0, the bumpy and winding road had made the journey all the more exciting and scenic with the end-point more satisfying to reach. The project team was asked what it considered as eSkwela‟s greatest achievement. It might easy enough to enumerate the international recognitions that the project had received – these might not be top awards but prestigious citations nonetheless. However, these can only be considered as “icing on the cake”. The real merits of the eSkwela Project can be summed up in the following list: 1. Relevance. The eSkwela project targeted to improve the life skills of out-of-school youth and adults through the use of ICT-supported means. True enough, with the eSkwela Instructional Model, the learners have been found to be more engaged and more importantly, are having fun in their learning process – this is mainly due to the innovative use of ICTs to make learning more fun, interactive, and self-paced. ICT in Education does work. Converting printed text into localized, multimedia, and interactive digital format made learning easy and motivating. Further, since the module guides make use of discussion forums, learners get to discuss their views and insights on the modules, thus deepening their learning on the modules. In addition, the use of the project-based approach forces them to apply their “learnings” to actual scenarios and situations – as such, more aligned to the life skills that BALS aims for. 2. Timeliness. The project comes at a time when the target learners are ready to learn using the technology for various purposes. Studies have shown that learners of today can learn better by using and interacting with rich-media materials than just reading printed matter.

Chapter 10: Conclusion

3.

Multi-stakeholder approach to project management. The project team had employed this strategy by closely collaborating with local communities in the set-up, operations, and sustainability of the eSkwela Centers. It involved local field implementers to serve as main resource persons in project planning, content development, system analysis and design, capability building, and site roll-out. In addition, it also contracted eight (8) local state universities for content and system development, in effect allowing the transfer of technology to the different participating institutions.

4.

Stabilized implementation models. The project was able to formulate and stabilize the customized models for instructionlearning processes, content development, and site expansion, along with the capability-building frameworks and methodologies. This was made possible through a series of research, consultations, observations, and other monitoring and evaluation activities that aimed for continuous project enhancement and growth.

5.

Empowered field implementers. Regional Coordinators and National/Regional Trainers had been trained to conduct social marketing and capability-building activities on eSkwela, respectively. They now serve as mentors and guides for the center implementers and the local champions of eSkwela. Various collaterals, manuals, tools, and multimedia guides had been developed/ gathered to assist them in these activities. In addition, the project provided Center Managers with the know-how and skills to effectively get local support from their respective communities to ably support Center site-up, operations, and sustainability. Similar interventions were provided to Network Administrators to ensure smooth technical set-up and operations. The Social Franchise Manual had been developed and made available to serve as guide. Further, since the e-learning modules and model module guides are provided (note: reviewed and certified in terms of quality), the learning facilitators do not have to make their own teaching guides and/or materials. The LMS likewise provides them with automated processes to keep track of learners‟ progress. These give them more time to be more aware, facilitative, and creative in responding to learners‟ needs. A thriving offline and online support system for the eSkwela community had been organized as well.

6.

Cost effectiveness. Return on investment has been estimated to be at Php15,375 for each of the 6,309 OSYA served since 2007 on an government-funded intervention that enbles them to finish their basic education within 10 to 20 months. This figure goes down to Php8,151 per user when the estimated number of formal school students benefiting from the eModule packages is plugged into the computation (see Chapter 8, page 205).

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With the number of learners benefiting from eSkwela set to increase in the succeeding years at the rate of at least 2,321 OSYAs and at least 5,600 formal school students per year, the ROI would even go further down in the next two (2) years to around Php3,495 by the end of 2013. Note: It is estimated that major revisions on the eSkwela 1.0 eModules need to be made by 2014.

The biggest achievement of eSkwela is that a systematic and widely accepted model of ICT in Education has been made available for the country through the efforts of a big number of like-minded groups and individuals. The success of the project lies in the fact that so many stakeholders had come together to make eSkwela to what it has become – for without them, eSkwela would just be one of those projects that remained “a pilot”. The field implementers have vowed to keep the fires of eSkwela constantly burning because they truly believe in its potentials. Effective and efficient operations and expansion lies in learning from the project‟s experiences, challenges, lessons, and good practices. It is hoped that this report was able to successfully capture the intricacies and wisdom of the past five years…to serve not only as an end-of-project report but as a useful reference guide for next steps and future plans of action. It has to be remembered that eSkwela is a work in progress, in need of continuous review and enhancements. It is far from being a perfect model but it had been blessed with a good start…a really good start that would be a shame to put to waste. CICT and DepEd-BALS had planted the seeds; the project team, various partners, and the local stakeholders have nurtured these to sustainable growth and expansion; and now, the country is and hopefully will continue reaping the rewards of eSkwela. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

“Bilang mag-aaral ng ALS ang pinakapaborito kong karanasan ay ang nabigyan ako ng bagong pagkakataon na makapag-aral at matuto sa maraming bagay. Una, ay nagkaroon ako ng tiwala sa saraili ko ngayon, gayong noon ay sobrang wala akong tiwala sa sarili ko at laging sinasabi ko na hindi ko „to kaya. Natuto akong makisalamuha sa iba‟t-ibang mga kapwa ko mag-aaral na may pagkakaisa at may pagtutulungan ang bawat isa. Nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na matutunan ang paggamit ng computer sa pag-aaral at ang maturuan ng aming mga guro sa ibatibang aralin. Malaki ang pasasalamat ko dahil marami ang natutulungan ng programang ito lalo na sa mga gusting makapagtapos ng pag-aaral at isa na ako dito na nabigyan ng pag-asa na matapos ang aking pag-aaral…” Jessa Borja, 21, kasambahay, eSkwela-Holy Trinity QC Graduate 2011

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