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SHUKALB successfully piloted a Distance Learning Course using the D-LeaP Academy

13 November 2018 // Tirana, Albania

SHUKALB has successfully implemented, for the first time in its history of training development and delivery, a distance-learning training course on “Practical Guidelines for the Administrative Council Members of Water Supply and Sewerage Utilities”.  The pilot distance-learning training course was developed and implemented in the framework of SHUKALB’s USAID funded Project “Sustainable Water Sector Capacity Development in Albania” with joint support from the aforementioned project, as well as a Grant Project funded by the International Association of Water Supply Companies in the Danube River Catchment Area (IAWD).  In addition, IAWD provided SHUKALB with a space in its Danube Learning Partnership (D-LeaP) Academy, where the distance-learning training course was implemented.

The distance–learning course was developed and adapted from an existing training course by a group of local subject matter experts. The first group of participants took the course during 10 September to 5 October, and they included the Administrative Council Members, Municipality Council, General and Technical Utility Directors and other engineers interested in the water supply and sewerage services. Eight (8) out of fourteen participants, have fully completed the learning requirements of the course and they will be awarded Certificates.

Agron Haxhimali, Executive Director of the Albanian Municipalities Association, quoted on the course: “The course offers very practical guidelines on all the key areas for the administrative council members, in order to exert their duties knowledgeably in managing the Water Supply and Sewerage Utility. I highly recommend it for the Municipal bodies”.

The eLearning course combines a whole array of learning tools, such as presentation, graphics, additional work toolkits, knowledge check tests, reflection and discussion questions, and glossary, which make the learning experience, effective and pleasant. The participants engaged in discussions and addressed technical questions, which is an additional positive feature of the distance learning course.

The participants highly appreciated the course as being an easy, useful, and interesting course. The overall feedback on the content relevancy, design and methodology, logistics and perceived impact was very positive. The participants stressed the benefits of reading on their own time and pace, and going back and forth to the material as many times as needed. They identified and confirmed on implementing specific improvement actions, in addressing workplace problems. Mark Molla, Administrator of the Shkoder WSS Utility quoted: “The course was useful and illustrative, despite the fact we deal with these issues every day; the course offered new information such as PPP. Overall, there was plenty of information to acquire and to improve the general knowledge into a more detailed one”.

This was SHUKALB’s first experience with distance-learning, while this form of training delivery has become quite popular in the last few years, mainly in developed countries.  The reasons for that are related mainly to the comfort that it provides to participants, where training can be taken from participants location, and at the pace that the participant chooses. In addition, this form of training delivery eliminates the travel and accommodation costs generally associated with the classical in class training delivery.  Whether this will be the future of training delivery for SHUKALB or not, it is still too early to predict. However, SHUKALB will be using this first successful experience, and will be offering the distance-learning training course of “Practical Guidelines for the Administrative Council Members of Water Supply and Sewerage Utilities” to the all interested individuals, as part of its regular annual training calendar.