Experimenting with New Training Methods: Blended Cohort Training

December 07, 2023

While face-to-face delivery is still at the core of the JVI’s training, the experience with new forms of delivery gathered pace during the Covid-19 pandemic. The rapid advances in the science of learning, instructional design and education technology have led the JVI to try and test new forms of training delivery. The aim is to improve the training experience and maximize learning gains. Since reopening its Vienna premises to participants in June 2022, the JVI (and its partners) have experimented with various modalities beyond the classical classroom delivery: from “remote” lecturing (the lecturer joins remotely while participants are in the classroom) to “hybrid” (combining in-person and remote participation for short events) to “blended learning” (mixing of self-paced online learning with live interactions with lecturers, either virtually or in the classroom).

In this spirit, the JVI and CCAMTAC (the IMF Capacity Development Center for the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia) are experimenting with a new form of training, namely “blended cohort training”. Cohort training consists of a method of learning where a group of individuals, or a "cohort", participate together from start to finish in a training program involving more than one course over a set period, and progress collectively. The advantages of this approach are that it provides a more comprehensive learning experience, fosters a strong sense of network, and encourages collaborative learning. The structured progression helps participants stay on track with the learning goals and provides network opportunities across the region, with the shared experience ensuring a more engaging learning process. 

The goal for this project is to train officials in the Caucasus, Central Asia, Moldova, and Mongolia region in fundamentals of economic policy analysis. Such capacity building will help the authorities in macroeconomic analysis and forecasting. 

The new cohort training aims at providing junior officials with a comprehensive understanding of macroeconomic analysis and linkages, the business cycle, diagnostics of internal and external imbalances, and designing economic policies to address them. The pilot consists of two parts over a period of 7 months: Blended Financial Programming and Policies, with the in-person segment delivered in Almaty in December 2023, followed by the more advanced Blended Macroeconomic Management, with the in-person segment delivered in May 2024 in Vienna. Each part includes an online component, complemented with virtual office hours, followed by a face-to-face segment focusing on activities delivered in the classroom. These two parts offer a clear progression and a comprehensive approach to fundamentals of macroeconomic analysis and forecasting. 

At the end of the training, the 30 participants from the 10 countries are expected to be able to diagnose macro-economic imbalances and formulate policies to address these imbalances. They will have acquired knowledge and skills improving their capacity to implement technical assistance projects in this area. In addition, they will have developed a strong peer network across the region. 

Patrick Imam, Deputy Director, Joint Vienna Institute


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