WISE Doha Learning Days
What is WISE Doha Learning Days ?
What is the problem we are addressing?
Informal life-learning opportunities, that are experiential and innovative, are not readily offered or accessed in an inclusive way that targets the community as a whole with relevant content for its various constituents (i.e students, families, teachers, athletes, entrepreneurs, activists, creatives, etc). With public schools in particular learning is perceived or experienced within classrooms, in a more traditional context.
What is our solution?
In collaboration with local and global partners, WISE organizes Doha Learning Days as an experiential learning festival that convenes the local community in an exciting exploration of life-long learning through a range of innovative and meaningful activities that are offered for free across the course of a week. The program is catered for school during the morning and opened for the greater community in the evening and weekdays. Collectively designing the program with cross-sectoral stakeholders, the program tackles topics relevant to the community and serves to be a catalyst for innovation in education for all ages of the local community, with opportunities for active learning, experiential learning and reflection.
Examples of implementation
We worked with Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU-Q) to deliver a participative session with students to explore how to create modern educational spaces that empower learners to be more proactive in their educational journey
Participants of all ages were invited to address moral dilemmas of the 21st century, in a range of interactive workshops curated with EIDOS, that explores questions linked to the modern technological age and ethics.
Those workshops were held in spaces that gave freedom for students to choose when and how to engage. Alongside the educational opportunities, participants had also the chance to deliver creative performances at the center stage, undertake sports activities or socialize with the community at the Farmer’s Market.
Our future plans
Over the past year, WISE has been working on an action-research project to inform how the formal and non-formal learning institutions in Qatar can enhance inclusive, accessible and effective learning opportunities. The findings from our surveys, interviews and collaborative stakeholder workshops will inform key topics and learning needs the festival will focus on; and will encourage the organizations who contribute with the research to suggest and lead activities around those priorities. We also plan to use the festival as a platform to showcase projects conducted by WISE’ Learners’ Voice fellows – a cohort of local public school students who engage in a year-long program to develop self-expression skills. These enhancements will allow the festival to offer more intentional experiences with learning goals built on evidence; and it will enhance the participation of youth in its development.
How can someone else implement it? What do they need?
Non-traditional forms of learning require also non-traditional forms of engagement. A festival that not only offers workshops and lectures, but also playful activities is more likely to create meaningful participation.
Offering activities that target multiple segments of society (school students, parents, teachers) is also a good strategy to attract a broader and more diverse audience.
Organizations who would like to implement such a festival should: map their local ecosystem and identify potential partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors; identify learning activities they already offer (that includes less obvious ones, such as on-the-job training provided by companies to their employers); and suggesting engagements that both leverage existing resources and serve the overarching festival’s goals.