Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Peer teaching approach helps learners become WeRise experts

West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia – “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”  
Studies have shown that learning retention is better when students teach what they have learned. Peer teaching is a strategy used by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) - Japan Collaborative Research Project (IJCRP) in its capacity-building program for agricultural extension workers (AEWs) to deliver timely and accurate information to rainfed rice farmers through the use of the Weather-rice-nutrient integrated decision support system (WeRise). 

WeRise is a seasonal climate predictions-based app developed by IJCRP. It is designed to help rice farmers plan for upcoming cropping seasons by providing advisories on the best time to plant and apply fertilizer as well as the suitable varieties to plant based on weather conditions, crop growth, selected farm characteristics, and management practices. The advisories are web-based and can be accessed through a computer or smartphone three months before the cropping season.

A total of 25 extension workers from Central Lombok were trained by AEWs and researchers from the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology–West Nusa Tenggara (AIAT WNT) who are certified WeRise facilitators. The key modules of the exercise include navigating the app, generating advisories, and translating the advisories to field language. 

After the training, the participants said that they can now use WeRise, understand its outputs, and explain these to farmers. They also said that WeRise can help them in performing their work.

In addition to getting familiar with the WeRise app, the participants were required to develop their site-specific communication plans to disseminate the WeRise advisories and conduct an echo training for other extension workers within their areas of jurisdiction. Peer teaching helps improve learning because it gives beginners the opportunity to review, organize, and consolidate their existing knowledge and material; understand its basic structure; fill information gaps; find additional meanings; and translate knowledge into new conceptual frameworks (Dueck, 1993).  

The trainings which were co-organized by IRRI and AIAT WNT with funding from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, were held from 2 to 5 November 2020 in Praya Barat, Praya Tengah, Prayah Timur, and Pujut in Central Lombok, WNT, Indonesia.


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