Think Globally, Act Locally: Globalizing Online Training for PPP Professionals
International education is one of the unique characteristics of IP3 ability to prepare a global workforce of PPP professionals. For the past ten years, students from 140 countries have undergone IP3 adaptive training in PPPs, project finance, and regulation and utility management.
In addition to expanding knowledge on technical topics ranging from value-for-money to corporate finance vs. project finance, IP3's globally-centered training enables students to enrich other areas or competencies in their learning. At our Washington, D.C.-area training center, our traditional classroom learning experience pushes students to solve arduous financial modeling simulations, network with fellow PPP specialists, and navigate PPP contractual language—with the added experience of local D.C. metro culture.
Amid an ever-changing globalized era, we find ourselves in the time of COVID-19. International travel to the U.S. is expected to decline by 54% this year, and traditional in-person adult learning has quickly transitioned online across multiple industries. Keeping in step with our mission and values, IP3 continues to learn and innovate on how we can internationalize instruction that prepares PPP professionals in a virtual environment.
Maintaining an Internationally Centered Training Experience Through our Students
Our students' success is at the center of everything we do. This success begins with a diverse global student body in both our classroom training and our newly redesigned online learning that launched in May. PPP professionals from Indonesia, Mozambique, Morocco, and the U.S. engaged in our online curriculum to study the foundations of PPP design, implementation, finance, and procurement. Having an international student body allows students and instructors to discuss a wide range of regionally specific PPP challenges and projects. Virtual breakout rooms, collaborative project-based learning, and design-thinking methods in our upcoming classes will equip our students with tools and approaches to PPP challenges in leading-edge ways.
Internationalizing Learning Content
The construction of a dam, bridge, highway, or railway can have significant impacts on the economic and political well-being of neighboring countries. Because of this, it is even more critical that PPP professionals "think globally, act locally" to deliver public services. This glocalism (a combination of globalism and localism) approach to learning reflects a vital assumption in andragogy (adult learning theory) that adult learners can tap into their reservoir of professional experience to build knowledge in the class with their peers and instructor.
IP3 instructors weave examples of PPP projects throughout the course materials. Some of these might be hypothetical examples relevant to multiple countries, while others are regionally or nationally specific. Vital tools in any project-centered learning are case studies and discussion forums in which students analyze conditions and constraints to arrive at a solution. These tools grant students the opportunity to relate their analysis to a PPP endeavor in their home countries, exhibiting nuances in similarity or difference with the base-case or discussion forum prompt.
In addition to internationally-relevant case studies and discussion forums, entities that train PPP professionals may consider using examples of PPP projects in their online instructional materials. This can include open discussions about international P3 projects, videos, articles, and guest speakers with extensive experience having worked on PPP contracts in different regions of the world.
Some may ask themselves if international corporate learning is a dying field. However, COVID-19 has empowered countries around the world to rethink adult learning in general. Some countries have incorporated creative ways of carrying out training, such as providing an educational portal to administrators in Argentina, or an e-content repository for pedagogical specialists working in e-learning in Bulgaria. COVID-19 has emboldened IP3 to innovate the way we train our students. For us, international corporate learning is not a dying field but rather one that is continuously evolving. What do you think will be the next evolution? Share your comments below.
Dr. John M. Mutua (Ph.D. Economics)
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