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IRRI’s Computer Based Information Delivery System in Training Agricultural Researchers

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 511-519 in Proceedings of the World Congress of Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources (13-15, March 2002, Iguacu Falls, Brazil)  701P0301.(doi:10.13031/2013.8374)
Authors:   R.Bakker-Dhaliwal, P.L. Marcotte, S. Morin, M. Bell, and P.Comia
Keywords:   Training, ICT, CD-Rom, Decision tools, Distance Learning

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), based in Los Baos, Philippines, has over 40 years of experience in training agricultural researchers in rice production technology throughout Asia. Past and recent evaluations indicate that IRRI training is highly valued by its recipients, a majority of who work in national research programs. However, these successes have been limited in scope relative to the potential number of students, and the training costs per participant have been high. Computer based information delivery systems, including CD-ROM based training and Internet approaches, have the potential to increase the number of participants and decrease costs while offering the same or better learning outcomes. This is a logical approach as Internet facilities become available, especially to IRRIs more technically advanced partners, and the reliability and friendliness of the software makes information technology (IT) a reasonable option for information delivery. IRRI has begun a process of courseware development and evaluation process to effectively teach (and learn) in this environment. This paper highlights IRRIs IT experiences in the recent past, followed by an evaluation of these experiences from both the participants and trainers perspectives. We continue with an exploration of institutional issues of relevance to IT, including costs of training, technical backstopping of course content, and maintenance of local facilities. We conclude with a summary description of IRRIs near-term plans for IT and point out possible avenues of IT development for the long-term.

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