Digital learning formats for social workers

Pak Suhadi Solo heads one of seven training centres for social workers which operate under the aegis of the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs. Some time ago the centres added e-learning formats to their portfolio. The advantages are obvious to Suhadi Solo, as it means a larger number of the roughly 400,000 social workers in Indonesia can take part in training courses. The project Developing Skills for E-Learning was implemented by GIZ and its Academy on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) from 2015 to 2017. Suhadi Solo and his team learned how to develop and run online courses themselves, and how to better exploit the potential of digital learning formats.

Mr Suhadi Solo, the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs runs seven training centres throughout Indonesia. You yourself are head of the centre in Jakarta. Could you please tell us briefly what sort of courses it offers?

At our centres we provide further training for social workers in various fields. Some of the courses relate to the programme 'Keluarga Harapan' for example, which means 'hope for families'. This is a very important programme for combating poverty, which is based on the principle of linking the delivery of social services to certain conditions. This means that poor families receive money if they participate in a number of health and educational activities. Our portfolio also includes family development sessions. We offer seminars for parents, which focus on raising and supporting children who are not yet at elementary school.

How are the courses organised?

Before we started offering e-learning, all of our training courses were face-to-face seminars. The participants therefore spent a lot of time travelling and were absent from their workplaces for long periods. In Indonesia we have a large number of social workers – around 400,000. So we can only reach a small proportion of them using conventional training methods.

Why did the Ministry of Social Affairs consider using e-learning for future training?

First and foremost, there were financial reasons such as the travel costs and the desire for more efficient training. That started us thinking about alternatives and other possibilities in addition to face-to-face courses. We want to – indeed we have to – cover more ground and train a greater number of social workers so that more people can benefit from the ministry's programmes. These courses are in huge demand and at present we cannot reach enough potential participants, for example the 16,000 social workers in Indonesia's programme of family development sessions.

Of course, as a training centre we are also interested in being competitive when it comes to innovative training methods and using communication technologies for training purposes.


The Academy project Developing Skills for E-Learning aims to enable organisations to develop and offer e-learning by themselves. How important is that to your ministry's training centres?

Support from the Academy for International Cooperation (AIZ) was very important to us in training our staff in Jakarta and at the regional training centres to develop e-learning courses that are tailored to our target group. Our staff are now able to control the e-learning platform themselves and to develop and run new courses. We could of course use a bit more training in some areas to keep up with technical advances.

During the e-learning project with the AIZ we also established internal networks, for instance with the ministry's IT department and with employees at the regional training centres. We are also linked to external networks, such as those with Telkom Indonesia and the training centres of other ministries.

What have you achieved so far? And what do you still want to achieve in relation to digital learning?

We have already achieved some of our objectives using e-learning courses. In order to accelerate the e-learning process in the ministry and to improve the training given to our personnel, we still have to develop additional modules and courses. Now our goal is to reach even more social workers and to increase the proportion of social workers who take part in our training courses. We are sure we will manage that.