Teaching & Training

  • From Lecturing to Co-Learning

My experience as a teacher and a trainer spans more than three decades.

There has been an evolution in my pedagogical style through this period. Initially, in my university courses, I followed a traditional academic approach: a lecture, followed by questions and answers. Increasingly, however, it became clear to me that I could best provide value-added to students by drawing on my policy experience with various intergovernmental and international non-governmental organisations. This led me to construct learning situations that could help students build their capacity to simulate real-life decision-making challenges and drafting assignments – policy papers, speeches, talking points, minuting and the like.

The next step came when working with adult learners on SSR and SSG. Typically, participants in these training programmes were professionals, often with impressive field experience. In view of this, it was necessary to create space for a pluralist learning flow, in which all could participate and profit from the experience at hand. This gave birth to what I have called the co-learning approach. In a nutshell, this approach tries to provide a structure in which everyone in a training programme can be both a teacher and a learner to the benefit of the entire group through a multi-directional, participatory and interactive learning experience. For more information on co-learning, see the following articles from 2011 and 2012: The Co-Learning Approach to Capacity-Building and Training for Security Sector Reform Practitioners – Including a Toolkit of Ten Co-learning Applications and  Training Tools and Exercises for Building Mutual Awareness, Confidence and Cooperation in Troubled Regions as well as a different version of the latter prepared for DCAF: namely, Training Toolkit for Parliamentary Staffers: http://www.dcaf.ch/Publications/Training-Toolkit-for-Parliamentary-Staffers

The co-learning concept was first evoked in connection with SSR in the following two articles from 2003 and 2004 respectively: Security Sector Expert Training. The Challenges After 9/11 and Security Sector Training and Education for the Second Reform Decade

I have used the co-learning approach with very many different audiences on almost all continents. This has included working with

  • the military in a variety of settings – Canada, Germany, Ukraine, the Western Balkans
  • the police and other security forces mainly in post-communist Europe
  • parliaments, civil society organisations and the media, also primarily in post-communist Europe
  • governmental actors with a security role in a whole-of-government mode – Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Nepal and the Philippines
  • various actors in regional settings, for example in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

For more information, see: