The Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) for the CGIAR (p. 68, para 142-145) suggests that more innovative and much more differentiated approaches are needed for strengthening the capacity of partners in the CRPs. These approaches should be tied to more effective knowledge management, depending on the immediate need within the implementation of the CRP. The SRF recommends that CRPs and their partners develop and use advanced ICTs for capacity strengthening so that CGIAR research outputs reach target users and beneficiaries. This effort will include providing CRP partners with access to applications and resources such as databases.

This Building Block addresses one element of helping to achieve these goals in the cross-cutting support function of capacity strengthening, learning and knowledge sharing, that is, the production of learning resources / training materials.

Summary notes of the session: PowerPoint / PDF


The purpose of this building block is to:
  • Review approaches in producing learning resources / training materials currently applied in the CRPs
  • Explore alternative approaches for integrating the production of technical documentation and learning resources / training materials
  • Create an inventory of authoring tools for producing learning resources / training materials

Session design

The suggested structure of the session is as follows (worksheets will be provided):
Guiding questions
00-05 min
What do we want to achieve?
Focusing on user / learner tasks in technical documentation and instructional design--An overview of the session
  • Van Merriënboer, J.J.G., & Kester, L (2008):
    Whole-Task Models in Education.
    In: J.M. Spector, M.D. Merrill, J.J.G. van Merrienboer, & M.P. Driscoll (eds.):
    Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 441-456).
    London, UK: Routledge.
  • Haigis, G., Carey, M., Hernandez, A.K., Hughes, P., Longo, D., Rouiller, S., & Wilde, E. (2004):
    Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors (2nd ed.).
    Upper Saddle River, NJ: IBM Press / Pearson Education.
  • Priestley, M., Utt, M. H. (2000):
  • A unified process for software and information development.
    Proceedings of the IEEE Professional Communication Society International Professional Communication Conference and
    Proceedings of the 18th Annual ACM International Conference on Computer Cocumentation: Technology & Teamwork (IPCC/SIGDOC '00).
    Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Educational Activities Department, pp. 221-238.
05-15 min
What has the CGIAR done in this area?
15-30 min
How are learning resources produced in the CRPs?
Reviewing approaches to instructional design in CRPs
Work in pairs
30-45 min
What are the elements for producing quality learning resources?
Specifying the components and tools for using and reusing modular learning content
Group work
45-60 min
How do we move forward?
Summary and closure of the session

Outputs / outcomes

After the end of this session, we hope to share the following results:
  • Integrated model for creating reusable modular content in technical documentation and learning across CRPs
  • Template structure of recommended core elements for learning resources / training materials
  • Annotated list of recommended authoring tools

Content hierarchy

(Duval / Hodgins, 2002)


Repurposing ID content to create a learning object

(Hunt / IBM, 2010)


Notes from the session

Materials currently developed are still too academic and developed from the perspective of the end users.
Model using learning task, supportive information (concepts, tasks, definitions etc.), procedural information, part-task practice.
Interesting to follow a modular approach from raw data media à information objects à application objects à aggregate assemblies à collections.
Technologies in place to do this e.g. XML.
Difficult to get researchers to work on specific elements of this rather than on final integrated products.
- Challenge to work on this with researchers.
- And challenge to go beyond scientists developing training materials to get another output.
- Training etc. materials focus on the science part e.g. CaSt in ILRI do some training on e.g. how to write scientific papers etc. (all having to do with the research) but we should also expand to other units (e.g. what KMIS needs in terms of training materials). CaSt did some needs analysis re: livestock research but not about other areas.
- Big gap for researchers: working in partnerships. Perhaps we comms folks also need to work on research process.
- Each CRP has its own capacity building approach, there is no connection between CRPs.
- There is a working group on Capacity Strengthening under AfricaRice leadership – see blurb on the consortium website.

What can we do?
- ICRAF will get another capacity development specialist (with economic background). Ditto at ILRI, new person coming in.
- This should be part of impact pathways.
- We should bring writers, editors, artists etc. all together to repackage efforts.
- This should link up with the publishing process.
- We should work on process documentation and embed this under M&E – it’s not very clear how this is happening.
- Very little research has been done or very little has been implemented in the field of capacity development.
- The ICT-KM project developed a learning module ( We could review the Moodle site ( to post all training/learning materials to share them across CG systems.
- Promoting the learning design workflow would be great.