Participatory Adult Learning, Documentation and Information Networking

Who co-ordinates PALDIN?

PALDIN is a capacity-building project run by ALADIN-INDIA. It is conceptualised, planned and coordinated by Prof S.Y. Shah, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in cooperation with Ms Lisa Krolak, ALADIN Co-ordinator and Head of Documentation, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, Hamburg.

ALADIN-INDIA consists of a team of five experts, who are keenly interested in furthering the cause of adult learning and documentation:


Despite the expansion of adult education as a field of practice and a discipline of study, very little attention has been paid to the professional development of adult educators. Hence, a large number of organizations employ personnel with minimal or no training. Attempts to provide on-the-job training to staff have been limited in scope. Several research studies have traced the ineffectiveness of adult education programmes to the poor quality of training of the programme staff. Therefore the need for building and strengthening capacities through appropriate professional development programmes for adult educators has been repeatedly highlighted in several adult education forums such as CONFINTEA. Capacity-building is one of the main mandates of ALADIN.

It has been observed that in most of the adult learning organizations, especially in small organizations, one person is expected to undertake various types of work, such as project management, project documentation, information management, networking and dissemination of information. While those who work in libraries and information centres may have some knowledge and expertise related to information organization and management, they often lack the knowledge and skills required to plan, manage and document adult learning activities. In the same way, most of the adult educators, while possessing knowledge and skills related to their area of work, may lack expertise related to classifying and cataloguing documents. Invariably, it has been observed that many adult educators have very little idea of process documentation and how to manage information. Although there are separate courses of 6-12 months' duration either in Information Management or in Adult Education, there is no comprehensive, short-term, professional programme of study for adult educators, covering adult learning, project documentation, information dissemination and networking. The learning package on PALDIN is an attempt in this direction.

Objectives of PALDIN

Target Group

PALDIN will be of interest to the programme staff of different types of adult learning setups in Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, particularly State Resource Centres (SRCs), Directorates of Adult Education, University Departments of Adult Education and Documentation Centres. They will be able to use PALDIN in an open and distance learning format at their convenience in terms of time and place. PALDIN aims at upgrading the professional competence and knowledge of middle level adult educators (programme and project officers/lecturers/librarians).

Development of PALDIN

The idea of developing a capacity-building programme for adult educators evolved over a period of time. During a workshop on ALADIN (the Adult Learning Documentation and Information Network) that was part of the CONFINTEA V follow-up meeting in Bangkok (2003), one of the participants from India, Prof S.Y. Shah, had a preliminary discussion with ALADIN Co-ordinator Ms Lisa Krolak, regarding the need to enlarge the ALADIN Directory of Members by including several adult learning organizations from India. He felt that the current Directory of Members had only two entries from India which did not correctly portray adult learning organizations in the country. Since India has a large number of such organizations, it would be worthwhile undertaking a survey of adult learning organizations in the country. This proposal was appreciated and duly endorsed by Ms Krolak and the UNESCO Institute of Education commissioned a Country Study on the Status of Adult Learning Organizations in India.

The study was undertaken by Prof Shah during the first half of the year 2004. A detailed questionnaire was designed and mailed to 207 adult learning organizations in India to collect in-depth information. By mid-year, 47 centres had responded. These organizations were listed, data was analyzed and a draft report was prepared. It was discussed in a National workshop held at India International Centre, New Delhi from 29-30 March, 2005. 45 representatives of the organizations surveyed met in the workshop to discuss various presentations on the national and international context of ALADIN, look at how to strengthen and professionalise ALADIN centres in India, consider examples of networks in India, and discuss the possibilities for organizing, managing and sharing information in future.

ALADIN-India was launched with Prof Shah as its National Co-ordinator. Later Dr P.R. Goswami was also co-elected National Co-ordinator. The need for designing a short duration programme of study through open and distance learning emerged from this workshop. The workshop was supported by the National Literacy Mission of the Government of India, the Indian Council of Social Science Research, the International Institute of Adult and Lifelong Education and the UNESCO Institute for Education. After the workshop, the report on the study was published by the UNESCO Institute for Education and widely distributed.

The proposal of developing a capacity-building programme for adult educators was supported by the University Grants Commission of India. Subsequently, a project team was constituted as follows: Prof Shobhita Jain (Consultant), Dr Manasi Mishra (Research Associate) and Prof Shah as Project Director. The project team began with a survey of existing courses in adult education and information management, realising that there was no course combining both areas.

An international workshop, sponsored by the University Grants Commission and the UNESCO Institute for Education, was held in New Delhi from March 29-30, 2006 to discuss and design “a Framework of a Curriculum for an E-learning course for the Capacity Building of Adult Educators”. The workshop identified a panel of expert course writers and two course co-ordinators: Prof Anita Dighe and Dr P.R. Goswami. The workshop named the proposed capacity building programme as Participatory Adult Learning, Documentation and Information Networking (PALDIN). In the following months, 16 experts and renowned scholars from academic institutions and NGOs were commissioned to prepare 31 units of course materials in ODL format. The names of the course writers are cited on the inside cover of the PALDIN learning package

On 22 March 2007, a national workshop on PALDIN was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. It was attended by 35 participants comprising the course writers, course co-ordinators, subject experts and representatives of selected institutions interested in pilot testing PALDIN. The objectives were to review the two volumes of the draft PALDIN learning package that had been prepared by the 16 experts, discuss and finalize the evaluation form and formulate strategies for pilot testing the material.

PALDIN was pilot tested between July and November 2007 by a group of thirty learners drawn from different adult learning organizations in India and by a group of students of the Adult Education Department at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Furthermore it was reviewed by a panel of experts.

Evaluation Form

The learning package can be accessed freely by interested learners, trainers and teachers. Those who are using all or some of the course materials may send their feedback using the evaluation form. Their valuable input is much appreciated.

Download Evaluation Form (PDF)


On August 7, 2007 an expert committee consisting of officials and faculty of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU, New Delhi) and other experts met to thoroughly discuss PALDIN. They decided to transfer the PALDIN materials into a six-month Post Graduate Certificate course at IGNOU. Two national workshops were convened in the following months to review the course content and to identify gaps. It was further suggested to simplify the materials for an undergraduate certificate course to be offered in Hindi and five regional languages.

Between December 11 - 14, 2007, a national workshop on "Designing a Professional Development Program in Adult Education: Participatory Adult Learning Documentation and Information Networking (PALDIN) took place at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in New Delhi. The workshop was organized by IGNOU in collaboration with the Indian Adult Education Association, the International Institute of Adult and Lifelong Education and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. For the workshop 55 learners, course writers and international experts (from UIL Hamburg, READ-Nepal, UNESCO Dhaka, DAM Bangladesh) met to gather feedback on the pilot testing of PALDIN, to discuss the possibility of simplifying the course for grassroots level workers and the opportunity to transfer PALDIN to other LIFE countries, such as Nepal and Bangladesh.

In the first half of 2008, IGNOU has started to develop a six-month Post Graduate Certificate Course on PALDIN, taking into account the comments and recommendations of the December PALDIN meeting, adding about 25% of new material and re-arranging the content according to their academic needs and norms. IGNOU set-up a Programme Design Committee consisting of course writers and experts and the Vice Chancellor of IGNOU has appointed Dr. Lakshi Reddy, a Senior Lecturer at IGNOU, as Programme Coordinator. The first meeting of the Committe was held on January 31st, 2008.

On February 26th, 2008 fifty participants met for a National Workshop at IGNOU to discuss the possibilities of simplifying the PALDIN materials and adopting them for a comprehensive programme for grassroots level functionaries. Dr. Poonam Bhushan, a Senior Lecturer at IGNOU, has been entrusted by the Vice Chancellor of IGNOU as Programme Coordinator. For this second PALDIN version the course will be reduced from six to three months, more weight will be give to practical aspects and more information will be delivered through audio and video programmes. In the following months four workshops will be held in the regions to review and evaluate the existing materials.

In July 2009, the IGNOU School of Extension and Development Studies launched for the 2009 session a Post-Graduate Diploma in Adult Education (PGDAE) that is based on PALDIN.The PGDAE aims at promoting professional development and capacity building in the area of adult education with an emphasis on participatory adult learning documentation and information networking at national and international levels. The course targets any Bachelor's Degree holder intending to pursue adult education as an area of study, specialization or career (pre-service), or personnel working or involved in the field of adult education (in-service).

It consists of the following five compulsory courses:

For further information please contact the Programme Coordinator of PGDAE Dr. M. V. Lakshmi Reddy, visit the IGNOU website or download the information brochure.