John Porten



Download Full Text (590 KB)

Abstract or Description

Trust-building and social bonding are easier in person — and to some extent in synchronous rather than asynchronous distanced learning. Distance and time differences can make organization of synchronous learning difficult. Differences in access to the internet and other infrastructure issues can exacerbate this problem. Cultural differences and other forms of diversity can also make building trust among students, and between students and teachers, more difficult.

While advances in technology and technique have improved the outcomes of distanced educational programs in recent years, distanced educational models still result in underperformance for the participants when compared to face-to-face programs. Research shows that this is true in large part due to students’ tendency to feel disconnected from both the organization implementing the program and its instructors.

Yet distanced educational program designs offer substantial benefits to peacebuilders, in particular. They allow participation across more diverse groups, creating more insight and understanding. They afford opportunities to more vulnerable members of our communities, to those working at the grassroots level, and to those with less capacity to travel.

This FACE Peace design brief considers these issues as they relate to planning educational programs in peacebuilding. In particular, it considers activities and strategies to create the strongest possible relationships between facilitators and participants and an instructional design that provides participants with the information and structure they need to prepare for and contextualize the program content. Trusting relationships allow students to share experiences and exchange knowledge more honestly and fluidly, while structure affords them the resources they need to remain attentive and manage work/life balance.

Publication Date


Document Type



peacebuilding, education


Peace and Conflict Studies

FACE Peace Design Brief #3: Facilitating Training and Education Programs in the Peacebuilding Field