Indigenous Engagement Officers – Training workshops

Funding: FaHCSIA
Dates: March – April 2009 and April – June 2011
Location: Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs


  • Using a Participatory Action Research approach we worked closely with IEO participants to iteratively design, develop and implement integrative professional development courses comprising workshops, resources and booklets.
  • Courses focused on community engagement, governance, leadership and conflict resolution that incorporated both FaHCSIA objectives and the professional needs of IEOs.

The work of IEO’s wall story

Due to the tight timeframe for developing and implementing the course and the diverse and unknown nature of IEO professional we chose an innovative approach to ‘training’ based on our experiences of working for many years in Indigenous communities and with Batchelor Institute of Tertiary Education, and Charles Darwin University.

The cyclic, iterative process of Participatory Action Research (PAR): Plan > Do > Reflect > Plan etc provided an evaluative framework that enabled us to develop the course workshop by workshop: researching, evaluating and improving workshop and community-based follow-up activities and materials by incorporating feedback and input of facilitators, IEO and FaHCSIA participants an as we went along.

The course integrated the following approaches to successful Indigenous adult education and sustainable community development:

  • Participatory Action Research (PAR)
  • Workshop-driven Professional Development
  • CDU ICE Principles (respect, ownership, communication, networking)
  • Adult Education Theory: principles of adult learning
  • Indigenous Knowledge theory
  • Both Ways Learning
  • Learning Styles
  • Active learning: the medium is the message

The Courses comprised:

  • Workshops and Course Materials – Overview, Learning Journey, Programs, Facilitator Notes, Activity Sheets, Stimulus Materials, Wall Stories, Glossaries, Evaluation Sheets
  • Course Overview
  • Workshop Booklets (produced after each workshop)
  • Community Research Activities