Large disasters damage or destroy infrastructure that is then reconstructed through programmes that train community members in construction techniques that reduce future risks. Despite the number of post-disaster reconstruction programmes implemented, there is a dearth of research on education and training in post-disaster contexts. To address this gap, we applied a mixed methods approach based upon experiential learning theory (ELT) to three shelter programmes administered in Eastern Samar, Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. First, we characterize post-disaster training programmes based on learning modes and then, compared this to the learning styles of community members. To assess learning modes of training programmes, we analysed qualitative data from interview accounts of community members and aid organizations; and, to delineate community member’s learning style preferences, we analysed quantitative data from survey questionnaires. Findings show that aid organizations administered training largely in lecture format, aligning with the reflective observation mode of ELT, but lacked diversity in formats represented in other poles of ELT. Moreover, analysis revealed that community members tended to grasp new information in accordance with the concrete experimentation mode, then preferred transforming newly acquired knowledge via the reflective observation mode. The lecture-based training predominately administered by aid organizations partially aligned with community learning preferences, but fell short in cultivating other forms of knowledge acquisition known to enhance long-term learning.

Zerio, A.Opdyke, A., and Javernick-Will, A. (2016). “Characterizing Post-Disaster Reconstruction Training Methods and Learning Styles.” Engineering Project Organization Journal. 6 (2-4), 142-154. doi: 10.1080/21573727.2016.1257484