Introduction to Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy


Introduction to Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy

With the reference of the proposals and contributions of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Development Program(UNPD) and some Latin American governments as a starting point, some experiences using Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy for rural development were developed in Latin America. They began in Chile in 1972 and advanced in Peru as of 1976 with the formation of technical teams under the direction of Manuel Calvelo, FAO`s expert.

The Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy has taken the video technology from the industrialized countries. This technology was modified and adapted for pedagogical use in rural and marginalized urban areas of underdeveloped countries.

Using these instruments, a methodology was fomalized and adjusted as a result of the many field experiences.
Thus, it is a participatory communication approach that makes possible a dialogue between the rural universe with the scientist-technical universe.





Based on political decisions, has been defined as interlocutor or high-

priority counterpart (we prefer not to use top-down military terms as “target”), the developing countries rural or marginalized-urban families. They constitute a great percentage of the population, they are dispersed and in difficult access zones.
These groups are those with lower educational level, greater illiteracy level and multi-language barriers. They are also those who need more support to improve their living.
With the use of audio-visual communication tools it is possible to face these difficulties.
The reasons to choose to use video as a pedagogical tool are the characteristics of the high priority user (massive, dispersed, located at inaccessible places, multi-language speaking, and illiterate). The multisectory Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy (MAP) training actions are based upon their multiple productive activities, the necessity to improve their living conditions and to improve their relations with the environment.

The analysis of the high-priority counterpart, their characteristics, conditions and necessities determines:

a) a communication model,
b) Technology redesign and adjustements,
c) a productive model,
d) the audio-visual courses shape and structure,
e) the processes of audio-visual training and
f) The way these processes will be monitored and evaluated.

Besides, there is a self-imposed requirement to maintain a good balance in the production processes (in terms of been rational, in economic, financial and social terms) (CALVELO 1994).



Rural development promotion is a consequence of political decisions.

These decisions may include the provision of infrastructure, credit, technical support, food security improvement, new techniques, etc etc.

“When we talk about rural development we are always talking about inputs that have to be replaced after they are exhaust. But there is an intangible asset that the more you use it the more it grows. It Is the KNOWLEDGE necessary to manage all the other assets. (CALVELO 1975).
When peasants get new (or recover their traditional) knowledge they improve their abilities to manage the natural and genetic resources, to preserve their environment and to negotiate with the outside society. This empowerment is a starting condition to make self reliant rural development possible.

Education is a condition but it is not the only one. Without investment in capital and technology the educational processes cannot show any improvement. But the opposite situation of prioritizing infrastructure and technology investments without the necessary knowledge to manage them will end up in wasted resourced and ephemeral results. Economical growth is not development.

And the educational processes that peasants need are not those traditional, top-down, theoretical, academic processes. They need hand-on practical training processes. Training must be given in their own environment, without disturbing their production labors, and must be focused in the subjects of their interest. Training must leave tangible practical results, more than a certificate. Training must be given to the whole family and not only to the head of the family. Training must be given in their own language and familiar codes and not in an academic jargon.

Finally, training must be in direct relationship with their productive activities and be of use value for them. (CALVELO 1994).


This high priority user is multisectorial and demands information and knowledge related to a variety of subjects that have relation with their productive activities an living conditions. Then, it is not a mater of train peasants mechanically in order to follow blue prints, but to educate them through communitarian processes (not individual ones).

This is necessary not only for anthropological and cultural reasons but also to guarantee keeping a good cost-effective balance to face the massive educational requirements of rural population.



Every teaching-learning method has to be done trough communication. Face to face, individual or massive methods have to be chosen according to the capabilities of the trainer and the needs and characteristics present in the group that is to be trained.

When the demand is about information, maybe the traditional, one way, theoretical information model “source-channel-receiver” (SCR) may work.
But this one-way, top-down model establishes a relationship of subordination between source (the one who speaks) and receiver (the one who listen). The sole function of feedback is to reinforce the power of the source by checking that who is listening has received the message properly.

To educate in a participatory way, a new participatory communication model is needed.

Interlocutor-media-interlocutor is the two-ways participatory model in which the contents of the messages are the result of a common practice.
The relationship between both sides of the line is horizontal and democratic and the codes of the massive interlocutor are those to be used to establish a dialogue.

Video make it possible to conserve and to reproduce communities’ traditional knowledge.

Video may be used as a tool for diagnosis and planning and to make people’s voice to be heard at decisional levels (transversal communication).





Trough video, institutions can explain in detail about programs and opportunities. One community’s successful experience may be shared by another community very distant from the first one (horizontal communication).

But the fundamental use of video is in the training area. The model use the media as the way to establish a pedagogic dialogue between peasants (traditional knowledge) and researchers (scientific knowledge) as an effective answer to the needs of the firstones, who shall become users of the shared knowledge.



The knowledge to be shared is nurtured in two main sources:

a) Traditional knowledge, sensory, empiric, no formalized and

b) Scientific knowledge, formalized, academically ordered.


Traditional knowledge is often neglected. But there is no doubt about its utility and the need of recovering it and reproduce it.

Scientific knowledge is a necessity for peasants and may let them faster growth processes.

Nevertheless, as it is a result of research developed in controlled conditions it requires a translation and adaptation to local conditions before it can be used.

As a resulting synthesis of both sources of knowledge coherently integrated, massive audio-visual pedagogy builds “the knowledge to be shared” trough a recovery-production-conservation-reproduction process.



The high priority user definition and the communication  model constraints the communication technology to be used.

Video equipment has been designed in industrialized countries.

A redesign was necessary to adapt them to be used for training purposes in rural and marginalized communities of underdeveloped countries.

With this functional adaptation it was possible to use audio visual tools to train people in communities without electrical supply since the early 70’s.



Extension systems are based on the implicit assumption that a “chain reaction” takes place.

The techniques developed at research centers are communicated to the highest level of the extension service. From there on, the information goes down trough the pyramidal structure until it reaches a peasant leader.
This innovative peasant is in charge of “irradiating” this new knowledge to their neighbors.
Other assumptions that have never been proved are:

a) Research subjects are decided taking into account the peasant demands.
b) In each level of the hierarchy the service has well trained personnel in both communicative and pedagogical aspects.
c) The service has enough personnel to reach the rural population. Etc.

Moreover, entropy generated as a consequence of the successive transmissions results in quantitative and qualitative losses that affects the retransmitted information.

As a fact, the portion of the rural population reached by these systems is a little percentage of the total. On the other hand, the budget that includes personnel, premises and means of transport is very large in relation to the training results in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

This kind of extension services were designed to be functional to the developed countries “farmer”, but not for our Latin American peasants.

The model that Massive Audiovisual Pedagogy proposes can be called “the bridge model”. Thus is to determine the subject matter of investigation at the grass root level, with the peasants and the field technicians, to obtain available traditional knowledge and then consult with research centers to look for an adequate answer for those demands.

These answers have to be translated in peasant’s codes to develop a Pedagogical Training Set which will be the training tool to share this processed knowledge with peasants at a massive scale.
The model is called “bridge model” because it skips many bureaucratic and institutional instances establishing a direct contact between problems at the grass root level and available possible solutions at the scientific level.
The use of audio visual tools guarantee the correct organization of the contents in a pedagogical way and the possibility of achieve massiveness trough the repetition of training events. The massive training is thus, pedagogically efficient and cost-effective.



The Spanish word “capacitación” means acquisition of capabilities. It cannot be translated simply as “training” because is more than that.
Training, in our understanding, involves the acquisition of cognitive information, intellectual skills to process this information towards a behavioral change and finally practical skills to turn this intellectual behavioral change into a new productive manner of modifying the reality by interacting with natural, financial and social resources.
An audiovisual course is the main tool of transmission of the “knowledge to be shared”. It is developed taking deeply into account three main aspects:
1) The high priority user whose knowledge needs the course should satisfy.
2) The contents of the “knowledge to be shared”.
3) The development of the pedagogical, audiovisual and technological aspects involved in the message manufacturing.

To ensure we are using our interlocutor cultural, visual and language codes, the narrative structure and order preferred is the linear one.

In this model, the subjects are developed in a linear or “natural” order. For example a goat breeding course starts with the livestock selection and ends up analyzing marketing aspects.
But training, as we understand it, cannot be achieved with the sole audiovisual instrument. A practical, hand on, exercise is needed to reproduce the natural way the peasant are used to learn.
An old peasant’s statement resumes this pedagogical strategy:

What I hear I forget     What I see I remember     What I do, I learn.

According to these principles, the following media is combined in a Audiovisual Pedagogical training set.
a) Video Lessons b) Personal Interaction c) Participant’s manual d) Practical exersices.

Video Lesons :
It is aimed to facilitate comprehension. The video tape shows an image of the peasants own environment and reality. Narration is developed in peasant’s own language and accent. The contents are developed to explain not only the “how to” but also the scientific explanation of why things happen in a certain way. If it absolutely necessary to introduce some new terms, they are firstly explained. Use value maximization is the key for selecting contents.

Personal Interaction

A facilitator manages the whole training process. He/she underline the topics to be analyzed, always prioritizing communitarian experiences. Facilitator is responsible for adapting the technical contents to the communities’ conditions, answer to questions and present the practical exercises.

Participant’s manual :

It develops the main subjects of the course, using more graphics than text. Complementary information as list of materials recipes, etc is attached here.

This manual is a tool by which peasants can afterwards refresh what they have learned during the course.


Practical exersices :

This is the most important component of the set. Is the moment when peasants know that they have learnt, and when they know that what they have learnt is useful for them.

This is to say that they recognize the use value of the new knowledge acquired.

These are the components of what we call Audiovisual Pedagogical training set.

A facilitator’s Manual is a guide that helps facilitator to combine the different media (Video Lessons, Personal interaction, Participant’s manual, Practical excercises) in a pedagogical way.


The use of traditional, vertical communication model “source-channel-receiver” is the mainstream in audiovisual production all over Latin America.

The materials produced are those of a self expressive content, artistic, marketing, etc.

The use of these instruments in education is often neglected by the scientific community itself, although they are themselves a result of scientific research.

Nevertheless, there is a need to improve communication in the areas of scientific, pedagogic and development communication. But this is a “latent demand” which only could be activated by the formation of well trained professionals in the Interlocutor-media-interlocutor horizontal model.

In the early 70’s FAO formalized the training methods to prepare this new professional: the Pedagogic Audiovisual producer, which prepares every aspect of the training set. Once ready, a largest group of front-line trainers are trained to use it in a massive scale.

This pedagogical process, as described, must be cost-effective.
That’s why a collaborative and rational way of production was chosen.
The team in charge of production makes agreements in a horizontal way, and then those agreements are vertically implemented.

As second principle an artisan way was adopted in opposition to technical division. Two well trained people are in charge of every step needed to produce a Pedagogical Audiovisual training set.
As a third principle everybody has to rotate in order to produce, use materials, train others, etc.

Adopting this way of managing the production nobody becomes essential, production is efficient and staff is prepared to face changes as quality is maintained and increased.



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