From Global to Local: using Massive Open Online Courses for content creation

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As part of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Humanitarian Essentials, jointly organised by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and ITCILO from 16 October to 12 November 2017, participants were asked to submit a case study exercise. This assignment had as objective to internalise the learning contents of the MOOC and combine them with the professional experience and interests of the participants.

MOOC learners were asked to draft a case study on how they have applied or would apply humanitarian principles in their current or future working context. This exercise allowed them to better understand the key challenges and dilemmas related to the application of humanitarian principles, by reflecting on them in specific crisis situations and emergencies.

“How you or your organization applied the humanitarian principles, and what are your lessons learned?”

In total, 66 case studies were submitted. A peer review was applied to score the case studies against a number of criteria, including “demonstrated understanding of the principles and their main challenges and dilemmas, demonstrated learning, and reader-friendliness”. This review resulted in a top-30, of which the tutor of the MOOC selected fifteen case studies which are now available through an online publication: “Humanitarian Learning in Practice”.

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From “access to information in Greece” to “first emergency response in the Balkans” or “principles to humanitarian actions in Somalia”, the published case studies refer to either ongoing developments in the humanitarian sector or offer interesting insights in what can be learned from responding to current crises.

The fifteen authors come from different backgrounds and offer various understandings. All together, these case studies provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges of applying humanitarian principles in the field, and we hope that their work is an inspiration for others who like to reflect and learn.

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Gender equality helps us reach our full potential

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Women team members of the DELTA/MDP unit.

       Today, March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, recognizing women for their achievements without regards to divisions. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, it commemorates the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century. In 2018 Turin, as men represent 61.8% of the workforce globally according to the World Employment and Social Outlook, the DELTA/MDP, where women have the lion’s share representing a whopping 72% of all staff, recognizes and observes on a daily basis that equal opportunities is not just a matter of justice, but of quality.

A predominantly female staff is not at all perceived as a disadvantage to male counterparts. Rather to the opposite, our male colleagues testify that the different opinions and work styles of their female colleagues challenge them in their work, keeping the creativity alive.

In the words of the DELTA/MDP head of department:

“Diversity is the key to our work in Learning Innovation and the gender factor in our team contributes substantially to that and with this I do not only mean in terms of (gender) balance. The perception of detail, the deep sense of empathy and the capacity to move beyond the rational … are only some of the characteristics that bring a higher degree of self-awareness in myself.” – Tom Wambeke

Others joined him by stating there would not be a different they’d wish to be part of. “I couldn’t imagine it any other way.” – says Luca Fiore, graphic designer. Each individual, with her capacities, embodies the motor of success.

The women in our team are professional, precise in all they do, team players, have an irreproachable work ethic, strong leadership, great organizational skills, and sense of social cohesion. Some of women’s implications can be seen when Alessia Messuti is leading the Innovative Diploma Programme, or when Mirella Scabini is voluntarily taking of her time to present ITC-ILO’s work to visiting students. The truth is that without them, we would be missing on 50% of our potential.

Still, there remains a lot of work to do. Women’s rights to equal work conditions and opportunities are not respected worldwide or in all organizations. Bias, stereotypes and gender-blind workplace rules still unconsciously produce discrimination, with important human and economic costs.

If you wish to understand how good your organization is doing on gender equality, take the ILO participatory gender audit. Gender balanced organizations are more successful. Become an agent of change yourself: invest in women’s potential.

Front Cover Photo: Jacopo Maino

The idea of this article came from Luca Putteman, and was co-authored by Carl Verrier Silva.

Become a Social Changemaker

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The ITCILO is organizing its first course on Communication for Development

From 12 to 15 June 2018, the ITCILO will invite development practitioners, policymakers, creatives and academics for 4 interactive face-to-face training days on communication for development. Through interactive sessions, inspiring talks and a creative lab setting, participants will learn how to adopt design thinking and visual storytelling to their work.

Built around three approaches, the course will provide participants with the skills to create more and lasting impact when working on communication initiatives, reaching from health promotion to labour rights advocacy. The course is not limited to one specific area; it gives the tools to better understand and reach any type of audience, worldwide.

If you are looking for new ways for people to engage with your cause, or you feel your organization needs a different mindset to tackle old problems, join us in Turin to learn those methods. Human-centered design experts and talented creatives will help you to visualize and refine your message, while you’ll discover digital and low-tech solutions on the way.

Get more updated information on the course in the upcoming weeks, on our website and social media.

Join us on this unique, global learning experience in the heart of the United Nations!

Learning and Technology Innovation for Capacity Development

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Technology transforming learning

Once thought of as just a part of ‘resources‘in the learning experience, we‘ve come to see how technology can be so much more than that. It can play a key role in all elements of the training and learning environment. Technology can shape, and reshape, who is the learner and who is the trainer. It can open up knowledge and content that otherwise would be less accessible, for example through access to open educational resources.

The benefits of engagement, interactivity and collaboration are all enabled and enhanced with technology. They are of course possible without it, you can still engage and motivate, personalise learning and facilitate collaboration, without any technology at all. However, at scale, technology greatly increases training institutions’ capacity for these outcomes.

Reinventing learning environments for the world of work

Learning technologies, knowledge-sharing platforms, communities of practice, mobile applications are more and more used in the world of work. However, the right expertise and the methodological know-how to design and implement technology enhanced learning are not always available. To this purpose, the ITCILO, in collaboration with the Open University of the Netherlands and Goethe University Frankfurt, developed a dedicated Online Programme in Innovative Learning Interventions. Professionals with a capacity-building function can explore the use of latest technology and innovation and see how they contribute to the impact of the projects they are currently launching.

By innovation, we mean new or improved technological products and processes, which can influence how individuals and organizations invest in achieving their objectives. Concepts such as Open Online Education, Learning Analytics, Mobile and Seamless Learning, New Immersive and Augmented Learning Experiences are examples of how integrated technology processes can make capacity development more impactful by rooting solutions in empathy with end-users and enhancing access to educational opportunities.

The opportunity

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The Online Diploma Programme on Innovative Learning Interventions aims at fostering the potential of:

  • the improved measurement, compilation and reporting of data about individuals for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning experiences through Trusted Learning Analytics;
  • learning and working across multiple contexts through social and content interactions using personal devices which enable the creation of Mobile and Seamless Learning experiences;
  • eliminating barriers to entry educational opportunities and broadening access to capacity development through Open Online Education paths;
  • augmented and immersive reality experiences which lead to transformative ways for creating engagement and interactions between individuals and environments, though New Learning Experiences.

More info:

Graphic Design in Development

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A case for sustainability, universality and true human needs.

Design for world peace

Back in 1945, a Yale architecture graduate called Donald McLaughin designed one of the world’s most recognizable symbols: the United Nations emblem. But at that time he wasn’t fully aware of the impact his design would have. When the delegates from 50 Allied nations gathered that spring in San Francisco, the conference required brochures, placards and, of course, badges. Mr. Mc Laughlin, then chief of the graphics presentation branch of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the C.I.A., originally designed a 2.7 cm round lapel pin. The emblem of the continents and olive branches was also stamped in gold on the United Nations Charter, and a year and half later it was adopted, with modifications, as the official seal and emblem of the United Nations.

To this day, few symbols are so widely recognised and universally understood as the UN emblem. It’s a demonstration of the power of graphic design in its ability to unite people through graphic images and rendering complex ideas into one visual symbol. Over the last several years we’ve seen the most influential development agencies fully embracing the role of graphic design including The World Bank, Unicef and many others.

Design must be meaningful

There is a strong cultural dimension to graphic design that is affected by traditions, language, diversity, gender, beliefs and value systems. Graphic designers within UN agencies carry the responsibility to embody these dimensions in their designs. Experience turned them into experts designing in all six official 400+ national languages, but also in integrating complex ideas such as impartiality, dignity and tolerance. They have the duty and power to represent the underrepresented and to promote inclusiveness through their ideas.

Making it look pretty is not enough. Design must be meaningful where ‘meaningful’ replaces rather void concepts such as ‘beautiful, ‘ugly’, ‘cool’, ‘cute’, or ‘nice’. Designers need to put end-users’ needs ahead of their own taste and love of aesthetics. Or as Victor Papanek put it back in 1971’: “design must become an innovative, highly creative, cross- disciplinary tool responsive to the true needs of men.”

Design is inherent to all cultures and the next generation of graphic designers needs to be aware of their ability to emphasise on deeper cultural meanings. Design can impact the world and therefore designers should cultivate their capacity in strengthening mutual understanding amongst people and nations.

From ITCILO's Future of Learning Magazine

From ITCILO’s Future of Learning Magazine

In-house capacity and training

The ILO Turin Centre has its own inhouse graphic design unit. Multimedia Design and Production (MDP) provides
graphic design solutions for courses, training materials, conferences and publications. For many years MDP has also designed the publications of other UN agencies including UNHCR, OHCHR and the World Bank.

This year for the first time, the Center will organize a course on how to design communication solutions for development purposes. As a discipline, Communication for Development embraces a broad range of functions and practices which centre around dialogue, participation and the sharing of knowledge and information, all with a view to creating empowerment and sustainable social change. From a human centred approach, this on-site training course will explore the possibilities of contemporary and traditional communication tools in addressing development
challenges and maximizing the impact of initiatives.

The Communication for Development (C4D) Course will be organised in Turin, from 5 to 8 June 2018. All information and applications on the course’s web page.

Work 4 Human Development: New Microlearning Prototype

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In the last few months we have been very busy working on an innovation project adopting micro-learning methodology.

The microlearning prototype, “A Crash Course on Work for Human Development” rethinks and broadens the concept of work that goes beyond simply jobs or employment. It aims to explain the fundamentals of the role of work in society, and the importance of decent work in promoting human development and sustainable development. This microlearning pilot is aimed to be accessible for all, which also include professionals in the UN family and ILO’s social partners, meaning governments, workers and employers of member countries.

The prototype can be found here (Best to open on a mobile device):


Have Your Say!

Our aim is to improve and create a sustainable learning solution that not only educates and inspires, but also that is applicable to your everyday life.

In order for us to better meet your training and learning needs, we invite you to take part in providing feedback on our microlearning prototype based on its design, content, and user-experience in the survey below. The information gathered from this survey will be used to improve the next iteration of the prototype.



Please provide your feedback by the end of Tuesday, June 13, 2017. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at

For further information, we invite you to view our Prototyping Using Design Thinking Report *link:*  blog post.



New Report Release: Fostering development through MOOCs @ITCILO

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During the last edition of the Training of Trainers Forum on Sustainable Learning Solutions for the Future which took place in November we discussed among practitioners and development professionals the potential of MOOCs for development.

To MOOC or not TO MOOC”: this was the statement around which three case studies were presented through the 5-minute elevator pitch method. The group was then invited to debate around MOOCs main opportunities and challenges.



*The Elevator Pitch is a time-effective methodology that can be used as a substitute for formal presentations. The pitch has to be short enough to deliver in an (imaginary) elevator ride but at the same time it has to be informative and compelling. To further familiarize with learning methodologies, get your Compass Toolkit.

Below is an extract of what ITCILO presented:

What makes Massive Open Online Courses revolutionary for education? Their availability and scalability, and therefore the great potential this format has to democratize education and foster development.

Why MOOCs and development? Education is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, the scope for MOOCs to tackle the needs of the developing world has recently been explored. In developing countries, a small proportion of people are enrolled in higher education, while globalisation calls for a rapid catch-up process to take place.

The above may sound as a stereotype and it is clear that, although this format present many opportunities, it also faces challenges.

Between 2015 and 2016 ITCILO implemented 5 MOOCs in topic areas which are in line with the overall areas of competencies of the Centre: crowdfunding for development, the role of technology at work, crowdfunding for young entrepreneurs, gamification for development.

Taking into account the experience and data we gathered, we have just released the “MOOCs4Dev @ITCILO Report”: a guide providing a snapshot of MOOCs for development and the main challenges they face in developing countries, with a focus on ITCILO recent experience. The guide provides a summary of MOOCs design, pedagogical principles, completion rate ratio with a special focus on how to overcome challenges such as lack of a business model, lack of a standard quality assurance framework, access barriers and lack of facilitation quality support. The different tips and recommendations are also tackled in a MOOCs Toolkit which provides a series of tools to facilitate your MOOC design experience.

Are you a development organization interested in designing MOOCs for the first time?
Do you already have experiences with MOOCs but you would like to exchange ideas and experiences?




Technology@Work MOOC: what’s the future of work?

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On 1st June, the Centre will launch a free, massive open online course (MOOC) exploring how new, disruptive technologies are reshaping the world of work in the 21st century. The eight-week Technology@Work course is the flagship element of the ILO’s Future of Work Centenary Initiative, and participation is free, on a full or part time basis.

“Our challenge is to continuously find new and innovative solutions as we look into the future of work”, said Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General. The unfurling technological revolution is so far-reaching in its labour-replacing potential, that is inherently different from what was experienced in the past.

(Video credits: Fausto Saltetti)

From 3D printers, the “Internet of Things”, to machine learning, new and emerging technologies are expected to profoundly change the way we work and the types of job, in the coming years. Harnessing the potential of these disruptive technologies will be crucial to meeting the ambitious targets set forth in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With the participation of cutting-edge research, world-class thinkers, policy makers, technologists and UN staff , the Technology@Work MOOC will raise awareness of this global transformation, and provide a collaborative and innovative learning platform to crowdsource and explore policy relevant inquiries and insights into the nexus of the future of technology and work. It will ignite a much needed global conversation about disruptive technology’s impact on the future of work.

To learn more, visit, our new Technology@Work Blog,or contact

Keep in contact through Facebook & Twitter


Massive Open Online Course On “Gamification For Development”

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As part of the Centre’s innovation fund we explored last year the added value of ‘gamification for development’, the integration of game elements into existing learning and training products to maximise their effectiveness. The results of these experiments are documented on the online portfolio There you will find 6 examples of gamified learning products in the areas of Market System Facilitation, Informal Economy, Employment Policies, Learning Methodologies. Two other examples regarding Sexual Harassment and Green Behaviours will be soon published.

After this experimentation phase, we think it’s now time to scale up this learning journey and we don’t want to do it alone. In collaboration with GIZ, UNITAR, CINTERFOR and thanks to the contribution of other valuable experts we want to engage YOU in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). The objective of this collective networked learning experience is not only to share what we have learned already but to build upon this knowledge and crowdsource on interesting ‘gamification for development’ cases globally. 

If your organisation or institution is interested to explore the added value of gamification than joining this MOOC might be an excellent opportunity to transform your ideas into practice. The course will run over an 8-week period and will start on the 11th of April. Signing up is FREE and can be done here.


Before the MOOC starts on April 11th, we invite you to have a look at the MOOC Flyer which provides background information, details of the team, learning objectives and IT requirements.

A Facebook Community Page is also live: like the page and stay tuned with the latest news and information regarding the MOOC.


This MOOC adventure is for the Centre an interesting opportunity to assess the learning and knowledge sharing potential of the MOOC format in order to scale and to increase our outreach potential. In addition to this, it i salso an interesting experiment towards introducing game elements and features within an online learning environment: informal rewards, revealing content techniques, challenges and peer-to-peer collaboration will be some of the features that characterize the learning environment.

Last but not least, MOOCs are also in line with our strategic goal to become a more digital and connected training Centre which supports our learners with 21th digital literacy skills that are highly needed in this complex and fast changing societal context.

OEB 2015: Learning and Sharing about Gamification, MOOCs and e-Learning Quality assurance

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Participating at Online Educa Berlin has almost become a habit for the ITCILO Distance Education Learning and Technology Application (DELTA) unit. Why so? Online Educa is the global cross-sector conference on technology supported learning and training and every here there is the opportunity to meet about 2,000 learning professionals and exchange about education, training and technology.

In particular, there were 3 reasons why this year ITCILO attended the conference:

  • Launch of the Gamification Portfolio

As part of its Innovation mandate, DELTA has been experimenting with Gamification for Learning methods: from face-to-face methodologies towards integration of game elements into online learning modules and courses. We are currently involved in 4 training projects where we identified the potential of game elements to better engage learners and involve them throughout the learning experience. The is the online portfolio were further details are provided. Stay tuned because more updates will come!

gamification picture


Participating at OEB 2015 allowed us to get inspiration from other organizations working in the same field. Philipp Busch and Seynabou Fachinger from GIZ, the German Technical Agency for International Cooperation, shared the interesting results of their 2015 Gamifcation Hackaton for Social Good carried out in Addis Abeba. The event resulted in one winning team which conceived AfriOne, a mobile application that integrates game elements to get people experience different cultures in a new way, and prevent tribalism before it happens.



  • Launch of the Quality4Digital Learning MOOC

As part of the ECBCheck quality framework for digital learning, ITCILO co-facilitated the workshop on “Reconsidering the concept of quality in times of collaboration and simulation in new media learning” jointly with GIZ and UNU. The session particularly focused on how to adapt the existing ECBCheck framework of criteria towards the MOOC format. 40 participants helped us having an interesting discussion regarding media and learning design, assessment and technical support issues that need to be taken into consideration when our organizations are addressing massive audiences through open formats.

ECB-Check Team

From left to right: Volker Lichtenthaeler, Alessia Messuti, Erik Tambo and Anthony Camilleri.

The session also provided the opportunity to launch the Quality4DigitalLearning MOOC, where the discussion on how to adapt quality in new digital formats will continue! Starting date is February 15, 2016: registrations are open!

  • Participation at the UN Knowledge Networking

Finally, on our last day, we attended the UN Knowledge and Networking session facilitated by Mehmet Korkmaz (UNICEF) and Cristina Petracchi (FAO). The session brought together about 30 learning professionals from different UN agencies (UNHCR, UNOPS, UNESCO, UNSSC) and learning and development institutes exchanging mainly on the good practices and issues around 3 areas: instructional design for e-Learning, learning technology and blended learning.

UN session