Why learning analytics for capacity development?

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Capacity development is a founding principle of the ILO’s Development Cooperation Strategy to secure better decent work outcomes through improved services to constituents. However, how can we increase the effectiveness of capacity building programmes for costituents and players in the world of work?

Learning Analytics is the measurement, collection and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.

There are several reasons why training organizations would wish to invest in learning analytics:

  1. Predict learners’ performance
  2. Provide learners with a personalized eLearning experience
  3. Increase learners’ retention rates
  4. Measure engagement and teaching success
  5. Improve instructional and delivery strategies of eLearning courses and programmes

With these factors in mind, the ITCILO developed a dedicated Online Programme in Innovative Learning Interventions where professionals with a capacity-building function explore the use of latest technology and innovation for translating the sustainable development goals into achievable actions, including the potential of Trusted Learning Analytics.


The main objective for Learning Analytics is to unveil so far hidden information in educational data to gain new insights and prepare them for different educational stakeholders (learners, trainers and managers). This new kind of information can support individual learning, enhance facilitation and teaching quality, as well as improve organizational knowledge management processes and system administration.

This course aims to contextualize Learning Analytics and its most important dimensions. It will demonstrate why Learning Analytics have the power to be a real game changer for educational research by enhancing e-learning experiences and creating more effective e-learning environments by helping to predict learners’ performance, providing learners with a personalized learning experience. Increased retention rates and boosting cost efficiency. It also will touch on the ethical and privacy side of Learning Analytics that needs to be discussed within potential target organizations to guarantee adoption and uptake of Learning Analytics from stakeholders.

If you are a trainer, information technology (IT) specialist, decision maker in education and training institutions or instructional designer and you are already experimenting with Learning Analytics within your organization, feel free to get in touch and share with us your experience (delta@itcilo.org)


The future of learning is out there. Call for stories.

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The first edition of the ‘Future of Learning’ magazine has been launched earlier this year. It contains a selection of 12 stories that reflect interesting institutional learning practices incorporating signals from the future, from micro-learning to macro-learning, from real gamification simulations towards virtual augmented immersive learning experiences and much more. If you would like to receive a physical copy of this you just have to submit the form below and add your own future of learning story. We are currently capturing best, good and interesting practices from all over the world in order to get inspired. Join us on this future of learning journey.



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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”.

hum learn


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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hum learn 3

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.


Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NFZLC3V

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 delta@itcilo.org.

For further information, we invite you to view our Prototyping Using Design Thinking Report *link: https://technologyatwork.itcilo.org/new-report-release-the-centre-prototypes-microlearning-using-design-thinking/*  blog post.



How Futures Foresight informs decision-making

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In the Ancient world, Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek seers often relied on the interpretation of dreams to predict the future. While seers are no longer viewed as mystical figures connected to the divine, their vocation – that of predicting the future – is morphing into a new academic discipline that policy makers are starting to adopt and appreciate to help them analyse the past, to make sense of the present and to predict a number of possible futures. This discipline is called Futures Foresight, also known as Futures studies.

ILO Cairo Office for Business Today Magazine – Egypt, January 2017

In late 2016, the ILO Decent Work Support Team in Egypt, with support from the ITCILO and the Knowledge Management Coordination Team (ILO Geneva), organized a three-day workshop delivered by international consultants on futures foresight. The training event was a contribution to the ILO Centenary Initiative on the Future of Work, launched by the ILO Director General in 2013 and further specified in his 2015 ILC report.

Future Foresight Day 2-52


In the workshop, participants engaged in fast-paced collaborative exercises to gain experience with the different tools and methods available. They explored how to structure and convey emerging visions for the future and they discussed the implications for the participants’ own organization, institution, and professional and societal contexts.


Future Foresight Day 2-90

Purpose-specific futures, foresight and horizon scanning methods can help ILO staff and constituents to consider issues more deeply and to better inform a wide range of work such as: policy and programming; project formulation and implementation; and communications and advocacy. For this particular workshop, attendees chose to focus on youth employment and decent work in Egypt as a major challenge facing the ILO and constituents.

In a wider context, the study of Futures Foresight is for anyone who is confronted with a complex challenge and would like to withdraw design thinking and complex adaptive systems methods to tackle the challenge in an incremental way. Furthermore, foresight analysis is useful for any professional whose work requires collaborative decision-making for the future through understanding and generating shared agendas


To better understand the topic, we propose to discuss what futures studies are and what they are not.


Futures Foresight, what is it?

In a publication of the Hawaii Research Centre for Futures Studies, Prof. Jim Dator states that he came to “understand that there are two basic things to understand about the future, and hence about futures studies.”

«The future» cannot be «predicted» because «the future» does not exist

The aim of Futures studies is not to predict «the future”. In fact, no research studies should pretend to do so. In reality, Futures Foresight aims instead to study “ideas about the future”, or what Prof. Dator calls «images of the future«. Each individual and/or group of individuals holds images of the future that are “volatile, changing according to changing life events or perceptions”. The variety of these images is shaped by geographical biases, and demographical biases, such as gender and age.

As Dator explains “one of the main tasks of futures studies is to identify and examine the major alternative futures that exist at any given time and place”. Thus, while we would commonly talk about predicting “THE future”, the academic discipline of Futures Studies advances a more scientific and rigorous way of achieving the same goal: by forecastingalternative futures«.

Futures studies endeavour “to facilitate individuals and groups in formulating, implementing, and re-envisioning their preferred futures”. The forecast of alternative futures and the foreseeing of preferred futures then lead to planning strategic activities, which would shape daily decisions in an organization.

“However, the process of alternative futures forecasting and preferred futures envisioning is continuously ongoing and changing”, explains Prof. Dator. For that reason, the goal of any futures exercise is not to come up with a «final solution», but to build a guiding vision.

Any useful idea about the futures should appear to be ridiculous.

It is fascinating to watch the technological progress the world has made in the past 30 years.

“Because new technologies permit new behaviors and values, challenging old beliefs and values, much that will be characteristic of the futures is initially novel and challenging. And what typically seems at first obscene, impossible, stupid, «science fiction», ridiculous becomes familiar and eventually «normal”.”

A very good example to illustrate this idea is the 1989 movie “Back to the future 2”, which envisioned that by 2015, we’d have a host of crazy new technologies and products. Several of the film’s predictions have indeed come to fruition such as: personal drones, mobile payment technologies and bio metric devices, hands-free Gaming Consoles, smart clothing, video phones, waste-fuelled cars, and many more.

Therefore, what is popularly considered to be the most unlikely future is often one of the most likely futures and vice versa.


Do you want to have access to our online toolkit and explore a world of possibilities with futures tools?

Visit our Foresight Toolkit page to download guides for futures tools!


Are you interested in learning more about futures foresight tools and methods?

Join us in November for our Futures Foresight and Horizon Scanningcourse!

Learn to apply the most appropriate qualitative tools and methodologies for making assumptions about possible futures, drawing on foresight techniques and complexity management principles.

MOOCs impact: ITCILO explores learning analytics to boost engagement

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In December 2016 the ITCILO released a new report on Massive Open Online Courses for Development which builds on an extensive literature review and draws upon the internal expertise built by the Centre. The most controversial feature of MOOCs is probably low completion rates, typically around 7%. It’s easy to count certificates, but MOOCs are so much more! For this reason, the Centre is adopting a new approach based on Learning Analytics to assess participation with metrics that encompass all desirable learning activities, such as browsing and exploring, and not just completion. Building on its internal expertise, the Centre has developed a MOOCs4Dev Toolkit, which gives guidelines on the three phases of MOOCs rollout: design, implementation and evaluation.

learning analytics

From September to November 2016 the Centre launched its fifth MOOCs: the Crowdfunding MOOC for Caribbean Entrepreneurs, in partnership with the World Bank Group.

CMCE banner

The MOOC aimed to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to use crowdfunding to test the market demand for their product or service and plan their own rewards or presale Crowdfunding campaign. The course registered 296 participants from countries belonging to the World Bank Group’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC). 57% of the selected applicants were female and 42% were male. This is in contrary to MOOCs statistics found in the literature, where female participation is typically lower than male participation. Furthermore, thanks to 2-step facilitation strategy the MOOC achieved a record-high completion rate of 19% with 57 Crowdfunding Campaign plans submitted by participants. One of them was already launched on Kickstarter and has not only reached but exceeded the crowdfunding target of CAD $8,000 with over 140 backers to expand Taste Tea Naturals, a social enterprise based in Antigua and Barbuda.

Kickstarter campaign

Together with the MOOCs4Dev Report, the CMCE contributed to building the growing expertise of the Centre in MOOCs4Dev. The course also received very positive feedback, with all participants saying they would recommend the course to a colleague.

“I want to sincerely thank the team for designing a great course. I have learnt more than I could have ever imagined. I have the tools necessary now to do my campaign […]. I am eternally grateful for what I have learnt on this online course and hope to be one of your greatest success stories.” CMCE participant


If you want to know more, contact us at delta@itcilo.org