26th ICDE World Conference on Growing Capacities for Sustainable e-Learning Provision

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14-16 October 2015, Sun City (South Africa)

The 26th ICDE World Conference took place only 2 weeks after world heads of states and prime ministers have approved the new ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where SDG 4 is on education:



The conference counted about 67 countries and 900 delegates from all of the education spectre – from academics, practitioners and senior management in higher education, to experts and policy makers, who contributed to make this event a unique meeting place for exchange of knowledge, nurturing of innovative ideas and creating sound policies for the future educational agenda.

Special track on MOOCs for Development

The MOOCs4D II track explored the potential of MOOCs as a transformative lever for promoting education as a global common good, in developing economies, and in particular Africa, and as a possible platform for South-South-North collaboration.  The track brought together policy makers, experts, practitioners, scholars and representatives from MOOC initiatives from around the world to further the conversations begun during the initial 2014 MOOCs4D conference at the University of Pennsylvania in April 2014.

Stella Cavalcanti da Silva Porto, Learning and Knowledge Management Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): “ICTs are allowing me to do things I could not do before. Don’t resist ICTs- reclaim your power”

Hence, Education is a common good: we should reclaim it from private to public spaces.

ITCILO participated in the special ICDE track on MOOCs for Development by sharing the experience of implementing a MOOC for developing new life-long learning pathways in the area of crowdfunding for development. More info can be found here.


Most of our reflections can be found in the following takeaways from the conference:

  • The 4 areas in which MOOC are generally used: (a) Enhance core business; (b) promote research; (c) as resource; and (d) for credit.
  • The focus is on LEARNING; not on CREDENTIALS.
  • Completion is not necessarily the end goal of students, but the learning that happens during the MOOC;
  • New ways to assess learning progress: experience is more important than completion.
  • Interaction and social learning has much more relevance than traditional assessment.
  • There has been a shift from planning a output-oriented learning experience (certificate driven) towards an outcome-learning experience (project driven);

Interested in joining the next ICDE World Conference? It will take place in Toronto (Canada) in 2017! Stay tuned!


Tablets 4 teaching & learning: where does ITCILO stand?

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Photo by Chandni Lanfranchi.

Tablets and mobile devices are the most recent addition to the long list of technological innovation believed to support and enhance the teaching and learning process.

The Commonwealth of Learning has just published the Tablets for Teaching and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis aiming at investigating the evidence supporting the use of mobile devices in educational contexts.

Results from 27 primary empirical research studies confirm previous findings about the average effect of contemporary technology on students’ achievement, the benefits that go beyond mere performance on tests, and the importance of pedagogy in the successful integration of technology in educational contexts. Moreover, the findings highlight the need for providing teachers with professional development to support their ability to integrate tablets’ technology effectively into their teaching and to create teaching and learning environments conducive for meaningful learning.

Since 2014 here at ITCILO we have been experimenting the use of tablet technology for learning. Initial findings and reflections have been collected in a comprehensive publication regarding Acceptance and Educational Benefits of Tablet Computers during Training for Adult Learners. Furthermore, these experiences have led to the creation of a training manual for trainers and facilitators interested in effectively using tablets during learning events for adults. The manual is available for FREE on the IOS e-Book STORE or as a non-interactive PDF.


“Gamifying” Employment Policies

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Last week we experimented the use of Socrative.com, a free web application that offers an easy and friendly experience to trainers to engage and assess their learners.

We then organized a Space Race!

The Space Race is one of the features offered by Socrative.com that allows turning an old-fashion quiz into an intergalactic trip.

The learning objective was to let participants assess their learning in small groups, review and reinforce the knowledge acquired during the training.

Time: 40 min


  • 1 tablet/laptop per group;
  • Flipcharts where to provide the PIN codes for learners to access Socrative virtual room;
  • 1 big screen where learners can see their rockets;
  • Internet connection


  • Learners are divided in groups;
  • Learners are informed that they are going to play the Space Race game asking them to review the knowledge acquired during the training;
  • Each group is provided with a tablet or a laptop and the link to access Socrative web-application (socrative.com);
  • Learners choose the “Student Login” and enter the PIN code that enable access to the virtual room;
  • After having entered the PIN code, the groups are asked to provide a name and to select their team’s rocket colour (e.g. Blue, Magenta, Lime, Peach, Violet)
  • Now they can start racing! Each group competes with other groups;
  • There are 20 questions, quite short but with multiple choice answers.
  • If participants answer correctly, their space rocket will advance accordingly on the space board. If they don’ answer correctly, their space rocket doesn’t move.
  • The WINNING TEAM is the team who answer the highest amount of questions in less time, therefore achieving the furthest distance.
  • At the end of the game it’s also possible to download the results and check what are the questions that have been answered correctly/incorrectly and eventually discuss in class.



– The activity constituted an energizer exercise suitable for an after-lunch session;

– Increased discussion and reflection, and team sharing as learners were forced to discuss together each question before submitting the right answer;

– Learners were forced to go through all the quiz questions, therefore being exposed to a comprehensive knowledge check;

– It was fun: cooperation and competition were key elements;


Things that need to be considered:

– Clear instructions to learners at the beginning;

– All teams should start at the same time

– First provide instructions, then allow learners to access the Space Race;

– Make sure all Space Race questions are well formulated;

– Make sure the main computer does not freeze or sleeps otherwise the advancements of the space rockets is blocked;

– Print the results of the Space Race for the facilitator to comment at the end of the exercise;

– Have groups of 4 people max. to make sure interaction is adequate


The CF4DEV MOOC: new learning paths towards unconventional financing for development

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From our colleague Alessia Messuti

Between May and June 2015, ITCILO launched and implemented its first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on the topic of Crowdfunding for Development (CF4Dev).

The CF4Dev MOOC represented an interesting opportunity for ITCILO to assess the learning and knowledge sharing potential of the MOOC format. This adventure was fully documented by the Distance Education Learning and Technology Applications (DELTA) Programme.

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Massive Online Open Course on « Crowdfunding for Development »

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As part of the Centre’s innovation fund we explored the added value of ‘crowdfunding for development’. The results of this investigation have been documented step-by-step throughout the entire crowdfunding cycle and we think it’s about time to scale up this learning journey. In collaboration with GIZ and the Common Wealth of Learning we want to engage, jointly with 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 ‘crowdfunding for development’ cases globally. If your organisation or institution is interested to explore the added value of crowdfunding than joining this MOOC might be an excellent opportunity to transform your ideas into practice. The course will run over an eight week period and will start on the 4th of May. Signing up is free and can be done here.

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Mobile Learning with Tablets: Free E-Book for Trainers

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Photo by Chandni Lanfranchi.

We have recently written a post about the Learning with Tablets pilot, the first large scale ITC-ILO Academy supported by tablet computers, which took place in October 2014. The reasons behind the integration of tablets into learning activities were mostly related to creating interactive experiences for learners and gradually moving towards a paperless strategy where tablets are going to be used throughout multiple activities at the Centre. If you want to know more, there is a paper about the impact evaluation conducted here.

One of the key insights from this experience is that technology integration into learning is not only about the availability of devices but rather about trainers and facilitators effectively using technology. Therefore, despite all technical evolutions, trainers are the most important factor for success when using and integrating technology inside and outside the classroom. However to effectively use it, trainers firstly need to get familiar with it and acquire key competences. Media literacy is today recognized almost universally as one of the key competences in the educational system. According to UNESCO publication on Media Literacy and New Humanism, it is a basic skill that includes the individual capacity to using any media competently, a skill that supports many others.

That is why we are sharing the Mobile Learning with Tablets, a guide for trainers and facilitators interested in designing learning activities enhanced by tablet computers. The guide is available as a FREE eBook on the iBooks store for IOS.


You can also find it in PDF format on this ITCILO Community of Practice on Learning & Technology.

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Takeaways from the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2015

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From our colleague Alessia Messuti

With a keen eye for innovation in learning, ITCILO attended this week the annual event on mobile learning hosted at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Since 2011, UNESCO hosts the Mobile Learning Week (MLW) to attract education leaders, researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss the latest practices, experiences and issues related to how mobile technology (either alone or in combination with other technologies) can enable learning and open access to education.

With more than 1000 participants coming from 70 countries this year, the conference lasts for 5 days and offers the opportunity to attend workshops and breakout presentations from learning and development experts (USAID, UN WOMEN, UNESCO, GIZ, UNHCR, OECD…), private sector representatives (Pearson, Qualcomm, Intel, Microsoft, Vodafone…) and academics (UCL, ODU, …). Last but not least, the conference is FREE of charge. therefore an attractive opportunity for all those involved in leveraging technology for education.


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Learnscapes. Towards new learning landscapes.

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The Centre is currently exploring new ways to combine design thinking, architecture and learning. This resulted in the ‘Learnscape’ project which gives you an interesting perspective on how to consider the importance of the physical environment for learning and training. The learning journey helped us to think outside the box of a typical classroom setting and made us aware that there is a fundamental need to introduce the important notion of a learning ecology. Feel free to download the publication and please share your views with us.





Visualization techniques for facilitating learning

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After a guest contribution of Nancy White on graphic facilitation we have a new guest post on the same topic from Leen De Kort:

People learn in different ways. Some of us like reading or feel the urge to rewrite important information; others seem to retain a lot of visual information. But whilst reading and writing are always present in learning and training, visual information generally isn’t. Yet there are reasons enough to start integrating visual aids more consistently.

Not only would we help ‘visual learners’ by doing so. We could all benefit from combining different senses to retain information. Not to forget that using visuals simply makes things less boring, and thereby motivates people to pay closer attention. Fortunately, due to the rise of technology, integrating visuals becomes easier than ever.

This year’s International Training of Trainers Forum focused on visualisation. Next to including sessions about visualisation techniques (graphic recording, digital storytelling and the use of apps), we also tried to be as visuals as possible in our own preparation and communication. Therefore different tools were used.

When preparing for the different sessions, we used visual templates to structure our session plans. Upon request, we shared the templates in an online community on Facebook (RosViz10)

picture1vizpicture2viz picture4viz






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Learning with tablets

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In the  Green Economy Academy we are currently piloting our first large scale – learning with tablets– initiative. The use of tablets in learning activities is moving fundamentally beyond the idea of considering new mobile technologies as interesting gadgets. The following arguments are forming the base of this interesting initiative:

– The creation of more interactive and engaging technology enhanced experiences inside and outside the classroom setting. (cf. polls, surveys, audience response systems, evaluation, …) + the amplification of the learning outside the classroom by setting up backchannels.

– The need to initiate pre- and post-activities / field assignments that could not be achieved in the traditional classroom setting using contemporary technologies.

– The extension of the learning activity before and after a face-to-face training session

– The visibility that a contemporary training centre uses innovative mobile and flexible learning technologies.

– The transition towards a paperless strategy for all learning materials and resources. This aims to increase efficiency in the training processes by cutting costs linked to paper-based material printing, storage, transport etc.


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