Making the world a better place is no easy task. What can help all the motivated, talented, inspirational individuals around the globe to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to our common Agenda 2030? Training is the answer. Training – at the heart of the UNITAR’s mandate in capacity building – is an overly used yet profound notion. When carefully and thoughtfully designed and delivered, it has the power to radically transform mindsets, attitudes and behaviours of the whole society. Behind any impactful training event, regardless of its thematic area, is the sound understanding and mastery of approaches, methodologies, principles and dynamics that guide and shape the processes of adult learning. This is where UNITAR’s in-house learning solutions team steps in.
Our learning solutions team understands how to improve the performance of individuals and empower other trainers to tackle the complex challenges that humanity faces.
We believe that a long-lasting change requires more than a single training session. Instead, learners need to learn, re-learn and reinforce relevant knowledge and skills until they have fully integrated it into their belief systems and perform without too much effort, ideally habitually. Therefore, we often offer a blended training approach that combines face-to-face training with e-learning and learning reinforcement tools.
The learning solutions team makes sure that learning events follow the results-based training model, integrating engaging learning methods, and respecting adult learning principles. We also recognize that individuals have different learning styles and respect individual needs of learners, including the need to have fun!
The learning solutions team supports UNITAR’s projects, either through our partners, by helping them deliver, or by developing and integrating innovative learning methods.
Our training integrates a wide variety of methodological approaches, some of which are especially relevant in the peacebuilding context. Below are just some examples:
We Do It for You
Learning solutions regularly support projects directly with the design and delivery of learning events. We combine our expertise in methodology and facilitation with the content knowledge of internal and external thematic experts. This co-creation has proven to be a golden approach!
We Help You Do It
Our team also supports other trainers in understanding the fundamentals of training for adults and youth. After our basic or advanced Training-of-Trainers course (ToT), trainers are empowered to deliver or design various types of learning events. Our basic Training-of-Trainers course follows the content of our Training-of-Trainers Toolbox (in English and French), which offers a great starting point for everyone with the ambition to become a trainer.
Upon the completion of training programmes, UNITAR remains available to support its beneficiaries with the development of the training curricula and to coach trainers during the preparation and delivery of their training sessions.
Highlight: Training of Trainers - Kenyan Centre for Parliamentary Studies and Training
We Explore and Innovate
Our learning solutions team offers a playground for innovation and experimentation. Most of our innovations arrive during our regular support to projects, just by taking a bit more time to explore and test innovative approaches. In case these innovations bring value to UNITAR, we make them available to other projects, either through direct support, in the form of a Learning Solutions Guide, or by other learning materials.
Our Guide on simulations, currently under development, transforms lessons learnt from our highly successful simulation exercise in Mali into support material for training designers.
Highlight: Innovative learning solutions for the League of Arab States
The League of Arab States (LAS) established a Task Force composed of around 25 members as an expertise hub on crisis response and peace operations. The role of the Task Force is to ensure that the League responds effectively to crisis faced by the region. However, the members of the Task Force had no or only limited experience with crisis response and peacekeeping.
To bridge this gap and with the generous support of the European Union (EU), UNITAR, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and LAS, have set up an intensive training programme to prepare the Task Force for being deployed as civilians to peace operations under the flag of the UN or, in the more distant future, LAS.
Over the course of two years, the Task Force members have participated in 15 weeks of online and face-to-face training on various topics related to peace operations, including: conflict analysis, conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation, stabilisation and recovery, mission planning, logistics, leadership and communications.
UNITAR’s learning solutions team supported the programme in various ways:
- E-learning course
To equip participants with some prerequisite knowledge, UNITAR designed a one-month-long online Introduction to Peace Operations Course to be taken before the first face-to-face training. Consequently, training participants could dive deeper into the challenges of peace operations and already practice some core peacebuilding skills with the help of experiential methods, such as with role play and case studies.
- Training-of-Trainers Course
In addition, last August, UNITAR went to Cairo to deliver a Training-of-Trainers course to six members of the Task Force. These participants will train their colleagues in Cairo on topics related to peace operations, which will guarantee a wide-reaching multiplier effect of the training programme.
- Simulation exercise
In October this year, UNITAR’s learning solutions team took the lead in the design and delivery of an emerging two-week-long simulation exercise where the members of the Task Force had an opportunity to apply all the knowledge and skills that they learned during the previous trainings. The team simulated a Regional Headquarters of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and tasked the participants to plan and conduct joint military operations with the military, engage with local leaders, negotiate a pass-through at checkpoints, react effectively to violence by armed groups, and respond to violent protest in front of the gates. Besides the learning solutions team, three thematic experts, one cultural advisor, and around 40 actors were involved in this simulation.
Curious to know more? Hear from the participants of this flagship simulation first-hand in the UNITAR quarterly newsletter! Not subscribed yet? Now it is time!
Want to Explore and Develop Together?
Our learning solutions team is ready to support individuals, institutions and organisations that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and aim to strengthen their learning events. More specifically, we will contribute by:
- Designing and delivering learning events
- Developing an educational curriculum
- Designing effective learning materials
- Organizing an engaging conference or workshop
- Building a community of practice
- Training your trainers
- Evaluating your learning events
- Integrating learning technology
- Designing a learning game or application