In this blog we share some of the main insights of organising and facilitating an online learning programme for cities aimed at empowering change makers to accelerate sustainability and just transitions in cities through participatory governance processes.
Lesson #1: Use the right tools to be applied into practice
As part of the Relay, participants were able to learn various transition tools they can use in their own contexts. Most of the tools are included in the Workbook for Urban Transition Makers. Some participants mentioned that the tools represent one of the main take-aways from the learning programme. It is important for participants to learn frameworks and tools that they can directly apply into practice. The tools need therefore to be explained in a clear and simple way and it is crucial to make an extra effort to avoid using academic jargons. Sharing examples of the applications of tools and concepts in different cases is also very important.
Lessons learnt#2 Create a balance between providing inspiring inputs and facilitating meaningful interactions
If you want to allow participants to maintain their attention and remain motivated during the entire time,we suggest creating a balance between teaching new concepts, sharing inspiring examples and giving space for discussions and interactive exercises. In online settings, it is important to use softwares and tools that support collaboration and team-work. For example, Zoom allows the creation of breakout rooms that are key for group work and cooperation. Miro is an useful software for online visual collaboration that helps groups to work together on certain exercises, in the application of tools or reflecting on guiding questions.
Lessons learnt#3 Give space for meaningful and informal connections among participants
The opportunity to meet new people and collaborate with other participants was seen as very useful. It is key to give space for participants to connect at a more personal level and to create moments for informal interactions and reflections. That’s why certain methods and facilitation techniques can be of great help. Forming different groups of participants based on their learning questions and needs and supporting them to self-organise to support each other is also a great way to help them to connect and get to know each other further.
Lessons learnt#4 Support participants to take ownership of their learning process
Learning is not a passive process. When participants feel ownership over their learning, they simply care more. Fostering a sense of curiosity and motivation in participants as part of the learning journey leads to a more collaborative and focused group. This will encourage participants to transform their insights into actions and therefore create more impact. That’s why it is so important to support participants to take responsibility for their learning process. You can do so by helping them to define a clear learning question and a learning objective at the beginning of the course. For example, we asked participants to insert a learning question in their application form and an entire interactive session has been dedicated to further define and deepen their learning questions and goals. Another way it is to demonstrate how to use the learnings, by connecting them with practical cases (see Lesson learnt#1). You can also motivate participants by giving them an active role, such as sharing learning materials or giving a presentation. In this way, they will feel that a proactive attitude is encouraged and they would feel more empowered to contribute and share.
Lessons learnt #4 Invite inspiring speakers
A valuable insight of the Relay was to hear (international) experiences and strategies from both the other participants and the presenters from pioneer cities in sustainability transition. Participants could listen to inspiring processes, actions and solutions and had the opportunity to ask questions to learn deeper insights.
Want to know more? Read the activity report!
Do you work for a local administration willing to develop transition roadmaps? Are you interested or already experienced in supporting cities in developing their transition roadmaps? Would you like to learn about how other cities are developing their roadmaps towards a greener future or just share your experience with transition management with a wider group of peers?Do you work for a local administration willing to develop transition roadmaps? Are you interested or already experienced in supporting cities in developing their transition roadmaps? Would you like to learn about how other cities are developing their roadmaps towards a greener future or just share your experience with transition management with a wider group of peers? JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE!