The climate crisis is a threat to all of us, right now. 350 is a global grassroots movement that’s working toward a safer climate and better future. They use online campaigns, grassroots organizing and public action to keep carbon in the ground, promote cleaner energy and apply pressure on governments to limit emissions.
For 350, supporting their global network of campaigners is mission critical. Without them, they cannot be successful. With a clear vision and focused strategy, they developed online “Skill-Ups” using Elucidat. This has empowered people all over the world to take positive action in the fight against climate change.
"We’re working to build the best Skill-Ups because our planet’s future depends on it."
Daniel Hunter, Global Trainings Manager at 350.org
There’s nothing like a clear objective and high stakes to focus minds, and 350’s learning has to deliver. Falling into the ill-fated trap of “tick-box” elearning isn’t an option – especially since tick-box exercises aren’t good enough to support behavior change and deliver impact. There are many different methods for delivering elearning that works, 350 choose to use an elicitive model. Daniel set out with a brilliant learner-focused vision, with ambition and passion as a solid base on which to deliver impressive results.
"Simply handing out information is not how social movements grow. The top-down, instructor-led world of online classes and courses is too focused on information hand-off and doesn’t invite active participation. This approach wasn’t going to have the impact we need.
We wanted to use the elicitive model, where information is freely shared and the teacher also learns from their students. Unlike simply learning an HR policy, campaigners need to rely on their own ideas and resources while being exposed to the knowledge and resources of others.
As much as possible, we want to root lessons within people’s own psyches and experiences – as opposed to just talking at people."
Knowing the type of learning interactions he wanted to enable, Daniel needed to find the right tools to help 350 deliver on this.
"Unfortunately, the world of ‘online training courses’ is dominated by boring lectures, one-way questionnaires and drawing out the worst of traditional education. We don’t want to replicate that model – but we are honest enough to have grave reservations about what can be done in an online platform.
For a while, we experimented with simultaneous online interactions. While in some places video chatting could work, a poor Internet connection would mean that someone else was left out, locked out and further marginalized.
Because of our goals at 350, we had additional challenges: a global audience (limiting the scope of specificity to region) and a wide range of knowledge and experience levels (totally new to activism and climate change and some of the most experienced climate activists on the globe).
Our approach didn’t seem to fit with how most elearning software is designed. Luckily, we came across Elucidat.
The Elucidat team had contacted us as part of their ‘giving back initiative,’ and they wanted to support us in the fight against climate change. It turned out that they could help us get closer to our aspirations than any other solution we could find on the market. And it felt good to know they supported 350's' mission.
Elucidat’s cloud-based authoring platform has enabled us to design custom, responsive learning programs. The online Skill-Ups we’ve developed using Elucidat are interactive and accessible anytime, anywhere, on any device. They have also been translated into multiple languages. This has been essential in being able to reach individuals all around the globe."
Having gotten up and running with Elucidat, Daniel was able to start creating what he called "Skill-Ups," an innovative approach to supplementing training through learning, organizing and empowering. They are literally designed to "skill you up."
"In Online Skill-Ups, we tell participant stories, hold discussions and encourage questions. We help people to think like a campaigner by, yes, sharing guidelines and principles – but also recognizing and honoring that there are no clear right or wrong answers.
We had to think differently with a new reach-and-teach strategy.
With these Skill-Ups, we can reach members of our network in areas as remote as Nepal – all to support our overall mission of skilling-up climate justice activists around the globe."
Understanding and meeting the needs of a diverse, geographically dispersed audience has its own set of challenges. Daniel and his team gained feedback from 50 activists in 50 different countries to ensure they were being sensitive to different political environments and cultural sensitivities. And, of course, they needed to offer the Skill-Ups in multiple languages to reach the broadest audience.
"It was not a huge surprise for us that people tended to react more with the campaigns that reflect the realities of their region, which is to be expected. For that reason, we picked a range of campaign stories from around the globe – and made sure there was a mix in each.
But what was more unexpected was how much people were able to dig deeper and learn completely new and different concepts from stories in other places."
"We rely strongly on storytelling elements and encourage activists to share their experiences and practice pitches. They also get to hear how others are using the skills. We want every learner who completes a Skill-Up to be empowered with the confidence and skills necessary to make a positive difference in the world."
The Skill-Ups tend to start out with open questions to encourage reflection. This is designed to help people think like campaigners, considering how climate change affects them and their community.
They take this reflection further by providing opportunities to go beyond the theory and put skills into practice in a low-risk environment.
"With Elucidat, we stop and ask our learners, “What would you do?” Based on what they say, we give learners some options to consider and then offer tailored feedback based on what they say.
The ability to give personalized feedback without classifying their answer as right or wrong is invaluable. We’re giving students a chance to reflect and activate their minds. They’re not a bystander in their own skill development.
Allowing people to own that kind of control is a real plus for us. We want them to take charge of their own learning so they can take charge of the movements in their area – and around the world."
Going beyond reflection, 350 is facilitating the sharing of real experiences as a key component of the elicitive model. By sharing real experiences from peers and experts from around the world, they are able to create a sense of connectivity to fuel their global movement.
Finally, they use a personalized summary to bring together everything learners have practiced throughout the Skill-Up.
"We see this whole online teaching as an experiment. So, we’re constantly striving to improve and continuously getting feedback from activists, trainers and volunteers. We know we have so many more people to reach and lives to impact.
We now have to analyze our successes and setbacks. We’ll use Elucidat’s analytics dashboards to get insights into how people interact with the content and identify ways to improve engagement.
We’re working to build the best Skill-Ups because our planet’s future depends on it".
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