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Introducing “Participate!” – an online course that teaches how to better facilitate events on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction

“Participate!” is a free, interactive, online training module to support the design of more effective science, policy, and practice events. The course teaches practices that can improve the facilitation of workshops, conferences and training courses either in-person or online.

Published on 2 June 2020

Participate!” is an online series of classes designed to help people create and conduct more effective interactive engagements on climate change adaptation (CCA) and/ or disaster risk reduction (DRR). The massive online open course (MOOC) consists of five lessons:

  • Introduction to interactive engagement
  • Tools and approaches
  • Facilitation techniques
  • Session design
  • Working with the unexpected

The course was originally designed with the goal of enhancing in-person meetings. However, the concepts apply when planning virtual meetings, which  have become more commonplace as a means of communication and engagement in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The course was devised through the EU Horizon 2020 project, the PLAtform for Climate Change Adaptation and Risk reDuction (PLACARD). A “facilitation collective” designed the course through co-creation processes that involved a diverse group of stakeholders. SEI researchers Sukaina Bharwani and Julia Barrott were members of a core team that included partners from the Red Cross Crescent Climate Centre, the Applied Improvisation Network, and the University of Geneva.

This short video provides an overview of the Participate! course. (Video courtesy of Bettina Koelle, Red Cross Crescent Climate Centre)

The course offers practical tips and tricks, and presents important points to consider when planning a learning process. It includes guidance on how to set clear learning objectives, and why the design process is important for facilitating and engaging learning process. The intention is to help people design more exciting learning journeys.

For example, the course includes a session introducing “applied improvisation” as a philosophy that can be used to address complex situations and subjects, and to promote experiential learning with a diversity of stakeholders. The course specifically outlines how to use such techniques to frame interactive dialogues for CCA and DRR.


Meet the SEI Participate! team

Sukaina Bharwani

Senior Research Fellow and weADAPT Director

SEI Oxford

Profile picture of Julia Barrott
Julia Barrott

Impact and Learning Officer

Global Operations

SEI Oxford

Topics and subtopics
Climate : Adaptation, Disaster risk
Related centres
SEI Oxford

Design and development by Soapbox.