June 2020 - There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how millions live, interact and are educated and trained worldwide. Learning from home through new modalities like interactive mobile applications, virtual reality experiences, live television broadcasts, podcasts, face to face video instructions, online classrooms, webinars, and e-learning courses are quickly becoming a habit that is being integrated into education and training.

UNITAR’s CIFAL Global Network (CGN) is increasingly embracing the “learning anywhere, anytime” concept. Digital education and training will complement the CIFAL training centres’ face-to-face offer, not as a temporary solution to the COVID-19 crisis but as a lasting shift due to the trends shaping future education.

"A peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world can only be achieved by collaboratively empowering individuals through accessible and inclusive quality education. It is thus crucial to provide equal opportunities in education and training to each individual across the globe. In the post COVID-19 era, this can be only achieved through personalized and interactive lifelong distance education." - Mr. Enver Yucel, BAU Global Chair, UNITAR Division for People Advisory Board Member.

During the second quarter of 2020, the CGN has adapted a key streamline of activities into online formats to deliver worldwide high-quality content in various languages. Online activities are carried out and moderated by academics and experts in the fields of public health, economics, education, finance, and sustainable development. The online activities executed by the Network include webinars, virtual seminars, master’s-level classes, and expert panel discussions. These online activities deal with urgent and pertinent issues that humanity faces today, and targets key stakeholders at the vanguard of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since March, the CGN has carried out 170 online activities with over 32,000 participants. In the upcoming months, the CGN will continue to fulfill its mandate of capacity-building and training around the globe, with the delivery of over 40 more online activities.

In order to further strengthen the Network’s capacity to adapt and transform a large part of its Face-to-Face training portfolio into an online format, UNITAR’s Division for People in close collaboration with Kennesaw State University in the USA and Bahçeşehir University in Turkey recently concluded the virtual Training of Trainers (ToT) titled “Delivering Impactful Online Training and Education” with the objective of mapping existing tools and identifying areas within the CGN that can be best leveraged to deliver online training and education under a coherent strategy.

Throughout the ToT held 16-25 June 2020, the CGN shared practical experiences and examples that can be used in different contexts, explored cutting edge platforms and digital tools to deliver training, while taking into consideration accessibility aspects and different age groups, analyzed ways to measure effectiveness and outreach when delivering online learning, and discussed impactful strategies for virtual learning, among others. The discussions and lessons resulting from the ToT will be available through an online module in the upcoming weeks.

"We have a unique opportunity to strengthen and expand our digital offer while building a resilient Network by learning from experts, sharing our own experience and collaborating to expand our existing online offer”. - Dr. Binbin Jiang, Director of CIFAL Atlanta.

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