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Responsive scenarios for humanitarian workers


  • E-learning
  • Mobile first, responsive
  • Gamification
  • Multiple languages
  • Story/scenario driven

Oxfam commissioned Walkgrove to convert essential parts of a blended training programme for national humanitarian workers into scenario-based and multi-device bespoke e-learning.

The training need

Oxfam’s Context project involved three years of capacity-building for humanitarian workers using blended learning, supporting them to deliver effective humanitarian responses in their local area. Oxfam wanted to ensure the Context project would have a legacy and decided that e-learning would provide ongoing professional development opportunities for humanitarians.

The target audience for the course is employed in their country of origin in diverse locations around the world. They come from a wide range of ethnicities, religions, ages, genders, and backgrounds.

Oxfam wanted e-learning that equipped learners to make effective decisions to support communities in emergency contexts and other challenging situations. Two modules were required: one based on a six-month course to suit individuals with no previous humanitarian experience and one reflecting a nine-month course for those already involved in managing humanitarian responses.

Our bespoke e-learning solution

Walkgrove created two custom e-learning modules: a 30-minute entry-level module on core skills and an hour-long management and leadership training. The core skills module introduced users to preparing a humanitarian programme, including concepts and standards, using resources and accountability mechanisms. The leadership module focused on managing the humanitarian response in the field, including coordination, resource planning and stress management.

Both modules used an immersive scenario-based approach and asked learners to respond to situations as they arose in an unfolding humanitarian emergency. By placing the learning in the context in which it was to be used, key messages were delivered through realistic experiences. Using the example of a flood, learners were taken through scenario development day by day, emulating the dynamic nature of a real disaster. In the management module, after being given key background information and context, learners were required to think on their feet, reflect on options and make a series of decisions, as they may do in the field. To acknowledge that there are no ‘perfect’ answers in disaster contexts, the scenarios used individually weighted scoring for each decision that created a cumulative overall score.

To connect with a globally diverse audience, Walkgrove used a combination of photography and character illustrations to create a fictionalised village scenario for both modules that would have universal relevance to learners.

Using the Evolve authoring tool also enabled a fully responsive design so that learners could enjoy an intuitive, user-friendly learning experience regardless of the device they used to access the modules. To further improve international access to learning, the Context modules were translated into French.