This year, MDF, in close collaboration with ICF and as part of the Civitas Soteria consortium, has designed and developed a blended train-the-trainer course for the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).
The UCPM is a system managed by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO) that aims to improve civil protection cooperation between EU countries and 10 participating states. Through the Mechanism, countries can request assistance when an emergency overwhelms their response capabilities. To prepare national teams for deployment in an international setting, UCPM organizes specific training exercises, also known as EU MODEX.
The objective of DG ECHO for MDF was clear: develop and implement a blended train-the-trainer course for the EU MODEX, which includes an online module and in-person training sessions.
Facing this task, MDF identified three primary challenges:
- Ensuring adequate training: The end goal is to ensure that all participants feel sufficiently trained to execute their roles within the UCPM framework.
- Combining online and in-person learning: It's essential to create a curriculum in which online and in-person training methods complement each other without redundant content.
- Aligning with the reality of the trainees: While MDF possesses expertise in train-the-trainer methodologies, it is not an expert in civil protection. Understanding the context of the trainees' work is crucial to making the training relevant.
MDF tackled these challenges by investing time in the design phase of the course and took the following actions:
- Collaborated intensively with two content experts who have deep knowledge and experience with the EU MODEX.
- Organized a design workshop with key stakeholders and DG ECHO representatives. The workshop, which was held online, aimed to brainstorm about the different learning objectives and the modules.
- Invited a group of experts to provide feedback on the draft versions of the course.
- Visited an EU MODEX to better understand the exact roles of the targeted trainees and the challenges they face in their roles.
To provide ample time and space for skill practice, the e-learning modules were developed to impart all necessary foundational knowledge. In contrast, the in-person sessions emphasized hands-on application and practical exercises.
The online training has just been published, and the first in-person session will be organized in December in Ede, The Netherlands. We are looking forward to welcoming these civil protection specialists and supporting them in enhancing their coaching and training skills.