The 5th edition of the UCLG Learning Forum took place on October 11th, within the UCLG World Congress 2022 held in Daejeon, South Korea. Members, networks, associations and partners gathered together in a full-day session to share learning methodologies and capacity-building strategies, reflect on existing needs and opportunities, as well as to collectively build the future UCLG Learning agenda in alignment with the UCLG Pact for the Future.
The session was opened by UCLG Secretary General, Emilia Saiz, who welcomed participants and urged them to apply their minds to the new priorities and collectively create new experiences through learning and sharing. Then, UCLG Learning Director, Sara Hoeflich, traced the evolution of learning in the network over the last three years, emphasizing how the Learning Forum was able to connect streams, the new tools and methods that were introduced and the highly used online #LearningWithUCLG platform. An important keynote was given by Dr. Dae Yoon Kang, from the National Institute for Lifelong Education, in which he emphasized the point that local government officers' work is closely related to teaching and learning, outlining the characteristics of learning in adulthood and showing the relations between learning and life.
After the opening came a panel discussion with learning practitioners Patricia Miranda, from the Barcarena Government, Brazil, and Manar Obeid, from the Union of Dannieh Municipalities, Lebanon. The debate focused on understanding the perspective from practitioners on the ground in three areas: the learning experience localizing the global agenda, the challenges anticipated in implementing the Pact, and reflections on the role of local governments associations in building capacity of local and regional governments.
Following this panel, participants were invited to explore and engage in the Learning Marketplace, an interactive space with the aim of sharing learning resources, courses, initiatives and tools developed by members and partners, all of them organized around the three axes of the Pact: People, Planet and Government. The set up ensured information flow was demand-driven, with participants becoming the “buyers” of the products presented by the different “providers”. A publication with the different learning offers showcased during the Learning Marketplace will be issued soon.
After the lunch break, participants experienced a series of short Ted-Talk style Masterclasses. The first presentation was given by Catherine Anderson, from the OECD’s Effective Institutions Partnership, who captivated participants with the compelling case that she made for investing in monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that peer learning’s impacts can be tracked. Nicholas You, a veteran urban specialist, followed with an entertaining performance on how to present and document a practice for more engaged learning. Finally, Gaya Blom, from The Hague Academy, provided concrete advice on how to design games that are able to transform practice.
As a wonderful segway from the last Masterclass on the power of gamification, participants were then invited to engage in some of the games developed by UCLG Learning which contribute to each of the axis of the Pact for the Future: Actions for Social Resilience (PEOPLE), Urban Planning Power (PLANET) and Beyond the timeline(GOVERNMENT). After engaging in the different games, participants had time to reflect on the way these help bring out expertise and facilitate transformational learning.
The Learning Forum last working section turned around the question “What kind of learning action can you envisage, considering the Learning Forum actors & tools?” in order to collectively build the UCLG Learning Agenda beyond Daejeon. Learning focal points from different sections, members and partners contributed to this fruitful debate. The 10 points capture were:
- Intensify the learning work and connect it to the theory
- Expand the learning network to reach more people and share more what members do
- Harness technology more and overcome the challenge of access
- Focus more on young people to help lead the learning process
- Document more stories from the regions, especially Eurasia, MEWA and ASPAC
- Campaign for lifelong learning in administrations as a right to enable greater financial resources
- Create synergies between different actors in the learning space and increase access (e.g. create content in more languages)
- Tailormake the training offerings to suit different contexts
- Invest more in digitizing learning activities
- Continue demonstrating impact and monitoring of short and practical learning
Finally, to highlight the importance of each participants' active engagement and contributions to foster and facilitate learning in the UCLG network, participants were invited to award "Learning Superhero" bands to each other, strengthening connections and opportunities for collaboration that help bring the Pact for the Future to action.
The videos of the different keynotes and other interventions are being edited and will be published soon in the YouTube channel UCLG Learning Kitchen.