Training methodology




The HECOS approach to training envisions a learning path that links individual and social learning, fosters symmetrical teaching/learning relations and is participatory and learner-centered. The training is holistic and process-oriented, close to real-life concerns, experiential and oriented towards learning-by-doing. It is voluntary, uses intercultural exchanges and encounters as learning devices, and aims above all to convey and practice the values and skills of democratic life.

HECOS for Ethics’ training methodology is based on a three stage-learning path. The three stages are sequential: 1) non-formal training, 2) informal experience, 3) final assessment.

Non-Formal Training 
Non-formal training is a classroom training course based on non-formal education methods. This course aims at training and preparing HECOS participants for the following stage of training: an experience at the field level. This training includes nine thematic modules. Each module includes a set of topics related to policies, practices and relevant discussions at the international, regional and national levels.

Informal Experience
After the non-formal training, each participant is given the opportunity to go through a field experience where they can learn from a case study related to the theme that they have been working on in the classroom. Potential Informal training venues include scenarios where CSOs or governmental institutions carry out their initiatives related to vulnerable contexts and communities around the world. Informal training can take place at the local, national, regional or international level.

Final Assessment
The last step of an HECOS experience is a final assessment of participants learning outcomes and competences developed throughout the earlier stages of the experience. The main purpose is to support the participants in recognising and acknowledging the personal transformation triggered by a HECOS for Ethics experience.


Taking into consideration availability of  time and preferred topics, it is possible to choose one out of four HECOS Experiences. Each of these options is aligned with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) framework.
Thus, by attending Option A, B, C or D participants will accumulate different amounts of credits (see table 1).

  HECOS Experience
Stage Option A Option B Option C Option D
1. Non-Formal Training 40 30 20 18
2. Informal Training 100 56 40 30
3. Final assessment 8 8 4 2
Total (h) 148 94 64 50
 5   3  2  1

Table 1. Hecos for Ethics credits


Ideally, throughout the three-step training process a partnership should be developed with business companies, commerce and industry chambers, training providers and civil society organisations:

  • Companies, Universities and NGOs making the decision to engage HECOS and to take the lead of the process (individually or as a group); mapping a group of participants and drawing a HECOS experience plan based on group and institutional expectations (area/module, timeframe, schedule, group of trainers, informal training context and location);
  • Training providers/Universities preparing and facilitating non-formal training as well as conducting the final learning assessment. Alternatively, the training can be ensured by a consultant or independent trainers willing to work pro-bono. It is up to the leading organisation which is more suitable.
  • NGOs and other civil society organisations hosting a participant during their informal experience in local development or international development cooperation programmes/ projects implemented in a Global South context. CSOs should support the non-formal trainings particularly in aspects related to national/ local context and their scope of work..


All training modules are planned to correspond to a level 6 learning experience within the European Qualification Framework. As with the rest of the 8 EQF levels, level 6 “is defined by a set of descriptors indicating the learning outcomes relevant to qualifications at that level in any system of qualifications”. By engaging in a HECOS experience, a participant can achieve a range of competences related with sustainability by concluding the three stage process.

Cross-cutting Key Competences

Inspiring people to
  • Identifies and articulates skills for generating support for change (e.g., effective communication, active listening, dialogue, priority setting, role identification, conflict resolution)
Strategic thinking
(anticipation, longterm
vision, critical
  • Evaluates and critiques potential strategies to address sustainability issues at the local or national levels.
  • Understands how different individuals and groups make decisions and work collaboratively with partners in the private sector, public sector, and academia.
  • Learns how to apply the appropriate resources and methods to sustainability projects.
  • Recognizes the importance of including diverse stakeholders/ perspectives when planning for change.
Cooperation in heterogeneous groups
  • Understands the benefits of heterogeneous groups and fosters each member’s participation at the same level.
  • Enhances all members knowledge, experience and competences to accomplish group goals.
Systemic thinking and handling complexity
  • Explains more complex interconnections among sustainability as it relate to an activity, practice, or policy.
  • Understands how systems are interrelated and utilizes components of systems theory.
  • Describe the impact of changes within systems, consider the impacts of decisionmaking on systems, and analyze a system's strengths and weaknesses.


Developing innovative projects
  • Creates and articulates a clear plan for change that reflects strategic and practical concerns for implementation.
  • Understands that facilitating sustainable attitudes and practices requires creativity in conceptualizing existing conditions and generating and implementing sustainable solutions to complex problems


Open minded and tolerance
  • Identifies and understands the nuances of ethical conflicts in social, economic, and/or ecological settings. Able to frame such conflicts on both individual and systemic levels.
  • Works through rudimentary ethical conflicts with ability to form a cogent argument and frame preliminary possible solutions.


Acting fairly and ecologically
  • Understands ethical implications of decisions and actions across diverse cultural, political, and temporal perspectives and be prepared to choose and act with integrity.
  • Is an effective communicator by evaluating and implementing appropriate communication strategies. Develops written, oral, and visual tools and practices for communicating about sustainability to diverse audiences.
Evaluation and information analysis
  • Recognizes the importance of monitoring and evaluation and every stakeholder engagement for the project/initiative/organization efficiency.
  • Delimits evaluation scope, collects information and data from reliable sources, interpret it critically and draws findings.


  • Identifies and describes the concept and can explain the origins, meanings, and applications of sustainability.
  • Understands the historical, social, or scientific contexts that have produced a sustainability problem/issue at local, national, or global levels.
  • They will do this in a framework that recognizes the cultural dimensions of sustainability


 Topic related  
Rules, regulations, standards
  • Acknowledges local, national and regional rules, regulations and standards related to modules thematic and the informal training contexts.
  • Recognizes sources of reliable information and is able to work according with informal training context legal and cultural framework.


Fact and figures
  • Understands how data, measurements, or indicators related to sustainability are collected/generated, particularly from the region/country planned for non-formal training.
  • Is able to interpret local and national (informal training context) facts and figures related to modules thematic within the national, regional and international scope.


Country/ context/organization specifics
  • Acknowledges informal training context/country or organization political, cultural, social and economic situation and characteristics.




Contact Us

OIKOS ONLUS – Organization for International KOoperation and Solidarity

Via Marano Lagunare 3, Udine (UD) – Italy


Tel: +39 0432 520803