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Gold Awards for the McCabe Centre’s Online Legal Training Course - 26 November 2021

Rachel Devotsu and Evita Ricafort looking over their laptopts while preparing a McCabe Centre training

Adapted from a post on

The McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer, which is the Knowledge Hub on legal challenges, in partnership with  Cancer Council Victoria’s Learning and Innovation Hub (LIH), have won three Gold Awards at the LEARNX Live! Awards, for their work on a new Online Legal Training Course.

The awards recognise excellence and innovation in the development of learning technologies. It attracts leading industry organisations across Australia in the field of education and training.

The McCabe Centre and LIH received Gold Awards in the categories of Best Pandemic Response (E-Learning Design), Best Pandemic Response (Shift-it-Online) and E-Learning Design (Shift-it-online).

Transitioning to an online course

When COVID-19 forced international borders to shut,  the McCabe Centre was unable to run its flagship global health course – a three-week training program  bringing together government lawyers and policymakers from low- and middle-income countries to learn about   using law to prevent and control cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the course has successfully trained more than 270 government lawyers and policymakers in 75 countries since its creation in 2014. Participants in the course have gone on to help develop and implement critical laws and policies in at least 22 countries.

NCDs are the world’s largest cause of death and disease, with people with NCDs facing an additional risk of severe illness from COVID-19. As such, it is imperative to continue building legal capacity to address NCDs while supporting the pandemic response. 

Working with the LIH, the McCabe Centre adapted its in-person training course to a self-paced, online course that could be offered despite travel restrictions. The technical aspects of the course design, led by the LIH, aimed to create an engaging, intensive learning experience, drawing on the strengths of the McCabe Centre. This included its approach to building networks, supporting country champions and emphasis on the intersections between health, trade, justice, sustainable development and environment, among others. Such strengths are more important now than ever, due to the challenges of COVID-19.

Director of the McCabe Centre, Hayley Jones, was thrilled with the outcome of the online course, and the subsequent LearnX Live! recognition. “The successful transition to online e-learning has allowed the McCabe Centre to evolve and thrive in a time of uncertainty,” she said.

“Not only can we continue to build capacity and have an impact during the ongoing pandemic, shifting to e-learning has allowed us to reach an even larger group of stakeholders from a more diverse range of countries.”

Because of the McCabe Centre’s strong relationships with World Health Organization Regional Offices and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat, these bodies assisted in obtaining nominations for the course from government lawyers and policymakers in low- and middle-income countries who would most benefit from it.

The first Online Legal Training Course ran successfully from September to November in 2020. It was subsequently revised based on user feedback and ran for a second time from April to June in 2021.

Transitioning this course online resulted in the McCabe Centre training a record number of participants from its most diverse range of countries. A total of 74 people from 39 different countries successfully completed the course.

Feedback from participants was extremely positive, with 100% of people who completed the course responding that they would recommend it to others in the post-course evaluation.

More information

The Online Legal Training Course on using law for NCD prevention and control is a key activity of the McCabe Centre's Knowledge Hub on Legal Challenges. Implementing the Convention and defending tobacco control measures from legal challenge by the tobacco industry are key parts of the course curriculum.

Parties looking to nominate participants should contact the Convention Secretariat to discuss their needs.