COVID-19: risk communication and community engagement

This infodemic management course applies evidence-based guidance to the COVID-19 pandemic. It covers key risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) principles and illustrates how they can be operationalized in the context of an extended outbreak that affects different populations with varying risk levels. Illustrations from WHO headquarters, regions, and Ministries of Health provide concrete examples of messaging and other communication interventions developed during COVID-19.

Please note: These materials were launched on 24/02/2021.

Photo credit: WHO Bangladesh/ Tatiana Almeida

Language: English

Course information

This course is also available in the following languages:

Українська - Казақ тілі - فارسی

Overview: This course will focus on how countries, communities and individuals are managing public health and social measures by maintaining what’s working while addressing challenges that still lie ahead for 2021. As countries are going in and out of restrictions, the COVID-19 pandemic is having significant impacts on people’s everyday lives.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • explain how to sustain behaviour change for the next phase of the response; and
  • describe methods, approaches, and proven activities from regions and countries.

Course duration: Approximately 2 hours.

Certificates: A Record of Achievement certificate will be available to participants who score at least 80% of the total points available across all of the quizzes. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

Course contents

  • Module 1: Risk communication and community engagement: Overview:

    By the end of this module, you will be able to: define risk communication and community engagement; explain the key challenges for RCCE during public health emergencies; identify several RCCE tactics for managing uncertainty; identify several elements of public trust related to agencies responding to public health emergencies, and identify several mechanisms to use for “listening” and engaging stakeholders and communities.
  • Module 2: Influencing risk perception about COVID-19 to encourage healthy behaviors:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: describe the concept of risk perception as it relates to health emergencies; identify how and why risk perception varies, and the repercussions of different levels for adherence to public health recommendations; identify the cognitive and emotional/contextual characteristics of health threats that influence risk perception for at-risk groups and scientific experts, and describe how different characteristics of health threats can be used in messaging to influence risk perceptions.
  • Module 3: Sustaining COVID-19 recommended behaviors for extended periods:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: describe the limits of risk perception and fear appeals to sustain behavior change over extended periods of public health emergencies, like COVID-19; identify how “status quo bias” can make it harder for people to follow new or different behaviors; describe specific tactics for making recommendations easier to perform that can help sustain new, protective behaviors; explain how nudging works to encourage adherence to public health recommendations; identify several types of groups that have not consistently followed COVID-19 health protection measures, and explain the challenges of persuading them to follow recommendations.

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Learners enrolled: 19065

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain an Open Badge by completing the course.