CONVERGE Training Modules Surpass 10,000 Users


Boulder, CO, March 11, 2024 – The Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) CONVERGE facility, headquartered at the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, has reached a key milestone: More than 10,000 people are now registered for the CONVERGE Training Modules. With 12 modules currently available, including one translated into French, the userbase continues to expand to reach a global audience. Users can gain requisite knowledge and skills to conduct natural hazards and disaster research by accessing free, online trainings that focus on foundational and more advanced topics in the field.

First launched in 2019, the CONVERGE Training Modules series educates students, early career researchers, and others new to hazards and disaster research and practice. Using an all-hazards approach grounded in cutting edge research from the social sciences, public health, engineering, and other disciplines, each training module features learning objectives, lesson plans, written content, and disaster-focused case study vignettes from the U.S. and across the globe. To learn more about the motivation for the training modules and review their basic structure and design, please see read this article and view this recorded webinar.

“Our team and collaborators are thrilled to know that we have reached this many people with the trainings,” said Lori Peek, principal investigator of CONVERGE and director of the Natural Hazards Center. “From the beginning, our primary goal has been to synthesize research into accessible trainings so we can help support a diverse next generation of hazards and disaster researchers and practitioners.”

The CONVERGE team regularly evaluates the impact of the modules. Early evaluations of the Social Vulnerability and Disaster Mental Health modules found that these trainings increased the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of users—with especially strong learning outcomes among students, people of color, and others from historically underrepresented groups in the sciences and engineering.

Researcher impact. Analyses of registration data shows that most users are students and emerging researchers in the United States, although people from more than 60 countries have registered for the modules since 2019. About a quarter of users indicated that their primary discipline is in the social sciences, with additional users from emergency management, education, medicine/nursing, public health, engineering, and beyond. In addition, while nearly 70% of users are affiliated with an academic institution, people have registered for the modules whose affiliations range from local, state, and federal government to the private sector and nonprofits.

The modules also include annotated bibliographies, model classroom assignments, as well as other resources for further exploration, including websites, data sets, scales, and measures.

"We have found that much of the registration growth is being driven by adoption in university classrooms at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Rachel Adams, research associate at CONVERGE and lead training module developer.

Candace Evans, graduate research assistant and co-lead Training Module developer, agreed. “I think the Assignment Bank, in particular, as well as the interactive activities in the modules, have really helped faculty to envision how they can integrate the modules into their teaching and in-class discussions.”

Each module is followed by a short multiple choice quiz. Those who receive a score of 80% or higher receive a CONVERGE Training Module Certificate of Completion and one contact hour of general management training through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) certification program.

In the coming year, CONVERGE will be adding several more modules, including a new set of trainings focused on at-risk populations including older adults and people with disabilities. If you have not already registered for the free training modules, you can sign up on the CONVERGE website. To receive updates and information on new CONVERGE Training Modules and other resources, please subscribe here.

Media Contacts

Lori Peek, PhD
Principal Investigator, NHERI CONVERGESSEER, and ISEEER
Professor, Department of Sociology
Director, Natural Hazards Center
University of Colorado Boulder

About the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure — NHERI — is a network of experimental facilities dedicated to reducing damage and loss-of-life due to natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, windstorms, and tsunamis and storm surge. It is supported by the DesignSafe Cyberinfrastructure. NHERI provides the natural hazards engineering and social science communities with the state-of-the-art resources needed to meet the research challenges of the 21st century.