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The Open University

Make Change Happen

The Open University and Oxfam via FutureLearn


Learn what drives positive social change in your role as a changemaker

If we want to make lasting social and political change we must understand power dynamics, systems and influencing strategies that can shift the status quo. This free to access course will help you understand the context of the issues you’re passionate about and your existing sources of power and influence.

You’ll be guided by examples of successful international movements and community action, and connect with changemakers worldwide. Ultimately, you’ll finish this course with the skills you need to spot and act upon opportunities, and contribute to the change you want to see in your community and the world.

This course is aimed at activists and change agents with a personal or professional interest in how change happens, and who want to be more effective at delivering change for good.


  • What kind of change are we talking about?
    • Introduction to the course
    • Change begins with us
    • Understanding change
    • Changemakers and their stories
    • Different forms of change
  • Understanding the context of change
    • What is context?
    • The change you would like to see
  • Taking a power and systems approach
    • Understanding systems
    • Defining power
    • Tools for analysing
    • Summary
  • The power of collective action
    • Collective action
    • Working in partnership with others
    • What drives a changemaker?
  • Spheres of influence
    • Understanding influence
    • Where the power lies
  • Developing strong messages for change
    • Influencing strategies
    • Developing messages
  • Taking action to make change happen
    • Strategy and tactics
    • Developing your action plan
    • Taking action
    • Summary
  • Tackling challenges and taking your next steps
    • Reflecting on change
    • Overcoming challenges
    • Stay inspired, stay connected and stay focused.
    • Summary

Taught by

Emily Gillingham


4.8 rating, based on 5 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 44 ratings

Start your review of Make Change Happen

  • Anonymous
    I work for an iNGO. Making change for a sustainable and poverty free world is a mission, and a belief. I enjoyed the course a lot. Influencing is some very useful skills that can be applied in many context and for different purposes. The educators w…
  • Anonymous
    Fantastic course with lots of tools, stories, inspiration, informations on how make change happen. Very weel structured and easy to navigate. Recommended! Also the chance to share with others is great!
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course with a great mix of thought providing articles, practical tools and discussion. Very rich material with examples from active change makers. Allows you to use tools on a change of your own and get others to review it.
  • Anonymous
    This was an excellent course. Really clear and easy to follow and I feel I've come away knowing alot more and have the tools and confidence to make changes in my local community.
  • Anonymous
    I really loved this course. Very easy to navigate and the content is outlined in a really easy to understand way. Clear language and guidance. I think it's easy to think change just happens, this course really made me think differently about how to approach my change projects. Love the communities on there too, other students are actually talking to each other and debating techniques, a real asset to the course. Great job!

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