Online Certificate Training

This online, non-credit course provides an in-depth working knowledge of the NCI Charrette System with an emphasis on collaboration by design, along with advanced collaborative innovation processes. The primary purpose of the course is to learn how to assess any design project, and determine the right type of charrette and its associated scope and budget.

Through this 20-hour non-credit training (equivalent to the 2.5-day NCI classroom training or the two credit MSU course) you will learn to activate the unique creative potential of all stakeholders by embedding them in the design process to co-create a transformative plan, while saving time and money. Whether you are working on a community design, public policy or a company’s strategic plan, this course will equip you with a flexible, yet replicable, systematic project management process.

Content features tools for gauging the length and cost of a charrette using a project budget, political considerations and design difficulty. The course includes required readings, lecture videos, videos from the live workshops and actual charrettes, exercises, case studies and quizzes.

Also incorporated into the training are design thinking empathy and ideation tools, conflict resolution tools, social media, distance participation, keypad polling, web-based flip charts and touch tables for public design meetings.

Course Fee

The course fee is $695. This fee does not include the book for required reading.

How to Register

Registering for an NCI trianing program can be completed in one of two ways and is tied to your method of payment (either credit card or check).

  1. Pay by Credit Card (preferred): Register online using the MSU Cashnet system. All needed information will be gathered through this checkout process.
  1. Pay by Check: Download the Registration Form, and complete and return this form with your check. Note: This PDF is an Acrobat fillable-form and must be opened with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Simply right-click on the “Registration Form” hyperlink from your browser and select “Save link as.” Then, you can open up the PDF file using the Adobe Acrobat Reader software from your computer to complete the form.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn a systematic approach to fostering creativity and innovation.
  • Identify and orchestrate the engagement of key stakeholders.
  • Learn how to create broad stakeholder support, reduce costly rework and produce a plan with an exceptional design.
  • Gain a practical knowledge of the high- and low-tech collaborative planning tools and techniques used by leaders in the field.
  • Explore methods for facilitating a public, hands-on workshop that maximizes participation while assuring that no person or group dominates.
  • Practice using key NCI Charrette System tools and techniques, including: Guiding Principles, Project Charrette Products, Stakeholder Analysis and Outreach, Project Complexity Analysis, NCI Charrette System Roadmap, Charrette Ready Plan and Charrette Scheduling.

Course Organization

Module 1: Introduction to the NCI Charrette System

Learn the elements of the NCI Charrette System, including design thinking, feedback loops and applications of the system. In addition, participants will learn which tools and techniques are used in each phase and the strategies and benefits of a charrette.

Module 2: Project Management and Budgets

Learn the key questions for charrette readiness, including the typical time frames for each of the charrette phases. Participants will review the guiding principles and the major tools of the product start-up meeting according to the NCI “Principle Pyramid.”

Module 3: In-Depth Preparation Tools

Learn the purpose and process of a variety of low-tech and higher tech tools and techniques used in the Stakeholder Research, Education and Involvement Plan. Participants will learn the key elements to successful public participation, outreach and engagement methods, along with the timing, purpose and types of stakeholder engagement meetings. In addition, the purposes and processes for base data research and analysis will be explored.

Module 4: Project Organization

Learn the art of charrette scheduling, including the timing and purpose of stakeholder meetings used in the five phases. In addition, participants will review a typical budget allocation of the overall phases of a charrette (pre-charrette, charrette and post-charrette).

Who Should Take This Training?

This training is for anyone involved in transforming communities and organizations, including city and regional planners, elected and appointed local officials, public health staff, developers, architects, land and transportation planning consultants, nonprofit organizational members and citizen advocates.

The NCI trainings consistently attract top practitioners in the field from across the U.S. and abroad. Based on past evaluations, 95% of participants report that they regularly apply what they learned in NCI certificate trainings to their daily practice.

Required Reading

The Charrette Handbook, 2nd Edition, is required reading and may be purchased from the following locations and may take up to four weeks to ship:

  1. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group: Paperback: $52.95 / E-Book price: $47.66. APA members are entitled to 20% off all print books orders from
  2. Amazon: Paperback price: $52.95 / Kindle price: $42.36 and other sellers.

Continuing Education

This course is approved by the AIA for 20 continuing education hours, the AICP for 20 certification maintenance credits, and the ASLA for 11.50 professional development hours (PDH). ASLA participant members must achieve a 75% grade in the course to receive the 11.50 PDH. 

Certificate of Completion

All individuals who successfully complete this training and achieve a 70% or higher grade receive a certificate of completion and are included in our online certificate holder database.

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

All videos are closed-captioned. All static images have alt text and links are descriptive. All documents have been made accessible except for the Capital Corridor Report. As soon as it is remediated, a fully accessible version will be made available.