LINGOs Community Grateful for Highly Skilled Volunteers

By Eric Berg, Executive Director, LINGOs

 One of the founding principles of LINGOs was to provide a community of like-minded individuals who could come together to make learning experiences more accessible to staff and partners working in the developing world.  Our members are a large part of that community, our private sector partners who contribute their products and services with the goal of enhancing Learning Where it Really Matters are also part of that community. A third and essential part of the LINGOs community are our volunteers. In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation week and on behalf of all LINGOs members I want to express our gratitude for the volunteers who not only have served LINGOs in the past year, but also those who have volunteered through LINGOs directly with our member organizations.

One of the unique characteristics of LINGOs volunteers is they are able to use their highest skills to contribute to the work of LINGOs and its members. In the past, volunteers were often asked to do tasks that needed to be done like answering phones, processing mail and all kinds of physical labor. However, these were not tasks that exploited the unique professional skills that many volunteers often brought to the work.  While occasionally someone with accounting or legal or marketing skills were used in those areas, for the most part, volunteers simply were viewed as surplus labor.

The volunteers we speak with are eager to be a part of the work LINGOs and its members do in the developing world to build the skills of field-based staff. While most are not able to take time off and travel to these far-away places, they would still like to know that their contribution is making a difference in the field. Fortunately, there is much that needs to be done that can be completed remotely without ever leaving home or office. 

In the past two years through the LINGOs/eLearning Guild eLearning Global Giveback program, over 50 courses have been created by more than 100 volunteer instructional designers, developers and learning professionals. These course have been taken by people around the world and the work of the volunteers is being felt in remote parts of the globe.

In addition to the outstanding Global Giveback Volunteers (179 who signed up for GG2 and the 150+ eLearning developers, instructional designers and gamers who are on the eLearning Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn),  many other volunteers have shared their expertise, advice and time with LINGOs and its members this year.

In the past few months alone LINGOs itself has benefitted from:

Instructional Technology graduate students who have interned with LINGOs on projects, from assessing the need and support for a contextualized curriculum for blended and eLearning for NGOs to helping  define the learning objectives and develop the examination question for the PMD Pro certification– we thank Jennifer May and Jenny McAtee from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Sharing marketing knowledge, skill and expertise to help us build our own capacity to clarify and communicate what LINGOs has to offer to potential members, partners and other volunteers – we are grateful to Bryce Johannes.

Facilitating the identification of needs, processes and resources to update LINGOs’ web architecture, to help us better serve our existing members, our potential members and their global staff, to engage partners and volunteers, we thank Celia Bohle, Kevin Kussman and Bryce Johannes.

Introducing us to potential partners, serving as a strategic advisor to a new and relatively small organization, building templates that will be of use to many new members, we thank Ruth Kustoff.

For providing his engaging and interactive virtual classroom training to build the capacity of over 400 humanitarian relief, international development, social justice and conservation workers from the staff of our member organizations so that they can design and deliver engaging virtual classroom training, we are grateful to Greg Davis.

For reviewing and juding the eLearning Global Giveback competition this year, we thank Jane BozarthGreg Davis,   Linda EnglishJane HartJim KlaasPatti Shank, and  Roger Steele.

The individual and corporate Instructional designers, eLearning developers who participated in the eLearning Global Giveback not only contributed the courses they developed, but also mentored and coached individuals and organizations to build their capacity to create their own courses in the future. Many of these courses will benefit not only the global staff of the organizations that received them, but the global staff of other LINGOs member agencies (probably well over 100,000 international development, relief, conservation and social justice workers), but in some cases, such as Amanda Warner’s winning course for ACCION and the Smart Campaign, will benefit anyone working in microfinance.

We are indeed fortunate to have had so many volunteers give LINGOs and our members this tremendous gift of time, expertise and service.

The inside scoop on newly available courses

While still feeling the spark and energy from the recent awards and demo-fest of the 2nd eLearning Global Giveback at the Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando, I want to update members on the 50 new courses added to the LINGOs catalog during the first quarter of 2011.

Quite a few of the newly added courses  are from MindLeaders, related to MS Office Upgrades to version 2010 (for Word®, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Outlook®), MS SQL Server, as well as on Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. However, there are many courses that are now shared by fellow members – some from Global Giveback 1 (a year ago) and others from this most recent Global Giveback (GG2).

For our many members working in health …

PSI (Population Services International) has shared with the LINGOs community two of its GG2 Finalist courses: A Primer to the Global Fund (developed by veteran Global Giveback Volunteer Bonnie Taylor/ISDiva) and Pretesting Social Marketing Messages (Created by volunteer Kathy Jeep).

Ipas has made available the reproductive health and rights courses from IpasUniversity. Seven titles from IpasU were added. (IpasU is a self-paced learning site on the internet for reproductive health care providers, primarily in the developing world, with a focus on safe abortion care and postabortion care.)

Just before joining LINGOs in March of this year, Jhpiego shared its ModCAL® (Modified Computer-Assisted Learning) for Training Skills, a computer-based knowledge update learning resource. This course is meant for individuals who are service providers and are available and interested in training. It may also be used for pre-service faculty or clinical preceptors.

 

For those who spend US Government Funds:

ACDI/VOCA’s strategic contribution from the eLearning Global Giveback last year is OMB Circular A-122. It is a very nice tutorial for those responsible for spending USAID funds. Thanks to John Leary at ACDI/VOCA and GG1 volunteers Bonnie Taylor & Lisa Barnstorm for this course!

  

If you work in teams and/or work to strengthen teams:

Our partner QuickLessons teamed  up with ACDI/VOCA in the 2nd Global Giveback on a great course entitled “How to Design a Team Building Workshop.” This finalist course is packed with great tools and job aids. For more info, see the case study they co-wrote.  And for those developing online courses in teams – please keep QuickLessons in mind as a web-based authoring environment that allows multiple users to work together.

Finance courses – Micro and Personal

ACCION was a big participant in the first and second eLearning Global Giveback.  In both years they had the great fortune to work with instructional designer and developer Amanda Warner on self-paced courses and simulations.  Last year’s finalist course “Build, Manage and Improve Credit” is available for you and your staff as well as this year’s winning course/simulation “Client Protection and Financial Education in Microfinance.”

Values and value

Several agencies have developed courses for their staff and volunteers on their organizational values.  ACCION, Habitat for Humanity both had finalist courses in this year’s global giveback related to their organizational values. You can view both and Save the Children’s course on its “Code of Conduct” on the eLearning Global Giveback Showcase portal.

 

You can get an overview of the course topics and partners on the LINGOs site under Available Courses (you may be particularly interested in the growing “partner” entitled “sector-specific courses.”   Member Agency key contacts and LMS administrators have the new password to log in and test-drive courses on the LINGOsCatalogportal (that hyperlink will get you there… my apologies for inaccurate prefix on the recent email about the change in username and pw – those were correct).

As always, LMS Administrators who wish to add a course to their Level 2 or Enterprise portals, or to have a SCORM Package dispatched via your SCORM Dispatch subscription, please email support (at) LINGOs.org with the course code and course title (details available on the Catalog Portal).

 

 

Remember the eLearning Global Giveback! If you have content ready to adapt for eLearning, mLearning or simulation/game learning, and are a member of LINGOs (or a volunteer who wants to develop resources for LINGOs member agencies), consider the eLearning Global Giveback. Any course developed on a volunteer basis for a LINGOs member agency this year (and submitted by December 16, 2011) is eligible for the competition.

For information on the eLearning Global Giveback3, please click here and join the eLearning Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn (this is not the LINGOs group). The “match” between agency and volunteer is happening this year on LinkedIn.

We’ll chat about new courses and the Global Giveback at the LINGOs Quarterly Update for Members on April 14, 2011. Click here for the details.

Posted by Marian Abernathy