Posted by Mike Culligan, LINGOs Director of Content and Impact
Many of this blog’s readers already know that LINGOs’ GlobalGivebackCompetition provides a unique opportunity for learning developers to “give back” their wealth of skills in the service of building custom-made, high-quality e-learning courses for development, relief and conservation agencies. In the first two rounds of the competition, volunteer developers have built over 50 courses, provides access to resources LINGOs member agencies would never be able to access at commercial market rates. So, as agencies sign up to participate in Global Giveback 3 (go to http://ngolearning.org/globalgiveback/ to learn more) it is not surprising that this is their primary objective.
However, many readers don’t realize that the Giveback competition doesn’t just provide essential development opportunities to life-saving organizations; it also inspires volunteers. A quick visit to the Global Giveback Showcase immediately provides a number of inspiring ideas for designing eLearning interactions.
Inspirational Idea 1: Rethink Course Navigation
Have you seen Christian Aid’s course on Using Communication Tools? The volunteer team (led by Tom Kuhlmann of Articulate) designed a user experience that is simple and intuitive – we love the clean, white template that emphasizes the great visuals!
In addition to the fresh and modern design, the course navigation is leaps and bounds ahead of the traditional course outline. Instead of next and back buttons, the developers designed an icon-based navigation ribbon at the bottom of the page. So simple! So effective! Yet I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.
To take the course go to the GlobalGiveback1 Showcase and click on “Using Communication Tools at Christian Aid.”
Inspirational Idea 2: Invite the Learner to Engage in Building the Content
Two-time volunteer Amanda Warner never disappoints. Her courses invite to the learner to engage in scenario based interactions. Amanda’s “Build, Manage, Improve Credit” (for Acción International) provides a super cool decision engine where learners attempt to fix their credit record. The interface is so simple, but the interaction is playful and engaging.
Each time I enter the Repair Credit section of the course, I find myself drawn into the interaction: I do it once, then, I do it again, then again. After the fourth time running the exercise, I have thought about credit records through four different perspectives! (Aside – I also highly recommend a visit to the GlobalGiveback 2 Showcase to see Amanda’s winning course “Client Protection and Financial Education in Microfinance.”)
Inspirational Idea 3: Harness the Cloud
I once worked with an HIV project where the technical experts worked out of thirteen offices in eleven countries. Imagine trying to coordinate these teams around the development of an eLearning course. How would you access files? How would share access to development tools? How would you manage team participation? While this scenario sounds extreme, it is a common challenge when working with development agencies with staff dispersed across the world. It is just as likely that a Subject Matter Expert will be located in Panama as she would be in Kenya, Indonesia or Tajikistan.
The team that developed the GlobalGiveback 2 Showcase course, “How to Design a Team Building Workshop” “harnessed the cloud” to address this challenge. The team from ACDI/VOCA and its partner QuickLessons developed their course using QuickLessons’ web based course development tool. Because the tool is hosted on-line, team members contributed to the development of the course regardless of their location and without having to download the course development software to their computers. Furthermore, they were able to share course files through an on-line document repository that was accessible from any location. These features, and the ability to comment of course versions through web-hosted board, permitted rich collaboration from a geographically-disbursed global team.
So, if you are thinking about building an e-learning course and are looking for creative ideas from other organizations that have previous experience, visit the LINGOs website and explore the Global Giveback resources section. The results are sure to inspire you and your team