eLearning partnership spreads knowledge and awareness to prevent Ebola

The learning community is partnering with individuals and organizations to increase knowledge and awareness of the outbreak of Ebola and to prevent the spread of this virus. Using content from the World Health Organization, CDC, and other organizations, the DisasterReady.org team created a 15-minute online course called Ebola Awareness Quick Guide in both English and French and made it available on the DisasterReady.org portal free of charge for any registered learner.  Registration takes only one minute to complete and provides immediate access to over 300+ online courses, recorded webinars, videos, and other resources.

Upon learning of the Ebola Awareness Quick Guide, LINGOs requested to put the course on its own platform so that its 80+ International NGO members could provide it to their staff via the same site as their other organizational learning, and track staff access of this resource.

We’re pleased to report that within two days of becoming aware of the existence of this learning resource, the DisasterReady team shared the course files and the LINGOs tech team loaded and tested the course on all platforms and made it available to all member organizations. “We are very happy to share these two courses with LINGOs. This Ebola Awareness Quick Guide is an example of our Rapid Authoring program designed to respond quickly to a crisis with free resources for individuals and organizations that are responding to specific emergencies or disasters. As more courses are developed, we will be happy to share those in the future” said Bob Nutting, Director of Learning at DisasterReady.org.

EbolaCourse-screenshotLINGOs Member Organizations have responded like never before to the availability of a new course,” said LINGOs Membership Director Marian Abernathy. “The timely creation of the course and sharing it with LINGOs for international NGO Member organizations to deploy and track to their global staff is an important step to preventing the spread of Ebola.”

International NGOs are deploying the English and French versions of the Ebola Awareness course for staff in affected areas and their emergency response teams. LINGOs and its member organizations are grateful to DisasterReady.org and its parent organization the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation for providing some of the indispensable elements – information and knowledge – to stopping the spread of Ebola.

The quick guide course includes links to updated websites with the latest information on the outbreak. Learners will also have immediate access to documents providing additional awareness of the outbreak including fact sheets, posters, and information specific to aid workers in Africa.

The course is available to anyone free of charge via http://DisasterReady.org. Additionally, international development and humanitarian workers who work for a LINGOs Member Organization, may access the course through their organizational learning platforms.

About DisasterReady (www.DisasterReady.org)

DisasterReady.org is a free online resource for aid workers with over 30,000 registered users from around the world. Through the DisasterReady.org initiative, aid workers can share resources and information and access customized online learning anytime, anywhere in the world. By providing high-quality, accessible training at no cost, the DisasterReady.org Portal allows aid workers to do what they do best: save lives, rebuild communities, and restore hope.

About LINGOs (www.LINGOs.org)

LINGOs is a not-for-profit capacity building organization in its tenth year of providing world-class learning opportunities that are appropriate, accessible and affordable for people working to reduce poverty and alleviate suffering in the developing world. We accomplish our mission through:

  • Private Sector Partnerships – learning industry leaders provide products and services to LINGOs for free or at greatly reduced costs;
  • Volunteer Engagement world-class instructional designers and developers provide pro bono services to create world-class learning products available at no cost;
  • Member Collaboration – over 80 of the leading international development organizations collaborating on shared solutions to common challenges.

Celebrating 10 Years – Part 2

Eric Berg, LINGOs Co-Founder and CEO

EricBerg (1)2014 is LINGOs’ tenth year. In last week’s post, I reflected on LINGOs’ first decade. Beginning as a consortium with modest goals of sharing ideas and experiences, today LINGOs is a capacity building organization with more than 75 member organizations; a project services group that led the creation of a contextualized project management certification now completed by over 7000 development sector professionals; and with the 2013 launch of Last Mile Learning, LINGOs provides access to a range of learning opportunities for anyone working to improve people’s lives in the developing world.

In celebration of our first ten years, LINGOs is planning a number of events to recognize the amazing individuals, volunteers, partners, members and others that have accompanied us this far and helped LINGOs become what it is and enable us to grow from a small consortium to a capacity building organization that helps those doing good…do it better!

Celebrating Volunteers

In March, we will be acknowledging all the volunteers that helped LINGOs and its members in so many ways but in particular helped us with world class instructional design and development skills. Some of the most talented designers and developers in the world have contributed literally thousands of hours and over a million dollars’ worth of professional services. Their involvement has enabled LINGOs and its members to create eLearning content on a broad range of management, communications, technical and development-specific topics.

“… I thank you very much for the effort you make to help everybody who needs knowledge gain it freely. May God bless you all.”

Jean Pierre wrote from Rwanda, where he recently learned from volunteer-created courseware from Last Mile Learning 

The Learning Solutions 2014 Conference in Orlando in March when so many of the eLearning Guild community gather will give us a chance to celebrate the contribution of the volunteers and to share how the courses are being used and what a difference volunteers have made. We will also be acknowledging the generous support that David Holcombe and Heidi Fisk the co-founders of the eLearning Guild have given to LINGOs.

Thanking Partners

In May, at the ASTD International Conference (American Society for Training and Development) we will be honoring the second group that make LINGOs possible – the many corporate partners that have been providing world class course content, learning development tools, professional development services and state-of-the-art platforms so LINGOs members can provide services to their staff around the world that would otherwise be impossible. Some of our partners, like IntraLearn, Articulate and Blackboard have been with us since LINGOs was started. Others like Skillsoft, Net Dimensions and Yukon Learning are new this year and represent the latest expansion of corporate support.

Appreciating Members 

Later in the year at a leading development sector conference, we will be highlighting the work and contributions of our members. One of the founding principles of LINGOs was for organizations to share their learning experiences and products among each other thereby saving money and propagating best practices. We have numerous examples of member organizations that have produced outstanding courses and implemented LINGOs products and tools in innovative ways and then invested their time and resources helping other LINGOs members deploy the products and systems they created.

Finally, next November in Portland, Oregon, we will have our Tenth anniversary Member Meeting where we will both look back to celebrate where we have been and more importantly look forward to collectively imagine what LINGOs can become in the next ten years. Mercy Corps has offered to host our meeting which is fitting because it was one of the original six NGOs that attended the organizing meeting that took place in November 2004 at The Nature Conservancy. We have invited the original board members to join us to be recognized for their pioneering work and we hope to have some other surprises for everyone that come to Portland so mark your calendars now.

Saying Farewell

And of course as has been previously announced, Portland will be my final LINGOs meeting. As you can see, it will be hard to say “goodbye” to LINGOs at the end of this coming year.

  • We’ve transformed from a small community with monthly calls led by Linda English (then of Save the Children) to a vibrant community of members actively engaged in providing innovative, professional development opportunities to their organizations in ways that constantly amaze me.
  • Our project services group has run with the PMD Pro project management certification that LINGOs pioneered in 2010. The team is innovating learning approaches that fit the needs of our sector, with face to face, online and blended approaches to learning and reinforcement. Providing training to individuals and training organizations, we’re pleased that (at present) over 7000 individuals have taken the PMD Pro exam and more and more organizations incorporating the tools and techniques into their standard processes.
  • And through our Last Mile Learning program, every day more individuals throughout the globe are accessing content on basic management, financial management and project. In December, Jean Pierre in Rwanda emailed us “… I thank you very much for the effort you make to help everybody who needs knowledge gain it freely. May God bless you all.”

Celebration and Catalyst

In last week’s post, reflecting on LINGOs first decade, I noted that this anniversary celebration is also a time to look forward.  This is a time to imagine what’s possible, to leverage the accomplishments of our members, partners, volunteers, board and individual and organizational learners around the world as a catalyst; this is a moment “to dream of things that never were… and ask why not?”

LINGOs brings together vast resources of a large community of innovative private sector partners, leading global development organizations and talented and committed individuals working to change the world.We bring an entrepreneurial approach, knowledge of the learning needs, community and technology to enable change. I invite you to join us – what can we do together? why not?

LINGOs: Reflections on the First Decade and Imagining the Second

Eric Berg, LINGOs Co-Founder and CEO

EricBerg (1)Ten years! Ten years! It can’t be that long. I just filed the 501(c)3 papers a little while ago – or so it seems. But a check of the paperwork says 2005 which means 2014 will be the tenth year for LINGOs. My plan was very clear – volunteer as a staff person while Linda English from Save the Children, Mike Culligan from Catholic Relief Services, Meg Burns from Care, Mignon Mazique from Mercy Corps and Lisa Ferris from Heifer International decided what they wanted to do with the organization – maybe three years max. Then we would find a capable person from the sector to take over and lead LINGOs into the future. I could then watch from afar as the organization took off. But as they say about “best laid plans of mice and men…..” mine went astray many years ago — and how lucky for me.

Reflections and aspirations

Over the holidays I’ve had a chance to reflect on the past nine years and have enjoyed thinking about how our modest aspirations at the beginning – to share some online learning opportunities among international NGOs – has expanded into wanting “to provide world- class learning opportunities at little or no cost to anyone working to improve lives in the developing world.”

With the launch of the Last Mile Learning program this year, we have taken the first steps on that very lengthy journey. And with the launch of the new LINGOs Learning Platform (LLP) in 2014, we are taking a giant leap forward in providing a state-of-the-art, multi-function learning platform – not only for our members but also for local NGOs throughout the world.

More than a learning consortium

LINGOs now includes a community of members that are actively engaged in providing innovative, professional development opportunities to their organizations in ways that constantly amaze me.

The PMD Pro project management certification that LINGOs pioneered in 2010 is taking hold in the sector with over 7000  individuals having taken the PMD Pro exam and more and more organizations incorporating the tools and techniques into their standard processes. We are gathering data now on how professional project management has resulted in more benefits to the individuals and communities being served by PMD Pro certified project managers. Look for an article on that topic in the coming months.

And every day more individuals throughout the globe are accessing content on basic management, financial management and project management from the Last Mile Learning site.

Last week we received an email from Jean Pierre in Rwanda that read in part, “… I thank you very much for the effort you make to help everybody who needs knowledge gain it freely. May God bless you all.”

While we don’t know exactly who Jean Pierre is or how he found Last Mile Learning, we are happy that the message is getting out and look forward to telling you about tens of thousands of Jean Pierres, each of whom is improving his or her skills so communities can get more from the investments being made to improve people’s lives in the developing world.

Grateful to the members of the LINGOs’ village

There’s an oft-quoted African Adage that “it takes a village to raise a child.” In our case, a global village has helped LINGOs to become what we are today (and what we can yet become!). LINGOs would not even contemplate that audacious desire without the generous support of our village.

  • Our many corporate partners that provide world class course content, learning development tools, professional development services and state-of-the-art platforms enable LINGOs to provide tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of learning services to each of our 75+ member organizations as well as to have created the Last Mile Learning Program that provides a growing library of learning and training resources for anyone.
  • Hundreds of learning professionals have contributed their world-class instructional design and development skills, volunteering thousands of hours and over a million dollars’ worth of professional services enabling LINGOs and its members to create customized eLearning content on a broad range of management, communications, technical and development-specific topics
  • LINGOs Members have not only benefitted from the support of our partners and volunteers, but they have built on and shared these contributions so they are not just additive but contribute exponentially to the success of global development and humanitarian efforts. The ideas initially developed by one organization, tweaked and improved by another, can be continuously perfected, and scaled for global deployment at a minimal cost and maximal return for all of us who want to help make the world a better place.
  • The LINGOs Board of Directors provides the vision and guidance for LINGOs –allowing us to imagine the vision we so audaciously desire to achieve and helping us ensure we have the assets, including the village of partners, volunteers and members, to achieve it.

From not being able to spell “LMS” to contextualized content creation

We have accomplished more than I ever thought possible when we first started those monthly phone calls led by Linda English at Save the Children in 2004. From modest goals of sharing ideas and experiences to over 150,000 courses completed online — mostly by staff in the developing world. From accessing some corporate eLearning courses on Element K to creating custom content contextualized for individual NGOs and organization-specific processes. From not being able to spell “LMS” to creating custom learning platforms reaching employees around the world, we have come a long way together and we should celebrate what we have accomplished and make sure others know what we have done.

Imagine Ifs

But a Tenth Year review is also time to look ahead at what we can do together in the next ten years. Now is a time to really “dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’” While I am very proud of where we are, I don’t believe for a minute we have scratched the surface of what we can do.

  • Imagine if all the people working in local NGOs had access to the kinds of professional development tools and experiences that LINGOs members enjoy.
  • Imagine what could happen if we could collectively figure out how to translate individual knowledge and skills into organizational impact.
  • Imagine if we could harness the entrepreneurial energy of local trainers to build a network of people who possess not only the professional skills but also content and platforms that enable them to work with local organizations to improve the impact of their work and for those local trainers to be able to make a living at it.
  • Imagine using technology in new ways so that content could come from the South and be shared across the South without filter or modifications.

These are just some of the things to think about as we look ahead. I am looking forward our Tenth Anniversary as both a celebration and a catalyst for new directions for LINGOs. I hope you will think about what LINGOs might become as you contemplate the year ahead during these first few weeks of 2014. You can be certain that all of us at LINGOs will be thinking about it along with you.

Co-Founder and CEO Eric Berg announced plans to retire from LINGOs at the end of 2014. We will celebrate both LINGOs and Eric’s many accomplishments and contributions at the tenth annual member meeting at Mercy Corps in Portland, Oregon, in November.

LINGOs seeks an entrepreneurial, dynamic leader to succeed Eric. To learn more click here.

A Drum for David Holcombe

Eric Berg, LINGOs Executive Director

It is considered a good governance practice for non-profits to limit board members to two successive terms before they must cycle off the board for at least a year or more. This keeps a board from becoming stale and injects fresh ideas into the organization. However, one of the downsides to this practice is you must lose board members that you would rather still have on the board.

This past week, I had the opportunity to recognize David Holcombe, co-Founder and CEO of the eLearning Guild and retiring LINGOs Board member in front of his “Guild family” at the Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando. David is finishing his second term on the board and will be leaving the LINGOs board after our next meeting. Needless to say, I hate to see him go.

Community spirit and corporate social responsibility

It seems like only yesterday that I first met David and the Guild’s other co-founder, Heidi Fisk, at what was then called the Annual Member Gathering in Boston. I was so impressed with what they were doing to build a community among eLearning professionals that I knew I wanted David’s help with LINGOs which was simply a start-up operation at that time. David graciously agreed to help and after I “set the hook” I slowly began to reel him into more involvement with LINGOs – first as an advisor, then as a board member and ultimately as the Chairman of the Board. During that time, LINGOs grew from our first half dozen members to the over 75 international organizations that are currently members. Each year we not only expanded our membership but also the services we provided to them and to the sector at large.

David made it possible for each LINGOs member to have a premium membership in the Guild and with it access to the rich library of resources and events on technology-supported learning. I hesitate to point this out – but knowing David, I suspect he has already done the math – that benefit alone is worth over $125,000 each and every year.

The Guild has also been instrumental in supporting the Global Giveback program and since we began that effort, over 100 courses have been completed by volunteer developers. If you put even a nominal value – let’s say $5000 on each course, that is a “donation” worth over half a million dollars to LINGOs and our members.

And David has given unselfishly of his time and traveled at his own expense to LINGOs board meetings and events. In short, David has done everything reasonably or even unreasonably asked of him.

Witches+DavidH But, as I told the audience in Orlando, it hasn’t all been hard work. For example, this past fall at the DevLearn Conference in Las Vegas which happened to coincide with Halloween I snapped the picture bat left of David and the Witches of DevLearn. (I know they say “what happens in Vegas – stays in Vegas” but that is only if there isn’t photographic evidence) You might recognize the witches as Shannon of PATH, Catriona of Conservation International, Sam of Save the Children and Jenn of Ipas. I don’t think I have ever seen a larger smile on David’s face.

A Djembe Drum for David

DavidsDrumOver the years, David has assisted me with awarding djembe drums to Finalists and Winners of the Global Giveback Competition. David has always looked longingly at those drums and we even have had to pry his fingers off the drum he was awarding to participants. So we thought it would be a great way to acknowledge our gratitude for all he has done for LINGOs and presented David with a drum of his own. Alison Smith, Executive Director of InsideNGO and incoming board chairperson and Alfredo Leone joined me on stage to present David’s drum.

Alison acknowledged she had very big shoes to fill and if you aren’t aware, David is at least as tall as my six foot four inch height so she is quite right, both literally and figuratively. She also acknowledged that David’s entire team at the Guild from Heidi to all the rest of the staff made LINGOs members feel like part of the family and their support made it easier for David to be available to LINGOs.

In receiving the drum and with characteristically modesty, David praised the Guild members and Guild staff that have been so supportive and made it clear that despite leaving the board he still intends to support LINGOs and our members as he always has done and encouraged anyone interested to get involved in way that made sense for them.

We will miss David and I am personally grateful to him for his unselfish support of our members and his willingness to be available to me whenever I needed his counsel and experience. Hopefully, from time to time, David will tap on the drum LINGOs gave him and smile knowing how much he has helped enable.

Thankful…

Guest post by Eric Berg, Co-founder and Executive Director, LINGOs

ImageI have spent a lot of time on airplanes this past year. I am about to cross the reward-rich 100K mile mark with United next week and while traveling isn’t what it used to be, one of the benefits of all that “seat time” is that it gives me lots of opportunity to stare mindlessly out of a window and let thoughts just drift through my consciousness. Inevitably, maybe just because it is “in the air” this time of year, feeling thankful floats in. Working in international development we are keenly aware of people who are challenged every day by the most basic needs of survival so it is easy to feel a need to be thankful for our comfortable circumstances. This thought quickly gives way to thoughts about what we are trying to do with LINGOs and how dependent I am on so many people.

Last Spring, I wrote about our volunteers and how important they are to LINGOs and how grateful I am for them. And perhaps with Last Mile Learning, they are more important than ever. But I realized when I was thinking about this post, that I didn’t begin to do justice to all the people I am thankful for within the LINGOs family. The earlier post did not express my thanks for the LINGOs members themselves – the agencies we owe our existence to. Without their steadfast support since we began, LINGOs would not have been able to grow into a serious force for staff development in the sector. Our member’s patience with our start-up growing pains and occasional missteps has allowed us to continue to take chances on new and better ways to serve their missions.

And I hadn’t noted how grateful I am for our partners – the many companies that have provided their products and services at little or no cost so they could be used by so many to create and deliver new learning opportunities. Those learning opportunities turned into more skills for field-based staff who translated those skills into higher impact programming for the beneficiary communities and individuals that are at the center of our work. Without our partners, LINGOs couldn’t begin to provide the services our members come to LINGOs for.

And within both our Partners and Members there are so many individuals that go above and beyond in their contributions to the larger LINGOs community. In most cases, it takes an individual or a small group of individuals to realize the potential of the LINGOs collaboration to bring the real value to their organizations and to understand the importance of supporting us. These are the individuals that become champions within their organizations to engage more people and to push their organizations to do more to support the effort and to share the work of their organizations with others in LINGOs.

Finally – and here I intend to name names – in last year’s note I neglected to express my thanks to be able to work with an extraordinary team of people. Most LINGOs members first learn about us from Marian – who wakes up each day thinking about how we can more effectively serve our members. She is supported by Ana Raquel and Lourdes who wear a number of hats supporting not only our members but also our work in Project Management and without whom questions would go unanswered and follow-up would be lacking. And of course some members believe that without Robb and Joey there would be no reason to join LINGOs. They are the lifejackets in the temperamental seas of technology.

For those members who have taken on the challenge of project management capacity building – including CRS, World Vision, Path, Plan, Mercy Corps and several others who have worked with our Project Services team – there is no LINGOs without John and Roger and Juan Manuel. They are our globe-trotting team whose families have “donated” their loved one so they could share their knowledge and experience with others in the developing world.

Even before he came to work at LINGOs, Mike was actively involved in not only creating what was to become LINGOs but was also thinking ahead of where it needed to go. He was the lead on moving our organization into the creation of the PMD Pro certification in project management and has now taken ownership of our latest initiative – to extend our platforms to local NGOs and CBOs through Last Mile Learning.

And though you might never interact with them, Martha and Tyler work in the background making sure the details of finance and technical administration get taken care of so others can serve you more directly.

This is truly an extraordinary team and I can honestly say that a day does not go by when I am not thankful for their amazing commitment to you and your missions. LINGOs is very fortunate to have attracted such a group and I hope you will add them to the “things I am thankful for” list you may be reviewing in your mind in the coming days.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

DevLearn: from geeks to witches and everything in between…

Guest Post by Shannon Cavallari, PATH; Samantha Hackett, Save the Children; Catriona Moriarty, Conservation International; and, Jenn Soliman, Ipas

 Introduction to DevLearn

We had the wonderful opportunity to attend DevLearn 12: Embracing Technologies, an event that is targeted for like-minded geeks who use new technologies to make us better at what we do. A second and equally beneficial opportunity was to strengthen relationships among the LINGOs members attending the conference.

It was important for us not only to get the most out of the conference, but also to ensure that we were frugal with costs given the location. As a partner of LINGOs, the eLearning Guild donates one Premium Membership, which also includes one admission to a conference and pre-conference workshop (a cost savings of almost $1500!). Continuing our cost-saving strategy the four of us shared two rooms, a decision which would yield way more benefits than splitting the bill. If you know anything about this group, you know that networking and sharing does not stop once you leave the conference room floor.

The eLearning Guild always hosts a fantastic conference and this year’s DevLearn was no exception. Located in the Aria Resort and Conference Center on the Las Vegas Strip, it was hard to show up the glitz and glamour of all the lights, but they did.

Favourite moments

Samantha Hackett, Save the Children UK

Wow, what an amazing week, there were some fantastic speakers at this year’s conference, and I was both excited and a little freaked out to be counted among them presenting on the Mobile Learning stage for a session called The Potential for Cloud Learning with an amazing co-speaker Gerry Griffin from Skill Pill M-Learning. The session looked at the challenges organizations like ours face both culturally and technologically and how to best approach these challenges using innovations like mobile learning, how delivery mode impacts the style and shape of the learning content and how best to take advantage of the cloud.

What a great opportunity this was and looking back on my first eLearning Guild conference three years ago, where everything seemed so new and complicated, it highlighted to me, how far we as LINGOs members have come over the last few years. I was subjected to the usual challenges of a speaker (failing equipment, background noise, dessert trolley arriving mid-way through), but I really enjoyed it and I would encourage other LINGOs members to think about taking the plunge and becoming a speaker at the next eLearning Guild event- as we really are doing some innovative “stuff.”

This was a truly wonderful week with some great sessions, but it also provided many networking opportunities. I met some really fantastic people who were very interested in the work that we do, so I saw this not only as an opportunity for ourselves to look at how we could support our own individual work, but as a way to highlight the work that LINGOs is doing and encourage people to get involved. After the Welcome Reception Halloween night, it seemed that everyone knew about the LINGOs witches.

Finally, it was great to use the DevLearn app to keep up-to-date on agendas, vendors, speakers, and thankfully, maps . I hope next year, we can do away with paper all together.

Left to right: Samantha Hackett, Catriona Moriarty, Eric Berg, Jenn Soliman, Shannon Cavallari.

Jenn Soliman, Ipas

There are two moments that stick out in my mind about this conference: the pre-conference workshop and the Tin Can API session.

Full of confidence, Samantha, Shannon and I initially enrolled into the Intermediate to Advanced Storyline workshop. After all, we were confident in our Articulate Studio abilities, had downloaded and played in Storyline and even watched a few demos and tutorials. Unfortunately, this was not enough and at the first break, with our heads down, we moved to the Introduction to Storyline workshop led by Ron Price of Yukon Learning. The Yukon Learning team led us through exercises to gain knowledge on the basics of Storyline.  I feel much more confident in my Storyline skills and look forward to putting my skills into practice on my next course. Our lesson learned: just because you are confident in one tool doesn’t mean those skills or knowledge will easily translate to another. Articulate Studio and Articulate Storyline are significantly different.

Tin Can API is an entirely new concept to me, one that I probably still don’t fully understand. That being said, it is moments like this that excite me the most about attending these conferences. I feel like I am on the edge of innovation and I can’t wait to learn more. I attended a session with Tin Can experts and their knowledge and explanation of Tin Can API enticed me to learn more.

Here is a shortened explanation of what Tin Can API is from their website: The Tin Can API is a brand new learning technology specification that opens up an entire world of experiences (online and offline). This API captures the activities that happen as part of learning experiences. A wide range of systems can now securely communicate with a simple vocabulary that captures this stream of activities.

I think this learning technology creates many opportunities for data to support our programs and is something we should not miss out on.

In addition to learning at DevLearn, we were also able to build our relationships by spending time together. On Saturday, after the conference ended, Shannon, Samantha and I drove to the Hoover Dam. We arrived just as the sun was starting to set. The reflection on the water was magnificent and the mountains looked like they were painted pink. It was a beautiful sight.

This was the first time I have attended DevLearn and let me just say, I completely geeked out. I attended the conference with two specific objectives in mind: to walk away with a better skillset and use of Storyline and to wrap my head around the term gamification. And of course, network.

As Jenn pointed out, the Introduction to Storyline workshop was excellent. The trainers, the materials, and the hands-on activities were exactly what I needed to start to think about how and when I would use this new tool within PATH.

There were a ton of interesting sessions, sometimes overlapping. It wasn’t a problem identifying what to attend; it was identifying which session I wanted to attend more. In some instances, this is where teamwork paid off as some of my LINGOs friends would attend one session while I attended another. Later in the evening we would debrief and share notes.

I attended a few sessions on gamification, a term used to describe the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. One particular session, Understanding the Value of Games and Gamification for Serious Learning, not only presented on the topic but demonstrated how to incorporate games into learning. Dividing the room into two teams, we used a polling technology and texted our answers to questions the presenter asked. I’d like to point out that my team won J I walked away from DevLearn with an understanding on how, when and why you would try to incorporate gamification into your design.

We used the LINGOs booth as our central meeting place during the conference. On more than one occasion, I spoke to interested designers and vendors who wanted to know what LINGOs was, how I was affiliated and what they could do to get involved. It’s an amazing feeling to sing the praises of LINGOs and the member agencies. To discuss with confidence the Last Mile Learning initiative, Global Giveback and what the consortium does as a group. I think I may be pretty good at this gig, for I was abandoned by Eric at least once to man the booth due to a “meeting” he had. Either that or he knows I have no problem asking people to donate their time or resources to such a worthy consortium. Next time, I think Eric owes me dinner! ;)

Catriona Moriarty, Conservation International

It’s early Wednesday morning, and I’ve finally arrived in the glistening Las Vegas desert! With Hurricane Sandy a swirling blur behind me, I am ready to dip a toe into DevLearn! As anticipated, it is an enticing mix of techies, hash tags, QR codes, and innovative TECHNOLOGY! My red-eye wander shifts to wide-eyed wonder after the first of many coffees in the hall. My first session is Tracy Bissette of WeeJee Learning! She is brilliant. Tracy introduces an instructional design challenge, and three different panelists. They each pitch their unique methodologies for planning, designing, and delivering training solutions to solve for the challenge. It’s super interesting to see their different approaches, mock ups, and the platforms they leverage to launch! It gives me unique insight into the questions one needs to ask up front before moving eLearning ideas into design, introduces me to iBooks authoring (love!) and reinforces the importance of understanding your audience. With each concurrent session, I settle deeper and deeper into the dizzying and dazzling technology dose that is DevLearn!

After hours, we do find some fun! It is Vegas, after all… Our LINGOs crew rallies and we find ourselves sharing new insights, knowledge, and many questions! What is this Project Tin Can thing all about anyway?!? We are messaging and tweeting and connecting and most importantly, inspired by everyone around us. It’s all very sparky and cool! And yes, there are some costumes and cocktails involved!

After three days of tech madness and stimulating discoveries, we are poolside, perusing the DemoFest guide, and soaking up some serious sun. Aaaaaaaah! DevLearn. See you next year!

Closing thoughts

A conference is just that…a conference. It’s what you make of your time while you are there that matters; what sessions you choose to attend, soaking up new information and skills, networking, and strengthening relationships. We each came to the conference with our own objectives, but I think we not only made the most of our time while we were there. We also strengthened the relationship between each other and are still using “whatsapp” to group text regularly in preparation for meeting up at the Lingos conference.  A special thanks to David Holcombe from the eLearning Guild for your and the Guild’s participation in LINGOs.

Left to right: Catriona Moriarty, Shannon Cavallari, Samantha Hackett, Jenn Soliman.

Insights – LINGOs partnership strengthens individuals and teams for global development

Eric Berg, Executive Director, LINGOs

When I was in the software business, there was an engineering manager with whom I never could seem to communicate. Somehow, no matter how much information I gave her, the time it took to make get a decision was always frustrating. After several uncomfortable confrontations I just came to accept that we would always have problems. This was unfortunate because we needed to work together on several important projects. It was only later I realized that what I perceived as procrastinating was her desire to get it right and really was a preference and style difference. Had I been a little more aware of that, I might have been able to provide information that would have improved both our communications and the speed of activities.

I want to share with you my excitement in having Insights (www.insights.com) as a new partner for LINGOs. A global company with many Fortune 500 companies as clients, Insights provides a wide range of products and services that help their customers:

o Develop individual awareness and effectiveness

o Build more productive teams

o Develop high performing leaders.

Insights’ products are based on Insights Discovery, a four color model based on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. It measures a person’s preferences and provides an individual with an extensive personality profile which identifies strengths and areas for development. Each profile includes suggestions for development that can be put into practice the very next day.

Each LINGOs member representative attending the LINGOs Member Meeting in November will gain access to the Insights Preference Evaluator and will receive a custom 20 page personal profile. Members attending the meeting can also register for an all day workshop led by Insights staff to explore the meaning and application of their individual profile.

You are probably familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and may have completed that instrument and studied it sometime in your schooling. You might even remember your “type.” In some ways, the Insights Discovery model is similar in that it analyzes your responses to questions of preference and then feeds back a profile of your preferences and communication style. What is particularly attractive about the Insights’ model is that it has been extremely well “packaged” to make it simple to administer and apply in an organizational setting.

Imagine…

Ibrahim, the CD for Sudan, just sent Simon, the Regional Program Quality Manager, his final monitoring plan for the new microfinance program.

Ibrahim has already sent two versions of the plan, and there’s been a meeting and two tense telephone conversations about its adequacy.

Ibrahim can’t imagine why it is taking so long for a decision to made, while Simon cannot understand why there was such a rush on such an important document.

Both Simon and Ibrahim are considered outstanding in their roles and yet everyone knows they simply can’t get along. Many who know them both say it’s just bad “Chemistry.” 

In fact, it is more probably a question of opposing preferences and styles. With some Insights into these differences, Ibrahim and Simon can take their work and that of their agency to the next level. 

But don’t let the simplicity fool you; it is extremely revealing. I guess the best way to illustrate that is with my personal experience with the tool. Before we began serious conversations with Insights, I was offered the opportunity to complete the Preference Evaluator and get the personal profile I mentioned earlier. Being familiar with the Myers-Briggs and other instruments, I was eager to see the similarities and the differences. I completed the Evaluator and waited for my “report.” When it arrived, I quickly read through the resulting document and was startled with the accuracy and detail of what was produced. This may be best illustrated by the comments of my wife, Kathy, with whom I shared the report. She said to me, “I don’t know who these people are or how they know you so well but they may even know you better than I do after 30 years of marriage!” LINGOs Director of Member Services, Marian Abernathy, (with whom I also shared the profile) echoed Kathy’s comments when she said with a smile in her voice, “They pretty much “nailed” you.”

Some LINGOs members reading this know me well enough to appreciate some of the specific comments from my personal profile that Kathy and Marian are referring to. For example, under the section titled “Managing Eric” there is a list of “What Eric Needs.” One item says “Eric needs objective, direct and honest feedback…” to which is added the caution “- stand well back!” Everyone that has read the profile has stopped and laughed out loud in agreement at the caution.

Other sections identified weaknesses around listening adequately to others, making decisions hastily and my high sense of urgency creating stress for others. You can ask Robb Allen or Marian or other LINGOs staff members about those and I am sure each will have stories verifying the accuracy of those assessments.

So why am I sharing all this? I hope that LINGOs members will begin to realize the potential for using Insights Discovery to improve the communications and performance of the teams working within their organizations. During the LINGOs 2012 Member Meeting, a group from Insights will share how the Insights Discovery model is being used in corporations around the world. You’ll have an opportunity to see how members might begin to think of ways of applying it to staff selection, leadership development, team building, individual development plans and a host of other targeted initiatives. Those interested in a more in depth exposure will have the chance to attend the post-meeting workshop led by Doug Upchurch and the Insights Team and spend the entire day exploring their own profile as well as techniques for applying the model in their organizations.

If you can’t attend the LINGOs member meeting be on the lookout for announcements of how LINGOs Member Agencies can access this new LINGOs benefit. Corporations around the world are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on this tool. Through the generosity of Insights, it will be part of member agencies’ core LINGOs benefits in 2013. We are very grateful to Insights and look forward to sharing stories of how their generous support has made a difference in the impact of the work of LINGOs members.

The LINGOs 2012 Meeting is focused on engagement. For details, check out the Sept 10 post on LINGOs 2012 Member Meeting