I’ve spoken with a slew of training colleagues over the past year. Many of them have online training programs with learning management systems. And many of them struggle to attract consistent traffic to their LMS. Part 1 of what follows is a fictionalized case study based upon a number of these conversations. In Part 2, I’m joined by another training colleague to offer our thoughts and insights about the situation.
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Tags: Blackboard Collaborate, coaching, project management, Virtual Coaching
Have you ever gone to a great course or workshop, been inspired by what you learned, and have every intention of putting your new knowledge into practice as soon as you got back to work?
Have you also experienced finding a mountain of work awaiting you after the inspiring course — and as you dive into catching up on that week away, you find yourself going back to your usual practices, and that you were unable to put what you learned into practice?
Have you been to the inspiring course, been able to summit the mountain of waiting work and had trouble explaining the new concepts to your colleagues and supervisors so that you can put the new practices in place?
Over the past two and a half years, LINGOs has deployed virtual coaching as an effective and cost-efficient performance support and learning transfer mechanism for global participants of the LINGOs Project Services learning programs. We saw the need for performance support after the first very successful training courses in our work with World Vision’s Southern Africa Regional Program to build capacity in project management.
Knowledge & skills alone don’t lead to behavior change
We all know that knowledge and skills alone are insufficient to lead to a change in behavior –think of all the anti-smoking and “just say no” campaigns! While the vast majority of participants successfully passed the PMD Pro 1 online exam, the leaders of the program initially saw relatively low application of the newly learned tools and approaches in the participants’ daily work.
While first piloted in Africa, we’ve done more virtual coaching in Latin America. “Coaching is a necessary complement to any training process,” said LINGOs Senior Facilitator Juan Manuel Palacios. “Without it, you can’t expect change — you can’t ensure transfer of knowledge, change in behavior or achievement of intended organizational outcomes.”
Coaching for performance support & learning transfer
Coaching is a widely-used performance support and learning transfer tool. It is a particularly good approach when participants are asked to develop an action plan at the end of their course work.
Traditional, in-person coaching involving high costs and time for both trainers and participants to travel to a central location was not an option, especially as much of the Project Management Training was offered through a blend of virtual classrooms and other on-line platforms. LINGOs began to offer virtual coaching as a strategy to give learners a chance to apply new skills and receive additional instruction and guidance when they came up against real-world challenges.
We built coaching into the Latin America work that we’re now completing with the GEPAL Project (Gestión en Administración de Proyectos en América Latina) with the Interamerican Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and in additional project management capacity work we’re doing with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), ChildFund-Americas, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, Oxfam GB, PATH, as well as with World Vision.
Technology improving, but still a limiting factor in parts of Africa
“Technology is improving monthly in African cities,” said Roger Steele, LINGOs Senior Project Manager, who has led training efforts with World Vision, CRS and PATH in Africa. “Virtual coaching is becoming a very viable option.”
Based on the circumstances of each training cohort, LINGOs has used various technological options for virtual coaching including,
- Groups that trained in a face-to-face environment participating via World Vision’s HoTSpots in Southern Africa,
- Individuals in disparate locations logging into the same virtual classroom platform in which they received training online,
- Participants connecting via Skype when their internet connections were unable to support connections to a virtual classroom.
Roger noted that “participants are often eager to join online sessions but technology access and literacy is still limited in places. Some participants got their first email account to be able to participate in virtual coaching after a face-to-face workshop.”
“At PATH sometimes our people gathered informally around one person with a computer with a good connection and speakers,” noted Julie Baker, Trainer and eLearning Developer, who has overseen the PATH effort to strengthen staff skills among 54 participants in Kenya and Tanzania.
In Latin America, internet access has not been a limiting factor. Through the GEPAL project, LINGOs and partner organizations trained to facilitate training and coaching sessions have found no significant barriers in Brazil, Panamá or Guatemala. However, participants in Paraguay on some occasions did have some connectivity difficulties accessing the sessions offered on the Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom platform.
Multiple modalities same objective
In the African context, the coaching approach has been more formal. Starting about a month after training, taking the PMD Pro1 online exam and developing an action plan, participants have had the opportunity to engage in virtual coaching sessions. The sessions, held in the Blackboard Collaborate Virtual Classroom, have provided structured review of different tools and an opportunity to share concerns and questions, and to problem-solve ways to remove obstacles to using the tools.
“In one session, a participant shared her concern specifics of where to keep the project’s issues log,” said Julie Baker. “The group and coaches explored advantages and disadvantages of whether to keep it on a Sharepoint® site versus a local network; who puts the data in the document, and how to make it work day-to-day in that particular situation.”
In the Latin American experience in GEPAL, however, after the training, certification exam and action plans are complete, the groups that trained together start looking at project management tools in which the participants are interested in implementing in their organizations. They’ve generally started with design, monitoring and evaluation tools. “One participant provides the coaches with a real project to use as case study for coaching,” said Juan Manuel.
|Brazil coaching group develops proposal
Participants from AVAPE (The Association for Valuing Persons with Disabilities), had already identified stakeholders and needed to work specifically on the design of a project and develop a proposal (including a logical framework). During ten hours of coaching, the entire group built the logical framework with results, objectives, M&E indicators and assumptions to prepare a proposal for donor. In this case, the group of coaching participants included the project’s donor as well as a consulting group brought in to develop the proposal. Fun follow up fact, this proposal has been presented and will be funded for AVAPE to implement.
|Panama plans project transitions
In the coaching we did with the Panamanian group, a participant provided a case where she was working on the project transition and sought coaching on how to build transition planning into the finished project.
Coaching on adapting to local reality
The follow-up coaching allows participants to gain insights into the adaptation of tools. “It provides an opportunity to reinforce learning and adapt tools to specific situations, gaining ideas and inputs from other participants who don’t know an organization as well,” according to Juan Manuel.
“Our Country Leader reports a big uptick in use of the RACI matrix,” said PATH’s Julie Baker. “There was lots of conversation in the coaching session on how to customize it, including additional columns to make it work even better for our reality.” She noted that the coach was able to share an example from another organization where they’d added a new column.
The final product of this learning process (from training to coaching) is to facilitate participants’ ability to apply tools in different contexts, for different projects. “After all,” said Juan Manuel, “you don’t need to have the tools in place when you start the project. You can adapt the tools at any phase of during the life of the project.”
Coaching makes the difference
Perhaps the clearest case of the benefits of virtual coaching happened in Mozambique. LINGOs provided face to face training but between connectivity challenges and a lack of familiarity with standardized testing, none of the participants were able to successfully complete the online exam.
However, after a process of self-directed learning, Bento Guilovica sought personal coaching from Juan Manuel. “The coachee MUST be interested and motivated to learn,” pointed out Juan Manuel who provided 8-10 hours of virtual coaching via skype. Bento went on to become a trainer of PMD Pro, who each day after delivering face to face training, was coached through his specific questions on tools and approaches. At the end of his first course, 70% of Bento’s students passed the PMD Pro exam.
Communities of practice
The virtual coaching sessions are creating networks of people using and adapting tools in the real world. “The community of practice can be used for advice and, guidance on how individuals and organizations have adapted or used different tools,” said Juan Manuel.
PATH is preparing to explore additional ways to foster ongoing communities of practice around project management. Roger Steele noted that “a culture of online interaction will evolve and is improving.” There’s more learning to do in the area of strengthening virtual communities and exploring additional ways of coaching and performance support.
Readers are welcome to join the large and growing international community of practice, with over 2800 individuals interested in project management for development, via the open PM4NGOs group on LinkedIn.
Coaching process encourages participants to apply and share learning
“When we went to the Training of Trainers course in PMDPro in Panama, I thought it would be just one more course…,” said José Salvador Aquino Manzo, Mercy Corps- Guatemala M&E Officer. However, the reality of a more comprehensive approach that included coaching is much more.
José Salvador was so inspired by the learning process that in record time, he recruited 40 fellow Mercy Corps staffers and program partners in Guatemala to go forward to strengthen Project management skills in PMD Pro.
For more on LINGOs Innovations in project management capacity building, please see
1. Blended learning blog http://lingos.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/blended-approach/
2. What’s project management got to do with international women’s day http://lingos.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/pm-training-_women/
3. What’s your product http://lingos.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/what%e2%80%99s-your-product/
4. Are NGOs in Southern Africa ready for eLearning http://lingos.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/are-ngos-in-southern-africa-region-ready-for-elearning/
Posted by Mike Culligan
Over the past three years, the volunteers from the eLearning community have generously shared their skills, creativity and time with the member agencies of LINGOs through the Global Giveback program. Together, teams of learning professionals and NGO staff have developed approximately 90 courses in topics as diverse as Tuberculosis therapy, microfinance, risk management, leadership and much more.
As Global Giveback enters its fourth year, LINGOs is excited to introduce important changes intended to increase the participation and impact of the program. These changes fall into four categories: theme, audience, format and process.
Theme: “People Management.” For the first time, all GG2012 developed courses will focus on a single theme: People Management. This is a topic that has been consistently prioritized by our member agencies and which is in high demand among development practitioners around the world.
Global Giveback 2012 aims to develop 18 courses related to people management that include topics like leading teams, performance managements, new managers skills, and more. The courses will be contextualized to the development/relief sector and will be designed so that learners can follow a learning path that leads to a certificate in people management.
Format: “e-Learning … … and more!” Each course developed for GG2012 will include materials in four format
- Self-led format: e-learning content that can be accessed via the internet (or shared via CD-ROM) that allows people to learn, practice, apply and assess new skills.
- Face-to-Face format: curricular guides that allow facilitators to lead workshops.
- Facilitated On-line Synchronous format: curricular guides and slide decks that allow facilitators to lead classes in an on-line virtual classroom.
- Facilitated On-line Asynchronous format: curricular guides and support materials that allow facilitators to instruct groups via on-line communities and discussion rooms. This format is most useful in situations where individuals want to learn in a group but only have intermittent access to the internet or are unable to attend regularly scheduled meetings.
Audience: “Benefiting the Global NGO Community.” All Global Giveback 2012 content will be developed with the intent of sharing it widely and freely with the Global NGO community. Courses will be developed with the intent of ensuring that the learning content benefits not just for one agency (or a collection of LINGOs member agencies), but for all the people and organizations working to reduce poverty and alleviate suffering.
If any LINGOs member agency wants to customize Global Giveback 2012 content to its organization, source files for the content will be made available. These files can be updated with organization specific logos, colors, scenarios or new content.
Process: More “Giveback”; less “Competition”: During the first three years of the Global Giveback program, the event was run as a competition. Courses were assessed by a judge’s panel and evaluated according to criteria of effectiveness, inventiveness and creativity. In the end, however, the biggest winners of the Global Giveback program have always been the staff of the organizations who have been able to access world class learning resources that would have otherwise been out of their reach. This year, the global giveback wants to acknowledge all of the great organizations that are giving back to GG2012. Rather than submit each course for review in the context of a formal “competition,” all the courses will be acknowledged through their inclusion in the LINGOs Global Giveback Showcase.
How to participate
The development of each GG2012 course will be led by a LINGOs member organization that will coordinate the work of volunteers. Together the organization and the volunteers will form a team that develops content in each of the four GG2012 formats.
- LINGOs’ member organizations who are interested in coordinating the development of a GG2012 course should contact Mike(at) LINGOs.org.
- Individuals interested in volunteering to develop GG2012 content should visit the Global Giveback 2012 Linked In Group and post their interest, skills and availability to the site. http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3131298&trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
Posted by Mike Culligan, LINGOs Director of Content and Impact
LINGOs congratulates this year’s Global Giveback Competition winner, Amanda Warner. She developed “Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) for the Prevention of Tuberculosis in People Living with HIV” for LINGOs member agency FHI 360. This course was selected by the judges’ panel for its innovative use of scenario-based interactions – tracking learner responses and providing on-going feedback to measure the effectiveness of learner interactions, in addition to the high potential impact of the course. IPT has been shown to have tremendous impact in preventing TB, a leading cause of mortality among people living with HIV.
For the first time, this year’s Global Giveback finalist courses were developed by teams on three continents, with volunteers in the United States, Canada, England, and South Africa working with Population Services International, Save the Children, FHI 360, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and more. The complete list of finalist courses, volunteers and agencies is found below, and are available for viewing at http://lingosglobalgiveback.org,
|Volunteer Finalist||Course Title||Agency|
|Skill-Pill||Travel Safety and Security Tips||Save the Children|
|Amanda Warner||IPT for the Prevention of TB in People Living with HIV||FHI 360|
|Claude Abbott and Bonnie Solivan||Becoming One||Save the Children|
|Anjanay Panetti||LINGOs New Member Onboarding||LINGOs|
|Yewande Daniel-Ayoade||Performance Management||IAVI|
|Bram Piot and Lucia Salters||From Maps to Decision Making: Mapping the PSI Way||Population Services International (PSI)|
|Ian Minderman||Welcome to PSI||Population Services International (PSI)|
In presenting the Global Giveback Award The eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, LINGOs’ Executive Director Eric Berg thanked the competition co-sponsors, The eLearning Guild and Open Sesame, and all of the instructional designers and developers who volunteered their talents to the program. “Together these volunteers have developed over 90 courses in the past 3 years, resulting in invaluable improvements in the impact of their programs in humanitarian relief, development, conservation, and social justice.”
The Global Giveback Competition entries were reviewed by a panel of six judges who selected the overall winner. This year the judge panel included:
Martin Baker, CharityLearningConsortium;
Anouk Janssens-Bevernage, DynaMind, Ltd.;
Neil Lasher, TheLearningCoach;
Kelly Meeker, OpenSesame;
Jean Marrapodi, ApplestarProductions; and
Clark Quinn, InternetTimeAlliance.
Tags: Africa, bandwidth, capacity building, online exams, PMD Pro, project management, World Vision
Guest Post by Roger Steele, LINGOs
I answered with a resounding ‘yes’ when I was asked that question about six months ago — perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. At the time, I had just started managing the LINGOs project to ‘Strengthen Project Management Capacities’ in collaboration with World Vision International’s (WVI) Southern Africa Region. (For background on LINGOs work in cross-cutting area that affects every member NGO, please see the blog post on Field staff capacity building models)
With almost a dozen week-long PMD Pro1 introductory courses under my belt, I still say ‘yes’ – but – you might sense some hesitation in my voice (check out http://pm4ngos.org if you don’t know what PMD Pro is). Not totally unexpectedly, we have encountered challenges on our eLearning journey.
As I shared here back in September of last year, the World Vision/LINGOs project has embraced a blended learning approach. We decided to lead with a combination of face to face and virtual instructor-led courses. The future blend will incorporate more self-paced learning, small group (hubs of training) and coaching (performance support). I’ve written about the face to face (F2F) courses in this blog.
Our face to face instructor-led courses have been conducted over a period of 5 days. Each course is delivered in a fairly typical NGO format for the first four days. The facilitators combine techniques to engage participants in active learning to complement lectures that introduce fundamentals of Project Management for International Development. On the fifth day, Friday, facilitators proctor an internet-based examination that presents 75 multiple-choice questions to each participant. The set of questions has been carefully validated and normed to measure knowledge and comprehension contained in the PMD Pro1 Guide. A unique feature is that each exam is automatically computer-scored. Each test-taker is given his/her score and pass-fail result immediately upon exiting the exam. I was a little surprised that this feature proved so popular with participants. They love getting immediate results.
So far, our team has facilitated the face to face PMD Pro1 courses in five WVI Southern Africa countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, DR Congo, and Malawi. Without fail, we have encountered significant eLearning challenges during the examination on the fifth day, of the each and every course.
These Friday problems have always happened in spite of the fact that our team works hand-in-hand with the WVI National Offices to secure reliable Internet connectivity. In Zambia, our first pilot country, one hotel in Lusaka has hosted all three PMD Pro1 courses over the past nine months. At the first course, the hotel proved incapable of providing sufficient Internet bandwidth, so the IT office from WVI-Zambia arranged for a dedicated connection from an internet service provider (ISP). The ISP ran their wires down from the hotel roof and through hallways to our classroom. Even with that dedicated line, the internet connection dropped numerous times during the exam period causing several test-takers to time-out prior to exam completion. During the second and third Zambia courses, the host hotel’s internet provider agreed to increase bandwidth on the morning of the exam – but we still experienced connectivity problems and exam delays. We recently secured approval from the testing authority to increase the total block time from 1.5 to 3 hours as a mitigation strategy for future exams.
The venue of the one course we completed in Malawi was a relatively isolated hotel on the shores of Lake Malawi. While the hotel had assured WV-Malawi that a strong and reliable Internet connection would be available all week, the reality was another story. The hotel’s internet signal was very weak and did not even reach the training room. Fortunately, the WV Malawi IT department came to the rescue by mid-week. They were able to set-up a portable satellite Internet system (VSAT) next to the PMD Pro1 classroom – allowing all 23 program managers to successfully complete the examination on Friday.
I suppose some will say that what I’ve describe sounds quite expensive – and the special Internet arrangements that I’ve described will be beyond the budgets of many NGOs. I acknowledge this concern, but encourage readers to keep in mind that WVI and LINGOs are operating learning pilots and expect to cultivate efficiencies moving forward.
In Harare, the WVI-Zimbabwe office hired an Internet Service Provider to set up a fiber-optic connection at a hotel for an estimated US$1400 (5 days). I had sticker-shock when I first heard this quote – but upon reflection realized that those costs must be put into perspective. It is significant to keep in mind that 33 WVI program managers were trained and certified during that week. The cost of Internet could be incrementally assigned to each participant at the rate of US$42 – an amount that was considerably less than what some participants paid for a single night of lodging during the course. I wish I could report that the fiber optic line we used in Zimbabwe worked trouble-free. However, after enjoying blazing internet speeds from Monday through Thursday, a scheduled power grid shutdown brought the internet to a total halt for the whole of Friday morning. Fortunately, the national power grid was restored and the Internet-based exam was completed by late Friday afternoon.
I’m sure some are asking; wouldn’t it be quicker and cheaper to administer a paper-and-pencil examination? Perhaps it would be in the short-run — but once PMD Pro gets past its pilot phase, LINGOs is expecting scale-up to create efficiencies for both internet instruction and testing. I recently discovered that a group of researchers have been actively investigating online versus paper exams, with some interesting findings that extend well beyond time and cost considerations. Check out: http://research.csc.ncsu.edu/efg/teaching/papers/2010-1150_Online.pdf
I’ll write about my experience facilitating the PMD Pro1 course with WVI participants in the Southern Africa Region using the Elluminate platform in a future blog.
You might also be interested in these 2010 posts about LINGOs Project Management Work
Roger Steele, the facilitator of the event, attributed this unusual dynamic to the influence of the PMD Pro1 certification examination that all the learners were scheduled to take at the end of the training week. He observed that the combination of interactive, case-based facilitation with a certification-focused examination served as a game-changer for the training paradigm. On the one hand, rich facilitation techniques (through learner participation, contextualized cases, and small-group work) increases the learner’s enthusiasm for subject matter and helps him or her apply the learning to her work context – “Did I like the training? Was it relevant?” On the other hand, including a certification examination at the end of the workshop increases the emphasis on learner accountability – “Am I studying the materials and wrestling with the often complex concepts included in the training?” Together, these two elements help increase the likelihood that the training content is learned, retained and applied in the learners’ organizational working contexts. There are, however, considerations that organizations should keep in mind when deciding whether to link their training events to certification tests. For example, one important consideration is whether the certification examination is connected to a valued/recognized credential. In the case of the PMD Pro1, the certifcation and exam are accredited through the APM Group – the same group which manages the Prince2 certification for project management. As a result, the learners’ motivation to succeed on the exam is enhanced by the credential’s reputation and credibility.
A second consideration is the cost of the effort (in terms of time, people and money). While the PMD Pro1 employed a number of strategies to constrain costs, the upfront work in creating the credential was substantial. Some of the strategic approaches the PMD Pro1 group employed to reduce costs included the decision to make the test a a multiple-choice, knowledge-based, on-line exam. This approach automated the distribution and grading processes for the exam, making it much more affordable to manage. The PMD Pro1 also benefited from economies of scale that result from multiple organizations working together, and from its strategic relationship with the APM Group. A third consideration when developing certification tests is reducing the risk of examination bias. For an exam to be fair, test-takers need to be working on a “level playing field.” There can be no inherent (dis)advantages to a particular group of test takers. Once again, in the case of the PMD Pro1, the working group that developed the certification (including representatives of LINGOs, World Vision International, Catholic Relief Services , Oxfam and others) took a number of steps to hedge against the risk of examination bias and to ensure that the test was fair. More specifically, some of the areas of concern they work to address included the following:
- Question Bias: Are the test questions clear? Do unambiguous answers exist? Is there a baseline document against which the test questions are written? To address these challenges, the PMD Pro1 developed a baseline guide from which all the questions were developed. The questions were developed with the assistance of instructional designers and editors who checked to ensure that the questions were clearly written and linked to clear learning objectives. Furthermore, all the materials were studied by a panel of over 30 reviewers (comprised of a mix of project management experts, learning professionals, development sector representatives and others).
- Language Bias: Do native-English speakers have an advantage? The experience of the PMD Pro1 exam is that test takers who identify English as a second language (or third) have had lower test passing rates. For that reason, all test takers taking the English language exam on line have the option of extending the time limit from 60 minutes to 90 minutes if they require more time to navigate the exam language. A longer term solution is to make provisions for translations. The PMD Pro1 guide and exam are currently being translated to French, Spanish and Portuguese with the intent of making the credential more accessible (and fair).
- Audience Bias: This is one area where the PMD Pro1 examination needs to focus. Very preliminary data indicates that the staff of international NGOs (both the HQ-hires and country office-hires) have pass rates that are higher than the passing rates of staff of local NGOs. This data is new and will need to be tracked and analyzed further over the coming months. That said, some initial ideas for addressing this area of potential bias might include any of the following approaches:
- Ensuring that there are a variety of learning tools that can reinforce the face to face instruction . The PMD Pro1 for example, provides access to the Guide to the PMD Pro1, practice examinations, and instructional videos. An on-line course sequence is also in the works for the coming year.
- Provide the option of delaying the examination. The data comparing pass rates is drawn from learners who sat the examination on the last day of a five-day workshop. This might mean that some training participants need time to study. Remember, many of the learners come from backgrounds that might not have a formal test-taking culture, or it might have been years since they have taken and examination.
So, while it is clear that challenges exist when developing certification mechanisms that are linked to F2F training events, the initial data from the World Vision workshops and other PMD Pro1-focused training events around the world indicates that a mix of contextualized, interactive facilitation with a focus on test-based certification results in learning events that combine the benefits of participation AND accountability.
Please join fellow LINGOs members from PATH and World Vision International as they host a LINGOs Members’ virtual coffee break/happy hour * on Thursday, August 26 at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific Time, and 6pm London time.
Meet informally via Elluminate to share what you are doing and learn what others are up to in terms of organizational learning, capacity building, developing and deploying courses, summer vacations and give input to get the most out of the Fall LINGOs member meeting in Washington, DC (October 6-7).
For details on the virtual coffee break/happy hour and to add to your outlook calendar, click here. (You can see all upcoming Events and details on the lower right hand side of the screen at www.LINGOs.org.)
*How to prepare:
1. Add the Coffee Break/Happy Hour to your calendar with the Elluminate session link (on LINGOs Events)
2. Check your settings for Elluminate on the computer you will use for the coffee break/happy hour: www.Elluminate.com/support
3. Get a cup of coffee/tea, glass of water, or happy hour beverage of your choice
4. Log in a few minutes early on August 26
Over the past couple of years, LINGOs has spoken with several member agencies regarding their desire to utilize a learning management system (LMS) other than the LMS portal provided as part of LINGOs membership. Although LINGOs doesn’t require member agencies to use a particular LMS, access to content in the LINGOs Catalog has not been available outside the LMS portal provided with membership…until now.
About nine months ago, LINGOs began working with our partner Rustici Software, to develop an LMS-agnostic solution which would allow LINGOs to retain full control of content available in the LINGOs Catalog while allowing the member agencies that prefer to use another LMS (such as Cornerstone on Demand, Moodle, PeopleSoft ELM, etc.) the ability to access content from the LINGOs Catalog. In March 2010, LINGOs sent an email to member agencies regarding the plans for the new product. In May 2010, four agencies (Catholic Relief Services, Population Services International, Save the Children US, and The Nature Conservancy) began beta testing the new product. On July 19, LINGOs released the new into production.
The product, called SCORM Dispatch, allows LINGOs to provide very tiny SCORM 1.2 course packages to a member agency that can be loaded into the member agency’s SCORM 1.2-conformant LMS of choice. Once loaded, the course package appears as just another course within the member agency’s LMS catalog. The member agency has the ability to enroll users and control access to the course within their LMS. Content for the LINGOs Catalog courses still resides at LINGOs.
When an enrolled user clicks on the course within his or her agency’s LMS, the SCORM Dispatch course package connects to SCORM Dispatch, authenticates the user, and passes certain SCORM 1.2-related data back to the agency’s LMS. All of this is done in the background with no additional login required by the user. During the course session, small bits of data are transferred between SCORM Dispatch and the member agency’s LMS on behalf of the user. When the user completes the course, completion status, completion date, and course grade (if applicable) for the user are passed to the member agency’s LMS.
SCORM Dispatch opens a whole new world of opportunities for agencies with needs beyond what the basic out-of-the-box IntraLearn portal provides. For example, if an agency wanted to:
- Synchronize user data between an LMS and internal systems (HRIS, talent management systems, etc.)
- Establish a single sign-on between an LMS and internal systems (SharePoint sites, internal web sites, etc.)
- Configure an LMS that generates custom reports
- Create a system whereby LMS usage reports are emailed to targeted groups or available for download
- Deploy an LMS that has more robust social networking features, talent management capabilities, or more robust course management features
then SCORM Dispatch could be used with the agency’s chosen LMS to help achieve these goals (in addition to others not mentioned). SCORM Dispatch would be the delivery mechanism for the course content from the LINGOs Catalog and the communicator of course status to the member agency’s LMS. The member agency’s LMS would handle all other processes.
As stated in previous messages, SCORM Dispatch is an add-on. Member agencies wishing to utilize SCORM Dispatch must be Level 2 or Enterprise members (or upgrade existing Level 1 membership). Depending on membership level, there is a one-time fee and annual maintenance fee to utilize SCORM Dispatch (See Member Benefits for details).
Thanks to the partnership with Rustici Software and the hard work of our Beta Testing members (CRS, PSI, TNC and Save the Children-US) and the leadership of Robb Allen, LINGOs very pleased to be able to offer this add-on product to member agencies that have matured beyond the basic out-of-the-box features of the IntraLearn portal provided as part of LINGOs membership.
Member agencies wanting more information about SCORM Dispatch, can find it here: http://ngolearning.org/communities/lms/community/pages/SCORM%20Dispatch.aspx. LINGOs members with questions not answered within the aforementioned site, please contact Robb [robb (at) lingos.org].