Posts Tagged 'LINGOs'

LMS Administrators Community Shaping Up

Blog Post by Joey Watkins, LINGOs LMS Administrator and IT Support

Happy 2012! Many of us make resolutions… to get in shape or make changes to be better in the coming year. LINGOs is no exception. We are putting into action some of what we learned at our 2011 member meeting from Tom Kuhlmann’s super presentation on the power of growing a shared practice community.

If you haven’t had a chance to look yet, January 1 brought a few changes to LINGOs Support and the LMS Administrators Community area of our member site. While it’s still a sharepoint site, you’ll see that we’ve reorganized to make it easier for you to find the answers to your questions. We’d like for the LMS Administrator Community to become your first stop when you have questions or experience issues with your LMS portal.  Over time, we’ll expand and beautify the site as members identify and share new issues and questions with LINGOs Support.  You can access the new site at http://ngolearning.org/learningtools/intralearnlms/lmsadmin/default.aspx

But the website is only part of the community. We’re working hard to strengthen and build the community and enable all of us to learn from each other. We’ve initiated a series of Quarterly LMS Administrators Community Q&A virtual sessions.  The first one was January 10, 2012. With about a quarter of LINGOs member agencies participating in real time, it was a great success.  A few of the topics covered were:

  • Using discussion features in the LMS for self-paced courses
  • Using the Event Manager for staff to register for face to face and virtual classroom learning events
  • Branding/re-branding/editing an LMS portal
  • SCORM Dispatch

If you missed the first Q&A session, you can click here to view the recording or, as always, you can find links to past events by going to the Events section of http://ngolearning.org.  

We are confident that the enriched community will be a valuable resource to all of LINGOs’ 75+ international member organizations. By actively participating: seeking information from and contributing knowledge to the community, you’ll help LINGOs move its technology and tech support forward.  With the new year we also documented and put into effect our Member Service Level Agreement for Technical Support.  This document outlines the level of support for the LMS portal included in your LINGOs Membership, as well as the services that will incur additional fees.  You’ll find it on the LMS Administrators Community site.

We hope these changes make getting support for your LMS portal as worry-free as possible, and are looking forward to working with you throughout 2012.

The next LMS Administrator Q&A  is scheduled for April 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM Eastern Time. Member Agency LMS Administrators, please click on the button below to register.

Register for LINGOs LMS Administrator Community Q & A - April 24, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on Eventbrite

Considering an LMS for your international NGO? Some food for thought and useful tips from LINGOs Member Agencies

Posted by Marian Abernathy, LINGOs Director of Member Services & Communications

Most of the 70+ international development, humanitarian relief, social justice, and conservation NGOs that are members of LINGOs are using a Learning Management System (LMS) to distribute courses to their global staff and track their progress, all in a secure environment!

LINGOs INGO memberships include the deployment of a secure LMS, which is available, and accessible by any staff member with a web connection and an Internet browser.  One of the main advantages an LMS offers over a traditional website is its reporting capability: agencies can record their learners’ participation in courses and events and share these reports in several useful formats.

The LMS provides capability for Instructor-led synchronous and asynchronous learning as well as providing scheduling and tracking of online and live events!

As you are considering putting an LMS in place for your organization, there are a number of issues to consider. Many of these have been asked in the LINGOs Discussion Group on LinkedIn, are posted on the LINGOs Member Site (http://ngolearning.org) or have been touched upon in earlier posts here. This blog post curates many of those responses.

How much effort should we expect to set up the Portal?

There are several aspects of setting up the LMS. The technical set-up is actually the easiest, and LINGOs will establish the portal, train several of your staff on how to get it to look the way you want, and show you how to manage it (plan for 1-2.5 hours for this on-line training).

Then comes the larger start-up process of planning, branding, selecting courses and preparing a communications plan. Few agencies have personnel dedicated 100% to this effort, so it can stretch out over weeks to several months.  However, with a tight time frame and a dedicated and experienced new staff person, The Grameen Foundation, which  joined LINGOs in early October 2011 as a Level 2 Member*, was able to set up, brand and launch their portal in less than two weeks. (Discussion of this in the LINGOs group on LinkedIn).

*Level 2 Membership benefits include a brandable LMS portal and the ability to select courses for it from among the LINGOs Catalog and ability to post custom-developed courses, or purchased seats to SCORM Conformant commercially supplied courseware.

FHI 360 documented its process of planning, piloting and launching its portal in a great post on the LINGOs Blog in January 2011 (click here for the post) and in the June 2011 Virtual Coffee Break (click here for recording)

What are the Steps to Getting Started? See the summer 2011 Series of Posts by Ruth Kustoff on the LINGOs Blog:

 

Getting started: Identify Top Learner Needs and Develop a Plan

 

Selecting Courses to Meet Learner Needs

 

If you build it, will they come? Develop Communications Plan 

Please also see info below, about upcoming December 8 Virtual Coffee Break on Building Engagement and Marketing Learning Resources to Global Employees 

How much time should we plan for ongoing management of portal? The answer to this varies tremendously, depending on size of organization, set-up of the portal, and whether there had recently been an activity that increased demand for courses. In a LinkedIn Group discussion on this, members reported the time ranged from  20 minutes to an hour a day on a heavy day for Habitat for Humanity, with 2600 registered users. Other agencies spend 2-20 minutes per day responding to registration requests and inquiries from present users. With the order manager functionality in place (Level 2 Portals), processing requests for existing student accounts should take 1-2 minutes.

Where can we find additional resources?  You can find manuals, tips, tricks, recorded webinars and a wealth of resources on planning, branding, Developing, Launching courses in the IntraLearn environment on the LINGOs LMS Administrator Community Site.

Participate in two upcoming live (virtual) events: 

Join the Dec 8, 2011 LINGOs Member Virtual Coffee Break in which “Barista” Catriona Moriarty of Conservation International in an informal virtual coffee around engagement and marketing of self-paced learning resources. Conservation International (CI) launched its eCampus just about a year ago. Learn a bit about CI’s experience, share your experiences and ideas. What ideas and approaches have you used to build interest, excitement and utilization of learning resources globally in your organization? What’s worked well? What would you like to try?

LINGOs’ LMS Administrator Joey Watkins will facilitate the first LMS Administrators Q&A Session on Tuesday January 10, 2012 from 11am- noon Eastern time (same as New York). LINGOs member agency LMS Administrators are encouraged to register to attend this session. To register, visit http://lingoslmsjan2012.eventbrite.com.

FHI’s Pilot Launch of eLearning through a LINGOs membership: process, results, and lessons learned

Guest Blog post by Peter Balvanz
Program Officer, Knowledge Management, FHI, Durham, NC, USA

 In August of last year FHI joined the LINGOs community.  From October 11 to December 11 we conducted a pilot eLearning initiative with four FHI country offices to help inform us in our global roll-out, which we are currently planning.  Pilot objectives included:

  1. Understand value of courses for global employees
  2. Test the course approval process
  3. Manage workflow before global roll-out.

 

Relying heavily on LINGOs staff and website, other member organizations, and a strategic group at FHI, our pilot was deemed a success.  At the conclusion of the two month pilot:

  • 212 staff were batch-load registered to our portal
  • 25% of these staff registered for at least 1 course (52/212)
  • Individual staff requested 4 courses on average at first visit
  • Among courses started (70), 40% were completed (28) during the pilot period (not all country offices started the pilot on Oct 11).
  • Courses generally took between 1-2 hours cumulative time.

 

PROCESS

Aiming to quickly offer courses to country office staff in our pilot, we were able to register staff, and communicate select course offerings through a branded portal within two months.  Several strategies facilitated this accomplishment, including:

1) LINGOs support staff and website – the website generally had answers to questions we had, but if it didn’t, the staff did

2) LinkedIn member and organization support – other experienced organizations collaborated to answer our posted questions, offering advice from personal experience and guidance documents used with their own staff

3) Forming and utilizing a strategic working group representing diverse departments at FHI.

In the case of the first two, FHI was the beneficiary of strong institutional knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned.  LINGOs staff were consistently timely in providing solid support and successfully facilitated beneficial relationships among member organizations.  The advice and guidance documents shared with FHI by member organizations provided an easy-to-assemble structure that enabled a quick release to pilot countries. 

FHI's Pilot Learning Portal

 

 Internally, FHI assembled a strategic working group to develop policies and divide necessary labors.  Our group included an administrator from Knowledge Management; HR representatives; Global Portfolio Management (GPM – country office liaisons) to aid in decisions important to international FHI staff; and IT.   Our decision making body crossed responsibilities to ensure all relevant voices were heard and we could get the most from our LINGOs membership. 

The strategic group sought input from country offices to advertise eLearning, tailor course selections to country needs, and to select countries interested in a pilot.  First, a short survey was emailed to country directors asking them to select courses most relevant to their staff and inquire whether they would be interested in participating in the pilot.  Pilot countries selected were to be diverse in staff size, capacity, and bandwidth, to get a better sense of the wider benefits of courses and challenges.  Learning areas deemed most important across the country offices were used to populate our portal with about 50 courses. Before including in the portal, most of the courses were quickly reviewed by staff from departments represented in our strategic group. 

As our preparation progressed, we wrote numerous template documents, including: Welcome letter to liaisons; Welcome letter for staff to be sent by liaisons; single sheet orientation to LINGOs; administrative roles and responsibilities; and policies and procedures, including screen shots for users. 

Once our portal was branded and loaded with courses, the opportunity was disseminated to staff through a country office liaison selected by the country director.  Liaisons were welcomed through an email describing responsibilities, and followed by a more in-depth phone call.  To encourage greater communication with country staff, we sent three bi-monthly updates and reports to liaisons offering support.  We also arranged one collective Elluminate session for liaisons to share their experiences and to show how to view reports as the country’s Registrar. 

FHI Human Resources Officer in Sudan Rose Obede accesses an online course during the pilot initiative

 

Evaluation and Lessons Learned

Upon conclusion of the pilot, we developed surveys for both liaisons and pilot staff to answer our objectives questions.  Staff believed most courses to be relevant to their jobs, easy to navigate, and easy to understand, but noted that work demands and bandwidth to be barriers to access in some countries.  Staff appreciated the opportunity for development, but desired more public health specific courses.  Liaisons believed eLearning to be a good opportunity for staff development and spent an average of 1-2 week assisting staff. 

Numerous lessons were learned to help guide the eventual global roll-out.  Though staff were informed of a user name and password given to them, many would sign-in as new users, thus creating extra work for administrators to avoid double identities.  Countries with low-bandwidth would get frustrated by courses freezing, a reality that cued us to the need to better advertise courses designed for low bandwidth areas.

Also worth noting for greater context, FHI did not deploy eCornell during the pilot.  Our primary focus was giving access to courses from the LINGOs course catalog.  Finally, we are in the initial stages of promoting Articulate.  We have installed copies of the software on shared spaces in our domestic offices, and have begun promoting the software.  Our next steps include revising our procedures manual, reviewing courses in our portal, and beginning to disseminate the opportunity to a wider audience.

Using voices from afar to lead virtual journal clubs

Guest Blog Post By Bill Powell,PhD, RN, FNP
Manager & Senior Advisor, Clinical Affairs at Ipas

Keeping up-to-date with ever-evolving scientific literature is a challenge for staff in many health-related agencies. For global health agencies, ensuring that staff members are interpreting the literature and applying it to their work is further complicated by distance, time zones, variable backgrounds, perspectives and context. One way we have addressed these challenges at Ipas is by offering virtual journal clubs.

Dr. Sangeeta Batra leading an international journal club from India

Several years ago, Ipas  initiated a Journal Club as a face to face meeting of interested staff, to review recent literature in our field. The topics vary from a focus on a specific clinical question to more general topics, such as quality improvement. Our staff from around the world was encouraged to participate by calling in Journal club creates an opportunity to share recent lessons from the literature, discuss the impact new evidence will have on our program strategies, and keep staff up-to-date with emerging trends in the reproductive-health field. Over time, Journal Club has evolved to a virtual event, held about six times a year, over the Elluminate Live! Platform provided through LINGOs membership.

Dr. Talemoh Dah engages with global colleagues from Nigeria over the Elluminate Live! platform

 

While Ipas has staff in 14 countries, North Carolina-based staff have largely facilitated Journal club during its first years. However, over the past year or so, colleagues from our offices in the developing world have facilitated three of the journal clubs. We believe this is one way to decentralize knowledge sharing, build collegial relationships and increase interest in the journal clubs, while drawing on and highlighting the expertise of our staff around the world. So far, two sessions have been led by colleagues from Nigeria, and one session by a colleague in India.
Each of these sessions has been well received and well attended. Although we have not officially evaluated these sessions, informal feedback affirms that people appreciate hearing from country-based facilitators and enjoy the chance to interact internationally over Elluminate. Likewise, the three facilitators have reported satisfaction and pride in leading the sessions and are interested in doing it again.

Dr. Sikiratu Kailani facilitated a journal club from Nigeria

• In one of the Nigeria-led sessions, the facilitator was unable to maintain an internet/Elluminate connection; the session moderator (in North Carolina) had to improvise and lead the discussion.

 Always have a second person at a different site prepped and ready to lead the session in case there are connectivity issues.

• Staff members are busy and proper preparation for a journal club takes time.

 Work with the country team’s management to ensure dedicated time for the facilitator to prepare and lead the session.

• Country-based staff members are not actively seeking to lead these sessions. This may be due to the time and workload issues, or lack of confidence with either the article’s content or the Elluminate technology.

 Be intentional in matching content with potential facilitators and their context, or ask them to suggest articles.
 Work with the country-based facilitator in prepping/editing slides for the session.
 Have at least one person on the live session with moderator privileges to manage Elluminate so that the facilitator can focus on content.
 Organize Elluminate sessions whenever visiting country offices for trouble shooting, modeling and practice.

• Because our global staff work in many different time zones, it is difficult to find a common time when every country office can participate.

 Offer two sessions of the same journal club in order to accommodate various time zones. For example, we usually offer one session for the participants from the US, Latin America, and Africa, and then offer a second session which includes the US support staff, the presenter, and participants from Asia.

PM4NGOs Launched as Independent Organization to Promote Project Management in Development Sector

PM4NGOs Launched as Independent Organization to Promote Project Management in Development Sector – Elects First Board of Directors

In September 2010, Project Management for Non Governmental Organizations (PM4NGOs), a new international NGO, was born and held its inaugural Board of Directors meeting at InterAction in Washington, DC, USA. PM4NGOs began as an initiative to promote the use of professional project management methods in the development sector.

Since 2007, a group of humanitarian relief and development organizations including World Vision, Care, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam, Mercy Corps and Plan International have been working together with the prominent professional societies in the field and with LINGOs, a consortium of NGOs focused on sharing learning resources and experiences to improve the capacity of NGOs operating in the developing world. Over the past three years they have designed a curriculum, tested it in over 30 countries with over 200 field-based project managers from fifteen different organizations.  Most recently a curriculum has been translated into an independently accredited certification scheme with the help of the APMGroup International in the United Kingdom.

PMD Pro Certification leads to need for independent accrediting body
The Project Management in Development Professional (PMD Pro) certification was launched in early in 2010 creating the need for an independent accrediting body. While PM4NGOs had operated as an initiative of LINGOs for the past three years, the creation of an independent organization was necessary to maintain the integrity of the standard and its independence from any single organization. Recognizing that need, the LINGOs Board of Directors asked that PM4NGOs become a separate entity and LINGOs transferred all intellectual property related to the PMD Pro certification scheme to the new organization.

The founding board members represent international humanitarian relief and development organizations, organizations that provide training services to those agencies, and members of professional societies including the Project Management Institute, the International Project Management Association and Prince2 practitioners.  Vadim Usvitsky, Director of Special Projects at World Vision International was elected the Chairman of the Board. Other officers included Trevor K. Nelson of Nelson Project Consulting, Leah Radstone of APMGroup and Barbara Wallace of InterAction.

Board Members include Eric Verzuh, CEO of the Versatile Company, a Registered Education Provider of PMI, Martin McCann, CEO of RedR, Mike Culligan, Director of Technology and Projects, LINGOs, David Palasits, Manager of Staff Development and training for Catholic Relief Services, Steve Marks, Director of Project Performance Consulting Ltd., and John Cropper, Program Manager for Oxfam.

 

From Left: John Cropper – Oxfam, Vadim Usvitsky- WVI, Ernesto Mondelo- Inter American Development Bank, Eric Verzuh-Versatile Company, Barbara Wallace-InterAction, David Palasits- Catholic Relief Services, Leah Radstone-AMPG International, Mike Culligan-LINGOs

 “A very important role of PM4NGOs is to make certain that access to the new certification is broad and the price affordable” said Vadim Usvitsky, Board Chair. “We work in an environment where professional credentials are very important but not often available. We want to make sure the PMD Pro reaches all project managers that are interested.”

The PMD Pro certification has three levels as illustrated by the triangle above. What makes the certification unique is that it incorporates other commercial certifications into the requirements for PMD Pro2 and PMD Pro3. Decades of work has gone into the project management methods used in the private sector and it was decided that rather than duplicate that effort, PMD Pro would take advantage of all the tools and techniques that had been developed over the years. In addition, candidates are required to master and pass an additional examination demonstrating the application of project management to the development sector.

LINGOs provides project management capacity building for NGO sector in Southern Africa, Haiti and Latin AmericaBy launching PM4NGOs as a separate organization, LINGOs has become a source of project management capacity building efforts by organizations in the sector. The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) has asked LINGOs to be the Executing Agency to develop the project management skills of NGOs in Guatemala, Panama, Brazil and Paraguay.  A second initiative between LINGOs and IDB targets the IDB funded local NGOs in Haiti. Both projects will reply be based on the PMD Pro1 curriculum and include training, coaching, community building and ongoing online learning opportunities.

A similar collaboration is underway in nine countries that make up World Vision International – Southern Africa Region. The Strengthening Project Management in WVI-SAR will train over 500 field-based project managers and over 25 trainers to carry the training program throughout WVI-SAR and to local implementing partners.

PMD Pro1 learning resources availableWhile the projects above are designed for specific countries and organizations, anyone interested in earning the PMD Pro1 can do so immediately. On the PM4NGOs website (www.pm4ngos.org) there are links to recorded modules covering all the content of PMD Pro 1. The Guide to the PMD Pro1 and the Syllabus can be downloaded free of charge and there are links to a sample examination so individuals can test their readiness to take the certification exam. Details about how to register for the examination and the costs can also be found on the site.

For more information on the certification, upcoming training programs and the schedule for PMD Pro2 and PMD Pro 3, contact Mike Culligan by email: mike (at) LINGOs.org.


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