Did you know that this week marks….

“World Day for Safety and Health at Work”?

Health and safety of staff is a top priority of most employers, including the 75+ member organizations of LINGOs, many of whose staff members work in difficult and often dangerous conditions. However, many more work in offices, at desks and at computers, where work-place injury and ill-health (carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, shoulder and eye-strain) can often begin.

Where knowledge of how to promote health and prevent accidents, injuries and ill health will make a difference, LINGOs member agencies have some helpful capacity building resources available to them in their learning portals.

LINGOs member agency IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) used a LINGOs-supplied Articulate license to create a nifty little eLearning resource in three languages on office ergonomics.
Founding member CARE shared its Personal Safety and Security Awareness Course (separate editions in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic) with the LINGOs community.

There are many lists of international observance days, or examples of international days of action – why not use your organizational learning resources be part of your organization’s observance, celebration or action?

Tips to leverage international observance days to promote engagement with your learning resources:

  • Encourage or enroll staff in courses related to the action topic
  • Create a short quiz, poll, or competition that provides learning related to the topic
  • Send out an electronic (or hard copy) post-card or poster with information about learning resources and actions your colleagues can take
  • Tell a story (on-line or in person) about a colleague who used the learning resource to take action on the topic

Check out past blog posts for other ideas to engage your learners.

Click on the Calendar to see upcoming LINGOs events (both virtual and face-to-face) for yourself and your colleagues.

Thanks to learning Volunteers, Last Mile Learning helps improve the lives of world’s most vulnerable people

Posted by Eric Berg, LINGOs Executive Director

Last year, during Volunteer Appreciation Week, I wrote a post about the vital importance of volunteers to the LINGOs community, and how they are able to use their highest skills as instructional designers and developers to create distance learning courses that would not be possible without their contributions of time and creativity.

Last Mile Learning Program

Last month at the Learning Solutions Conference, I shared Last Mile Learning, an exciting initiative designed to reach hundreds of thousands of local development workers that simply couldn’t happen without the efforts of volunteers.


Just yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Colleen Streigel our contact at the American Refugee Committee. ARC is working with a new NGO on the Syrian border and Colleen asked if there was anything we could do to help that group get access to capacity building resources on project management and IT. This is precisely the kind of group Last Mile Learning is going to reach.

Since its founding in 2005, LINGOs has grown to reach the staffs of more than 70 international NGOs working in over 130 countries around the globe with high quality online learning opportunities. However, for every staff person working in-country for an international NGO, there are ten or twenty or more individuals working with national and local organizations that are in desperate need of professional development. They are the individuals and organizations in the “last mile,” working directly with the communities in need. The better these people do their jobs, the more people will have access to health care, food, education and a safe and secure place to live.

Over the past five years, LINGOs has built a learning management infrastructure that could enable local organizations to access world-class professional development opportunities. However, a substantial amount of the content being distributed by LINGOs today is proprietary and has been subsidized or donated by leading courseware vendors with the understanding that it be available only to the staff of LINGOs member agencies.

Contextualized, Localizable, Multiple Delivery Modes

For us to reach the Last Mile, LINGOs needs to create a curriculum that we have the rights to distribute freely: a curriculum that can be contextualized to the NGO environment and localized to the key languages of development. It also needs to be made available in multiple delivery modes so individuals and organizations without regular access to the internet can still take advantage of the content.

To hire instructional designers and developers to build such a curriculum would be extremely expensive and well beyond the capabilities of LINGOs to afford. So here is where the volunteers come in. Over the years, we’ve learned that when what we need is impossible to afford, it can become possible when we ask the right people. And in this case, the right people are volunteers. We began asking current and past participants of the Global Giveback program whether they would be interested in working on this challenge. The answer was an enthusiastic “Yes!”

Learning Professionals Step Up

We’ve always known that eLearning professionals are great short, single-assignment volunteers. However this is different. This time we are asking people to stay with the effort through at least one course revision cycle and to work in teams on a single topic with more restrictive design parameters (pre-defined templates for example). And still the answer seems to be “Yes!”

In addition to individuals, LINGOs is recruiting corporate learning departments and eLearning vendors to create some of the courses in the Last Mile Learning Library.

Cegos, a major French training company, has donated content for the 18 initial modules that will be completed by the end of this year. Several eLearning companies have stepped forward to volunteer to work on the Library as well. Several universities and corporate learning departments are in discussions about creating content for this initiative.

So Last Mile Learning is on the way. Learning opportunities will be made available to the people most in need of capacity building with the fewest resources and least access. None of this would be possible without the energy and commitment of volunteers.

As I said last year, much of what we do at LINGOs wouldn’t happen without volunteers. In an interesting twist, we sometimes see our role as the support staff who enable the volunteers to do amazing work rather than the traditional view of volunteers assisting LINGOs to do amazing work. We have learned that sometimes not being able to afford to do something makes it more likely that it will get done because we look outside ourselves to see the resources waiting to make a difference.

On behalf of all LINGOs members and staff, we want to acknowledge the volunteers that make our work possible and hope that each of them know how valuable they are to improving the lives of the most vulnerable people on earth.

Want to Volunteer for Global Giveback 2012: Last Mile Learning?


  Join the Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn
  Look for us in the Connection Center at ASTD’s International Conference and Exposition in Denver May 6-9.
  For more info, check out the Global Giveback 2012 webpage.



Announcing Global Giveback 2012

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