This year’s GLF/InsideNGO was one of the most dynamic and exciting conferences, with many attendees feeling that it was a turning point for the sector. We asked five members of the LINGOs team to share their learning insights and key takeaway messages from the event.
Gaming Innovation is the Future
Gus Curran, Member Services Manager
Learning and development experts talk a lot about using games to improve the impact of training but moving beyond leader boards and badges has been a bit of a challenge. Not at Save the Children UK and SightLife! They shared some of the serious gaming projects they’ve been working on and they’re taking gaming to a whole new level.
Samantha Davis and Roisin Cassidy of Save the Children UK walked us through how they have engaged partners to co-develop immersive, scenario-based experiences in the form of two digital games. One prepares mid-level managers to rapidly recruit and select staff in emergencies, the other immerses volunteers and new professionals in child safeguarding dilemmas typically experienced in a humanitarian crisis. What was so interesting about these games is that they did not just make learning fun and engaging; the activities were based on actual situations that the learner will likely face in the field, giving them a chance to practice making good decisions in a demanding situation.
Miranda Greenberg of SightLife and Brian Washburn of Endurance Learning showed us how their gamified inductions used tried-and-tested techniques like interactive challenges, goals, points, and progress. In fact, the participants in the session actually sat down at a table and began playing a module from SightLife’s induction game! We all got to experience the game before Miranda and Brian talked about its creation and what impressed me the most was that new employees at SightLife get a chance to experience scenarios that colleagues in every role in the organization are likely to face. It is much easier to understand how to work with someone when you have walked a mile in their shoes, and this is exactly what the SightLife induction game does.
Both these sessions on gamification were great examples of how LINGOs members are committed to delivering great projects in their organizations as well as sharing their challenges and successes with the NGO community.
We have room for improvement & @SightLife will show us how to make it informative AND fun. Creativity for the win! #INGO17 @LINGOsOrg
Shannon Dowd @SSDowd Jul 21
Thinking Outside the Box
Ross Coxon, Director of Learning Collaborative
This year’s presenters across the GLF raised the level of interaction and participation, giving the sessions a community feel in which we all learn from each other. These interactions manifested themselves in lots of different ways, (including the board game Operation!) but this really was the year of the interactive poll. It was great to get real time feedback, and avoid being bored by nine groups all reporting back on the same thing!
One of the things I really loved about the GLF this year was joining up with the InsideNGO conference. This led to a mixing of communities that brought in fresh ideas and expanded all of our thinking. My favorite session was the very last of the conference in which Jhpiego presented their new online leadership development programme. It was thoughtful and rigorous, yet lightweight and agile. Content and commitment were king, not huge systems and expensive materials, and such out-of-the box thinking was really impressive. Watch this space if that sounds intriguing because we are lining them up for a webinar for LINGOs members where you can learn more.
Dani Munro @danifromroe Jul 20
A Turning Point for NGO Learning
Lourdes Isalgué, Partnerships and Support
This was my first experience of a conference of this size and I was struck by the talent in both the NGO and private sectors, as well as how eager they are to share their knowledge with others. I was also immensely proud of how the three organizations that have merged to create Humentum have come together so easily, and this is because of their shared vision. As part of the team working on logistics for Humentum, I witnessed the commitment and love they all have for their members and clients as well as the hard work our sector puts in to help others achieve higher standards and operational excellence.
One of my biggest takeaways from the conference was that I need to map out a plan of where I want to pour my efforts, focus my learning so I can train and guide our members better, and be clear on how I want to make my mark in delivering the organization’s overall mission. I was inspired and energized to be more efficient in my role but also learned not to be afraid to share ideas, brainstorm and even make mistakes as all this leads to greater ideas emerging later on.
GLF 2017 was a big turning point for our sector and I want to be all in, taking advantage of the resources we already have and building new ones that help NGOs make a bigger impact. After attending the conference, I am inspired and ready to be part of that journey!
Lourdes Isalgue @lisalgue Jul 20
The Shift to Mobile Learning
Mike Culligan, Director of Learning Solutions Architecture
At this year’s conference, I heard people a number of people ask, “How do I reduce the file size of my learning so that it is accessible on our learner’s devices?” This question struck me because it is based on two assumptions: firstly, that a significant number of field-based learners have devices and are using them and secondly, that these devices are connected to the internet.
In the past, learning professionals in our sector assumed that the event that would ultimately drive learners to mobile learning would be the moment a significant proportion of our audience accessed internet-connected handheld devices. Now, it appears we are reaching that horizon and we need to seriously plan for supporting those devices with responsive, small-bandwidth learning materials.
The good news is that a number of GLF 2017 sessions underscore a shift in that direction. Courses built in Articulate Rise, Curatr, and HLAs MOOCs are all mobile-first. I expect this to increasingly become the norm as our work moves forward, which suggests exciting times ahead for learning on the go.
FHI 360Verified account @fhi360 Jul 20
A Remarkable Transformation
John Cropper, Director of Capacity Building Solutions
I have just been in the lucky position of attending GLF 2017 in Washington and I say lucky because for the first time that I can remember, I did not have to present! This meant that I was able to choose which sessions to attend and naturally, I focused mainly on the project management ones. Amanda Fleetwood’s presentation, complete with toy helicopters and multiple intentional distractions, offered Genome’s remarkable experience in getting learning to work in a conflict environment – and there can be few environments less conducive to learning than Southern Syria at the moment. This gave us an insight into the massive challenges we need to overcome if we want to really help those who need help the most.
It also gave me great pleasure to hear Lisa Garland from Mercy Corps describe their approach to project management and their journey. Her session was full of advice for other organizations, which is one of the great things about GLF. I was also struck by a question she posed to the audience: Lisa asked how many people in the room were either implementing a project management methodology, had just started or were just about to. Around two-thirds of the room fell into one of these categories. Amazing! Maybe five years ago, I would guess that at most, one or two people would have raised their hands. Almost everyone had heard of PMD Pro and were intending to shape their work around it. I was really left wondering about our role in this transformation. Clearly it is complex and attribution is difficult, but wouldn’t it be amazing to work out how this transformation happened so we could repeat it?!
Allison Bozniak @ABozniak Jul 20
A new Humentum future!
Katherine Haugh @Katherine_Haugh Jul 21