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.
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SCORM Dispatch – First year of positive experiences

Posted by Robb Allen, LINGOs

July 19, 2011 marked the one-year production release of SCORM Dispatch.  If you’ve missed discussions about SCORM Dispatch over the past year, a little history regarding the driving force behind SCORM Dispatch might be helpful. This post provides an overview, and you can also read our August 2010 post on the topic.

LINGOs’ many course partners provide our members with an array of courses over whose content we must keep tight control.  We cannot simply provide our member agencies a full SCORM course package to install on an LMS not managed by LINGOs.  Therefore, up until the adoption of SCORM Dispatch, the only way for member agencies that wanted to access any of the courses in the LINGOs course library (one of the many benefits of being a member of LINGOs), was to use the LMS onto which we had installed the courses.

The LMS supplied as part of LINGOs membership meets the online learning needs for most of our members.  However, some of our member agencies — especially those that have matured past a one- or two-person training department — need features that aren’t available out-of-the box with the LINGOs-supplied LMS.  For example, custom on-the-fly reporting; single sign-on between an organization’s intranet and its LMS portal; and integration of human resource systems, talent management systems, and other systems with its LMS.   LINGOs is a small organization, the customization requests from member organizations were simply too numerous and complex for us to handle with a small IT department and would have been burdensome for the partner which provides our LMS.

Requirements Identified

We discussed this challenge with our member agencies at our October 2009 member meeting and sought a solution through which any member organization that needed features other than those available with the LINGOs-provided LMS could choose to install and manage on their end any LMS and still gain access to the courses in the LINGOs course library.  Our solution had to:

  • be LMS agnostic (as long as it is SCORM conformant), and
  • require little-to-no programming by LINGOs and our member agencies, and
  • ensure that LINGOs retained control of course packages and content to satisfy our partner relationships, and
  • ensure that LINGOs could shut off an individual course or entire set of courses for a single member or all members.

There were many other smaller must-haves in terms of reporting and tracking and quite a few nice-to-haves but the four items identified above were the most important to both member agencies and to LINGOs.

In November 2009, LINGOs contacted Rustici Software to discuss our needs and see if they had a solution.  True to their forward-thinking, the folks at Rustici Software were already working on product that sounded like it would meet our needs. They called it SCORM Cloud (we call it SCORM Dispatch).  We began working with them by test-driving the beta version and providing suggestions for improvement along the way.  In May 2010 we rolled out a beta test for our member organizations and in July 2010 released SCORM Dispatch into production.

Using SCORM Dispatch

We described how it works in our August 2010 post on SCORM Dispatch. Briefly, here’s the process a member agency must follow to use it.

Step 1: The agency goes through a testing period to ensure that its LMS and SCORM Dispatch are communicating properly. 

Step 2: Once the member is satisfied that SCORM Dispatch and its LMS are communicating properly, the member agency signs a license agreement to use SCORM Dispatch and identifies the courses it wants to access from the LINGOs course library.

Step 3: LINGOs sets up an account (destination) for the member in our production SCORM Dispatch environment and creates course packages (dispatches) tied to the member account. 

Step 4: The member installs each package on its LMS as it would any SCORM course created internally or purchased from a vendor. 

Step 5: The member agency staff members are informed about, can register and take courses as they would any other.  

LINGOs Member Experiences

SCORM Dispatch is indeed a welcome addition to LINGOs. The production roll-out and troubleshooting process in the first year have been almost error-free and we can’t say enough great things about the folks at Rustici Software.  As always, the LINGOs community provides great value to our members by sharing experience. Read on to learn about how two member agencies are using SCORM Dispatch.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has been using SCORM Dispatch in conjunction with Cornerstone on Demand since October 1, 2010.  Cornerstone on Demand has integrated talent management, performance, succession planning, career support, and learning (LMS) modules.  As CRS staff evaluated Cornerstone on Demand, they knew that they really couldn’t pursue implementation without maintaining access to the LINGOs course library which had been an incredibly valuable and well-utilized resource to support their staff.

SCORM Dispatch was a great option as CRS was ready to expand some of its learning programs.  CRS HR/Workforce Development staff were interested in rolling out curricula, targeting the audiences for certain offerings (by position, location, etc.) and minimizing the “high touch” in some areas (for example, providing automated emails and reminders to support staff in learning programs) to save that time for personalized support.  The team wanted to include levels 1, 2 and 3 evaluations with some CRS courses and programs.  In addition, they sought expanded reporting capabilities. CRS is using the Cornerstone on Demand LMS module to support face-to-face and blended events.  Staff can enroll online for a training or workshop and in some cases access pre-requisite e-learning, reading or assignments; take pre- and post- assessments; and then access an evaluation following the event.  Catholic Relief Services staffers around the world recognize the value in utilizing available resources to support their career development, to promote better knowledge management within the organization, to measure learning and look for evidence of impact in their training and learning programs.

Since the implementation of SCORM Dispatch, CRS’s workforce Development Team is pleased be able to link its competencies to learning options in the Cornerstone on Demand LMS module that staff members access through their online development plan.  While creating a development plan online, staff can review the competencies for their position, and with another click they can review some of the recommended options for supporting achievement of those competencies.  They can register and launch them directly from their development plan.  Additionally, Catholic Relief Services has enabled online CVs and career preferences that allow staff to express their career interests in the near and longer term, and to include details on their skills, experience, languages, etc.  Catholic Relief Services can use this information to ensure that its staffing pipeline is maintained for key positions.  In the future the information will also be used in emergencies or staffing situations for which CRS needs to quickly access skill sets, languages and availability to respond to a disaster or other rapid-onset staffing situation.

EngenderHealth has been using SCORM Dispatch in conjunction with Moodle since late June, 2011.  As part of its overall learning and development approach, EngenderHealth needed to offer a variety of eLearning resources including courses from the LINGOs catalog as well as in-house custom-created courses and training through a one-stop source, EngenderHealth’s Moodle LMS.

SCORM Dispatch provided an easy, seamless way to integrate the LINGOs courses into Moodle.  Together with their in-house courses, the LINGOs courses allow staff to expand their skills, knowledge and expertise in key areas, and ultimately enables EngenderHealth to achieve its mission.

EngenderHealth has received very positive feedback thus far.  They are already planning the next rollout with new course offerings and look forward to continuing to enhance the professional development of their staff.

What’s next?

Since the production release of SCORM Dispatch one year ago, LINGOs member agencies have launched nearly 4,300 course instances using Moodle, PeopleSoft Enterprise Learning Manager, and Cornerstone on Demand LMSes.  As three more member agencies are in the process of testing SCORM Dispatch with their chosen LMS, we expect this number to be much higher in another year.

Member agencies wishing to utilize SCORM Dispatch must be a Level 2 or Enterprise member of LINGOs.

For more information about SCORM Dispatch, please click here or contact Support (at) LINGOs.org.