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.

3 Ways to Identify Inspiring Ideas from Global Giveback 3

Posted by Mike Culligan, LINGOs Director of Content and Impact

It’s awards season once again!  No, not the Grammys, the Oscars or Golden Globes – but the Global Giveback Competition, where the cream of the crop of custom courses developed for the humanitarian sector are showcased and recognized.

One of the reasons why the Global Giveback Competition is especially exciting is because it provides the opportunity to identify inspiring ideas for developing eLearning in our sector.  This year is no exception!  The competition finalists include a wide array of learning approaches (simulation, immersive environments, mobile learning, readiness assessments and more.)

So, if you are in the market for fresh ideas, here are three ways you can learn more about the courses your colleagues at other agencies are developing through the Global Giveback Competition:

  • Attend the eLearning Guild Learning Solution Conference –Winners of the GG3 competition will be announced live at the Learning Solutions Conference and Expo (Orlando, March 21-23) and GG3 course demonstrations will be provided during the LINGOs Learning Showcase event. 
    :  LINGOs member agencies receive one paid attendance for an eLearning Guild event, so be sure to join Eric Berg, Marian Abernathy and others from the LINGOs learning community  as they learn fresh ideas and new ideas for high impact learning.
  • The GG3 LMS Showcase –  All Global Giveback 3 finalists will be posted to the LINGOs Learning Management System on March 22nd.  If you can’t wait until then, be sure to visit the course showcases from Global Giveback 1 and Global Giveback 2!
  • The LINGOS On-Line DemoFest – Each month (more or less) LINGOS hosts an on-line DemoFest event that digs deep into the design and development approaches used to create LINGOs member agency courses.  This year, a number of events will look at courses developed in GG3.  The first finalist course will be FHI 360’s simulation on IPT Therapy for HIV and Tuberculosis.  This webinar will be held on March 8th and will be led by FHI 360’s Paige Winn and Course Developer, GG2 Winner, Amanda Warner.  To learn more about the March 8th event and other LINGOs On-Line DemoFest events, be sure to sign up to the LINGOs LinkedIn Community so that you receive updates on events as they are announced.

And finally, an important update about Global Giveback4.  Already a number of LINGOs member agencies have expressed interest in connecting with volunteers to develop  courses for next year’s competition.  The good news is “It’s never too early to start!”  If you are with a LINGOs member agency interested in developing courses or a learning professional interested in volunteering your talents, be sure to sign up for the Global Giveback LinkedIn Community.  The conversation is already underway, and we look forward to receiving more great submissions in December, 2012.

A Culture of Learning That Starts With Staff

ACDI/VOCA Provides Online Learning Opportunities to Staff Worldwide

by John Leary, Director of Training, ACDI/VOCA

Access to information is one of the key benefits ACDI/VOCA brings to our program beneficiaries—and to our staff around the world.

Through our programs, we teach farmers, entrepreneurs, parents, citizens and others new skills to improve their yields, profits and lives. But we also recognize that to do this well, we need strong support systems, careful stewardship of our funds, accurate monitoring and evaluation, and expert, up-to-date technical knowledge, all of which means maintaining a high level of skills among our own employees.

ACDI/VOCA provides its staff worldwide with access to learning resources through a learning management system called ASPIRE Online. ASPIRE has 700 e-learning courses on management, leadership and communication skills, Microsoft Office applications, and technical topics and best practices.

 Time and Space No Obstacles to Online Learning

 “Online courses are accessible on my schedule and I can access them anytime from any location, as long as I have an internet connection,” says ACDI/VOCA’s human resources manager in Afghanistan. “Sometimes I download course materials, print them, and read them while traveling in a car or on a plane. They are very accessible.”

There are many advantages to learning online, the most obvious being convenience.  Learners can take courses when and where it suits them, as long as they have access to the internet. They can hone in on the information they need by jumping to specific modules of an e-learning tutorial, instead of sitting through an entire class waiting for one particular piece of information. They can view a course repeatedly, if necessary.  Because staff can access information they need when they need it, e-learning has now become part of everyday working. 

 “ASPIRE Online’s e-learning tutorials have helped me to better understand the job description of an HR manager and how to relate with employees. With this, I have used new job skills and built better relationships with staff and volunteers,” says Adam Suale, who works for ACDI/VOCA in Ghana.

 “It’s like having your own trainer on hand any time,” says Mr. Suale, “You simply log in and start learning.”

 With internet capacity expanding around the world, geography, time and transportation costs no longer pose hurdles to designing or taking courses.  When a learning need is identified, ACDI/VOCA can create interactive tutorials and make them immediately available through ASPIRE Online. 

Online Courses Keep Skills Fresh

 “The most widely used courses are our ACDI/VOCA tutorials, which introduce staff to our administrative procedures as well as technical interventions, like our Farming as a Business or value chain approaches,” says Maura Bookter,  director of employee development. “They were created in-house by our small team of developers in collaboration with technical experts throughout the company.”

Online courses may be self-paced or facilitated by an instructor. They guide the learner through a topic and reinforce learning through quizzes, games, and clickable Flash, audio and video features. Each tutorial provides downloadable documents and handouts, and learners can revisit the tutorial at a later date if they need a refresher.

ACDI/VOCA is constantly adding new tutorials to ASPIRE. Many come through our membership in LINGOs – Learning In NGOs, a consortium of over 65 international humanitarian relief, development, conservation and health organizations. LINGOs provides the latest learning technologies and courses to its members so nonprofits like ACDI/VOCA can improve the skills of their employees, thereby increasing the impact of their programs.

In addition to the ACDI/VOCA courses available through ASPIRE, there are many  self-paced courses provided by LINGOs’ corporate partners,  e-learning companies like Harvard Manage Mentor, Ninth House and MindLeaders, and more than 60 courses in 12 languages were contributed by CEGOS, Europe’s leading e-learning training provider on topics such as management and leadership, sales and marketing, individual and collective effectiveness, finance and more.

Top-notch Educators are Within Reach

ACDI/VOCA employees also have access to online classes through Cornell University. “eCornell is becoming increasingly popular with our field staff” says Ms. Bookter, “These courses give professionals abroad the opportunity to earn professional certificates from a prestigious American university and interact online with other professionals around the world. We have staff working in countries where this is their only option to achieve this kind of high-level instruction.”

The practical subject matter, taught by Cornell University professors, ultimately provides ACDI/VOCA’s learners with critical skill development in the certificate subjects. The courses involve cohorts of individuals spread around the world who engage in interactive learning modules. They view videos and recordings, participate in interactive exercises, analyze scenarios and participate online with an instructor and fellow students.  Although learners are interacting with other individuals in these courses, participation can take place at any time, in any time zone.  Learners’ reactions and course work are gathered through the course discussion boards.

A Thirst for Knowledge

While over 700 ACDI/VOCA employees in 31 countries are using the learning system, field staff in Iraq leads the organization in usage: 78 employees in Iraq are currently enrolled in ASPIRE Online, with many earning certificates.

One Iraq staff member says her favorite aspect of ASPIRE are the e-Cornell classes. “It is a great opportunity,” she explains, “for me to be in Iraq and still get valuable information and experience from Cornell university lecturers and experts from all over the world.”

ACDI/VOCA is a member of LINGOs. The Aspire Learning site is powered by LINGOs IntraLearn LMS and loaded with many self-paced courses from the LINGOs catalog, in addition to those developed by and for ACDI/VOCA.

If you build it, will they come? Creating awareness through a communication plan

By Marian Abernathy, LINGOs and Ruth Kustoff, Principal, Knowledge Advantage  

So, with your help, your organization has made a decision to provide your global staff with a learning platform or portal (or Learning Management System – LMS). You’ve planned it, branded it, launched it… and some of your colleagues from around the world have taken courses, acquired new knowledge and developed some new skills.  Are you ready to sit back, relax, and pull some reports? Think your work is now done?  Not so fast.

In fact, now that the learning portal is established, and courses are available to staff, there still is more work to be done. In fact, your awareness campaign is just starting. For example, after Coca-Cola® launches a new product , it doesn’t sit back… it starts the never-ending work of building and maintaining awareness of its products and ensuring that those who might enjoy a refreshing drink, are never far from a reminder of the refreshing taste of their product(s).

Watch Melinda French Gates TED Talk on What Non Profits Can Learn from CocaColain October, 2010. You’ll see from her presentation, that what we learn from the commercial sector is that we can’t launch a new product, or brand, and then let it sit. This is when marketing and promotion must follow. Your global audience needs to know what is available to them and how to access it.

Building Awareness with a Communication Plan

Now that your learning program is underway, you’re ready to start your internal “marketing” or awareness campaign.

First, identify objectives for your communication plan:

  1. Organization-wide knowledge of course availability – Inform everyone in the organization, including country directors and field staff that the training program is available with relevant courses available to interested staff.
  2. How the portal or LMS works – Explain where the courses are, how to access them, the registration process, and if there are learning expectations or requirements of anyone.
  3. Highlight specific courses – LINGOs provides members with a wide variety of courses, and the catalog is growing regularly. Create a short guide or “cheat sheet”  for staff that highlights individual courses available or recommended for specific staff categories.  Keep in mind that a short dated document offered electronically provides you opportunities to communicate with regular updates and provide “bite sized learning.”
  4. Communicate the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) – Identify how the training program generally will support staff growth and development, and on-the-job performance success.
  5. Ask for feedback – As learners begin to complete courses, provide an avenue for their feedback on course selection, and topics, and ask for input on how to make improvements to the learning program.  

These objectives will show staff the value of the learning program, the courses, and that it is easy to access and complete the courses. Your second level of marketing is to reach the end learner at an individual level.

Marketing to the End Learner

As you build on your marketing campaign, you’ll want to highlight the WIIFM aspects of learning, knowledge and course completion. Working with managers and supervisors is important. Managers need to convey to their staff their belief in, and support of continuous learning, and the value the current online courses offer.  Staff needs to get the message that acquiring the knowledge and skills from certain courses, if not a job requirement, is strongly recommended.

 Additionally, you want to help staff to identify and determine which courses are “right for them”by role, job function or competency. Not everyone needs all the same courses or content. You’ll also want to promote success stories of individuals, by showing how completing courses can align to positive outcomes. Highlight how individuals have put their own learning into action, and achieved results that contribute to the organizational global mission. Finally, you want to ensure course choices remain fresh,

with updates to course selection, adding new courses, and managing updates of current courses as information changes.

Building a Liaison or Learning Champion Program into your Marketing Efforts 

If you launched a Liaison program during the planning phase of your overall program, these staff learning advocates can also help during the communication phase. The liaisons are one or several staff leaders who create a team of people from multiple offices who become points of contact across the globe. These liaisons ensure information is distributed to, and received by everyone.

The liaison program may also identify individuals who want to become champions of learning, if they have a special interest in, or are oriented toward online learning. These champions can be trained to become Power Users – individuals who “test” elearning courses prior to roll out, and are given time in their work schedule to do so. Power Users then become identified as individuals others can go to for help.

Building on the liaison program creates a strategy to identify and include local people as learning champions – – similar to Coca-Cola® with its large network of local distributors. As Coke knows, it’s not possible to manage large distribution of products, while keeping interest and demand high, all from the home office. It’s important to recognize the need to work at the local level – to establish central messaging – again, using the Coke analogy – it’s the same recipe for Coke, but packaging may vary and the messaging may be slightly different – depending on the local distributors who are pushing it. The local liaison for your organization, is close to the end user, in this case, the learner, and advocates are needed to be sure local learning needs are understood and met through programming that comes from the home office.

 Ten ideas to build awareness of your learning programs:

  1. Email – blast or individual messages to learners about new courses, offerings – demonstrating alignment with your organizational mission, objectives, projects and themes.
  2. Internal Learning Fairs/Conferences –food or other enticements encourage staff to stop by and see what’s available, sample a course, view posters, and talk with others who have used the resources. These physical space events can be held annually, semi-annually, or more often.
  3. Learning websites with detailed info about courses – such as a conference might have
  4. Informal video testimonials about learning offerings – viewing can be tracked via YouTube or similar.
  5. Radio-style podcasts, conference calls or webcasts about learning opportunities. Some organizations interview fellow staff members who are internal opinion leaders about specific courses or learning assets they want to market.
  6. PDF posters/flyers or brochures with fresh messages that are sent (or emailed to be printed in) each office. Many organizations post info in places where staff is sure to see them (on entry doors, elevators, stairwells, even the restrooms!).
  7. Postcards for each person you want to reach with a certain message – ie, for supervisors prior to annual performance reviews with a reminder of a course or job aid on the topic.
  8. Build the information into performance planning/annual reviews: show individual contributors and supervisors that learning is highly valued in your organization and include reminders and access information into the performance process.
  9. Leverage organizational social media: Yammer, intranets/sharepoint – highlight your self-paced, and instructor led training offerings/resources.
  10. Short videos from your Executive Director, Country Directors or internal opinion leaders: about new learning resources, the importance of staying up-to-date, aligning learning with your mission.

What other approaches have you seen used, used in your organization or want to try? Add to the discussion on the LINGOs group on LinkedIn. Communicating Learning seems like a topic worth of a Virtual Coffee Break or discussion at the Annual Member Meeting in October.

Be part of the discussion: Make plans to attend LINGOs’ 2011 Annual Member Meeting

  • Hosted by PATH in Seattle October 11 and 12, 2011
  • Reception at SightLife evening of October 11
  • Optional Workshops at PATH October 13

For information on the member meeting, please click here.



Selecting Courses to Meet Learner Needs

By Ruth Kustoff, Principal, Knowledge Advantage

This is the second post in a series of resources for LINGOs members.

Building on my first post, Getting started: Identify top learning needs and develop a plan, this entry will provide some guidance for member agencies in selecting courses for their learning portals. Many new LINGOs member agencies are overwhelmed with course options as they get started.   LINGOs members have access to a menu of more than 3000 on-line courses from which to choose.  Level 2 and Enterprise Members may select from among these courses to include on their agency portals.  Rather than looking at the courses, it makes sense to start with your organizational learning needs.

First, identify areas within the organization and analyze what skills, knowledge and competencies are needed to complete job functions. For example, does your staff have the skills required in key areas such as project management, leadership, meeting facilitation, and communications?

Then, identify how you will look deeper into learning needs of specific job functions to determine the course offerings best suited to your organization.

Identify your learner

To identify what content or learning programs your organization needs, it’s helpful to know who will complete the learning, what jobs they have, and the specific tasks and responsibilities of the jobs.

This process is a large undertaking. I’ve broken down into steps to help you think about what type of learning is required by various job functions.  As individuals assess their knowledge needs, their answers will give you a better understanding of existing skills and knowledge gaps to identify which LINGOs courses are needed, or what course content may need to be created or acquired separately.

During the LINGOs’ Virtual Coffee Break for June, in which Peter Balvanz from FHI outlined the process his organization used to engage staff, plan, pilot and launch its learning portal, we discussed many of the steps I’ll outline below.  Click here for a link to the recording and here to link to Peter’s guest blog from January.

Define Skill Gaps and Learning Needs

1. Survey managers who supervise others what competencies are needed by staff to do specific job functions. Ask managers to identify where their staff members need additional training.

2. Identify type of training or knowledge needed for specific jobs. For example, does the job require knowledge of, and skills in:

  • Specific technical skills: IT Professional Certifications, specific software skills, project management, food security, clinical training techniques;
  • Improved personal management skills or knowledge: time management, writing skills, safety and security, stress management;
  •  Leadership and management: motivational, leadership, supervisory, coaching, performance management, people management.

3. Survey staff Either everyone in the organization or a pilot group can help to identify their skill requirements by job function and title. In the survey, ask individuals what knowledge and skills are required to meet their job needs and goals. You may also want to ask them, or the IT manager for each country/office about internet access to help you determine whether staff will be able to access more bandwidth-intense courses (such as ones that include video). Click here for a list of technical requirements for LINGOs Catalog courses.

4. Select courses After you have determined the job function competencies and knowledge needs, identify and select a defined number of courses that align to these areas. These courses will help staff in each job function/ individual gain new knowledge or information to carry out their job’s requirements more successfully.

  •  With job function competencies identified and aligned to specific content areas and course topics, now you can identify expected learning outcomes. For example, after completing a specific course, a learner (or group with similar job title) will be able to: list functions that can be completed, new skills to be used in what way, or additional knowledge that will positively impact a specific area of the job function.

Course Selection Summary

The LINGOs course library includes courses that are relevant for many job areas across an array of organizations. Once you’ve identified the needs of each job function, and determined skill or knowledge gaps for each job title, you can choose courses focused on those areas. I recommend beginning with a limited number of course offerings, and adding new courses on a regular basis.

Starting small allows your staff to get comfortable with computer based learning and the learning process. It also provides you opportunities to continue to engage with staff and market learning goals, expectations and resources available to them through your new learning program.

In addition to self-paced courses on the LINGOs IntraLearn LMS and through SCORM Dispatch, LINGOs members have access to additional on-line learning content, including virtual classroom content and time-bound courses from eCornell.  Level 2 and Enterprise members can create and upload custom-developed courses to their portals, or purchase access to SCORM 1.2 Compliant courses from other vendors to place on their portals.

To see an overview of courses available from LINGOs, listed by topic and by Developer/Partner click here.

When thinking about developing custom, or bespoke, courses, remember the eLearning Global Giveback Competition, through which you may be able to work with a volunteer instructional designer or eLearning developer to transform your existing content into eLearning.

Upcoming blog posts will address how to build awareness of the learning program with a communications plan, and how to identify learning liaisons and power users in the field.

 Ruth Kustoff is a learning strategist with 20 years experience. She works with organizations to develop and integrate talent solutions, including adult learning, elearning, and training programs. Her expertise includes organizational performance, project management, and information and knowledge sharing.

Ruth is a member of the LINGOs Group on LinkedIn and can respond to general learning strategy questions there. She is also available for consultation for issues specific to an individual organization.

LINGOs Community Grateful for Highly Skilled Volunteers

By Eric Berg, Executive Director, LINGOs

 One of the founding principles of LINGOs was to provide a community of like-minded individuals who could come together to make learning experiences more accessible to staff and partners working in the developing world.  Our members are a large part of that community, our private sector partners who contribute their products and services with the goal of enhancing Learning Where it Really Matters are also part of that community. A third and essential part of the LINGOs community are our volunteers. In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation week and on behalf of all LINGOs members I want to express our gratitude for the volunteers who not only have served LINGOs in the past year, but also those who have volunteered through LINGOs directly with our member organizations.

One of the unique characteristics of LINGOs volunteers is they are able to use their highest skills to contribute to the work of LINGOs and its members. In the past, volunteers were often asked to do tasks that needed to be done like answering phones, processing mail and all kinds of physical labor. However, these were not tasks that exploited the unique professional skills that many volunteers often brought to the work.  While occasionally someone with accounting or legal or marketing skills were used in those areas, for the most part, volunteers simply were viewed as surplus labor.

The volunteers we speak with are eager to be a part of the work LINGOs and its members do in the developing world to build the skills of field-based staff. While most are not able to take time off and travel to these far-away places, they would still like to know that their contribution is making a difference in the field. Fortunately, there is much that needs to be done that can be completed remotely without ever leaving home or office. 

In the past two years through the LINGOs/eLearning Guild eLearning Global Giveback program, over 50 courses have been created by more than 100 volunteer instructional designers, developers and learning professionals. These course have been taken by people around the world and the work of the volunteers is being felt in remote parts of the globe.

In addition to the outstanding Global Giveback Volunteers (179 who signed up for GG2 and the 150+ eLearning developers, instructional designers and gamers who are on the eLearning Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn),  many other volunteers have shared their expertise, advice and time with LINGOs and its members this year.

In the past few months alone LINGOs itself has benefitted from:

Instructional Technology graduate students who have interned with LINGOs on projects, from assessing the need and support for a contextualized curriculum for blended and eLearning for NGOs to helping  define the learning objectives and develop the examination question for the PMD Pro certification– we thank Jennifer May and Jenny McAtee from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Sharing marketing knowledge, skill and expertise to help us build our own capacity to clarify and communicate what LINGOs has to offer to potential members, partners and other volunteers – we are grateful to Bryce Johannes.

Facilitating the identification of needs, processes and resources to update LINGOs’ web architecture, to help us better serve our existing members, our potential members and their global staff, to engage partners and volunteers, we thank Celia Bohle, Kevin Kussman and Bryce Johannes.

Introducing us to potential partners, serving as a strategic advisor to a new and relatively small organization, building templates that will be of use to many new members, we thank Ruth Kustoff.

For providing his engaging and interactive virtual classroom training to build the capacity of over 400 humanitarian relief, international development, social justice and conservation workers from the staff of our member organizations so that they can design and deliver engaging virtual classroom training, we are grateful to Greg Davis.

For reviewing and juding the eLearning Global Giveback competition this year, we thank Jane BozarthGreg Davis,   Linda EnglishJane HartJim KlaasPatti Shank, and  Roger Steele.

The individual and corporate Instructional designers, eLearning developers who participated in the eLearning Global Giveback not only contributed the courses they developed, but also mentored and coached individuals and organizations to build their capacity to create their own courses in the future. Many of these courses will benefit not only the global staff of the organizations that received them, but the global staff of other LINGOs member agencies (probably well over 100,000 international development, relief, conservation and social justice workers), but in some cases, such as Amanda Warner’s winning course for ACCION and the Smart Campaign, will benefit anyone working in microfinance.

We are indeed fortunate to have had so many volunteers give LINGOs and our members this tremendous gift of time, expertise and service.

The inside scoop on newly available courses

While still feeling the spark and energy from the recent awards and demo-fest of the 2nd eLearning Global Giveback at the Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando, I want to update members on the 50 new courses added to the LINGOs catalog during the first quarter of 2011.

Quite a few of the newly added courses  are from MindLeaders, related to MS Office Upgrades to version 2010 (for Word®, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Outlook®), MS SQL Server, as well as on Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. However, there are many courses that are now shared by fellow members – some from Global Giveback 1 (a year ago) and others from this most recent Global Giveback (GG2).

For our many members working in health …

PSI (Population Services International) has shared with the LINGOs community two of its GG2 Finalist courses: A Primer to the Global Fund (developed by veteran Global Giveback Volunteer Bonnie Taylor/ISDiva) and Pretesting Social Marketing Messages (Created by volunteer Kathy Jeep).

Ipas has made available the reproductive health and rights courses from IpasUniversity. Seven titles from IpasU were added. (IpasU is a self-paced learning site on the internet for reproductive health care providers, primarily in the developing world, with a focus on safe abortion care and postabortion care.)

Just before joining LINGOs in March of this year, Jhpiego shared its ModCAL® (Modified Computer-Assisted Learning) for Training Skills, a computer-based knowledge update learning resource. This course is meant for individuals who are service providers and are available and interested in training. It may also be used for pre-service faculty or clinical preceptors.


For those who spend US Government Funds:

ACDI/VOCA’s strategic contribution from the eLearning Global Giveback last year is OMB Circular A-122. It is a very nice tutorial for those responsible for spending USAID funds. Thanks to John Leary at ACDI/VOCA and GG1 volunteers Bonnie Taylor & Lisa Barnstorm for this course!


If you work in teams and/or work to strengthen teams:

Our partner QuickLessons teamed  up with ACDI/VOCA in the 2nd Global Giveback on a great course entitled “How to Design a Team Building Workshop.” This finalist course is packed with great tools and job aids. For more info, see the case study they co-wrote.  And for those developing online courses in teams – please keep QuickLessons in mind as a web-based authoring environment that allows multiple users to work together.

Finance courses – Micro and Personal

ACCION was a big participant in the first and second eLearning Global Giveback.  In both years they had the great fortune to work with instructional designer and developer Amanda Warner on self-paced courses and simulations.  Last year’s finalist course “Build, Manage and Improve Credit” is available for you and your staff as well as this year’s winning course/simulation “Client Protection and Financial Education in Microfinance.”

Values and value

Several agencies have developed courses for their staff and volunteers on their organizational values.  ACCION, Habitat for Humanity both had finalist courses in this year’s global giveback related to their organizational values. You can view both and Save the Children’s course on its “Code of Conduct” on the eLearning Global Giveback Showcase portal.


You can get an overview of the course topics and partners on the LINGOs site under Available Courses (you may be particularly interested in the growing “partner” entitled “sector-specific courses.”   Member Agency key contacts and LMS administrators have the new password to log in and test-drive courses on the LINGOsCatalogportal (that hyperlink will get you there… my apologies for inaccurate prefix on the recent email about the change in username and pw – those were correct).

As always, LMS Administrators who wish to add a course to their Level 2 or Enterprise portals, or to have a SCORM Package dispatched via your SCORM Dispatch subscription, please email support (at) LINGOs.org with the course code and course title (details available on the Catalog Portal).



Remember the eLearning Global Giveback! If you have content ready to adapt for eLearning, mLearning or simulation/game learning, and are a member of LINGOs (or a volunteer who wants to develop resources for LINGOs member agencies), consider the eLearning Global Giveback. Any course developed on a volunteer basis for a LINGOs member agency this year (and submitted by December 16, 2011) is eligible for the competition.

For information on the eLearning Global Giveback3, please click here and join the eLearning Global Giveback Group on LinkedIn (this is not the LINGOs group). The “match” between agency and volunteer is happening this year on LinkedIn.

We’ll chat about new courses and the Global Giveback at the LINGOs Quarterly Update for Members on April 14, 2011. Click here for the details.

Posted by Marian Abernathy

Coaching for Results and Consumer Protection & Financial Education in Microfinance Courses Win in 2nd eLearning Global Giveback Competition

March 24 (Orlando, FL)

Eric Berg, Executive Director of LINGOs thanked all the eLearning volunteers who developed courses for LINGOs members and announced the eight finalists and two winners of the second eLearning Global Giveback Competition today at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo.

Through the first two eLearning Global Giveback competitions, instructional designers and eLearning developers have created over 50 online courses as volunteers for international non-profit organizations. These courses will help the global staff of LINGOs member agencies, do their good work in the fields of humanitarian relief, development, conservation and social justice even better.

The winner in the individual developer category is Amanda Warner, who created the course “Consumer Protection and Financial Education in Microfinance” for ACCION, a microfinance organization based in Boston. The course launched publically late last month as part of the SMART Campaign. In its first month online, the flash-authored course hosted almost 500 views.   

 Screenshot from Client Protection Simulation


The winning course in the corporate developer category is “Coaching for Results,” created by Illumina Interactive, Inc. and EnVision Performance Solutions, Inc. for LINGOs member Management Sciences for Health, based in Cambridge, MA.  

The Finalists in the second competition in the individual developer category are:

Volunteer Finalist Course Title Agency
Scott A VanDeKeere Code of Conduct Save the Children
Suzanne Davies and Aparna Jadhav HFHI Values in Action Habitat for Humanity International
Mikaron Fortier  and  Kim Correll Managing your Business Expenses at The Nature Conservancy The Nature Conservancy
Kathy Jeep Pretesting Social Marketing Messages Population Services International (PSI)
Susan Lichtig and Rob Gahagan PSI Ethics Training PSI






Finalists in the Corporate Developer category are:

Bonnie Taylor/ISDiva A Primer to the Global Fund PSI
Quicklessons How to Design a Team Building Workshop ACDI/VOCA
WITS Interactive Pvt. Ltd. A Values Driven Workplace – Living Our Values at ACCION ACCION




See the courses

The winning and finalist courses are available for viewing on a showcase portal: http://lingosglobalgiveback.org/

Volunteer and Agency Perspective

This is winner Amanda Warner’s second time participating in the eLearning Global Giveback and her second time partnering with microfinance not-for-profit ACCION, whose mission is to give people the financial tools they need to work their way out of poverty. Her first course, “Build, Manage and Improve Credit” is available online not just to the global staff of ACCION, but to the general public. “It’s so motivating to see the course in action,” said Warner, who estimates she spent between 180 and 210 hours developing this year’s winning course.

“It was great to play with different ideas, and work on a totally different type of content from my day job,” she said. Warner took reams of ACCION’s existing face-to-face course materials, spread sheets, word documents, published guides and other resources and developed a proposal for an engaging, interactive simulation.

ACCION Representative Amy Stewart worked with Warner on this year’s individual winning entry as well as with corporate entry Finalist WITS Interactive, who created a custom-course for ACCION “A Values Driven Workplace – Living Our Values at ACCION.” Stewart is grateful to both developers, and to LINGOs and the eLearning Guild for organizing the competition.  “There is no question that these courses add value to ACCION,” she said.

Jude Griffin of Management Sciences for Health (MSH), the health organization benefitting from the corporate category first place course agreed. “The experience of working with Illumina Interactive and EnVision Performance Solutions was fantastic,” she said. “They took the moodle platform and pulled in other tools. They showed it’s a viable way to use multiple software elements and make a really interactive learning.

Screenshot from pilot version of Coaching for Results Course

This course will help people understand what’s possible.” Michael Getz, of Illumina Interactive noted “the course was a springboard opportunity to push the envelope in terms of learning experience,” he said. “We used a creative approach to the blended learning environment: adding value and content to the core content that MSH provided.” The course is built in moodle, and includes quizzes and engaging interactions through Ariculate, surveys and polls via survey monkey.

Irene Stern Frielich, founder and president of EnVision Performance Solutions, Inc., worked with MSH and Illumina Interactive to develop the instructional design for the course. Speaking for both companies, Frielich said, “we both believe in giving back. This was a great opportunity to demonstrate for MSH some new and interesting ways to create learning.” Getz and Frielich estimate that they and their colleagues spent 475 hours developing the interactive coaching course.


Agencies entered the courses into the competition and provided a first round of judging on ten criteria. The top courses in each category were then sent to an international panel of seven elearning experts based in four countries. The international panel of judges reviewed each of the top courses on eight criteria and selected the top courses from each of the two entry categories. The eLearning Guild and LINGOs are enormously grateful to this year’s panel of judges.

Jane Bozarth, Columnist Learning Solutions Magazine

Greg Davis, Precision eLearning

Linda English, eLearning for Kids

Jane Hart, Center for Learning & Performance Technologies

Jim Klaas, DevEd International

Patti Shank, Learning Peaks

Roger Steele, LINGOs


Quality and impact

Habitat for Humanity Instructional Designer Susan O’Connell worked with volunteers Aparna Jadhav and Suzanne Davies on the course “Habitat for Humanity International Values in Action.” She noted that volunteers are essential to Habitat’s global mission of eliminating poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. The work of Jadhav and Davies is different from that of the more usual Habitat volunteer, but just as important if not more so, as this course about how Habitat values volunteerism, and how volunteers are integrally tied into Habitat’s mission, is already in use. “I was so impressed with the commitment of these volunteers,” she said. “I’m the only instructional designer here, so the fact that they were so focused and committed allowed me to focus on other work and get twice as much done.”

The eLearning Global Giveback Competition and the value of the great work that eLearning experts have contributed to the member agencies of LINGOs is incalculable. “Ensuring that staff members in our field offices, in geographically remote areas, are able to learn about priority topics for our organization is critical,” said PSI’s Learning and Performance Manager Marie-Laure Curie.  PSI maximized participation in both the first and second Global Giveback competitions, assigning subject matter experts to multiple volunteers to submit nine courses in the second competition. “Global Giveback volunteers have enabled us to provide quality learning on the right topics ant the right time, improving performance of our global team,” said Curie, who also serves on LINGOs’ board of directors.

Posted by Marian Abernathy

LINGOs Partners with OpenSesame

Guest Post by Kelly Meeker, OpenSesame


You all are fortunate and engaged members of a global network – LINGOs – that takes advantage of emerging technologies to connect global resources to a global community.  No longer are the far-flung employees of international nongovernmental organizations disconnected from the latest trends in their industry! LINGOs is doing incredible work to  leverage elearning technology to build global capacity.

And OpenSesame is proud to jump in. As a new startup in the elearning sector, we’re thrilled to partner with LINGOs to connect our technology platform and community of talented elearning developers to you, the learning leaders in international organizations.

The OpenSesame eLearning Marketplace Connects the Buyers and Sellers of Elearning Courses

OpenSesame is an online marketplace that makes it as easy to buy elearning courses as it is to download a song off the internet. eLearning sellers from all over the world upload their courses to the OpenSesame marketplace, set prices and bulk discounts and sell their courses to new customers.

 eLearning buyers browse our catalog by course subject, author, length, difficulty and special features and discover new courses and new authors. Before making a purchase, buyers can preview courses, read user reviews and research the seller’s credentials – ensuring that they’re finding the best courses to meet their organization’s learning and development goals.

In addition to connecting buyers and sellers through OpenSesame, we remove one major headache for learning managers like you by connecting any SCORM course to any LMS. Our platform technology removes obstacles to implementation and enables you to focus on the important stuff, like building connections with colleagues, developing new resources and getting to the core business of what you do – solving problems.

Opening a Larger Conversation

We are also facilitating a larger conversation on the evolving elearning sector on our blog and on Twitter. We’re blogging about everything from technical stuff (Creating a Multi SCO Package to Include Support Materials) to investigating new growth areas in the elearning sector (How to Create a Social Learning Environment). Our mission is to unlock elearning by making elearning accessible and easy to implement, while enabling you to choose the most effective and appropriate courses for your needs. 

Partnership with LINGOs

We’re proud to work with LINGOs to bring more learning and development resources to nongovernmental organizations because we believe elearning is the key to unlocking the potential of every learner, no matter how far away they may be.

We are partnering with LINGOs to engage the OpenSesame community in generating more resources for LINGOs members. First, we’re adding a check box to our course upload process to enable OpenSesame sellers to choose to donate use of their courses to LINGOs members. We’ll work with LINGOs to add those courses to the LINGOs LMS and make them available to members directly through a LINGOs area on our website.

OpenSesame will also join LINGOs and the eLearning Guild  as a co-sponsor to the 3rd Annual Global Giveback competition. This competition brings out the best in the elearning community by connecting willing volunteers with some of the organizations making real change happen on the ground, and we’re proud to invite our sellers to participate.

We hope this is just the beginning of a fruitful partnership that will continue to generate more resources for LINGOs members. Thanks for everything you do. We look forward to working with you, and we invite you to connect with us through our blog, Twitter or email.

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.



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.