eLearning Guild Benefits

Ben K.

Learning Solutions conference experience and other eLearning Guild benefits
B
y Ben Kocarnik, Online Learning Coordinator, Mercy Corps

Being a member of the LINGOs community has a variety of benefits. One benefit that I find increasingly useful is our premium membership with the eLearning Guild. This premium membership includes a free entrance to one of their five major conferences each year. For the first time, I was able to take advantage of this benefit and I highly recommend it.

Last week, I attended the Learning Solutions and Ecosystem conference in Orlando, Florida, USA. This conference provided an opportunity to discover new technologies impacting the learning field, experience new ways to design and deliver content, and engage with peers in the learning field.

It was amazing how much knowledge could be packed into two and a half days! Some of my favorite sessions included tips and shortcuts for Articulate Storyline 2; ways to combine Agile, Lean, and User-Centered Design in selecting an LMS; a forum around developing communities; and how brain science can impact the learner’s retention of training (see attached handouts from some of these presentations).

I even leveraged our one free pre-conference certificate a year for premium members to learn more about “Building business skills to empower the training function.” This certificate provided useful insight on how to achieve internal buy-in for training, especially from your business leaders.

On top of these learning opportunities, the community at the conference proved to be quite vibrant. It was a great opportunity to meet and discuss online learning experiences with others. I found many of my conversations helped validate some of the work I am doing, while also providing me with other ideas to try.

The LINGOs community had a great showing as well, holding down a prominent booth in the main hall and attracting lots of attention with their bracelets from Guatemala. I must say grabbing dinner with several LINGOs members in Downtown Disney was definitely a good time and highly recommended!

Beyond the conference itself, having a premium membership also allows access to all the content on the eLearning Guild website. This includes articles, white papers, research, and forums on everything related to learning.  Their website makes it easy to filter by sources and/or topics to find what you need. I have found their white papers and eBooks particularly helpful in my work at Mercy Corps.

All in all, I am extremely grateful to be a premium member of the eLearning Guild and attend such an outstanding conference.  As a bit of a newcomer to the field of online learning, this membership has been valuable for me to quickly get up to speed, as well as see where the online learning field is heading. If you haven’t already, I definitely encourage you to start leveraging your premium eLearning Guild membership–both the online content and the in-person conferences. I believe it will truly help you in making a difference in where you work!

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The top 3 things the LINGOs community wanted the new CEO to know

Guest Post by LINGOs CEO Chris Proulx

Chris_Proulx

LINGOs members consistently want more community and networking opportunities. That is the most common message that I have heard from members of the LINGOs community during my first three months as CEO. Through a variety of formal and informal listening events with LINGOs members, I have heard a lot of what you value about LINGOs and also what you aspire it to become.  Now, I am able to summarize some of the key themes that have come from feedback exercises at the Portland Annual Meeting and the London Members Meetup, the 2015 Membership Renewal Survey and individual conversations with many of you.

Community and Networking

By far, the most valued component of your membership is your ability to network and share best practices with each other. So, naturally you want even more value from the community. First and foremost, you’d like additional opportunities to meet in-person, not just virtually, and not just at the LINGOs Annual Meeting. (Shameless plug: this year’s Annual Meeting is being hosted by Heifer in Little Rock, AR, USA on October 15 and 16—and, attendance for one participant is included in your 2015 dues!) You want smaller sessions where we can have more focused dialogue and more opportunities to build local relationships.

So, we are going to facilitate more regional LINGOs events in 2015:

  • London: I facilitated a UK/Europe members meeting at Plan on Jan 14—about 15 folks attended, networked and heard from Speexx, our new language learning partner.
  • Boston: a self-organized member meetup at HREA on Feb 5 with ideas and feedback sent to LINGOs staff.
  • Nairobi: I am organizing a LINGOs member meetup for members and key contacts in the region on Feb 24. There’s still time to sign up!
  • Orlando: Gus Curran and I will be meeting with members attending the Ecosystem and Learning Solutions  conference Mar 25-27.
  • More on the way: we are looking to host a DC area meeting and perhaps a Bangkok/SE Asia meeting and very likely will do another London meeting later in the year. If you want to host something in your area, let me know.

In addition, you are also interested in improving how we develop and share best practice deliverables around topics of interest. So, you want to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. This is on our radar screen, and we have a couple of interested members willing to take the lead on a couple of topics. Stay tuned for more details.

Reach, Reach, Reach

I have also heard a lot about reaching your field staff, including more support for occasionally connected users, mobile content, and content in more languages.  As you all know, there are a number of complex and inter-related issues, but we share your commitment to deliver learning to the last mile. To start, thanks to the financial support of two members, Goal and Relief International, the LINGOs Last Mile Learning online courses for PMDPro, as well as the PMDPro guide, will be available in Arabic later this spring to complement their availability in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Please reach out me and/or connect us with your country and regional staff to we can continue extend the reach of our PMDPro expertise to where you are working.

In addition, the new LINGOs Learning Platform will be mobile-ready, so that will be a big step forward, especially for mobile-ready courses that you are developing. However, many of our commercial content providers are not yet providing us with mobile-ready courses. So, we will need to work with our content providers to help prioritize this need.  Our Last Mile Learning courses provide us with more flexibility but there is also work to be done. If your organization is interested in supporting our effort to develop and deploy these modules in a mobile format, please let me know.

Ensuring that we reach the field with appropriate, accessible, and affordable learning is a value that is shared by the LINGOs team. Let’s continue the dialogue to help us prioritize the most important courses and benefits, and where needed, to identify the financial support to make it happen. LINGOs has a long history of deploying new solutions thanks to the shared financial support of several of its members that helps us to leverage the engagement of private sector partners.

Onboarding and Curation

The third big theme was how LINGOs could do a better job in making new member start-up more of a turnkey process and how, for all members, we could do a better job packaging and curating the benefits and courses. LINGOs has become a victim of its own success; there are so many benefits available, that it has become difficult to manage. As the newest member of the LINGOs team—I agree; it has been difficult for me to get my head around it, so I can appreciate your needs.

Tacking this is a big challenge, but I would like to highlight two items in the works. First, based on our lessons from the LLP training, all new LINGOs members will now be on-boarded to LINGOs in quarterly cohorts. This will provide two benefits: a more focused opportunity to work with others on how to best deploy LINGOs internally and an immediate community for new members upon joining for broader best practice sharing.

Second, we will be co-hosting a webinar on April 16 with David Kelly from the E-Learning Guild on the topic of Curation that will be followed by an in-depth workshop at the Annual Meeting in Little Rock in October. Let’s use this to jump start our collective efforts to curate the best of LINGOs and provide all of us in the community with new tools and techniques to help our organizations and learners be more effective and more focused in their professional development.

So, these are the big three topics. I also heard plenty more about blended learning, social learning, technical course content, management and leadership development, monitoring and evaluation, employee onboarding, online communities, LINGOs working groups, and more.  The team and I have ideas and potential projects around many of these topics as well and we will share more on some of these topics later in the year.

In closing, it has been exciting for me to discover this robust, generous, and committed community at LINGOs and one that I look forward to working with on a number of initiatives where we can clearly be “better together.” Thanks for your hospitality in welcoming me to LINGOs. I hope to see each of you in the coming months.

LINGOs Community meets up via 2015 meet ups

Posted by Marian Abernathy, LINGOs Membership Director

communityLINGOs is all about community and collaboration to ensure that individuals and organizations within the development, humanitarian and sustainability sectors have the right learning in the right place at the right time.

Our membership community, now about 80 international non-governmental organizations, strongly values the community and opportunity to support one another, gain ideas and share approaches amongst each other.

We’re focusing efforts to strengthen community with a series of LINGOs Meet Ups. Two have taken place so far: On January  1,  UK and Europe-based members met at Plan’s London Offices with CEO Chris Proulx and representatives from our partners ThinkBuzan and Speexx. In early February,  Boston area members met at HREA on a (the) day no snow was actively falling.

Upcoming events

February 24 – Nairobi based members are meeting at Action Aid. If your organization has a Learning Champion based in Nairobi, or you have Learning and Development staff there, please contact me (Marian(at)LINGOs.org) for more information. Space is limited, but we very much want to build and support our Nairobi-based learning community.

In March, LINGOs CEO Chris Proulx and Member Services Manager will be at the eLearning Guild’s Learning and Performance Ecosystem Conference in Orlando and are hosting a LINGOs Meet Up at a March 25 morning Buzz Session. We welcome LINGOs community members at the conference to join them there!

Stay tuned for upcoming LINGOs Meet Ups… or contact LINGOs if you’d like to host a member meet up.

Update from Learning Solutions 2014! Celebrating this year’s Global Giveback & 10 years of volunteer service to LINGOs

Posted By Gus Curran, LINGOs Manager of Member Services

Gus CurranGreetings from sunny Florida! I am here at the eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference, along with Eric Berg and several LINGOs members and volunteers. It has been a very interesting conference so far. I am here mainly to spread the word about LINGOs and to find eLearning professionals willing to share their talents with LINGOs members through the Global Giveback initiative. We are so grateful to the eLearning Guild for giving us this space. And of course, extremely grateful for the Guild’s generous partnership that allows LINGOs members to send someone from each member organization to this conference free of all registration fees.

Today LINGOs  announced the winner and finalists of the 2014 Global Giveback Competition at The eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida.  The Global Giveback, now in its fifth year, is a program through which learning professionals volunteer with global development and relief organizations to design and develop learning resources to help the non-profits do their good work better. The Competition is limited to eLearning courses.

This year’s winner, Samantha Yates, created a course for Last Mile Learning and The Nature Conservancy titled Influencing Without Authority. The scenario based course follows a development worker as she tries to negotiate with regional officials to introduce a project in a region where her organization has never worked previously. The engaging back and forth between the characters in the course provides a realistic and immersive learning environment that supports the learning objectives of this skill-based course. We gave a sneak peak at this great course last summer, and it’s available on LINGOs’ Last Mile Learning open portal  if you want to take a look!

In presenting this year’s Global Giveback Award, LINGOs CEO Eric Berg thanked all of the instructional designers and developers who volunteered their talents to the program this year.

LS14-Award

He also celebrated LINGOs tenth anniversary, and a decade of generosity from the eLearning community. “Your community has created over a million dollars of eLearning for LINGOs and our members. We actually are approaching TWO million dollars. Think about all the bake sales, and charity auctions, and girl scout cookies that would have to be sold to match that contribution,” said Berg.

The competition finalists include courses featuring simulation-based interactions, customized feedback, several scenario based courses, and animation. Two complete learning paths, Project Management and Financial Management, each designed for the NGO sector, were also created.   Volunteer teams, individuals, and private eLearning companies all contributed to the rich selection of courses that are now in the hands of NGO staff all over the globe through LINGOs members’ learning management systems and Last Mile Learning, a LINGOs initiative that strives to deliver world class learning to anyone working to reduce poverty and suffering in the world.

In addition to Global Giveback winner Samantha Yates and the Influencing Without Authority course, the following finalists are also being honored at the Learning Solutions Conference and SolutionFest.

Volunteer Finalist Course Title Agency
Kirby Crider Performance Management for NGOs and CBOs SightLife
Team of 17 Volunteers working through Dr. Katherine Cennamo at Virginia Tech University Project Management in the Development Sector (Learning Path, Seven Courses) LINGOs & Last Mile Learning
Microsoft and GP Strategies Financial Management in the Development Sector (Learning Path, Five Courses) LINGOs & Last Mile Learning
Learning Ninjas Emergency Needs Assessment Catholic Relief Services
Nigel Ribeiro Harassment and Discrimination Prevention Training FHI360 & InsideNGO

This year’s Global Giveback submissions were truly outstanding, making it very difficult to choose the finalists and winners. All of the courses developed through Global Giveback showcase exciting and innovative work. They are invaluable resources that will move individuals and organizations in the development and relief sector forward, increasing the impact of their work serving some of the world’s communities in greatest need.

Thanks again to the finalists, to Samantha Yates, and to all the volunteers who contributed to member organizations this year. We truly could not do what we do without you.