Like other multinational organizations, NGOs working in multiple countries face a major challenge to their productivity and success: the language divide between staff in various national offices. Take ChildFund for instance, which works to support vulnerable children worldwide: “English is the great unifying language of our business,” says Leslie Crudele, ChildFund’s International HR Business Partner. “We have staff around the world that are non-native English speakers, and they’re asked to use English in their business communications.”
Today kicks off 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, a campaign to educate citizens and lawmakers alike about gender-based violence, human rights, and “the intersections of political, economic, and social realities.”
The uncommon timespan is no accident. Beginning on November 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women), and ending on December 10 (International Human Rights Day), the 16 Days campaign delivers gender equality to the doorstep of human rights – one inextricable from the other.
With thousands of organizations around the world participating in activities, sharing resources, and calling for change, the 16 Days campaign founds a sustained conversation about gender-based violence and human rights.
How are you joining in 16 Days?
Get the newly updated “Guidelines for Integrating Gender-Based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action.” Explore the resources and community action supported by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and UN Women.
Take an online course from UNFPA on managing gender-based violence programs in emergencies. And LINGOs members, the following courses are available to you through the LINGOs Learning Platform:
|Course Title||LINGOs Learning Platform Course Code|
|Inter-Agency Standing Committee – Different Needs – Equal Opportunities (Gender Equality in Programming)||IASC-IASC-GenderEquality|
|InterAction – Managing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Investigations||IA00-managing-SEA|
|InterAction – SEA101: Introduction to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse||IA00-SEA101|
|InterAction – SEA201: Mainstreaming of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse||IA00-SEA201|
|Headington Institute – Coping with Traumatic Stress (EN)||HI00-traumaticstress-EN-HI|
|Headington Institute – Coping with Traumatic Stress (ES)||HI00-traumaticstress-SP-HI|
|Headington Institute – Coping with Traumatic Stress (FR)||HI00-traumaticstress-FR-HI|
|Headington Institute – Coping with Traumatic Stress (PT)||HI00-traumaticstress-PT-HI|
George Nyamao, an Operations Associate at Management Sciences for Health’s Kenya office, has completed a number of certificates in management and human resources through eCornell’s generous partnership with LINGOs. A self-described “family man” who loves people, music, nature, and his work, George also holds a Diploma in Management from the Technical University of Mombasa and an MBA in Finance from the University of Nairobi – a testament to eCornell’s versatility for learners of all educational backgrounds. George was kind enough to speak with us by email about his learning experience, the value of continuing education for his organization, and the colleagues he’s inspired along the way (our words, not his).
George, you’ve earned 5 separate certificates from eCornell through MSH’s program with LINGOs. What led you to seek these certificate programs?
It all started as a compliance effort in my first year at MSH, where it was a requirement for all employees to do the course “The Power of Managing Your Time and Personal Priorities”. I learned many practical approaches to increase my output by just thinking through how I could spend my time to achieve more and still maintain great working teams around me that are supportive and equally productive. Further navigation of this eCornell course showed me it was part of a series of other interesting courses leading to a certificate in Supervisory Skills. [Ed: more about the certificate here]. I discussed with my supervisor Peter about my interest and sought his approval, which he gave readily, and he pointed me to the fact that MSH offers great opportunities for quality personal development. The rest is where I am now!
How has your experience with the eCornell courses impacted you?
I have changed the way I work. It is evident. I have learned to listen more. I have learned to be more assertive and focused on what matters most on my priority list and also the team’s priority list. More importantly, I have gained satisfaction from having to execute my roles even in the midst of time and resource constraints. My interpersonal relations have greatly improved. I can team up with anybody and achieve great results, even the most difficult individuals. I now perceive challenges positively as opportunities for me to offer a solution. Solutions reside in the midst of challenges. Everyone can be enabled to lead in their locality and harness local resources to perform great work that improves the social wellbeing of the people.
The most commendable is that staff in MSH have appreciated that it is possible to grow their skills while working and impact the delivery of service. During my studentship at eCornell, I encouraged my colleagues Martin Githungo (driver), Brian Ayugi (Office Assistant), Irene Kihara (Administrative Assistant), Roseline Wandera (Operations Associate) and Rosemary Njue (Procurement Officer) to enrol with eCornell. I am aware that most of them have achieved certification and others are at various stages of their certificate series program. The MSH model with LINGOs is an open cheque to all MSHers to put their names on at total benefit to them and no cost to them. I commend MSH and encourage it to keep offering these courses to employees.
Any thoughts you want to share with LINGOs and other LINGOs member organizations (80+ international development/humanitarian organizations)?
There is growing demand for skills in monitoring and evaluation, program evaluation and assessment/audit. This is an area to target for course offerings to improve skills in the NGO sector for setting realisable targets/goals.
To existing and potential LINGOs members, eCornell courses are great models for leveraging value, by spreading the benefit of staff development programs over a big team. eCornell offers high quality courses at unbelievably low budget costs per staff member compared to conventional individual staff sponsorship programs.
Anything you want to express to eCornell?
The quality of training materials and faculty is commendable. The print course materials offer great reference. The animated presentations and videos are great learning aids, as are the array of multicultural Teaching Assistants and students who enrich the courses with global cases and experiences shared during discussions and forums. I am glad to remain an active Alumni of Cornell University.
George, thank you!
And to all LINGOs members: it’s always great to hear how member benefits have made a difference for your organization, whether they’re LINGOs learning programs or products donated by our corporate partners. If you have a story you’d like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
LINGOs member organizations have access to an unlimited number of subsidized seats for their staff in eCornell’s award-winning courses and certificate programs. For more information on eCornell, please visit www.ecornell.com and reach out to your organization’s designated contact to LINGOs.
This October, Heifer International will host the LINGOs Global Learning Forum at the Heifer Global Village in Little Rock, AR. We asked our host to share a bit of information about Little Rock. Here’s what Holly Dunning, Heifer International’s Manager of Talent Development, had to say:
First things first: Arkansas is that diamond in the rough that you want to keep secret. But because I am proud of living here (and terrible at keeping secrets), here are some of my favorite things about the Little Rock area, just in time for the 2015 LINGOs Global Learning Forum:
1. The landscape is unforgettable, and much has been invested in creating some of the U.S.’s most beautiful biking paths near the city. One of my favorite rides takes me over the Arkansas River via the Big Dam Bridge, the nation’s longest specially-built bicycle and pedestrian bridge. The River Trail system here allows a rider to ride for hours and hours if their legs will allow it.
2. From the Heifer Village complex, you can walk downtown to Little Rock’s vibrant River Market district. If you prefer, the trolley will also easily get you downtown, and the driver provides a great historic tour of the sites and buildings as you pass them. The trolley will also take you to the Argenta district, just across the Arkansas River (which, by the way, is a stone’s throw from the Heifer headquarters).
3. Another really cool thing that is close to Heifer is the Clinton Presidential Library.
4. For those of you who are history buffs, you may want to spend some time at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and learn about the role it played in the desegregation of public schools in the United States. The Historic Arkansas Museum and the Old State House Museum are two other great places to visit and learn about Arkansas. They are all close to Heifer International – the museums are within just a few blocks – and they are all my favorite price: free!
5. Food. If you haven’t tried southern fare before, Little Rock is the place to do it! My favorite all-around restaurant is a seafood joint called Flying Fish. A great dinner-and-show option is South on Main, and Natchez serves up local Southern.
And finally, if you’re giving yourself a few extra days in the area:
6. You may have spent your childhood impressing your friends with your ability to spell it, but have you ever seen it? I’m talking about the Mississippi River, which is two hours due east of Little Rock (in Memphis).
7. And if you can swing it, head north to check out the fall colors in the northwestern part of Arkansas. Have you ever been to Vermont in the fall? No? Well now you won’t have to wonder what it is like. Fayetteville is a beautiful drive from Little Rock. While you are there, visit the Chrystal Bridges Museum of American Art – it really is one of the finest in the nation. Another great town to stop by if you’re taking a few extra days is Eureka Springs, which is a small art community nestled in the Ozark Mountains. If camping and hiking is more your thing, Arkansas has some of the best. Another popular spot in Arkansas is Hot Springs – the name says it all, and it’s only about an hour and a half south of Little Rock.
In sum, in addition to attending the LINGOs Global Learning Forum this year, I do hope you will add in an extra day (or three, or five) and visit other parts of Arkansas. I am looking forward to seeing you all in October!
Manager of Talent Development,
Open University awarded Plan International its Learning at Work Day Award for Inspiring Learning. Sasha Smith holds the award at UK headquarters in December 2013.
The Annual Learning at Work Day/Week is a wonderful opportunity to engage staff in learning, motivate them for further learning and promote the learning resources available to global staff. Plan International has successfully leveraged this event in the past, and will build on that experience – and its LINGOs membership – as it expands Learning at Work Day to Learning at Work WEEK May 19-25.
The annual Learning at Work event encourages employers to organise a day of informal training sessions for employees to learn something they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do. Plan’s event was such a success that the team won the Open University Learning at Work Day Award for Inspiring Learning. The judges commented that were very impressed with Plan’s objective for the event, the partnership work and the promotion of further learning.
Plan International’s 2013 Learning at Work Day was an opportunity for our team to highlight the fact we are an organisation that promotes and encourages staff to embrace learning within their role on a day-to-day basis.
With so many employees with such a wide variety of skills and knowledge, the focus was on utilising the expertise of colleagues and the day proved to be hugely popular. Sessions and workshops ran throughout the day and included Spanish and Italian lessons, Microsoft Office training and help on how to make the most of social media among others.
Learning at Work Day Going Global
Plan began Learning at Work Day as a UK initiative, but after last year’s success the aim is to now get offices around the world involved. The team is already planning for Learning at Work Day 2014 and working hard to make sure that it isn’t just an International Headquarters initiative.
What do we seek to achieve?
- To successfully engage employees in learning and motivating them to learn in the future
- To promote and engage employees with our current learning offerings and resources
- To encourage employees to take responsibility for their learning and to start actively planning their development with their managers
- To go global with the Learn at Work Week by encouraging our Regions to get involved as well as offering some IH sessions as webinars to include Plan’s global audience.
Resources for Field Offices
The HR Operations and Learning & Development teams are creating a resource pack to equip both national and country offices with ideas, inspiration and resources to run their own Learning at Work Day. They are also planning to host webinars using Blackboard Collaborate to encourage participation from around the globe on a range of subjects, too.
Resources for all LINGOs Members
LINGOs is celebrating Learning at Work Week by hosting several virtual classroom events that may be of interest to the staff of any member organization. Click the buttons to learn more and register. Registration is free – but space is limited. Please share with your global teams! We’d love to have your learning champions, potential eLearners and mentors participate, engage, share and learn with us!
For Learning Champions – We are the Champions! Structures and guidance for global NGO Learning Champions
Join LINGOs 2013 Rising Star Nick Walden of Opportunity International has he shares tips and insights from his organization’s highly successful program with Learning Champions.
For All who want to learn via technology – Are you ready? Steps to assess readiness and potential to succeed with eLearning
Join Jim Klaas of Dev Ed International as he shares some the lessons and approaches for helping learners prepare to be successful online learners. Jim willl describe the online learning readiness passport program developed for a global NGO, and what you can do to prepare for success.
For potential Mentors – Mentoring in an NGO
Join Janine Hackshaw as she presents Accion’s successful and popular mentoring program. What does it take to be a good mentor? How can your organization (or country offices) adopt it? She will discuss how to overcome the challenge of finding good mentors, and answer your questions to help you get started with your own mentoring program.
Marian Abernathy, LINGOs Director of Membership & Communications
I recently took part in my second Massive Open Online Course (or MOOC). And, while a few of my candid colleagues and family may have thought it too basic for me… I got a lot out of “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrationality,” offered by Duke University Professor Dan Ariely. This Coursera MOOC put a lot of the behavioral economic theory it covered into practice, and I’ll share couple of relevant tips here.
Among the approaches with potential for those of us managing organizational learning programs, corporate universities or LMSes can use is the introductory quiz. As part of the initial set-up (after registering for the free course), there was an introductory “quiz” or survey. The teaching team noted that in all likelihood, the cohort of learners would be similar to most MOOC participants and not complete the full course (see “Not Staying the Course” about low completion rates). They asked participants a few questions to help learners take responsibility for our own learning and to encourage us to be realistic:
“What do you plan to for this course (check all that apply):
[ ] Watch/attend the lectures
[ ] Engage in discussion board forums
[ ] Read all the reading material
[ ] Take quizzes on lectures/reading
[ ] Peruse extra material
[ ] Complete the written assignment(s)
[ ] Grade/comment on other people’s submissions
[ ] Take the final learning assessment (exam/certification)
[ ] Other_________
This list gave learners an idea of what was coming and a grounding in what it would take to earn a statement of completion. And the next question prepared us for how to be successful learners, even if we didn’t complete the course. I liken this to how to continue to keep myself on track toward a new year’s resolution when I miss an early milestone.
“If you don’t have time to do all the things you checked above, which item will you sacrifice first?
- Watch/attend the lectures
- Engage in discussion board forums
- Read all the reading material
- Take quizzes on lectures/reading
- Peruse extra material
- Complete the written assignment(s)
- Grade/comment on other people’s submissions
- Take the final learning assessment (exam/certification)
As this was a course on behavioral theory, the instructors applied some of their own content and offered some ideas that could help learners who chose to be helped!
|What best describes how you plan to encourage your own participation in this course|
|do not plan to do||plan to do||already done||not sure|
|Block of time for this course in your calendar|
|Tell others you are taking the course|
|Take the course with others (ie study groups)|
|Reward yourself for staying on track|
|Set consequences for not staying on track|
This chart contains many tips for adult learners, particularly those of us who are not professional learners to put in place. Offering your learners something as simple as this type of chart may help them build the supportive scaffolding they need to complete the course work.
More importantly, what does the learner hope to achieve, accomplish or apply (do better/differently as a result of the learning)? One very simple approach is used by LINGOs member organization Islamic Relief Worldwide. The Islamic Relief Learning & Development team provides their learners with a very simple Learning Log through which staff identify what they did, why, what they learned from it and how they will apply it.
Defining the what and the why at the start of a formal learning venture can support the application of learning. At LINGOs, we believe that development professionals with better skills deliver better quality services and produce better results for beneficiary communities. We continue to explore various approaches to support the application of learning.
Inspired by recent LINGOs webinar with Dawn Kohler of The Inside Coach on eLearning Effectiveness, Suzi did some research put together Guidelines on How to Increase eLearning Usage for her team of learning Champions and has shared it with the LINGOs Community. This post contains 10 tips from the Guidelines, built from her review of the literature and The Inside Coach session.
1. Talk to your audience – and share the results
While it would be nice if there were a ‘magic bullet’ that would make hordes of learners flock to online courses, there is no one right answer to the question of how to get users more involved with e-learning.
In fact, the most consistent point that came out of research was the importance of thoroughly understanding your users before figuring out how to ‘sell’ e-learning to them. We must know our target audience before selecting or designing e-learning courses that will appeal to them.
Some simple questions to find out about your users and their needs:
- What type of computer and internet connection do they have at work and at home
- Which learning topics are most important to them
- What time of day they prefer to learn
- What is their IT proficiency level
Research your audience before launching an e-learning initiative. Give users what they need. Then advertise the fact that they are getting exactly what they asked for.
Assume you what users what without asking them.
2. Pay attention to culture
Surveys and focus groups are good ways to find out what users need, but it’s equally important to understand something much less tangible: an organisation culture. And within a single culture, there are distinct subcultures, many of which develop around job titles. Project workers who are accustomed to competing in their jobs may respond well to games and contests – an approach that may fall flat with IT professionals.
Think long and hard about your organization’s culture and the types of marketing approaches might work with different groups of learners.
Do users appreciate humour and whimsy, or do they want “just the facts”? Do contests and games motivate them, or are they more likely to respond to simple e-mail reminders?
Market e-learning the same ways in a “command-and control” environment as you would in a more team-oriented culture.
3. Be specific in your marketing
One of the most common mistakes people make when marketing e-learning is that promoting the initiative as a whole, rather than what’s in it for them. It’s important to talk with target groups about specific offerings. Mass marketing delivers the strategic message; target marketing is for sending very specific messages.
Target groups based on more than just job titles. Other factors to think about: level within the organisation (e.g. entry level workers, middle managers or executives), location, the language they speak and the extent of their compute knowledge. For example, if you are offering a basic course on using the Windows interface, send an e-mail to a group of computer newbies across all job functions, not to everyone in the organisation.
Craft your messages to answer the “what’s in it for me?” question for each group. If you’re sending an update to upper-level management, include personal comments from other higher-level managers who have seen their employees’ productivity rise as a result of the e-learning initiatives. If you are targeting a group of IT people, include testimonials from IT workers who have received valuable certifications using e-learning. Show how e-learning can give different values to different learners.
Make sure your marketing messages are directed at specific groups of people. Let each group know what’s in it for them.
Put all your effort in to mass marketing, leaving learners overwhelmed by a mountain of courses.
4. Find e-learning champions
One of the keys to increasing e-learning usage is having a few strong advocates who will talk up your initiative. Again, the identity of these champions depends on your organisation’s culture. But no matter who your champions are, they should have the following characteristics:
A genuine, passionate belief in the value of learning. Don’t ask disinterested executive to say a few words at the organisation meeting simply because of his or her rank within the organisation. If your organisation dictates that you must have specific individuals speaking on behalf of the e-learning initiative, do everything you can to bring them on board before they begin promoting the programme.
- In some cases, your e-learning champions might simply be a talented entry-level employee who’s friendly, articulate and respected by his or her colleagues. If this individual takes an online course and spreads the word about his or her positive experience, it becomes a powerful incentive for the co-workers.
Put some of the marketing onus on users and managers. If they believe in the programme, it’s to their advantage to tell others about it.
Get users’ stories of how the learning initiative helped them to do their work better to achieve your organization’s mission.
Count on e-learning champions to come out of their own without any effort on your part.
Identify which groups or individuals are most likely to benefit and make sure they understand how online learning will help them.
5. Get learners’ managers involved
The most powerful champions or resistors of e-learning are often the learners’ own managers. E-learning may be supported at the highest levels within the organisation and employees may be clamouring for it, but your initiative will go nowhere if front-line managers don’t buy in.
Make sure managers understand the benefits of e-learning so they recommend it to the people who report them.
Provide data from your LMS on employee learning to the learner’s managers.
Share announcements and information on course availability to managers.
Let managers know how their department is doing compared to others in terms of learning resources.
Direct your marketing efforts only at learners.
Assume managers don’t want to be able to check in with their staff on their learning progess.
6. Brand your programme
Any company that’s launched a product or service knows that one of the keys to success is branding. When consumers have a positive experience with a certain brand, they’re likely to remember it and to buy it again and again. A branded programme will help learners remember it and go back for more. It’s also likely to give staff the impression that the learning is supported at the highest levels of the organisation.
Brand your e-learning effort – or your training programme as a whole with a logo/animated character and/or consistent typefaces. You’ll provide users with a visual trigger, reminding them that this new flyer or Web Page is related to the one they saw last week.
Haphazardly send out communication pieces that look and feel different from each other.
7. Don’t stop with the launch; keep communicating
While a launch party or other kick-off even can help generate excitement for a new e-learning initiative, that’s only the beginning. Other types of communication methods include: newsletters, e-mails, events etc.
Refresh users’ memories of what they learned at the launch of your program
- Send a series of emails or
- post pamphlets/fliers around the work place
- Send personalised email messages with updated offerings every couple of weeks or once a month, to specific groups.
Keep people engaged long after the kick-off party by regularly informing them of new courses, certifications and services. Also, communicate in a variety of ways, including e-mails, pamphlets, posters, and lunch-and-learn sessions.
Overwhelm people with too much e-mail. Weekly or biweekly messages give just enough information without being perceived as “junk.”
8. Link learning to outcomes
Research shows that most companies are using a variety of incentives to encourage employees to learn online. However, it usually takes more than a gift or certificates to turn employees into repeat e-learners. Some ways to add accountability include:
Talking about training expectations during performance appraisals. Many managers already require their employees to complete continuing education or upskilling courses as part of their professional development plans. Build eLearning resources into this education plan.
- Making e-learning a prerequisite to classroom learning. If your online library includes a course that complements an instructor-led class, require people to take the online class before signing up for the in-person event. Not only does this bring everyone up to speed on the basics before they come into the classroom, allowing you to make the most effective use of the valuable “face-time” with the instructor, but it reminds employees of the valuable eLearning resources available to them 24/7.
- Offering certification. Offer online courses that lead to highly desired (or required) certifications that will allow the motivated learner to advance within your organization.
Let learners know how important e-learning is by tying courses usage or completion to performance reviews and access to certification.
Assume people will take online courses without a “push” from managers.
9. Give learners enough time and space to do e-learning
In a classroom session, it would be unusual (not to mention rude) for a learner’s manager or co-worker to barge in and ask a quick question or borrow a pen. But when an employee is sitting at his or her desk, quietly staring at the computer screen while typing or clicking, the person’s co-workers don’t know – and, in some cases, don’t care – that he or she may be in the middle of a class. These constant interruptions, as well as, the resulting perception that e-learning is somehow less important and therefore easier to disrupt than classroom learning may discourage people from taking or completing online courses.
One of the best ways to increase e-learning usage is actually one of the simplest. Make sure learners are able to concentrate while they’re taking an online course. There are several ways of doing that, including:
Setting up a separate area for e-learning. Ideally, this would be a designated room for quiet learning. If there is none in your organisation, give some time e.g. afternoon session to enable your staff to learn;
- Posting visual reminders that someone is “in class”. If your organisation isn’t able to set aside separate e-learning areas away from learners’ desks, make sure people have some way of communicating that they’re taking a course and should not be interrupted. For example: tape a sign “Learning in Progress” to the back of your chair.
- Forwarding e-mails and calls. If someone is taking an instructor-led course off-site, they wouldn’t be expected to check their e-mail every five minutes, nor would they be required to take phone calls during class. The expectations for e-learning should be no different.
- Offer your employees an option to take eLearning courses off-site (from home, or another location with internet, either during work-hours or on their own time).
Minimise distractions to learners as much as possible, either by creating a separate learning section or by posting visual symbols in e-learners’ offices to let their colleagues know they’re busy learning.
Expect e-learning usage to increase in situations where learners are constantly interrupted by phone calls, e-mail messages and colleagues.
10. Make it easy
From our experience, easy access is crucial because if it is difficult to access to e-learning, staff will be put off. If they have to jump to 10 loops and have to get multiple approvals and long delay, they won’t bother. As such at Learning & Development we have designed a very simple process.
We have also developed a three-piece ‘Managing e-learning courses in your office’ for e-learning champions which comprise of:
1) Enrolment process for learners
2) Approving courses as LMS Order Manager
3) eCornell process (this resource runs on a separate platform)
Make easy access to learners – don’t make them have to jump over 20 loops.
Make approvals easy for learners – don’t take 3 months to approve one course! Ideally, your local learning champions should be able to do this. So train them.
Limit the number of courses learners can take at one time – if not, you will find 20 courses on your LMS for each learner. Again, local champions will be able to advise learners what courses they should prioritise.
Require multiple approvals – remember easy and open access
Assume learners don’t want to learn – if some learners or Country Offices have a low e-learning take up, find out why. Never assume staff is lazy!
Lump all the hundreds of courses on the LMS and expect them to work wonders because you need to “sell” them.
Assume that the best learning technologies can lead to the best learning because they won’t. You will still need to engage with your learners. And that means, folks, sometimes you need to sound less clever so that others can sound cleverer (get rid of that hubris!).
For more insights and tips, read the full Guidelines on How to Increase eLearning Usage.
Watch the recorded webinar with Dawn Kohler of The Inside Coach
Attend the LINGOs 2012 Member Meeting – it’s all about Engagement
Check out the gold medal tips from a learning champion, posted on the blog last summer