Last week, PATH hosted a regional LINGOs meet-up in one of their hub offices, Nairobi. As the LINGOs key contact at PATH for the last 8 years, I have had the privilege of attending several regional meet-ups in Seattle, New York and North Carolina. And you know what made this meet-up different? The location and people; that was it.
Here before me sat 15 professionals from 7 different LINGOs organizations who work in and around the learning space. We all came together for the same reason: meet other LINGOs members, share ideas, and strengthen relationships. It was a great mix of expertise and the conversation was rich.
The LINGOs tenth anniversary member meeting was packed with many sessions and we’re excited that several presenters have offered to adapt and host their sessions as virtual classroom sessions.
You can get a sense of the fun and inspiration shared with participants at the workshop ” “Chop Shop: Stealing ideas, breaking them up and re-purposing them,” got some great ideas and sources of inspiration for developing eLearning” from co-leader Brian Washburn’s promo for the November session. Click on the image below to launch a short YouTube video, then read on for how you can participate in the Chop Shop Redux session on February 4th.
By the end of this one hour virtual training session, participants will be able to…
List potential sources of inspiration
Re-purpose concepts from existing material to fit their organization’s learning needs
Identify others in the LINGOs community who can serve as a “sounding board” when coming up with new ideas
Register Now so you don’t miss this opportunity to learn with Brian and Shannon, two of LINGOs Rock Star Members.
Brian Washburn, Global Training and Development Manager at SightLife. Brian writes the Train Like a Champion Blog. A Learning and Development professional with 14+ years of experience, he was named one of Training magazine’s 2011 Top Young Trainers.
Shannon Cavallari, Organizational eLearning Development and Delivery Manager at PATH. Shannon’s enthusiasm for learning and taking on new challenges is infectious. With over eight years of experience creating and managing training processes and practices, she’s consistently brought ideas and engagement to the LINGOs community.
If you missed it, you can catch LINGOs CEO Chris Proulx’s online version of his Member Meeting session “What Lessons from eCornell for the LINGOs community…Redux” by clicking on this link.
Our last post highlighted the upcoming LINGOs 2014 Member Meeting focusing on Learning in NGOs. Many members have asked for a letter-to-the-boss to share with their supervisor to strengthen their request to attend. LINGOs Co-Founder and CEO Eric Berg wrote this post for member representatives who could use a bit of leverage with their manager or boss. (There’s an editable note, where you can insert some of your own info on the LINGOs 2014 Member Meeting web page. Remember, early bird registration ends on July 31.)
I am writing on behalf of (insert your name/s here) to let you know of an important capacity building event happening in November. LINGOs is completing its tenth year and we are taking this opportunity to gather many of the individuals and organizations that have instrumental in our efforts to provide world-class learning free or at little cost to anyone working to improve lives in the developing world. As one of the founding members, Mercy Corps will be hosting this year’s meeting at their headquarters in Portland Oregon. In addition to highlighting the innovative programs our members are running to build the skills of their staff and implementing partners in the field, we have three industry leaders coming to share their expertise with the group:
Vikas Narula, Creator and Co-Founder of KeyHubs, a Minneapolis-based management software and consulting firm, which specializes in helping organizations realize their potential by uncovering and tapping the hidden organization – the informal network of relationships that exist between employees.
Kevin Carroll, author, speaker and agent for social change (a.k.a. the Katalyst), it is Kevin’s “job” to inspire businesses, organizations and individuals – from CEOs and employees of Fortune 500 companies to schoolchildren – to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential and sustain more meaningful business and personal growth.
Chris Proulx, President and CEO of eCornell, will share the lessons he has learned about staff development and cultivating excellence while growing the eCornell business into the award-winning online professional development leader in the industry. As the incoming CEO of LINGOs, Chris will explain how any organization can leverage technology and content to improve organizational performance.
In addition to the leaders above, there will be concurrent sessions on blended learning, implementing partner engagement, mentoring and coaching and several opportunities to meet with people from other organizations coping with the same resource-constrained staff development challenges face by (your organization name here).
Finally, with the launch of the new LINGOs Learning Platform (LLP) this year, there will be an opportunity for your staff to see how the early adopters are using the LLP to engage the power of social networking and peer-to-peer learning in a two-day event prior to the LINGOs meeting.
I know resources are limited so investments in staff development must be made very wisely. I assure you this event will do more to enhance the capacity of (insert name/s here) than any alternative available. We hope to see (organization) take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Each year, for the past decade, LINGOs has convened a meeting of its members, to share learning, ideas, approaches, lessons and challenges about learning in NGOs. This year, our guest speakers Kevin Carroll and Vikas Narula will catalyze new ideas and approaches for strengthening engagement building communities and networks of learning.
Members come from organizations large and small, from faith-based and secular NGOs, from organizations dedicated to humanitarian relief, international development, health, conservation and social justice. What they have in common (apart from membership in LINGOs) is a desire to strengthen the skills of their staff around the world, using appropriate, affordable, accessible learning approaches – most often involving technology to bridge the distances, so that their colleagues can do their good work… better.
In addition to the two-day meeting, we’ll celebrate our tenth year at a gala reception with our founders, board and partners.
Why attend the Member Meeting?
Why attend the Member Meeting? Let us explain, in a word (or Acrostic):
Learn new skills and tools
LINGOs is introducing the state of the art LINGOs Learning Platform in coming months, and the member meeting and pre-meeting training workshop are the best opportunities to learn about the powerful capabilities of the platform and how to use them to greatest effect in your organization. Some of the new features include online community groups, resource wikis, online help, learning paths, multiple catalogs and a multitude of reporting options. If you want to be prepared to lay the groundwork for rolling out the LLP, you should attend the meeting. If you are in the early adopter group, or planning to deploy the LLP in early 2015, make plans to participate in the two-day pre-meeting training event.
Inspire yourself and your organization
LINGOs 2014 Keynoter Kevin Carroll, author, speaker and agent for social change inspires organizations, businesses and individuals to embrace their spirit of play and creativity to maximize their human potential and sustain more meaningful business and personal growth. Gain inspiration, catalyze your learning and strengthen learning in your NGO.
Network with Global NGO Learning Professionals
Do you work alone or in a small team? For many NGOs, providing learning and capacity building for global staff is a one man or one woman show. The LINGOs Member Meeting is your network — build a global team to help you throughout the year.Like a priceless piece of art, or the cost of finding that unique part that makes your machine run, it’s hard to calculate the value of networking among a community of peers. The annual LINGOs Member Meeting is THE networking opportunity for those interested in strengthening Learning in international NGOs.
Get energized about organizational learning and the LLP
Excited about launching a new platform? The two-day pre-meeting training workshop, and many sessions at the Member Meeting will energize you and your colleagues about the potential to really leverage learning resources globally across your organization – to help your staff around the world access learning they need to achieve your mission.
Open your learning to new approaches
Each year, members who participate in the LINGOs Member Meeting tell us that the time spent at the meeting is the most valuable learning they’ve engaged in all year. They open up a wealth of new ideas and approaches they can use when they get back – some immediately and others that can be adapted and put in place in coming months.
Learning is social! Make connections, form collaborative relationships, get more involved with LINGOs (the full team, including Project Services, Last Mile Learning and our full staff). You can immediately put into practice what keynoter Vikas Narula has to say about informal networks! We’ve built in networking opportunities and plenty of structured interactions to help catalyze your learning and build synergy among members. We’re planning another “Speed Dating” session where quickly and informally share innovative programs, as well as an informal gathering (wine tasting) the night before the member meeting and a gala event to celebrate our tenth year!
Among the fun and fabulousness at the LINGOs 2013 Member Meeting, we had the opportunity to recognize some rising stars and a member organization that is contributing above and beyond to the LINGOs learning consortium.
Originally formed to be a community of learning in 2005, LINGOs has grown and evolved. As a reader of this blog, you’ve no doubt seen frequent posts on two initiatives that benefit our members, as well as the development/humanitarian community at large:
Our Project Services group works with development organizations to build capacity in project management, and provides innovative learning opportunities for individuals around the world to strengthen their skills and knowledge.
The Last Mile Learning initiative is providing world class learning at little or no cost – not just to our member organizations, but to ANYONE working to improve people’s lives in the developing world. LINGOs members have access to all that is available to others, often before it’s released to the public.
Focus on LINGOs Members
The LINGOs 2013 member meeting was the ninth occasion at which LINGOs members have convened to network, share ideas and approaches and learn with and from one another. Over a third of our 76 member organizations from around the world sent representatives to the two-day event to take part in two dozen sessions hosted at PATH’s Washington, DC headquarters.
It was a wonderful occasion, and at the reception hosted at the offices of the National Democratic Institute, we recognized some key contributors to our learning community.
LINGOs recognized two individuals each one new to the community stood out as exemplifying the ideals on which LINGOs was formed. Both work with organizations that have joined LINGOs in the past two years, and each has contribute to the community in ways large and small – serve on advisory committees, share what they are learning – spotlights on work in progress, espresso shots, share questions and concerns in LinkedIn… provide and share across the community.
LINGOs’ 2013 Member of the Year FHI 360 joined the LINGOs community three years ago, and has since undergone significant transition and growth. Paige Layno Winn, FHI 360 Senior Learning Officer and designated contact to LINGOs has played an extraordinary role and is more than a LINGOs star (maybe a sun).
“LINGOs recognizes FHI 360 as its 2013 Member of the Year not simply for using LINGOs resources well within their organization,” said LINGOs CEO Eric Berg. “Rather, the recognition is for sharing and giving back to the LINGOs community that includes 75 + international development organizations and the other organizations and individuals with whom LINGOs interacts via its Last Mile Learning initiative (www.LastMileLearning.org) and our Project Services groups.”
FHI 360 emulates the ideals of a learning community on which LINGOs was founded 9 years ago, and it is an honor to present the 2013 Member of the Year award to Paige Winn for FHI 360.
FHI360 shared its initial learning and process for deploying its LMS with other members in a blog post in January 2011. This relatively simple way to share knowledge and approach to deploying technology based learning, has benefitted the many organizations that have joined LINGOs since then. In an early 2013 “Espresso shot” shared a great update on internal community building, that highlights use of resources they get through LINGOs and other low cost resource such as NING.
FHI 360 is clearly is deploying LINGOs resources well, as can be seen from its learning management system utilization reports in terms of the total number of staff registered and actively engaging in and completing self-paced courses, as well as participating in events.
Our Member of the year has tried out many member benefits, sometimes investing extra resources in getting more than what is available through LINGOs – such as we shared in the January Spotlight article.
Also through the Global Giveback, FHI 360 created a harassment and discrimination course that, with minimal adaptation, is now available for the entire LINGOs and InsideNGO community, has shared its approaches to using the LINGOs-hosted LMS for events and reporting.
LINGOs Laureate Award Bestowed
Earlier this year, in a LINGOs LINK Spotlight article, we reported that IDG’s Computerworld Honors Program named LINGOs as a 2013 Laureate for its collaboration with Rustici Software in the creation of SCORM Dispatch. The annual award program honors visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change. Todd Slater, Director of the Technology Learning Center Director at The Nature Conservancy and LINGOs Board Member bestowed the ComputerWorld Honors Laureate medal on LINGOs’ Director of Technology, Robb Allen. Robb lead the work for LINGOs with Rustici Software that member organizations are now using to provide content from the LINGOs catalog to more than ten portals.
You’ve got a new course or learning resource and it’s a great learning opportunity for your staff. How do you get the word out?
[ ] Memo from the boss?
[ ] eMail from the Learning Coordinator?
[ ] Flyer in the break room? (or elevator, stairwell, restroom…)
[ ] Text announcement on your intranet?
[ ] “Gamified” approach?
[ ] Hallway conversations from an internal maven?
[ ] All of the above
Have Some Fun
Most of us don’t think of financial management as particularly enjoyable. Last Mile Learning launched its new Financial Management Learning Path with a fun Cosmo-style quiz to ask viewers to check their financial fluency (click here for the quiz).
Market Your Learning
LINGOs’ Last Mile Learning is marketing learning resources more than once and in various ways. For busy development professionals, particularly those who travel internationally and may miss an email that isn’t hugely urgent, so it’s vital to have more than one opportunity for staff to learn about it.
Actively market your learning! For-profit-companies don’t send an email about a new product and then sit back and wait for customers to empty the shelves. They advertise! Not-for-profit charities do marketing, as well. Use those marketing resources to increase awareness of your learning resources.
The “Financial Fluency Quiz” was promoted through a newsletter (click here to subscribe), many LinkedIn Community Groups, the Last Mile Learning Facebook Page, tweets (and re-tweets) and various e-distribution groups. In fact, you can forward it, too!
In some African countries, the Palava Hut is the central space for social networking, informal learning, and conflict resolution. It’s a place that welcomes locals and guests alike. It’s the cultural hub of a village—a place that promotes dialogue between people of diverse opinions, backgrounds, and cultures.
How do you create community in a virtual learning space?
You might say that an NGO’s training classroom is like a Palava Hut—the organizational learning hub. So how do you create that same sense of community in a virtual learning space? The Learning and Development (L+D) team at FHI 360 has been working on creative ways to do just that.
This year, we launched a series of live, virtual learning events called Cross-Sector Cafés—regular one-hour interactive discussions led by country offices and staff from across FHI 360’s 11 practice areas. Facilitators lead sessions held via virtual classroom (Blackboard Collaborate), giving brief introductions and highlights of staff/programs, with much of the time devoted for Q&A from attendees. This year’s topics include:
Integrating gender programs
Exploring FHI 360’s disability projects and resources
Strengthening economic systems in developing countries
Extending information delivery and data collection in low resource environments
Developing sustainable solutions to environmental protection
Introducing staff and projects in country offices, including Nepal, Kenya, and Thailand
Cross Sector Dialogue via Collaborative Platform
After each session, follow up discussions are posted on Café 360, a collaborative networking site we built using the professional social networking platform, Ning. Café 360 is designed to promote cross-sector dialogue between staff through discussion boards, videos, and other cross-sector collaboration tools. Café 360 also provides us a place to post recorded Cross-Sector Cafés , so colleagues who couldn’t attend a synchronous session still have access. And, as a bonus, we have a nice library of virtual interactions between staff that can be accessed anywhere, anytime!
Café 360 has been a great resource where staff share profiles and photos, as well as a place for L+D to post pictures of live, in-country learning events and learning materials. We’ve also set up content interest groups so staff can direct questions to the relevant people. For example, we have a learning champions group on Café 360 where champions can post LMS or eLearning-related questions and get quick responses—often real-time answers in their time zones.
Another outcome of Café 360 is that others are now using technologies like Blackboard Collaborate to facilitate virtual learning across their own global teams. Groups are also seeing the advantage of adopting professional networking sites (such as Ning) and are exploring similar platforms for communities of practice and FHI 360 as a whole. As a result, learners are collaborating across geographies and practices areas, and staff are building their virtual training skills when they facilitate Cross-Sector Cafés.
NGOs often face hurdles with expense, skill, and technology infrastructure. But with a growing variety of social media and mobile learning tools, you’re sure to find one that fits your budget, size, and capacity. In the spirit of a LINGOs Palava Hut, contact me if you’d like to talk about getting started with a virtual strategy to increase global collaboration and learning with your teams. Or better yet—let’s catch up over coffee at this year’s LINGOs member meeting!
The LINGOs 2013 Member Meeting takes place October 16 & 17 in Washington, DC. Staff of all LINGOs Member Organizations are welcome to register and attend. Sessions are tailored for our members: to help you give your learners a “buzz”, help you use a mixture of resources to “blend” your program and give you ideas to make maximum use of the limited “bandwidth” we all have available – both figuratively and literally.