NGO Learning: It’s time for greater coopetition

Guest post by LINGOs CEO Chris Proulx

Adapted from my presentation at an NGO sector meeting of learning and development professionals on May 11, 2015 in London, hosted by Plan International.

Chris_Proulx“Often coopetition takes place when companies that are in the same market work together in the exploration of knowledge and research of new products, at the same time that they compete for market-share of their products and in the exploitation of the knowledge created.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coopetition

A clue to one of the greatest challenges in providing learning opportunities for the NGO sector lies in the phrase NGO sector.

Although NGOs might be bound together by the common goal of development, this can take a number of forms, and in reality many of us are doing dramatically different kinds of work. In fact, NGOs dedicated variously to microfinance, health care, and conservation might have more needs in common with the private sector or government agencies doing similar work than with each other. Yet, many in learning and development roles for NGOs look to each other as peers rather than from related fields in other sectors. Why?

What ties the NGO sector together, when it comes to the learning we deliver to customers and employees?

For many in the sector, some version of the following statements apply:

  1. We’re charged with delivering learning to a global population in multiple languages
  2. who are working in challenging (often crisis) environments
  3. who are physically and virtually difficult to access and to connect
  4. and we are trying to do with constrained resources.

In the face of these challenges, and the larger macro environmental changes impacting our organizations, how can we as a community effectively deliver learning and development in our sector?

The pie chart below shows recent data from the LINGOs’ learning platform on the types of courses completed by our 80+ member organizations. Over half of the courses completed were proprietary courses, developed by our members for use within their own organizations. While a variety of courses were available for shared audiences, they were less enrolled than their proprietary counterparts. In an environment of constrained resources, this data is a red flag that we may be missing opportunities for valuable shared investments and co-creation.

I am proposing a new 70/20/10 model, not for our learners, but for us a professional community.

70% | Common Curricula and Credentials

To best aid learners, as well as maximize resources, we should be spending the majority of our time developing common competencies and curricula—built around the skills and contexts that most organizations share. One example of common curricula already thriving in the NGO sector is the PMD Pro project management credential authored by a working group of NGO sector experts, so the body of knowledge would be created by and for the sector. Designed to be a common standard for how projects are managed in the NGO sector – providing a common vocabulary and framework – PMD Pro is a truly collaborative effort that’s reached over 10,000 development professionals in just five years—over 80% of them in the developing world.

20% | Shared Innovations

The “20%” piece, for us, should be shared innovations. Some of our greatest barriers to providing learning are issues of access – physical or virtual. While learning technologies are evolving at exponential speeds (think next-gen mobile learning, social learning, on-the-fly translation, etc.), many of our organizations are not large enough and do not have adequate resources to be investing in most, or any of these innovations. Yet, often a few organizations begin piloting a new tool with early success.  With appropriate mechanisms, we can identify which new technologies might yield the most transformational outcomes for the highest number of NGOs and we can turn one organization’s innovation into success for the entire sector—at a much greater scale.

One potent example of such shared innovation is from the higher education sector. edX – a MOOC platform founded by MIT and Harvard, and sustained by many other universities is actually a shared investment in innovative technologies. Although these organizations are competitors for students, faculty and research dollars, they recognized that with edX (originally piloted at MIT) they could learn and innovate faster with improved educational outcomes by aggregating both their investment dollars and their course and student data. They recognized that benefits for all of higher education of shared “big data” sets and combined R&D teams and tools outweighed their competitive concerns.

10% | Local Application and Optimization

Lastly, 10% of our effort should go to proprietary investment – or what I’m calling “local application.” In the end, even with common curricula and shared investments, the work that each of us does in our specific organizational contexts is unique. Even so, we can keep our interests in proprietary curricula at just 10% by realizing that in many ways, local applications can focus on optimizing shared investments, or adapting core curricula to address the specific needs of our individual organizations. In our roles as learning providers – for partners, beneficiaries, and for employees – we’re more valuable as expert content curators than over-stretched content creators.

And as curators, we rely on the curricula and technologies of our community to enrich our own organizations. That’s a bright future for NGO learning.


Chris Proulx is the CEO of LINGOs, the international NGO sector’s largest membership-based consortium dedicated solely to training and capacity building. It has a membership of over 80 international humanitarian relief, development, conservation and social justice organizations. The PMD Pro certification, developed by a LINGO-led working group, provides project managers and team members working in the international development sector with training on the skills and tools need to successfully manage their projects. Join us.

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!

Need fresh ideas for your eLearning? Check out Chop Shop Redux!

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.

chopshop image

LINGOs Members Brian Washburn of SightLife and Shannon Cavallari of PATH will share an online version of their fabulous LINGOs 2014 Session “Chop Shop Redux.” In this  online LINGOs Community Session they’ll provide participants with fresh ideas on how to develop engaging eLearning and new places to find creative inspiration.

Eventbrite - Chop Shop Redux: Fresh ideas and sources of creative inspiration for engaging eLearning

By the end of this one hour virtual training session, participants will be able to…

  1. List potential sources of inspiration
  2. Re-purpose concepts from existing material to fit their organization’s learning needs
  3. 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.

BrianWashburnBrian 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

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.

Eventbrite - Chop Shop Redux: Fresh ideas and sources of creative inspiration for engaging eLearning

 

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.

 

Insights to Better Connecting a Growing Team

Guest Post by Kris Ritter, InsideNGO HR Manager

InsideNGO is a membership association dedicated to strengthening operations staff and fostering leadership in the international NGO sector. InsideNGO is a supporting member of LINGOs.

Using Learning From The Insights Discovery Program

To meet significant growth in its membership and the range of benefits and international services it provides, InsideNGO has increased its staff from five to twenty-five in just over five years.  With the addition of the new staff, it quickly became clear that the less formal management style of InsideNGO was no longer effective.  After efforts to clarify position descriptions and reporting lines, we realized that there was an element missing:  an understanding of management and interaction styles, which are essential in any organization, but especially important in a smaller, growing one.

We leveraged our LINGOs member benefit to the Insights Discovery Profiles

Insights: “…released capacity we didn’t know we had”

Looking for a means to drive individual self-awareness, better communications and organizational development, InsideNGO launched the initiative to have each staff member complete the Insights Discovery profile to incorporate as the major focus of the all-Staff Retreat in December 2013.   We used the individual assessments, online learning available to us as part of InsideNGO’s supporting membership in LINGOs, as well as in-person exercises. As we implemented the Insights Discovery program, a new language, culture (and humor) began to emerge across InsideNGO,  leading to major benefits of a more effective teaming and partnering style across the organization. “Insights unlocked the “software” that allows our hardware (i.e., role/job descriptions) and wiring (i.e., reporting lines) to work even more effectively and release capacity we did not know we had,” observed Tom Dente, InsideNGO Chief Operating Officer.

Insights-InsideNGO

A more effective team means more creativity and innovation as InsideNGO looks to meet the changing needs of its more than 300 members working around the world.

Learn More

InsideNGO Annual Conference: Insights’ Don Johnson will be speaking at the InsideNGO 2014 Annual Conference “Sustaining Excellence in a Changing World.”

LINGOs Member Benefit: Many InsideNGO member organizations are also members of LINGOs (Learning in NGOs). Click to see a list of LINGOs Members. Among the benefits in the LINGOs Membership Toolbox are facilitation tools including Insights Discovery Profiles.

Insights – LINGOs partnership strengthens individuals and teams for global development

 

 

 

 

LINGOs Board of Directors names Chris Proulx as next CEO

Guest Post by Alison N Smith

Chairperson of the LINGOs Board of Directors and CEO of InsideNGO

Chris_ProulxIt is with great pleasure I announce the appointment of Chris Proulx as the next President and Chief Executive Officer of LINGOs. Chris comes to us from eCornell where he has served as the CEO for the past nine years and where he has achieved remarkable growth, created awarding winning products and earned the respect and admiration of colleagues in academia, the development sector and the learning industry. We are excited that Chris has chosen LINGOs as the next chapter in his distinguished career. He will succeed Eric Berg, LINGOs co-founder, by the end of this year.

Since Eric’s announcement of his intention to retire, the LINGOs Board has been working to secure the next generation of leadership that will build on the foundation he created and ultimately achieve the founding vision of providing world class learning to anyone who is working to improve lives in the developing world. The search has included leaders in the international development sector, the learning industry, academia and technology and has led us to Chris who has experience and success in all four areas. As a current LINGOs partner at eCornell, Chris brings familiarity and demonstrated commitment to the mission of LINGOs. He has served as a consultant, learning professional, entrepreneur and corporate leader and has demonstrated energy, skill, passion and results in each capacity.

Over the next several weeks we will be introducing you to Chris through blogs, webinars and other activities where you will get a chance to learn more about his experience, ideas and vision. On a personal level, Chris is married and lives with his wife, Varya, and daughter, Aliza, in Ithaca, New York where he was elected to the Common Council and where he has been seen seriously running the trails in the hills outside town.

Eric remains LINGOs CEO until Chris comes on board later this year. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming Chris Proulx.

 Alison

Alison N. Smith

Chairperson, LINGOs Board of Directors

CEO, InsideNGO (a Supporting Member of LINGOs)

LINGOs deploys Last Mile Learning with NetDimensions

NetDimensions and LINGOs innovate with next generation learning technology for international humanitarian relief and development organizations

Hong Kong and Seattle, WA; February 12, 2014NetDimensions (AIM: NETD; OTCQX: NETDY), a global provider of performance, knowledge, and learning management systems, and LINGOs, a global non-profit consortium of leading humanitarian relief and development organizations, announced today that NetDimensions has donated NetDimensions Learning to LINGOs to deliver a wide range of professional development experiences to the staff of its member organizations and others working to improve lives in the developing world.

NetDimensions and LINGOs have built an innovative learning offering that is based on NetDimensions Learning, the award-winning Learning Management System available as Secure SaaS, that can serve multiple LINGOs member organizations via highly personalized and distributed learning portals. The portals are developed on the popular WordPress blogging and content management system and utilize BuddyPress, a WordPress plugin that provides social networking functionality.

With the WordPress front-end, LINGOs can cost-effectively provide learning portals to each member organization that meet the unique requirements of their headquarters and country offices wherever they are in the world. These portals integrate with NetDimensions Learning via the NetDimensions SDK that provides single sign-on authentication and specific APIs and widgets for WordPress.

“We view this new offering as the next generation learning technology for our members,” said Eric Berg, President and CEO of LINGOs. “It allows us to move beyond simply providing traditional learning management functionality so we can now bring community and social aspects to the online learning experience. NetDimensions has been the only company that was able to provide the right product to enable us to build this distributed offering that delivers capacity to staff in the field as they need it.”

LINGOs’ Last Mile Learning provides free, contextualized learning resources to professionals working in the development and relief sectors. The learning resources are accessible in multiple formats and are designed to serve the needs of individual learners, trainers and organizations.

“We are proud to become a LINGOs partner and to contribute with our technology in helping to address many of the fundamental challenges faced by society today,” explained Alex Poulos, Chief Marketing Officer of NetDimensions. “There is no question that learning can be transformational to communities all over the world and can help better people’s lives with technology playing a key part in that.”

LINGOs will begin making this new learning offering available in the next month and will be able to highlight the technology together with NetDimensions at ASTD 2014 International Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC on May 4-7. LINGOs members include Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) such as Save The Children, World Relief, Action Aid, CARE, Habitat for Humanity, The Nature Conservancy, Samaritan’s Purse, WWF, and others.

“This is an extremely elegant and powerful architecture to address some unique requirements faced by NGOs and to deliver personalized and collaborative learning at the point of need,” added Poulos.

“NetDimensions has always been true to its mission to make learning, performance support and knowledge sharing more accessible to global organizations,” said Jay Shaw, CEO and founder of NetDimensions. “We are honored to be able to try to do the same for non-profit organizations that have to serve their efforts under very difficult conditions. As a company looking for ways to give back to society, NetDimensions is fully committed to building our relationship with LINGOs and to helping provide a learning technology that has an impact on the world.”

 

About LINGOs

Created in 2005 as a means and community for organizations to share learning resources, LINGOs is continuously expanding as more organizations become aware of the value of membership.

LINGOs also serves as a central contact point for private sector organizations and individuals interested in assisting the sector who want to see their contributions of software, courseware, systems and services be leveraged across many organizations. LINGOs’ Partners, learning leaders in the private sector, donate or subsidize access to their Learning Management Systems, eLearning development tools, synchronous, virtual classroom software, and industry-leading course catalogs through LINGOs to member agencies.

By providing a community for sharing learning resources and experiences, and the latest learning technologies and courses from our partners, LINGOs helps international NGOs increase the skill levels of their employees and therefore increase the impact of their programs. For more information, visit http://www.lingos.org.

 

About NetDimensions

Established in 1999, NetDimensions (AIM: NETD; OTCQX: NETDY) is a global provider of performance, knowledge, and learning solutions.

NetDimensions provides companies, government agencies and other organizations with talent management solutions to personalize learning, share knowledge, enhance performance, foster collaboration, and manage compliance programs for employees, customers, partners and suppliers.

Recognized as one of the talent management industry’s top-rated technology suppliers in overall customer satisfaction, NetDimensions has been chosen by leading organizations worldwide including ING, Cathay Pacific, Hunter Douglas, Chicago Police Department, Geely Automotive, Fugro Group, and Fresenius Medical Care.

NetDimensions is ISO 9001 certified and NetDimensions hosted services are ISO 27001 certified.

For more information, visit www.NetDimensions.com or follow @netdimensions on Twitter.

Media Contact

Robert Torio
Senior Marketing Manager
+852 2122 4500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +852 2122 4500 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
media@netdimensions.com

LINGOs:

We haven’t re-blogged other posts on the LINGOs Blog before, but Brian Washburn’s post “The Rise and Fall of an Online Training Program” is a worthy read for the LINGOs Community – not just because it’s by one of our members (Brian is with SightLife) ; nor because one of the real life training experts who weighed in on it is our Virtual Coffee Barista extraordinaire, Shannon Cavallari of PATH; nor because blogging is a GREAT way to learn and to share within the community; nor because his blog “Train Like a Champion” is a superb resource for all trainers and learning professionals; but also because this post illustrates a reality that many face when starting an eLearning program. Please take a look and share your thoughts and advice for a learning professional such as Darryl in the case study.
Thanks to Brian for this gem, and allowing us to reblog to the LINGOs community,
Marian

Originally posted on Train Like A Champion:

I’ve spoken with a slew of training colleagues over the past year.  Many of them have online training programs with learning management systems.  And many of them struggle to attract consistent traffic to their LMS.  Part 1 of what follows is a fictionalized case study based upon a number of these conversations. In Part 2, I’m joined by another training colleague to offer our thoughts and insights about the situation.

Part 1: If You Build It, They Will Come… for a Little While

Darryl shut down his computer and stopped by Starbucks for a treat before heading home.  He deserved it.  He had been working non-stop for the past two years on the development, implementation and roll-out of his organization’s new Online Training Academy (OTA).  With great fanfare, it launched today.  His boss was pleased.  Considerable buzz had been generated over the past month and a half.  Managers from…

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