USAID | Deliver Health Logistics Courses Now Available to LINGOs Members

Posted by Mike Culligan, LINGOs Director of Content & Impact

Imagine you are managing a health program in a remote community.  Everything is going great!  You have an outstanding team of health professionals.  They have collected extensive data on health practices and have identified priority areas of intervention.  The team has developed a great project plan.  And the community is excited to work with the project.

 

Photo Credit: Arturo Sanabria, JSI

In Zambia, a nurse explains how to take artemether-lumefantrine for malaria treatment.

 

Then you realize that the project is running low on medicines for the health facilities you manage.  New supplies will not arrive for at least three months. And project activities are grinding to a halt.  What would you do?

Sound familiar?  Unfortunately, it does to me – because it happened with a project I managed.  As a new project manager, my attention was so focused on the health-technical elements of the project, that I had overlooked the critical importance of program logistics.

Quickly I realized that successful health programs must ensure that medicines, supplies and equipment are available at health facilities.  If products are not available when they are needed and where they are needed, not only does the project team suffer, but clients suffer any number of consequences—including malnutrition, unplanned pregnancies, spread of diseases, and even death.

These challenges underscore the complexity of the work of health programming staff around the world.  Not only must they understand the complexities of public health, preventive health and curative health, but these same personnel need to have a basic understanding of health commodity management, and competency in the procedures specific to the logistics management systems through which they receive their supplies.

And yet, while the work of health program logistics becomes increasingly complex, the challenge of training large number of health workers in classroom settings is becoming more and more difficult as funding for large scale training efforts becomes less available, and managers are more reluctant to send service providers and storekeepers away from their jobs to attend training courses.

Recognizing this challenge, the USAID | Deliver project has developed eight interactive e-learning sessions in basic logistics management.  These include the following course titles:

• Introduction to Logistics

• Logistics Management Information Systems

• Assessing Stock Status

• Maximum-Minimum Inventory Controls Systems

• Selecting Maximum-Minimum Inventory Controls Systems

• Storage of Health Commodities

• Assessing Logistics Systems

• Quantification of Health Commodities

Now, through the generous support of USAID|Deliver and its Partner, John Snow, Inc.,  these courses are available to LINGOs member agencies. 

Level 2/Enterprise LINGOs member agencies interested in providing staff access to these titles should have the agency’s designated LMS Administrator contact support@lingos.org and identify which course titles from the USAID|Deliver library the agency would like to add to its LMS sub-portal. The courses are available on the Level 1 shared portal.

Did you know that this week marks….

“World Day for Safety and Health at Work”?

Health and safety of staff is a top priority of most employers, including the 75+ member organizations of LINGOs, many of whose staff members work in difficult and often dangerous conditions. However, many more work in offices, at desks and at computers, where work-place injury and ill-health (carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, shoulder and eye-strain) can often begin.

Where knowledge of how to promote health and prevent accidents, injuries and ill health will make a difference, LINGOs member agencies have some helpful capacity building resources available to them in their learning portals.

LINGOs member agency IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) used a LINGOs-supplied Articulate license to create a nifty little eLearning resource in three languages on office ergonomics.
Founding member CARE shared its Personal Safety and Security Awareness Course (separate editions in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic) with the LINGOs community.

There are many lists of international observance days, or examples of international days of action – why not use your organizational learning resources be part of your organization’s observance, celebration or action?

Tips to leverage international observance days to promote engagement with your learning resources:

  • Encourage or enroll staff in courses related to the action topic
  • Create a short quiz, poll, or competition that provides learning related to the topic
  • Send out an electronic (or hard copy) post-card or poster with information about learning resources and actions your colleagues can take
  • Tell a story (on-line or in person) about a colleague who used the learning resource to take action on the topic

Check out past blog posts for other ideas to engage your learners.

Click on the Calendar to see upcoming LINGOs events (both virtual and face-to-face) for yourself and your colleagues.

A Culture of Learning That Starts With Staff

ACDI/VOCA Provides Online Learning Opportunities to Staff Worldwide

by John Leary, Director of Training, ACDI/VOCA

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

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

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

 Time and Space No Obstacles to Online Learning

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

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

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

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

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

Online Courses Keep Skills Fresh

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

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

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

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

Top-notch Educators are Within Reach

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

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

A Thirst for Knowledge

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

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

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

Selecting Courses to Meet Learner Needs

By Ruth Kustoff, Principal, Knowledge Advantage

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

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

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

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

Identify your learner

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

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

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

Define Skill Gaps and Learning Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Course Selection Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LINGOs Community Grateful for Highly Skilled Volunteers

By Eric Berg, Executive Director, LINGOs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The inside scoop on newly available courses

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

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

For our many members working in health …

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

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

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

 

For those who spend US Government Funds:

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

  

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

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

Finance courses – Micro and Personal

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

Values and value

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Posted by Marian Abernathy

LINGOs Fall 2010 Quarterly Update Webinar

We’re bursting with excitement and have lots of great news and resources to share with members at our Quarterly Update Webinar  on Wednesday Sept 22.

Even if you are planning to attend our Fall Member Meeting (please register by Sept 27th if you haven’t yet!), this quarterly update has news and resources from LINGOs that you won’t want to miss, and that will not be covered at the October 6-7 Member Meeting in DC.

Get the inside scoop on the following topics and more:

  • Need more Elluminate licenses? We’ll shed some light on what we have available to members that can extend this valuable resource

 

  • LINGOs partnerships to Build Project Management Capacity in Southern Africa, Haiti and Latin America: Get an update from Eric, Roger and Mike, who are now in South Africa and Haiti getting this work up and running!

 

  • Want custom-developed eLearning courses on your content but don’t have the budget? It’s not too late to get in on the action of the eLearning Global Giveback. We’ll tell you how!
  •  

And last, but definitely not least…

This year’s meeting will include an “unconference.”  Please think about the topics you may want to share that are not yet on the agenda, as well as those that you want to hear about from others!

We’ve put together some items on the agenda that we know you want to talk about (you’ve been discussing them on LinkedIn, at the virtual coffee break, and talking about them with LINGOs team). But, there’s so much more.  This year’s member meeting is partially developed as an Open-space or UNconference event. Participants will define the topics at the opening session in which we’ll use Buzan Learning’s iMindmap tool (which is available to LINGOs members).  To prepare:

1.       What do you want to learn from other members? This year’s meeting will include an “unconference.”  Please think about the topics you may want to share that are not yet on the agenda, as well as those that you want to hear about from others!

2.       What do you have to share with others? Please bring examples/samples of materials and resources you have developed or are using to promote learning in your organization. We will have two 20-minute sessions where participants can view and interact with each other to share and learn about each other’s resources.

 

Mark Weds, Sept 22, at 11 am Eastern on your calendar for the Fall 2010 Quarterly update: and check the Events on www.LINGOs.org for additional events already on the calendar (some have registration deadlines right around then!)