This guest blog entry was written by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks.
Want to know what it’s like to change the world?
Ask any of the folks who took up the challenge in LINGOs‘ first-ever E-Learning Global Giveback Competition. The competition matched volunteer e-learning developers with LINGOs’ member agencies around the world, such as CARE, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and many others. Volunteers created more than 40 e-learning courses in barely two months! Their work will enable the recipient organizations to train their staff, keep their costs low, and focus on doing what they do best: helping people.
Articulate supported LINGOs by providing software to the e-learning volunteers who needed it, and by getting the word out about the event.
Eric Berg, Executive Director of LINGOs, noted that the volunteers faced some rigorous challenges:
“The timeframe to develop the courses was tight, and of course the work that the volunteers put into these projects was on top of their normal job commitments. In most cases volunteers worked across time zones to meet virtually with their client organizations, or with the other volunteers with whom they were partnering. In some cases, volunteers even teamed up with fellow developers they’d never even met or worked with before.
“Also, much of the content was unfamiliar and needed to be carefully targeted to very specific learners. Many courses had to be built with translatability in mind, since our agencies often serve global audiences. And some agencies have certain constraints, like low-bandwidth connections. This meant developers had to get especially resourceful & creative to make their courses engaging without taxing system resources.”
Seven finalists and two top winners were honored in an awards ceremony sponsored by the eLearning Guild. You can view their courses here. Judges based their decisions on factors such as ease of use, interactivity, graphical content, and meeting the predefined learning objectives.
Winner of the Institutional Category: WebOffices
WebOffices was the top winner in the Institutional category of the competition, for their course on HIV prevention:
Amy Heber (shown here with WebOffice’s trophy) and Sarah Schiller, who together spearheaded the project, had this to say about the experience:
“It was a great and fun opportunity for our company to flex its skills for a worthwhile cause. This was different than a typical competition because the connection with LINGOs added so much context & legitimacy. Volunteering for any worthy cause is always rewarding, but in this case we were leveraging our professional skills for the greater good. This made it more meaningful, because we saw a multiplier effect whereby the time we devoted actually turned into a much larger contribution than if we had made a cash donation or done actual field work. Not only were we volunteering our time, we were giving back by sharing our expertise, too.
“Once the content was nailed, the actual development only took about 10 days. We’d never worked this closely with the Articulate tools, and we were so pleased with how quickly we could mock up the course. As lead developers, we usually use a combination of text documents and PowerPoint to prototype the first draft, and then turn it over to our development team to produce the course. But in this case, because of time constraints and limited resources, we did both processes almost simultaneously! What we found was that this direct line between content digestion and content production via a rapid e-learning tool made for higher-quality output, and it also shortened production time considerably. We will definitely use this approach for future work, because we believe that not only is it a better and faster way to serve our clients, but there’s less ‘lost in translation’ between the creative conceptualization phase and the actual execution phase. The success of this synergy is evident; the client (Christian Aid) loved it and we won first place in our category!”
Winner of the Individual/Group Category: Tom Kuhlmann & David Anderson
Tom and David are shown here at the awards ceremony with Penny Whittaker, IT Training Manager at Christian Aid. Here’s what Tom had to say about the award:
“We wanted to be part of this event because we really believe in what LINGOs is doing. We saw the competition as a way to celebrate and promote a worthwhile organization. They’re doing some great things to help people in the developing world, and it’s really an honor to be part of that.
“An event like this is also a neat opportunity for e-learning developers to showcase and apply their skills in a way that they might not have the chance to do in their regular work life. If you’re looking for a way to stretch yourself and work with some amazing clients, this is the perfect way to do that.”
Intrigued? Interested in How You Can Help?
LINGOs is looking forward to expanding the Global Giveback Competition and hopes to match even more e-learning developers with its member agencies next time around. If you’re interested, it’s not too early to find out more! Just send an email to email@example.com and you’ll receive information on how you can help.
Says Eric Berg: “The courses created will be invaluable in the work our members do to reduce poverty and alleviate suffering in the developing world. It really is an excellent opportunity for e-learning developers to use their highest skills to make life better for others.”
Congratulations to all who participated in this year’s competition, for giving back and for making the world a better place.