At our recent Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design, I had the opportunity to participate in a session facilitated by fellow community member, Mark Nilles. Mark is the director of learning and impact at InsideNGO, where he supports learning before, during, and after learning events with a goal of maximizing engagement and impact.
In his session, Mark presented on how his organization has been using technology for learning reinforcement in a way that also enables them to collect useful data in what they call their, “booster program”. Because we are always looking for new ways to engage learners and improve learning outcomes, I thought this was an excellent program to highlight in this month’s Community Spotlight.
The booster program, which InsideNGO launched in April 2015, involves sending weekly emails to participants following a workshop to give them a chance to test their knowledge and obtain feedback on their answers. Participants also receive additional resources and can even be directed to online discussion communities where topics relating to the workshop are discussed.
According to Mark, some of the main benefits (in no particular order) of the booster program include:
- Provides workshop participants with opportunities to revisit material on a regular basis shortly after completing a workshop in order to support learning reinforcement—this combats the forgetting curve.
- Facilitates application of new knowledge and skills in the workplace.
- Engages learners in meaningful ways.
- Extends InsideNGO’s brand (logo is prominent on all emails) and places them in the position of being an ongoing partner in the learning process.
- Provides a wealth of data about the effectiveness of workshops to convey important learning objectives (allowing for trainer, geographic, and other comparisons) and provides insights on how InsideNGO’s efforts are supporting improved performance and results in the workplace.
- Easy to manage because of the automated delivery process and good reporting functions.
Mark adds that the final question asked in the booster series of emails requests that participants explain how they’ve used knowledge and skills from the workshop in the workplace. “These are often very gratifying and useful because it allows us to gather specific examples of how our workshops are benefitting people and organizations in the sector.”
With elements of both gamification and microlearning, this program offers a quick and relatively easy way to engage learners. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t have a difficult time turning off the game show Jeopardy when it is on? There’s something oddly rewarding about trying to answer a question and getting immediate feedback. Unlike Jeopardy, InsideNGO’s questions support performance in the workplace, all while providing valuable data in the process.
Thank you Mark for allowing me to share about your booster program with the rest of the group! Please feel free to reply to this discussion with any comments, questions, or additional resources.
And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out our previous Community Spotlight posts: