Tap into most any news stream today and you’re likely to encounter a story about climate change. You’re less likely to hear about the efforts of the thousands of dedicated individuals all around the globe who are trying to make a dent in the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions through the implementation of innovative and sustainable projects. As more and more of the countries around the world are participating in afforestation and reforestation programs designed to mitigate climate change in the Forestry sector of the Bio Carbon Fund and their partners in the Climate Change Unit of the World Bank Institute (WBI), the WBI began to realize that it was not possible to scale their traditional on-the-ground trainings with project managers and staff to meet the growing demand for training. That’s when Vivayic entered the scene to help them identify a more scalable solution.

At a surface level, the most obvious solution based upon our initial conversations was to build another eLearning course. But, our gut told us there had to be more to it. After digging deeper into the audience and learning context, we discovered several challenges that would need to be addressed by the solution we offered. First, these projects, which are designed to monitor carbon stocks and emissions within a certain geographic boundary, are mostly carried out by project leaders and staff with little technical background. Second, the nature of the learning outcomes for this course involved not only knowledge transfer, but acquisition of the skills needed to carry out accurate measurements and recording of data in the field. (The typical “page-turner” approach to eLearning certainly wasn’t going to meet this need.) Finally, completion of the course is completely voluntary. It isn’t required in order to participate in an afforestation or reforestation project. We needed to find a unique way to draw in the audience and motivate them to take the course. These challenges quickly became opportunities to design a more robust and unique learning experience.

Building upon these opportunities, we proposed an online learning experience that blended opportunities for self-paced eLearning with facilitated discussions and interactions with experts who have real-world field experience with afforestation and reforestation projects. The self-paced eLearning course integrated a number of virtual exercises designed to simulate the measurement and data entry tasks the learners would encounter in the field. As we waded through the immense amount of technical content provided, we also helped the client distinguish “need to know” information from the “nice to know” information. Things that were “nice to know” were included as optional activities for the most ambitious learners to complete. This approach kept the course focused on acquisition of the most important information needed to carry out the tasks learners practiced through the virtual exercises. Finally, we designed a unique introductory video that the client could use to gain learner’s attention, explain what’s in it for learners and ultimately motivate the learner to complete the course. You can view the video here.

Align/Deliver In the end, we delivered an online course that has been used to facilitate three classes with more than 50 participants attending each session from locations all around the globe. Was it successful? We think the following, un-elicited feedback from the client is a good indication of our success in delivering a learning experience tailored to the unique needs of this particular knowledge transfer situation. We completed the delivery of the e-course on carbon monitoring of CDM A/R projects earlier this month and received very positive feedback from our participants. Your hard work and professionalism contributed a lot to the success of this course delivery, especially within such tight timeline. One participant said that: “The material layout was better than previous e-institute classes.” A big applause to your team. Thank you very much. Yu Huan, World Bank Institute