Four Key Factors for eWorkshop Success

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October 10, 2017

Four Key Factors for eWorkshop Success

By Terry Lewis

Director, Online Learning Programme Humentum

I used not to believe much in online trainings compared to face to face. However, this training has really shifted my mind towards it: the setting, the support, the quality of material, and the flow was simply amazing and very friendly. I have really enjoyed these past few weeks!

Fuad Rayyna

I have just finished supporting our Planning for Financial Sustainability eWorkshop and I am really delighted with the learner feedback, like the comment above.  Most of the learners in this workshop have a programmes rather than a finance background. Their feedback made me smile as not only were learners surprised to enjoy an online finance training but, more important, they learned loads and now feel confident to use their new finance skills and tools immediately in their work. 

This is what it is all about for us at Humentum – finding practical ways to ensure operational excellence in our everyday work.

I’ve been reflecting on why this eWorkshop, and others, work so well for participants. And I’ve come up with four main reasons.

First: Plain language learning

"The word 'finance' has always been a term that walled me in - oh, I don't understand finance, oh it's the finance people's thing, oh it's very complicated.  Thank you for reminding me and showing me that it is do-able." Adisti Ikayanti 

Let’s face it, finance is scary if you are new to it.  But it is not nearly as complicated and inaccessible as you might first think.  In fact, financial management is mostly about making common sense decisions to solve everyday challenges, for successful programme management.

In all our training we deliberately avoid using dense, technical jargon, preferring to explain finance concepts using plain language and real-life examples.  We also share lots of really practical and relevant tools to help plan and manage programmes more effectively.

Second: Practical learning

"It was the most practical e-course I have ever taken. Focused, concrete and with the right workload and speed."Mihaela Darii

The eWorkshop approach is all about putting learning into action.  For example, on the Planning for Financial Sustainability workshop, learners complete a practical assignment each week to build up a financing strategy for their own organisation.  This includes completing a financial risk assessment using regular analysis tools such as SWOT, stakeholder analysis and risk mapping. The results are always eye-opening, revealing vulnerabilities like donor dependency with no savings to fall back on when the going gets tough!  Fortunately, we look at practical solutions, too.

Third: Social learning

"Thanks for creating this intelligently-designed course for us to learn together and share experiences. Even though we do not sit together in a training room, and we are in different time zones, we can still ‘meet’ each other online to share experience on topics and work on team tasks."Thi Kim Yen Le

One of the most effective ways to learn is to share experiences and solve problems together.  This process is at the heart of eWorkshops – learners work together in online work spaces (offline discussion forums, a bit like a Facebook or WhatsApp group) to solve real-life challenges.  For example, in the financial sustainability workshop, the teams help a case study organisation to find ways to diversify its income and become less dependent on short term donor income. They always come up with an amazing array of creative ideas.

Fourth: Supported learning

"Even though some of us missed some deadlines, the facilitators still continued to encourage us and send reminders - they were always available and motivated us to learn more. We had excellent support from them." Jacqueline Otto

It can be a challenge to be disciplined about completing weekly tasks when you have a busy schedule. That’s where our friendly, field-experienced facilitators come in.  

Although the workshops are not run in ‘real time’, we facilitators are never far away, always on hand to give daily guidance and tips, and to encourage participation. We also provide detailed feedback on assignments and team tasks, to aid the learning process.

Join us on our next eWorkshop and be inspired too!

 

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