Making a Difference - Lessons in Purpose

Too often in elearning, quality is seen as being only about high production values - usually, what it looks like. 'Fit for purpose' can be dismissed as unambitious, but there’s nothing wrong with quality being defined as achieving purpose.

Quality elearning makes a difference 

What do you think of as ‘quality’? Do you see it as a ‘wow’ look and feel, or innovative features? Isn’t there more to it than that? Do we celebrate 'fit for purpose' enough? I believe that achieving a purpose is something to be very proud of - so quality is achieving purpose, meeting objectives, delivering what our customers need and value. It’s about making a difference, and often that means keeping it simple. 

Here's an example of mobile learning that I've read about that might be considered a great example of fit for purpose in its most positive sense. Nine out of ten Ethiopian women give birth at home – that’s a staggering statistic, but what’s worse is what that means in terms of maternal and infant mortality. The 'Safe Delivery App', created by the Danish development organisation Maternity Foundation, provides simplified instructions and animated films to deal with emergency situations, be it haemorrhaging, birthing complications, resuscitating newborns or infections. Described as an "emergency training tool", the app is available in local languages and in English. And a key asset: it can be pre-installed on a mobile telephone so it works even without a network connection or Internet access.

And here's why I admire it: "After a year, the capacity of the app users to manage bleeding rose from 20 to 60 percent, and for newborn resuscitation, from 30 to 70 percent." 

It’s interesting that they’re not talking about what it looks like. They’re talking about its purpose. Its creativity comes from finding an effective solution to a problem tailored to the specific needs of its audience.

Let purpose define quality

From the serial podcast to Pokémon Go, Kineo finds inspiration from real-world examples to inform how we design great learning. While my colleague Seth was out catching Pokémon, I was being less energetic, but perhaps more socially useful, swiping maps to identify villages and roads in unmapped areas of Africa with the Mapswipe app - 'with every swipe and tap, you help put families on the map'. 

Humanitarian organizations can't help people if they can't find them. MapSwipe is a mobile app that lets you search satellite imagery to help put the world's most vulnerable people on the map. 

It's put together by MSF and the Red Cross, and it uses us, the public, to gather data. And it's addictive. It is exciting when you find a village in the middle of nowhere. We talk a lot about trying to motivate and engage people - and apps like this prove that the app itself doesn't have to have 'engagement' added on top of its design. The engagement comes from the purpose, from the fact that it makes a difference. 

For an effective learning experience, we need to focus on the power of purpose. Think about what you are trying to achieve and difference you are trying to make. Once you’ve established that, and then measured the success of your project - and its quality - by whether it achieves its purpose, you’ll have found the key to making a difference. 

Oh, and by the way - if you want to make a difference, do also have a look at Learn Appeal. It’s a charity that has grown out of the elearning community and which Kineo is proud to support - both through volunteering our time, but also through Matt Johnson’s role as one of its trustees. It’s a great charity - and its campaign ‘Make a Difference - Make a Module’ is very much aligned with our purpose in Kineo and at the City & Guilds Group. So maybe you could join in and help them make a difference, with a purpose.

Leave us your comments...

Brian Bishop | 3rd January, 2017

Thank you! Perfect. The main measure of quality should be the positive behavior changes we see.