Institute of Directors - Leadership &
Management E-Learning + Moodle LMS
Creating a learning hub for business leaders
The Institute of Directors (IoD) was established in 1906 under Royal Charter in the United Kingdom. With over 100 years of experience and over 40,000 individual members, the IoD is recognised as the oldest, most established and largest membership organisation for directors in the world. The IoD is globally recognised as a leading body of excellence in corporate governance and board and director development.
One of the services that the IoD provide is their highly regarded professional development programmes including the exclusive and industry-recognised qualification, Chartered Director. The programmes are delivered predominantly via tutors in face-to-face workshops with some online supporting materials to aid delegates in preparing for exams. The IoD were completely restructuring their syllabus and needed a total overhaul of the online materials that were looking tired and outdated. Not only this, but they also needed a flexible platform through which to deliver the online learning, to broaden access and to take full control of the materials.
The IoD chose Kineo to create high quality, engaging e-learning activities and to provide a branded Moodle site to host them. Both the e-learning activities and the Moodle site had to have a professional look and feel in order to appeal to audience who are predominantly directors.
This case study explains how Kineo worked with the IoD to create highly interactive and engaging e-learning activities and a delivery platform using Moodle, the Open Source LMS.
The IoD was already delivering the Certificate in Company Direction as a blended programme. It consisted of ten days of workshops followed by access to the relevant online materials.
The IoD were totally restructuring the syllabus for the programme reducing it from six modules to four and wanted to take the opportunity to refresh the online materials, take more control as they couldn’t edit the current site or materials easily, and revamp the outmoded website currently in place.
Alice Ho, Head of Learning Resource Development described the challenge this way: “We were looking for some highly effective, intereactive and engaging learning content, a platform that could allow us to administer with ease and the flexibility for us to be able to update, edit and create content without having to ask a supplier. This platform would have to be a good foundation which we could build on to support our international expansion”.
The IoD materials are technical, and deal with intricate subjects including corporate governance, finance and legal issues. The aim of the online materials is not to replace what is covered in the face to face workshops but to provide delegates with an opportunity to practice and try out what they have learnt at the workshops.
The following design principles were key to developing a suite of materials for the audience:
1. Get the tone of voice right: the audience is company directors. We needed to strike a professional, direct tone and get to the point quickly. We worked with IoD to settle on a style that would appeal to their audience by adopting a direct style but with links to deeper information for those who wanted to explore further.
2. Break it down: The audience are time pressured and are not of the mind to sit down for 2 hours to ‘do e-learning’. So we took a component based approach, with a range of short focused interactive activities and resources including scenarios, resources, stories and examples. This gives variety and freedom of choice, and complements the portal-based approach.
3. Let people practice: Learning by doing is at the core of all of our designs. The activities present different situations or scenarios in which the delegates are asked to make decisions based upon their knowledge of the subject area. In the example below for instance the delegate is presented with a board meeting in which they can see the views and opinions of each of the directors. They are asked to make decisions on behalf of each of the directors – they’re directors, that’s what they’re supposed to be able to do....
It’s fine to make mistakes in these scenarios (and if delegates are going to make a mistake about corporate governance, it is best make it here, not in a board meeting). We give focused, non-patronising feedback and link to other resources to help directors.
4. Get into the detail, break it down: It’s surprising perhaps how company directors can have knowledge gaps around subjects like finance. For a relatively senior audience, being able to close those gaps in private via e-learning is ideal. Complex subjects need a precise design treatment. For instance the activity below looks at profit measurement in more detail showing a staged animated example.
5.Share examples: Other activities use real case studies for illustration purposes such as the one below in which Innocent Drinks are used to illustrate what ‘living brand values’ means to an organisation.
Alice says: “We really wanted variety in the style and approach of the resources – and the approach we’ve taken together on this project shows that you don’t have to constrain your thinking of e-learning to a ‘course’ – small manageable components have worked really well in this design.”
Bringing it all together: The Moodle Site
One of the key requirements of the IoD was that they had a site which they could manage themselves without having to contact us to make updates to the content.
Moodle, the open source LMS, was the perfect solution as it allows the IoD administrator the freedom to add and remove content whenever they want to. Kineo’s Moodle developers integrated the IoD Moodle site with their CRM system, and configured it to accept a 24 hour data feed with up to date information on the users. Based upon this information new users are automatically created on the Moodle site and existing users are automatically given access to online materials for each of the modules once they have attended the relevant face to face workshop – removing any technical barriers for them.
Moodle also offers quiz building functionality so that the IoD are able to define and build their own quizzes related to each of the modules, and of course a range of social networking features to extend a community of practice around the content.
Making it happen - marketing the Programme
You’ve heard us say it many times in many ways: the greatest design in the world will sit on the shelf it you don’t market and position it effectively to the target audience. That’s even more of the case when you’re selling a solution commercially as the IoD does, rather than just giving it to a more captive internal audience.
The IoD has an extremely strong brand and excellent reputation however their sales team still needed a tool which would enable them to show potential clients what they would get if they sign up to the programme. Kineo created an e-magazine called the Directors’ Knowledge Toolkit which includes a video welcome message from Ryan Ahern Director of Learning and Development, key information about the programme as well as some sample content. The magazine also offers a diagnostic analysis tool so that a potential delegate can determine how effective they already are as a director and what their development needs are. The diagnostic tests their knowledge as a director and also assesses how effective they feel their board is. Yes, it’s a sales and communications tool – and yes, that’s what all learning solutions should have as part of the mix.
Since the relaunch the feedback has been very positive:
“Please send my compliments to your web team on a fabulous new Learning Zone; it looks great!” - Elaine Ball
“Role of the Director and Finance very strong.” – Iain Williams
“More quizzes! Find it an excellent way of learning.” – Padraig McLoughlin
“I learned a considerable amount and very useful for my work.” – Bob Beebe
“Met my learning needs much better than the previous Learning Zone.” – Anon
Over 3,000 users have logged into the Learning Zone since its relaunch.
The March 2012 certificate exam usage was 75% higher than the November 2011 and the take up of the Learning Zone provision was just as high.
The site logs for the week containing the March 2012 exam peaked at 23,777 student visits.
The last word goes to IoD on this innovative project:
“With the ongoing demand and expansion of IoD Chartered Director qualifications both in the UK and overseas, it was important that we had a platform of the highest standard from the outset. The partnership with Kineo has not only achieved this by fully supporting our current client needs, but more importantly has provided a solid platform from which to promulgate our ongoing expansion both in the UK and overseas.” Ryan Ahern – Director of Learning and Development