Last week I wrapped up teaching a three session series on humanitarian security topics. I've done a lot of classroom training over the years, but what was unique about this engagement was the courses were all delivered live over the Internet to people in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.
As part of pilot project, LINGOs
(an NGO that focuses on e-learning) and Relief International
were testing a product called Elluminate
to provide remote training to field offices. In addition to RI, staff members from IRC, Mercy Corps, CRS and iPas logged in for each of the three, hour-long, weekly Webinars to learn about assessments, vehicle operations and crisis management.
Elluminate supports voice and text messaging (just like Skype) plus has some slick features like imported PowerPoint presentations, whiteboards you can draw on, user polling, and quizzes. We tried a number of different student interaction approaches over the three sessions (including a simulation where a VIP visit turned into an abduction) and found that the software is quite effective for distance learning. I was a bit skeptical going into this test project, but by the end came away impressed and am convinced Elluminate can successfully be integrated into a safety and security training program.
(If you're associated with a humanitarian organization and are interested in the technology, all of the sessions were recorded and can be played back over the Net. Send me an email at: ngosecurity-at-gmail-dot-com and I'll put you in touch with someone from LINGOs so you can see it in use.)