Digital Wake specializes in crafting technology solutions that exceed our clients’ needs. Recently, we had the chance to maximize our capabilities for a new client. Digital Wake collaborated with Flourish Agenda to help them repurpose their primary training products. Following a thorough analysis of the content and discussions with the organization, Digital Wake designed a robust solution that included a learning management system, custom training development, and supplemental learning resources. Following is a summary of this project.
Flourish Agenda is a national consulting firm that works with schools, youth-serving organizations, and local governments to build and implement strategies that allow young people to flourish. Shawn Ginwright, Ph.D, the president and CEO of Flourish Agenda, is a renowned speaker, thought leader, and researcher on African American youth, youth activism, and youth development. For nearly 30 years, his mission has been to design strategies that unlock the power of healing and engage youth of color and their adult allies in transforming their schools and communities.
His years of research and field experiences led him to develop the Healing Centered Engagement (HCE) approach. For years, he and his team traveled the country training youth development workers how to implement HCE in their institutions. The success of the program led to more requests for training.
Digital Wake met with the Flourish Agenda to understand their product and their business goals. Flourish Agenda stated a need to hire more trainers to meet the increase in training requests. Before they could do this, they wanted to consolidate their lesson plans and activities. Specifically, they needed to create instructor-led materials that new trainers could use to replicate the training in a consistent manner. Flourish Agenda also wanted to create a certification course where interested youth workers could take a self-paced online training course and become certified practitioners of the Healing Centered Engagement approach.
This was an exciting project for Digital Wake,” said managing partner John Flores. “Working with Flourish Agenda to develop the learning strategy and create both printed materials as well as an online training solution allowed us to engage the full capabilities of our team on one project,” he continued. “It’s even more rewarding to work with a client who is passionate about their product. It was clear from the beginning that Shawn and his team were dedicated to creating this training to better serve the communities they’ve worked so closely with over the years. They were very open to our ideas and suggestions,” Flores stated.
The first step involved an analysis of the content and learning about the intended target audience. From this analysis, we developed a design document that captured the learning objectives and learning strategy for the instructor-led training. Once the design document was approved, our team went to work developing in-class training materials. We designed a Powerpoint with built-in instructor notes as well as a participant guide that allowed learners to follow along with the instruction, complete activities, and capture their thoughts or questions.
The next phase of the project involved selecting a Learning Management System (LMS) to host and manage the course.
Specifically, Flourish Agenda’s LMS needed to:
- Deliver and track online courseware;
- Allow for setup and manage user accounts;
- Establish course structures and completion criteria;
- Manage course registration and payment management; and,
- Offer reporting and certification capabilities.
Courseware Learning Strategy
Designing the learning strategy for Flourish Agenda’s online certification course was a big challenge. Digital Wake Senior Instructional Designer Jennifer Bays explained it this way: “The content was pretty deep in places. We didn’t want to bore learners with a lot of read and click activities. We also didn’t want to gloss over important information. The strength of Dr. Ginwright’s in-person presentations is the humanity he brings to the material and the stories he shares about the young lives impacted by the HCE approach. This led to us developing a group of virtual facilitators for each of the different topic areas.”
Once it was decided to use virtual facilitators to present content, the rest of the learning strategy fell into place. Each module opens with a video of Dr. Ginwright introducing the topic and highlighting what to expect to learn in the module. Then, an animated video introduces a virtual facilitator who shares a bit about their background and relation to the topic. From there, the virtual facilitator presents information and provides prompts for learners to engage in an activity.
At the heart of each module are the stories told by the virtual facilitators. These stories were scripted to capture the essence of each topic and provide learners with a third-party point of view with which they could relate. “We wanted the topics to resonate on a personal level with the learners,” said Bays. “By providing a diverse cast of characters, in race, gender, and sexual orientation, who shared how they healed from attacks to their identities and then connecting Dr. Ginwright’s research and techniques to these healing practices, we were able to provide an engaging and empowering learning environment,” she concluded.
At the end of each module, learners take a quiz. They then access supplemental learning activities. These activities are reflective. Learners read a scenario or watch a video and then respond to a series of questions while applying their new knowledge. Upon completing the modules and the supplemental learning activities, learners take a final assessment before receiving certification.
The online course launched in early February and quickly garnered more than 100 registered users in its first week. The course takes approximately 24 hours to complete, and most learners work through the course one module per week for a total of seven weeks. It can be completed as an individual but Flourish Agenda is experiencing interest from teams of youth workers going through the course as a cohort. These cohorts complete the online learning on their own and then participate in two or three webinars with Flourish Agenda personnel who provide guided discussion on how the team may integrate the new information into their organization.
“Digital Wake knocked this project out of the park,” claimed Dr. Ginwright. “I was very impressed with the time they put into learning the content and understanding the material as well as the intended audience. They then created this rich learning environment that helps the learners really comprehend the material and practice applying the techniques. I’m just blown away with the entire process and we are already getting great reviews from participants,” he stated.
To learn more about this certification course, click here.