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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations:

A Book of Successful Case Studies

Table of Contents

Executive Summary ............................................................................................................ 2 

Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 2 
Comprehensive Instructor Training Curriculum.................................................................. 4 
Continuing Nursing Education: End-of-Life and Palliative Care .......................................... 6 
Continuing Nursing Education: Mentoring .......................................................................... 8 
Mortgage Banking Certification Simulation ....................................................................... 10 
Financial Literacy Casual Game ........................................................................................ 13 
Management for Afterschool Program Administrators ...................................................... 16 
Enspire’s Solutions ............................................................................................................ 18 
E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Executive Summary
Most e-learning conferences, websites, and guides
focus on e-learning for big corporations. However,
non-profits and associations have different goals,
values, and cultures—and require a different approach
to training. Audiences are different. Management
structures are different. Expectations are different.
This e-book contains case studies on a variety of e-
learning programs created for non-profits and
associations and how those programs achieved their
specific goals.


E-learning and Simulations

According to Training magazine, about 30% of the hours adults spend on
training is through online learning.1 E-learning is no longer simply a means
of saving money on teachers, travel expenses, and training facilities—e-
learning has become an essential learning medium due to its effectiveness,
its ability to reach anyone in the world, and its potential to create
transformational learning experiences. 

This evolution has led to a diverse collection of advanced training products

and services. The market now encompasses
everything from basic “page-turner” slideshows to
sophisticated simulations. In fact, the term “e-
learning” includes a wealth of technologies and
techniques including asynchronous (traditional) and
synchronous (web conferencing) e-learning,
infrastructure and authoring technologies,
simulations and serious games, and rapid
development tools. However, e-learning varies just as
much in quality and effectiveness—an interested
buyer must recognize the characteristics that

Interactivities and realistic

distinguish the good from the bad.
scenarios hold learners attention
and improve knowledge retention.

“2007 Industry Report”, Training, November/December 2007
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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Initiating a custom e-learning program, whether built from scratch or

adapted from offline training materials, can be a substantial investment.
Yet poorly designed e-learning programs result in disengaged learners who
do not retain knowledge or skills. Some learners might drop out of a course
if the content is not relevant and engaging. Clearly, you want to be sure
your e-learning solutions produces a real return on your investment—but

Making proper learning design choices can be a challenge. Through this e-

book, you will learn how other non-profits and professional associations
developed their successful online learning curricula.

Case Studies
This e-book contains five case studies of successful e-learning and
simulation programs designed for non-profits and associations. While each
organization’s goals and solutions greatly vary, they all developed engaging
and interactive programs for employees, members, and volunteers.

► The American Heart Association created a new approach to train

250,000 volunteer instructors on basic teaching and training skills.
► The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses built its
library of online Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) courses by
creating two specialty nursing courses set in a virtual hospital.
► The Mortgage Bankers Association developed a realistic
business strategy and management simulation to serve as a
capstone activity.
► D2D Fund developed a video game that teaches low-income
individuals how to use debit and credit cards wisely.

► The National Center for Community Education created a

program to increase consistency among after-school program

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Comprehensive Instructor Training Curriculum

The American Heart Association
(AHA) needed a new approach to
train its 250,000 volunteer
instructors on core teaching skills.
AHA chose Enspire Learning to
develop an online train-the-trainer
curriculum that features quality
video and Enspire’s signature
storytelling approach.

Broadcast-quality video served as Challenge

an effective means for storytelling
and maintaining the audience’s The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency with
the mission to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases
and stroke. AHA approached Enspire Learning with the need to train a
diverse and geographically dispersed audience of over 250,000 volunteer
instructors. These instructors had varied backgrounds and educational
experiences and many had never received formal instructor training. They
understood the principles of CPR and advanced cardiac life support, but
their expert knowledge did not always translate into understanding
effective teaching skills.

Additionally, AHA had little means to mandate training to their volunteer

instructors. The solution needed to be seen as
immediately valuable to the instructor corps to
encourage participation.

Because of the size and distributed nature of the
audience, AHA needed a cost-effective, flexible, and
scalable solution. Furthermore, they needed to create a
curriculum interesting enough to engage an audience of
volunteers. Ultimately, Enspire and AHA decided on a
blended approach, combining elements of video,
instructor-led, and online training. In total, Enspire
Learning content is reinforced by created ten hours of online training, plus additional instructor-led support
frequent interactivities throughout
the content.

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materials, including workbooks, instructor manuals, DVDs, and

performance support tools. Enspire used a
narrative approach, communicating lessons
through compelling characters and storylines.
Enspire exposed the learners to both positive
and negative scenarios and provided regular
exercises, such as an interactive “um” counter
and activities where you click on virtual
students, to reinforce learning. The program
was designed to go beyond the skills needed
to perform CPR and focus on greatly
improving the classroom.

During this exercise, learners are

asked to count the “ums” during
this speaker’s presentation to
illustrate the negative effect of Enspire delivered the blended program to a steering committee of AHA
nervous pauses and tics while leadership in mid-2006. It was well-received by the organization and
officially released to the instructor audience in the fall of 2006. The
audience can take the courses online, via CD-ROM, in an instructor-led
classroom (through a DVD version), or in a combination of the three
mediums. AHA and Enspire made the material flexible so that each AHA
training center could choose which delivery option was best for them. The
e-learning portion of the AHA Train-the-Trainer curriculum was awarded a
Silver Medal in the 2006 Horizon Interactive Awards.

Return on Investment
The curriculum continues to be used by AHA. Since the curriculum’s
launch, AHA has conducted several studies about the efficacy of the
program using Kirkpatrick’s levels of training evaluation.*

Evaluation Type* AHA Findings

Candidates who had completed the new instructor

Level III:
training course were better instructors than those who
had completed the traditional course.
There is a direct link between the science of resuscitation
Level IV: and implementation of science in saving lives. That link is
Business Impact education. Education is at the center of the Heart
Association’s mission.
Users paid AHA $25 for the course. Based on the
Level V:
development costs and number of courses sold, AHA
Return on Investment
calculated the ROI to be 153.8%

*Levels I and II not included in this report.

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Continuing Nursing Education: End-of-Life and Palliative Care

The American Association of Critical-
Care Nurses (AACN), the world’s
largest specialty nursing organization,
needed a course teaching end-of-life
and palliative care for its Continuing
Nursing Education (CNE) curricula.
They chose Enspire to create a virtual
hospital in which nurses could learn
about and practice these skills.

The virtual hospital contains five Challenge

virtual patients with unique
situations. Learners have the Nurses are often charged with providing end-of-life care and emotional
power to decide when and how to
care for these patients. support for both patients and their loved ones. Under pressure, nurses can
respond in ways that do not aid, and may even be detrimental to, dealing
with the end of one’s life. In order to provide nurses with realistic practice
handling challenging end-of-life experiences, AACN sought to create an e-
learning course containing believable characters and plausible hospital
situations in which critical-care nurses could both learn about end-of-life
care and apply their knowledge.

Enspire created a virtual hospital in which critical-care nurses become part
of the staff and interact with several end-of-life care situations. To
emphasize the gravity of these
situations and provide an added effect
of realism, Enspire used television-
quality video and actors to provide
background on patients and their
families. Learners review patients’ files
before entering their rooms, monitor
patients’ symptoms, and provide
assistance based on their assessments.
The high degree of detail and raw
emotion present in each character
Learners make care decisions to
ease patients’ pain and support
were necessary to provide a realistic, educational situation.
their families during end-of-life
and palliative care.

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

The course also emphasizes taking care of oneself while on the job. A Self
Care Meter reminded nurses to take time for leisure to reduce personal
stress. Periodically learners visit the self
care section of the course and virtually
participate in a stress reducing activity—
such as taking a walk outside or making
plans to see a movie with a friend—to keep
the Self Care Meter high. A mentor
character guides the learners initially, but
then allows them to explore the hospital
and apply their knowledge independently,
thereby raising their confidence.
The Self Care Meter reminds
learners that to give the best care,
they must also take care of their Outcome
own health by participating in
leisure activities to reduce stress. AACN rolled the final product out to hospitals across the country. The
course is used as part of the Continuing Nursing Education (CNE)
curricula. As a result of this training, critical-care nurses across America
now have a higher degree of confidence when confronted with end-of-life
care situations and are better able to serve their patients and loved ones.
AACN stakeholder Linda Bell said, “I have already recommended you to
several other nursing and health care organizations. I would work with you
all again in a heartbeat!”

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Continuing Nursing Education: Mentoring

AACN chose Enspire Learning to
design an interactive virtual
hospital to train preceptors how to
effectively mentor incoming
nurses, thereby creating a
confident, educated nursing staff.

AACN sought a method to more
effectively teach newly minted
preceptors, or mentors, how to
educate incoming nurses. Because
each hospital is different, a

Newly minted preceptors mentor

standard training system for preceptors does not exist. As a result,
several preceptees as they adjust preceptors are often ill-equipped for their new role. AACN believed an e-
to working at AACN Virtual
Hospital. learning course addressing the roles of a preceptor—that of educator, role
model, and socializer—would better prepare new preceptors. The course
was intended to improve nurse competence and confidence, and provide
best practice guidance and resources for use in the nursing environment.

AACN chose Enspire to design a course that could interactively
communicate the requirements of a preceptor and fit comfortably into a
veteran nurse’s busy schedule. The three-hour course is divided into short
modules that fit easily into a nurse’s day and can be accessed in any order,
giving the learner more control
over the experience. Virtual
preceptees at different stages of
their training and experience
interact with the user and allow
learners to apply new practices
and ideas. The user practices
essential functions of being a
preceptor, from analyzing learning
needs and writing growth plans to
developing team-building
Learners participate in frequent
interactivities to select best
practices for given situations.

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

activities. Course multimedia design

included a custom photo shoot to
illustrate preceptees of diverse
backgrounds as they moved through
their training.

Preceptees have unique stories and

attitudes toward their roles at AACN
Virtual Hospital. Each section
contains interactive case studies,
test-your-knowledge questions, and
Learners identify challenges that “hot spots” which encourage learners to explore the course’s PDF
their preceptees have and develop resources for clarification and elaboration of key concepts. The final
solutions to overcome the issues.
product provides preceptor nurses, both inexperienced and seasoned, with
the information, practice, and resources to prepare them for the unique
challenges they will face in their day-to-day work.

The course was launched in July 2008. Representatives at AACN were
pleased with the course and believe it is both worthwhile and enjoyable for
those who use it. The course is part of the Continuing Nursing Education
(CNE) curricula. “I truly felt like a partner in the development and
implementation of this project… Working with [Enspire’s production team]
was a treat,” AACN project manager Linda Bell said. “They were always
responsive and available for our concerns and kept the project on target.”

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Mortgage Banking Certification Simulation

The Mortgage Bankers Association
(MBA) sought to revamp a 4-day
Strategic Planning class for its School
of Mortgage Banking, a prestigious
gateway into senior management for
mortgage banking professionals. MBA
chose Enspire Learning to create a
business strategy and management
simulation that closely models the
inner workings of a mortgage bank to
serve as a capstone exercise.

The simulation interface provides

users with distinct streams of Challenge
information including news
reports and market conditions.
The Mortgage Bankers Association, the national association that
represents the real estate finance industry, provides more than 350,000
people with research services, standards, education, and certifications.
CampusMBA is the MBA’s education arm, providing dozens of classes,
curricula, seminars, and certifications. CampusMBA’s School of Mortgage
Banking (SOMB) curriculum is the real estate finance industry's standard
in comprehensive residential mortgage training.

SOMB’s third class, “Strategic Planning for Mortgage Bankers,” was a

simulation-based class centered on outdated technology that limited the
MBA’s flexibility. The MBA needed a new simulation to create a learning
experience that:

► Adapts to changing market conditions. Due to rapid changes in

regulatory environments and the competitive landscape, MBA
required a simulation that could change as the industry evolves.
► Provides users with a holistic learning experience. Graduates of
the SOMB program are typically on a trajectory within their
organizations that leads to increasing cross-departmental
responsibilities. The previous simulation, while it effectively
modeled some aspects of the mortgage banking industry, did not
give users a holistic view of the business, decreasing the relevance
of the simulation.

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

► Blends well into the curricula. The past simulation experience

was combined with lecture-based strategic planning lessons that
did not include active decision-making. MBA wanted the
simulation to serve as the lesson also.

These design imperatives were required for more than just a sound
learning experience. The class is open enrollment and a high-quality
experience would directly affect MBA revenues, as well as direct sales of
the class to large mortgage banks that license the class in-house.

MBA chose Enspire Learning to develop an entirely new simulation. The
Enspire simulation design team and MBA’s subject matter experts
collaborated to design the most effective approach.

Enspire chose to use its Spreadsheet

Simulation Engine (SSE) to support
the development of this simulation.
Enspire’s SSE is a development toolkit
that puts the power of creation directly
into the hands of the designer,
reducing the amount of programmer
time needed.

Traditional data-driven simulations

(sometimes called spreadsheet
simulations) require significant
programming time to create the code
that represents economic
relationships, stores parameters, and
captures decisions. This leads to
Users can make over 100 distinct increased cost of development and risk for errors. SSE allows designers
decisions during each turn of the
simulation mimicking the kinds of with little-to-no programming knowledge to use Microsoft Excel® to build
decisions that a mortgage
company manager makes on a complex models, and then they can deploy the simulation through a simple
daily basis.
web-based interface. In the case of MBA, if interest rates in the real-world
marketplace change, updating the simulation simply requires changing a
table in the spreadsheet rather than reprogramming a portion of the

Enspire focused on integrating the simulation into the curriculum. Before

engaging with the simulation, users were presented with a case study to
analyze and serve as the basis of a strategic plan. Enspire based the case

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study on the simulation model, so the strategic plan reinforced the

simulation experience itself.

Enspire employed an iterative design process that hinged on frequent

testing and feedback from the client. The simulation went through several
prototypes that were vetted to focus groups of MBA employees, business
partners, and potential students.

MBA successfully deployed the simulation to an audience of 30 students in
May of 2008 who played the simulation over the course of 4 days.
Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from the users. The simulation
resulted in an immediate sale of the simulation to a global financial
services company to bring the simulation “in house.”

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Financial Literacy Casual Game

Doorways to Dreams Fund (D2D)
chose Enspire to create a casual
video game to teach low- to
moderate-income (LMI)
individuals personal finance skills
about avoiding credit card debt.

The Doorways to Dreams Fund is a
non-profit with the mission to
expand access to financial services
to low-income families by
Players purchase items for a providing innovative financial products and services. The people they help
celebrity to learn proper debit and
credit card use. The celebrity has
are often targeted by lenders who prey on those who need immediate cash,
a mood meter that tracks how well but have little experience with or access to traditional banking services.
the player is doing.
This leads them to use cash advance and check cashing services, which
charge high fees and do not encourage savings.

D2D sought a learning experience that memorably conveyed the

message—yet didn’t patronize the audience. D2D proposed using a casual
video to teach primarily LMI women about using credit and debit cards
wisely. A concern of using the serious game approach is that many such
games fall short because they often err on the side of being too light on
learning or too light on fun. Creating an effective learning game was only
half of the challenge; the game also had to be

D2D partnered with Enspire Learning to create a
casual game that teaches smart use of debit and
credit cards. Casual games require little technical
skill to play and typically feature a simple
interface and mechanics. Popular casual games—
like FreeCell, Tetris, and Bejeweled—are popular
with a very wide demographic, which was ideal
Players use the right and left
arrow keys to move around the
for a target audience who may have little familiarity with computers.
screen catching money and luxury

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

The goal of this casual game, Celebrity Calamity, is to maintain the

finances of three consumption-crazy celebrities while also keeping them
satisfied enough with new goods to
avoid getting fired. Each round,
players strike the keyboard’s arrow
keys to move their player and try
to catch falling various items the
celebrity wants (MP3 players,
jeans, etc.), as well as cash. Then,
players decide whether to pay for
caught items with a credit or debit
card. If credit card charges are
made, the player must decide how
to pay off the balance—minimum
payment, full payment, or
somewhere in between. The APR
on the credit card changes frequently, which requires players to adjust
Players slide the payment bar
between minimum payment and their spending and payment habits. If they buy too little or too much, or
full payment to maintain credit
card balance. accumulate too much debt, the celebrity will grow unhappy and possibly
fire the player.

After multiple rounds of play, players experience how quickly credit card
debt can accumulate, how hard it is to reduce it, and most importantly,
how to avoid overwhelming credit card debt in the first place.

Throughout the development process, Enspire and D2D worked with non-
profit organizations in Austin, Tulsa, and Providence to gather volunteer
play testers from the target audience to ensure that the game was both
effective and fun. The focus of each session was two-fold. First, do the
game mechanics work? Second, does the game teach personal finance
skills effectively? Testing was done in groups to observe players
interacting with the game and individually to gather specific feedback.
Developers refined the game mechanics and instruction based on users’

Celebrity Calamity met the organization’s goal of a fun, effective personal
finance game. Throughout user testing, D2D collected data to measure the
efficacy of the game. In three testing groups in different geographic
locations participants were asked to complete a pre-game and post-game
test. Based on a Likert scale (1 is not confident and 5 is confident), D2D
found the following confidence changes:

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Confidence to pay off new credit card charges monthly + 31%

Confidence to pay more than the minimum credit card

+ 20%
Confidence to avoid late fees, over-limit feeds, and overdraft
+ 31%

Confidence to save money regularly + 20%

Participants also completed a short test of true and false questions. The
following knowledge changes were recorded:

Knowledge of APR + 58%

Knowledge of finance charges + 71%

Knowledge of credit card balance + 14%

D2D Fund recorded participants’ comments as well. One user noted, “Until
tonight, I didn’t know what APR was and I’ve had two credit cards for
awhile.” Another said that she thought the game would be a valuable
resource to have in her local community center.

Celebrity Calamity is the first in a suite of financial literacy games that

D2D will produce. The game is available and free for everyone to play at
www.celebritycalamity.com. Subsequent games will cover personal
budgeting, payday lending, FICO scores, and more.

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Management for Afterschool Program Administrators

The National Center for
Community Education (NCCE) is a
non-profit organization focused on
building effective afterschool
programs. NCCE saw shortcomings
in program management
knowledge among afterschool
program administrators and
needed a training initiative to close
the gap.

NCCE staff members build

The online modules use

management curriculums for afterschool program administrators around
interactive games and tutorial to the nation. However, classroom seminars were not easily accessible to
convey learning material. In this
case, users play a simple board administrators who needed training to run afterschool programs at the
game to explore the concept of
finding effective collaborators. Department of Education-funded 21st Century Learning Centers. NCCE
sought to extend the reach of their management and leadership training
with online courses and resources.

NCCE partnered with Enspire learning to develop an online
curriculum. To help NCCE make training available anytime
and anywhere to new afterschool administrators, Enspire
developed custom-designed interactive online training
modules in areas such as visioning, collaboration, and
management of afterschool programs. Enspire collaborated
with the afterschool programs community in collecting best
practices and materials used in successful afterschool
programs. Based on these findings, Enspire developed fun
The modules include a set of tools
and forms to assist them in the
and effective scenarios, case studies, and easily printable interactive tools
planning of their after school and templates. Enspire validated the effectiveness of these materials
program. In this case, users go
through the steps of creating an through feedback from seasoned experts in the afterschool community, as
effective vision statement that can
later be printed or saved. well as through extensive user testing.

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The online modules were launched
nationwide to school administrators
and community members who are
active in running afterschool programs.
The modules were promoted both at
NCCE’s classroom seminars and on the
NCCE website. Accessible to more
than 3,000 school administrators, the
online training curriculum proved to be
an overwhelming success. The
application was selected as a finalist
for an EdNET award, which is given
annually to pioneering visionaries
within the Education Market. In
Participants learn new content
through rich media tutorials that informal polls at the end of the modules, 89% of respondents ranked the
feature animations and embedded modules as “Very Effective” and over 90% believed it to be a “Very Useful

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations

Enspire’s Solutions
Enspire is dedicated to helping non-profits and associations achieve their
educational missions. No matter if your training is required for certification
purposes or is optional for volunteers, Enspire will work as a trusted
partner to develop a solution that fits your goals and learning objectives.

We provide each of our clients with:

► Creativity and innovation. A bored learner isn’t actually learning. We

employ a variety of technologies in combination with engaging stories,
characters, simulations, games, and visual themes that makes sense for
each individual client—whether that be a video game teaching
personal finance or a complex simulation for certification. Enspire
prides itself on the ability to transform your subject matter and find
the most engaging, illuminating, and effective e-learning solution for it.
► Multimedia design. At Enspire, we understand that quality
multimedia drives learner engagement, promotes positive attitudes
about the course, and enhances usability. Our designers work closely
with our instructional strategists to create visual metaphors, depict
stories and characters, and provide overall multimedia approach that
supports the learning for each unique client, audience, and subject
► Dedication to your needs. Your e-learning solution is not done until
you are completely satisfied. We work very closely with our clients to
analyze their business and learning needs from every angle to ensure
the e-learning project is the right solution for the right problem.
Enspire is consistently recognized as a leader in high quality e-learning
courses, serious games, and simulations. Our award list includes Brandon
Hall Excellence in Learning, Human Resource Executive Training Product
of the Year, Technology in Action Project of the Year, and Horizon
Interactive Award, to name a few.

Our team of more than 60 training professionals, creative writers,

multimedia artists, and game developers located in Austin, TX, brings
together a unique blend of education, entertainment, and technology
expertise that provides meaningful educational experiences to
organizations around the globe.

For more information on how Enspire can help you achieve your
educational mission, please contact sales@enspire.com. To view
demonstrations like the ones you have read about in this e-book, visit

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E-learning for Non-Profits and Associations:
A Book of Successful Case Studies

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