MAKING learning and education accessible to everyone

Blog Post: Accessible Education

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.”

Oscar Wilde

There’s no denying it, life is busy! Many of us have hectic schedules and heavy workloads. Nonetheless, most of us can relate to that feeling of wanting to ‘give something back’.

The prospect of volunteering seems like an impossibility sometimes. However, it doesn’t have to be about committing yourself to extra ‘work’- on top of existing commitments. Organisations rarely ask that you commit hours and hours of your time. In fact, just five minutes per day, or one hour per fortnight could have a positive impact. In reality, that’s just a phone call or a visit to somebody who needs support.

Of course, individuals choose to volunteer their time and resources for a variety of reasons, as do many companies. For some, it’s a personal challenge, a way to improve confidence and gain new skills. For others, it’s more about the positive impact they can have on someone or something. Either way, it’s almost always guaranteed to be a rewarding and positive experience.

So when the opportunity came to light a few months ago, we were keen to get involved. We began committing time and contributing to a voluntary project run by a charity called LearnAppeal.

Who are LearnAppeal?

LearnAppeal’s main passion and purpose is to provide eLearning access to communities in remote locations. On their ‘wish list’ was a course based on effective communication. After discussing the project with one of LearnAppeal’s senior consultants and a representative from a community they support, it was surprising to learn that we could help in locations that often don’t have mains electricity (let alone the connectivity that we take for granted). We were quickly inspired to help. This project fits well with what we do at Spokes Education, and our mission to be a truly socially responsible business.

A natural partnership.

This project goes hand-in-hand with our ethos. Like us, LearnAppeal put learning at the absolute heart of everything they do. Our educational experience means that we’ve come across many barriers to learning but this one seemed unimaginably difficult to combat! To achieve their goal, LearnAppeal works with Appitierre (creators of Bloom Learning Management System (LMS) and the Evolve Authoring Tool) to develop a ‘capsule’, which is a portable WiFi-enabled device, pre-loaded with eLearning content. This content is developed by volunteers (usually in Evolve which is generously provided for free by Appitierre) it’s then taken to communities who would otherwise have no access to the learning materials.

It’s a little surreal to think that dedicating a relatively small amount of time results in contributing towards something so vastly worthwhile, reaching so many people. It’s been an eye-opener to learn more about the work LearnAppeal do and we were thrilled to meet the team at the Learning Technologies Conference earlier this year. They showed us the capsule device and it was inspiring to hear Eric Kimori, who I have been in contact with in developing the communications course, tell us in more detail how those in remote Kenyan communities are benefiting from the charity and its volunteers.

This project is ongoing for us and it’s safe to say that we’ll be looking for more ways to support this incredible charity moving forward. We’ve also got our eye on some other voluntary opportunities coming up in the future – our work here is not done! Watch this space…

If you are a Learning Designer and would like to get involved too, why not drop LearnAppeal a line? You can find out more here.