Georgia (Learn.ink Co-founder) chatted with Farhad about his experience training over a thousand frontline health workers in India using Learn.ink.
What first made you decide to try Learn.ink?
We continuously try to improve the knowledge of the frontline workers by hands on training face to face. But we realised because of the COVID situation that it would be really helpful for us to use some of the virtual means of doing this skill building and skill training on the frontline workers.
In the past we've used other training tools that require our participants to download the application and it requires a lot of handholding and training which is not the case when you use Learn.ink.
In the past we've used other training tools that require our participants to download the application and it requires a lot of handholding and training which is not the case when you use Learn.ink. You just need to share a link over WhatsApp and it's all set. You can go and start accessing the content straightaway. We can create small little micromodules that we can use to train frontline workers on certain topics like family planning or skills that are needed for breastfeeding for example or specific nutritional aspect of it or how do you prepare ORS etc.
What was your experience making your first course in Learn.ink?
I was pretty confident and excited about this possibility so I worked with Adam (Learn.ink Co-founder) and he just walked me through all of the possibilities and functionalities. So I just got myself familiar with the portal and learned about the various functionalities and features that are available on the site. And then I myself developed the course content and created basically a template which actually allows me to think through certain steps like "What is the objective of the course? What different modules do I need to have to deliver that course? Within those modules what are my objectives? What kind of ways and means and tools can I use to deliver to achieve my objective within that module?".
It took me a week to create the first course and share it with my team. What you need to have is passion. If you have passion then that passion drives you - I burned a lot of midnight oil! The strong desire that you have to see a change is something that is very important to take you to that level. I think that desire that I had was a key driver for me.
How did you get it out there?
I would like to give credit to my field team as these guys were very positive about the possibilities this was creating. There was some really interesting stuff. For example, we created tutorial videos in different languages and we pushed those videos into the WhatsApp groups that we created for these courses. So we first created WhatsApp groups, and in those WhatsApp groups we pushed those tutorial videos and then after that we shared the link to the course with the group. So I think that was pretty helpful because then people understand these are the steps they need to take to register and to navigate through the course.
We also asked the partners to send some audio messages so the government partners recorded some voice messages and those voice messages were further pushed into the WhatsApp groups so that the frontline workers heard their supervisors and seniors saying "this course is helpful and it would be good if you could try this". So I think that has also helped us to improve participation.
What were the results?
I think we're close to 84% of people completing the course which is a pretty big success. Endline accuracy was close to 77% which is, again, quite successful. If I compare with the pre-test scores for each module, there's an increase in 15-20 percent points of knowledge gain. If I look at performance along those parameters I'd say the programme is pretty successful. We have proved we can get 84 out of 100 of our frontline workers completing the course. That's huge I would say.
We have proved we can get 84 out of 100 of our frontline workers completing the course. That's huge I would say.
What advice would you give to others looking to do something similar?
Only this morning I was having a conversation with another team of mine in another state who are also going to try Learn.ink and they were asking the same question. I told them that you first need to jot down the content that you want to deliver and then think critically about how you'd like to deliver that content. It needs some creativity. So I would advise the teams to spend some time to think "what is the best way to deliver different pieces of this content?". There could be certain areas where a conversation would be more helpful, and other areas where you could use quiz questions and if you want to explain a concept then I think using a video would be helpful.
Taking that feedback seriously and using it to further refine and improve the delivery and content is a really important part of the process.
The other piece of advice would be to test it. Test with those who are not part of the development so that they can give you honest feedback. Testing at two levels would be helpful: one would be people in the internal team who are not part of the development efforts. That would give you the first round of feedback. And then testing it with the participants, actual people, so they can give you honest feedback about how they're finding it. Taking that feedback seriously and using it to further refine and improve the delivery and content are really important parts of the process.
Farhad Ali is Project Director of Digital Green's Project Samvad in India. Project Samvad, is a USAID-funded project aimed at addressing Family Planning, Maternal Child Health and Nutrition goals. Digital Green collaborates with existing health system structures -- including India’s State Rural Livelihood Missions and state-level agencies of the National Health Mission, as well as other local organizations trusted and active in the target districts – to build their capacity to employ video- and other ICT-enabled approaches to increase adoption of optimal maternal, infant and child health and nutrition and family planning practices.