Creating an innovative course that helps the extremely poor become resilient

Fundación Capital is an NGO that co-developed an entrepreneurship project with the Government of Colombia (through Prosperidad Social) which was piloted with 1000 families, where coaches provided training to the poorest of Colombia. These coaches visited homes every 2 weeks and taught people about entrepreneurship, self-esteem, resilience, motivation and how to save money. This was a very successful program and the Government decided to make it into a public policy and introduced it to 10000 families. Next year they will expand the project to cover 25000 families.

Working in Columbia and internationally

What were the business's challenges before MATRIX?

When we ran the pilot we only had a few coaches to train, but now with the growing number of families that benefit from the project, we needed to find ways to scale up the training process in a very cost effective way. The first challenge was to increase the number of coaches. So we thought about a solution that would allow us to train coaches around the country, without the huge expense that travelling around would be, but still comply with a certain standard of quality. That's when we decided to create online courses and get an LMS.

Quality control was the second challenge. I think the way we saw the course was that one needed to provide training and this was a very unilateral process in which you are providing content and teaching. With the course on MATRIX we were also able to provide peer-to-peer training. We used the online forums a lot because when these trainers went to the field they encountered a lot of challenges. A lot of them had to improvise, look for local examples and games, and simplify languages. With the help of online forums we asked them to share examples with others so that way we were promoting peer-to-peer learning.

How did you find a solution?

When we decided to do the online course we decided to do a benchmark and we measured a lot of other platforms. We had the help of an independent consultant and he suggested we take a look at MATRIX. Eventually we got it down to two options. We chose MATRIX because we thought it was a well-established company, we liked that it offered a lot of functions, it was very user-friendly, and compatible with importing content from other places.

What results have you noticed since using MATRIX?

Our coaches really like MATRIX. We're working in very remote areas, and to our surprise that activity is not an issue because they are able to access it through a PC, tablet, or smartphone. Another thing is that the course is asynchronous, people really like that no matter how busy they are and how much they have to travel, the course is always there, at their disposal and they can read it whenever they need it. At the same time there is a tutor to motivate them, to encourage the exchange of best practices, and to provide feedback.

The course is very useful, we are able to improve the design of the program because we use forums and the platform as a communication channel. MATRIX is very simple compared to other online platforms we used, more user-friendly, and the content is easier to deal with.

We will continue with the course this year, we have already expanded in other countries. We are developing other online courses, thanks to this LMS, that help our clients and the government. In terms of support, the MATRIX team has been very responsive, every time we had an issue we sent it through the forum and we got an instant reply.

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