Virtual learning program nearly doubles participation year-over-year and helps create a learning culture




The IT team for a major philanthropic organization faced weak participation in onsite technical training classes during the summer. In the month of August, for example, many of the staff were out for vacation or traveling to visit global, regional offices. We suggested our client take this perennial slow down as a challenge to create a training track that suits the lifestyle of a mobile learner who may not be available for traditional instructor led classes.


The Kalles Group team proposed a learning program specifically designed to encourage online, self-paced, learning for all staff everywhere. We worked with IT to outline an approach that would engage a mobile audience that needed to learn remotely and virtually:

  • Technologies and tools that could be used to make the training engaging and interactive even as learners took it remotely.
  • Learning topics that were current and could be covered adequately through the technologies we suggested.
  • A framework that allowed learners to participate at their own pace.

The Kalles Group team created a month-long learning challenge. The initial theme was a competitive challenge:

Do you have what it takes? Become a master

We built out a learning framework with an overarching theme broken into modules. Each module was broken into microlearning sessions featuring a specific task to complete to enforce a skill, a task the learner could accomplish from their laptop.

The learner opened individual challenges, completed the task, and clicked to confirm they had finished each item. The system featured a dashboard where users could track all tasks and receive periodic messages about current achievement level as they progressed through levels from Student to Master.


The virtual learning program was a success.

Our team compiled and analyzed findings and continued to iterate and improve the program over succeeding years, adding a pre-quiz that assigned tasks according to the learner’s skill level, added learning videos and quizzes, coordinated with an informal support group within the organization, The Jedi Masters Program, to align the theme with them, and collaborate and augment marketing efforts across both programs.

We added announcements at high visibility events and added messaging to boost participation by creating urgency as the program entered its final week and day in a given year. And we experimented with extending the Tech Challenge into October with additional regional communications to evaluate recommendations we’d received asking to hold the challenge in a different month.

The program received extensive positive feedback and has seen increasing popularity and growth over the three years we’ve run the program.
• Participants doubled the second year and nearly doubled again the third year.
• Not only did the number of learners increase but participation among those learners increased as well. The most popular task in 2017 had fewer participants than the least popular task in 2018. The program in 2019 nearly doubled overall user participation and nearly tripled total learners reaching the top level.
• The program was popular at all levels of the organization including Deputy Directors, Directors, and the organization CIO.
• Regional participation grew by over 70 percent and completed tasks tripled by region.

“This was soooo awesome!!! I loved it!! What a great way to get involved in a new tool!! BRAVO!!”

Tech challenge participant
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