Blog by: Argu Arkan, Ahmad Lari, Joshua Lee, Taylor Hamai
Recently, our Loyola Marymount University business team of juniors and seniors had the honor of conducting a training workshop for a well-known volunteer organization located in Westchester, CA. Westside Pacific Villages prides itself on supporting elder neighbors keep up an active and healthy lifestyle. Our team worked directly with the director of Westside Pacific Villages, Carol Kitabayashi. Carol helped us to understand the mission of the organization and how we could apply our training and development knowledge to serve the needs of WPV.
The ultimate goal of our training workshop was to transform Carol’s current program into an online and digital format. We conducted two needs assessments early in the semester to better understand and formulate the objectives of our project. We first conducted a key consultation with Carol at the office. We were most interested in understanding how the organization worked, Carol’s role within training, any problems within the current system, and hopes for a future training course. Our second needs analysis consisted of observation. Three group members watched Carol present a volunteer orientation at the office of WPV. Through our needs assessments, we determined that the new online training program would need to present critical information in an entertaining, time efficient, and systematic way. This led us to develop an online training course that would satisfy all given characters above as well as be easy to implement and simple to use.
After promising Carol that we would help to create an online training program, our group began research. We first looked for support in LinkedIn non-profit and training groups, but received no help. Our main challenge was finding a way to produce a quality training course given a college student/non-profit organization budget of $0. We finally found the help we needed from fellow LMU faculty members. We were given the suggestion to look into Quizlet, Google Forms, Kahoot, Slide-O-Matic, and Powtoons. Our group decided to make use of Google Forms, YouTube, and the free version of Powtoons for our final product.
We began designing our training by first determining the learning objectives of our workshop. We focused on four aspects: (1) deepening a volunteer’s connection to Westside Pacific Villages and painting a clear picture of the volunteer role and responsibilities, (2) granting clarity to the type of individuals that volunteers will be working with and how to best fit their needs, (3) identifying an actual emergency and reflecting on how to act in such a situation, and (4) acknowledging and overcoming any worries regarding time commitment and prior experience with older adults. After our training objectives were set, we designed a rough blueprint of our training course. Here we decided that we would break up training into the sections of: the mission of WPV, expectations of volunteers, common aging health conditions, the role and responsibilities of volunteer opportunities, and how to handle an emergency situation. Next, we began scripting the information and making our videos.
One of the main challenges we faced was creating animations using Powtoons. Powtoons.com offers a great product, but their interface is not very user friendly. One of the first videos created (which was around 1) minute long took about five hours to make. However, with more practice, we learned how to search and implement new objects, how to change backgrounds, and add animated text. Another problem with Powtoons is that voice recording from the site is of low quality. Because of this issue, many of our group members prerecorded their script on their phone, converted it into an .mp3 file, and then uploaded it to the animation. Powtoons also offers three different monthly plans: free, pro, and business. The free version offers limited room for customization. In order to create a more aesthetically pleasing animation, each group member accepted the Powtoon’s 48 hour business plan trial and created their training videos within the limited time. The only problem with this is that for any future video edits, we will either have to pay for the business plan or redo each video using the free templates.
After our Powtoons animations were created an exported to YouTube, we embedded each video into our Training Google Form and designed questions that highlighted important information from the clips. Google Forms was very easy to use and implement. We were able to create quiz questions within the form that would grade volunteers based on our selected answer key. We were very pleased with the outcome of our project and our creativity in designing a free and professional training course. To see our final product, please click on the following link: https://goo.gl/forms/5BqT3BNgo92uXD8t2.