The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound effects on our lives and our ways of working. As part of INTRAC’s COVID-19 adaptation, we have adjusted our training offer to meet a changing demand. We have strengthened our online offer to increase access to training while travel is restricted, and are also preparing to resume our face-to-face training when it will be safe to do so.
More online training
We have been busy expanding our online training offer with a few new courses, as well as running existing courses more frequently. Rather than simply looking to transfer face-to-face capacity development into the online environment, we look to maximise the opportunities that self-paced and facilitated online experiences offer participants in their learning journey. We draw on rich experience in this area, having offered online training since 2012.
At INTRAC, online training is much more than just PowerPoints presented in webinars. Scheduled live sessions provide a framework for learner interaction, but this is complemented by independent learning activities such as forums, quizzes, collaborative mind maps, readings and videos accessible via our eLearning platform. Trainers are not just experts in their fields, but they also have online facilitation skills. Each online course is supported by an eLearning producer, a person responsible for curating the course page on the eLearning platform, assisting the trainer during live sessions and troubleshooting problems, sending reminders and in general being the first point of contact for participants.
Participatory approaches remain at the heart of our course design and development. We take into consideration learner needs, limitations of bandwidth and data consumption in the design and development of media for online courses. Ultimately, we want to make sure that participants on our online courses have the same high quality training experience as those who attend our face-to-face courses.
Face-to-face courses: safety first
While working on boosting our eLearning offer, we have also been looking at resuming our face-to-face training as soon at it will be safe to do so. As the situation is evolving, we are monitoring official guidelines on social gatherings and international travel, and we hope to be able to resume face-to-face courses from September onwards. We are already accepting applications for the Advanced Monitoring and Evaluation course scheduled for 7-11 September, and we are working towards making the experience as safe as possible for everyone in attendance.
We will be working with training venues to ensure people can maintain safe interpersonal distances while attending the courses and during breaks. To prevent crowding, we will reduce the maximum number of participants allowed on any given course, based on the allocated room size and layout.
INTRAC has updated our frequently asked questions to provide more details about the flexibility we can offer when individuals may need to cancel closer to the course start date.
If participants have to cancel their attendance due to their health status, or because of travel restrictions or quarantine periods enforced in their own countries, we are committed to take a flexible approach to minimise the negative impact:
- We will waive transfer fees if a participant is replaced by a colleague, even at the last minute.
- In case of cancellations between 2 and 4 weeks before the start of the course, instead of a 50% refund, we will transfer participants to the next course with no penalty, or issue a voucher for the full amount of the course fees to be used for any other INTRAC training course.
- For last-minute cancellations in the 2 weeks before the start of the course, when participants are normally not entitled to any refund, we will instead only charge the costs that we have actually incurred, and issue a voucher for the remaining amount to partially or fully cover training fees for a later course.
In the event that INTRAC is forced to cancel a course due to restrictions being imposed by the UK Government, we will transfer all participants to the next course, offer them a credit note to book any other training, or issue a full refund.
In all cases of course cancellation, INTRAC will not be able to refund any other expenses incurred by participants in relation to the course, such as (but not limited to) visa application fees, accommodation, or travel expenses. We always recommend participants to make sure their travel and accommodation bookings are refundable and/or to get appropriate insurance cover.
In-house training: online options
The shift to online training has not just happened for our training courses, but also for our in-house training services. Again, we are building on existing capacities, having delivered tailor-made online courses for several years now. Going forward, we will keep offering online training options to our clients alongside face-to-face delivery (when safe), so that they can make the best decision for their teams. Our expectation is that online training delivery will continue to grow as people become more familiar with the tools and technology involved. After all, online training is not just a stop-gap measure to keep getting training when international travel is not an option. It is also a way to reach people who cannot attend an intensive face-to-face workshop for various other reasons, including cost of travel, difficulties with visa, or caring responsibilities.
We are able to support clients shifting to online learning by offering meaningful insights into how you design effective learning programmes that incorporate an eLearning provision. We are able to provide advice on the development and administration of online courses for the Moodle eLearning management system.
For more information about how INTRAC can provide bespoke learning options to your organisation, see our in-house training page.