The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) represents over 1,900 retailers, importers and brands worldwide. The organisation promotes the values of international trade and sustainable supply chains via trainings and workshops, and monitoring processes. For these purposes, it used to work with a self-managed workshop booking website, but FTA was looking for something more robust. With the help of Neo Learning they tailored a platform that not only provides them with possibilities for e-learning but for all communication and information sharing with their members and their business partners.
The FTA was using a fairly simple system to manage its e-learning projects. Members could search for a workshop or training session on the FTA’s website and access them through the website too. In order to register, they had to fill out a booking form which the FTA had to process separately. The workshop materials, often in PDF, were then sent via e-mail or posted on the website. Because of the number of sessions and the growing number of participants, the FTA needed a better way to organise this. Neo tailored the Totara Learning Management System to FTA’s needs.
The main challenges for the new platform were to manage scale and complexity. “We have almost 1,900 members”, says Katarzyna Dobrogosz, Capacity Building Officer at FTA. “But all of them have factories linked to them that also need to take the courses and get informed about codes of conduct and sustainable supply chains. We reach about 41,000 factories in total so we have a huge number of people to train. We needed a platform that was able to scale.”
There was also the complexity of organising the trainings, as one factory can be linked to multiple members. The FTA needs to make sure that one factory is only contacted once and efforts are not duplicated (links strongly to effectiveness and efficiency). FTA members need a clear overview of the programmes that their producers have started or completed.
“Another challenge is the way we need to deliver the training: multiple languages, multiple countries, different levels of learners’ maturity and knowledge, etcetera. And finally the ability to monitor the impact of our trainings and the evolution of participants in the learning process posed a great challenge too”, says Katarzyna Dobrogosz.
“When we started the project we were looking for a platform that would simplify our e-learning and the registration and sign-in for our workshops,” says Andrew Martin, Senior Manager Monitoring and Continuous Improvement at the FTA. “Our Totara environment now offers a lot more than that and hosts a place for all of our capacity building activities.”
The new platform was named FTA Academy. FTA is using everything the platform has to offer: workshops, webinars, webcasts, informative videos of how to use the system, quizzes and document sharing. At the end of each course FTA can acknowledge that participants have completed it by unlocking a certificate of achievement. Members can also use the platform to engage with FTA. Participants can for instance give feedback on the materials and the trainers.
“Neo was able to offer us not only a technological solution but they also understood the business solution,” says Andrew Martin. “We liked the fact that they took the time to understand what our real needs were, analyse them and challenge us on it. They weren’t there to just sell something that already existed but to deliver something that met our core needs. Neo understood the importance of a user friendly platform as we have many different users and each and every one of them has to be able to use the system effectively.”
Since the start of the project, FTA and Neo has added three more modules to the main system. “We’ve introduced an audit programme that allows auditors to get a certain qualification. Another initiative aims at optimizing chemical management, which is a big issue in global supply chains. And finally we’ve launched an innovative e-learning approach for members in Europe”, says Andrew Martin. “It’s exciting to see everything happen and make it fit our programme. It’s a great way to keep improving our Totara platform with Neo.”
“Neo understood the importance of a user friendly platform as we have many different users and each and every one of them has to be able to use the system effectively.”