From the April 2010 issue of Penny For Your Thoughts newsletter…
Small businesses are not the only entities that can benefit from eLearning. In this post, our spotlight is on how Moodle has enabled a charitable organization to continue to offer their grief counseling workshop, even in tough economic times. The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB) was founded in 1997 by Dr. Wallace Sife, author of The Loss of a Pet. For many years, he had delivered his 10-hour workshop, Pet Loss Counselor Training, in the New York City area. As travel became more difficult and budgets were cut, Dr. Sife began to search for an online alternative. Reliant on volunteers and donations, APLB could not afford an expensive IT solution.
In 2009 he selected Moodle as his delivery platform; Albany Analytical created the course and managed enrollments. The first two sessions (summer and winter) have seen participants from more than a dozen states/provinces and three continents; such diversity would likely not have been possible without the online solution.
Relying more on solid content than whiz-bang bells and whistles, the APLB course successfully graduated 33 in its first year. With Dr. Sife’s commitment to excellence, each participant’s competency was assessed on an individual and thorough level. Because of the nature of the material, all testing was accomplished through submitted essays, designed to measure understanding and ability to perform pet loss counseling. The Moodle features of a participant forum, live links to relevant sites (such as the APLB newsletter archive), downloadable documents, and a calendar to remind participants of impending due dates, all supported the learning experience.
Dr. Sife plans to conduct these online workshops twice a year, as well as his traditional face to face session every other year (the next one is May 21). Many more people were able to participate in this workshop this past year as would have without the online version. Moodle eLearning has allowed the APLB to continue to offer this important training even though a tough global economy prohibited travel by most potential participants. We look forward to the continued success of this program.