We are excited to announce our first partner highlight featuring the TechSoup Platform! With a current selection of 22 courses and 8 learning tracks, the platform includes 7,973 learners from 88 countries — and still growing fast.
Founded in 1987, TechSoup has over 30 years of experience as a global nonprofit network that equips changemakers with transformative technology solutions and skills to create a more equitable world. This includes discounted software, hardware, services, and training, as well as opportunities to network and build community, including through a global partner network of 70 civil society organizations. TechSoup has reached 993,000 organizations, and delivered $10 billion in technology tools and philanthropic services.
When TechSoup first approached TechChange about expanding their programs to their first-ever online learning platform, we wanted to preserve and support what had already made their model so successful for delivering expert-led tech training and webinars designed for nonprofits, charities, and libraries. Just as each partner need and online learning community is different, the challenge is making our platform work for partner engagement models and not the other way around.
So in order to better understand our partners, TechChange sat down with Susan Hope Bard, Director of Solutions & Services at TechSoup, to learn about why they chose the TechChange online learning platform and how they’ve used it to address their needs.
“What I like about the platform is that learners drive it. So we’re not necessarily forcing learners to complete something in a linear fashion… I think that’s really important in terms of the way adults learn”
Getting Started with TechChange
Using the TechChange platform, TechSoup designed an online learning environment that put their audience – the nonprofit staff member – first. “[Nonprofits] all have different goals, missions, and reasons for taking courses,” Bard states, “so we provide people with the flexibility to take what they want and what they need.”
Knowing that staff members often juggle multiple roles in their organizations, TechSoup offers their learners the opportunity to engage with courses as they see fit. Learners can interact with one another in real-time through live-webinars or explore module materials and forums at their own pace. All live sessions are recorded and can be accessed at any time, making keeping up with content easier for learners.
Unlocking Nonprofit Institutional Knowledge
“What you find with nonprofits is a lot of people who have a good bit of knowledge about a particular topic but they need some scaffolded support in order to adopt technology to help them serve their mission.”
The TechChange platform is built for customization and content integration, which means TechSoup can easily provide the scaffolded support their audience needs. “There’s such a wide variety of uploadable content and the format is so varied that it can address the needs of any learner,” explains Bard. TechSoup integrates a variety of customizable content (videos, checklists, self-assessments, documents, etc) that make for a more engaging and exciting learning experience.
Should users want a structured learning approach, they can even enroll in a TechSoup learning track. TechSoup uses these tracks to curate courses along specific themes or skills. By following a track, a learner can develop a well-rounded foundation on a certain topic or build upon previous coursework in a sequential manner.
Track Performance and Learner Engagement
“Tracking learner engagement is important so we know how people are using the platform and what content is valuable.”
Discovering what content is most valuable for their audience is simple. As learners explore course materials and activities, TechSoup can use activity tracking tools to monitor student activities and interactions and track updates, comments, and replies. With the TechPoints system, where users are rewarded with TechPoints in exchange for completing activities like logging in or attending a webinar, TechSoup can see which learners are most engaged and what content they’re engaging with.
Our platform analytics tools help to capture essential information about event attendance, learner metrics, content engagement, and more. There’s no need to guess what works and what doesn’t – TechChange tracking tools can show you. Using this insight, TechSoup can design and develop even better courses for their learners in the future.