Voluntary Service Overseas

VoluntaryServicesOverseasMoodle 2

VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty. It works in over 30 developing countries around the world, along with its partners, to deliver innovative development programmes.

Volunteer training is one of VSO’s strengths and differentiators. Pre-departure training is designed to challenge volunteers to think about the practicalities of volunteering (e.g. the local country context, security, corruption and building relationships). Moodle was chosen to facilitate the move to online training, reduce the cost of training whilst retaining the ability to have a social, interactive dialogue about these topics.


Recognising many of the issues the organisation faced with its current set up, in 2012 the charity embarked on a system upgrade. The main objectives were:

  • Enable global pre-departure training
  • Enable employee training
  • A more user-friendly experience
  • Improve stability of the technical platform

Success of the project

The main benefit for VSO has been to enable global training approaches. VSO now has a standard approach to volunteer training consisting of online self-briefing, the social online training course and a single face-to-face weekend. This approach provides a more consistent experience to volunteers regardless of their recruitment base. eModerators are finding that the training experience has been enriched (compared to UK only courses) due to a wider variety of perspectives coming through in forum discussions – VSO volunteers a unique opportunity to share with and learn from colleagues in different parts of the world.

For employees, VSO has used online learning to meet global needs that they couldn’t possibly afford to meet through face-to-face interventions, given the number of countries where they operate. Since the upgrade, the L&D team have launched an online employee induction, anti-corruption training, training on performance management and migrated some existing IT training courses (now with reporting enabled). In the second half of 2013 VSO rolled out new people management processes and implemented the Salesforce platform to manage employee and volunteer records. The training programme involved six teams (one business person, one IT person) delivering face-to-face training in the six regions where VSO operates.

Country office representatives flew to the regional hubs to attend the training. The launch of the same content as eLearning allowed country office ‘trainers’ to return to their home offices and pass on the learning with confidence. The eLearning modules will also cater for new joiners, reducing investment in face-to-face sessions in future.

“HowToMoodle were very helpful in providing targeted services to help us achieve our outcomes, at low cost, and were very open to our suggestions for how we might partner – what work HowToMoodle would do and what VSO would do. We have recommended them to other NGO who are just getting started.” – Sarah Barker, eLearning & IT Coordinator, VSO

Download the full client story from HowtoMoodle here 

Write a comment