Learning. It’s a word that has come to mean so many things. In the workplace, its meaning can range from the in-the-moment aha to the mythic “learning organization.” Learning has also been the re-branding of training over the past ten to fifteen years. The rebranding is real—we all know that many forms of training rely on one-way information transfer which only loosely leads to skill building. (Yet, it can also be superficial, if we don’t regularly challenge our assumptions about what works.) It’s meaning has evolved even further in the international NGO sector. We now regularly append it to M&E and talk about monitoring, evaluation AND learning.
So here we are, LINGOs, Learning in NGOs, is about to close on its latest chapter. We are completing our merger into Humentum with InsideNGO and Mango. LINGOs itself was formed because six or seven individuals wanted to learn together. They were motivated by the single question: how can we use online methods to reach more people with our training? The learning in LINGOs has always had many different meanings. It has meant a learning solution; a set of tools, platforms, and content. A solution to deliver more learning to your staff and partners—no matter where they work. It has meant an advocacy coalition for the learning and capacity building function in our organizations and in our sector. It has meant a learning community with the power of over 90 L&D professionals (like our founders) learning together. And it has meant learning as innovation. We have sought new ways to work (no office and low overhead); new business models (private sector pro-bono as a shared service); and new co-created solutions instead of re-inventing the wheel alone (PMD Pro and FMD Pro).
As part of Humentum, we are bringing our core DNA of learning to a larger platform. We will be able to connect the learning function with the rest of the team: HR, Finance, IT, Programs. We will seek to help each member bring a more integrated approach to organization-wide learning. We will be able to impact more organizations in our sector—now nearly 400 organizations. We will extend the reach of our approach and business model to the networks of organizations working at the local level. They too can benefit from a shared learning community so that all of the voices in our sector are heard. In the end, our aim is to more effectively lead, advocate for, and co-create the professional development and innovative learning solutions our entire sector needs to transform and change.
I invite you to re-commit with us. Bring your own learning journey to Humentum. Challenge us and challenge your colleagues to reach for even more impactful ways to deliver learning. Contribute your expertise, your content, and your lessons learned so we all can learn along with you.
As I write this, I am mindful of the suffering of millions of people affected by Hurricane Harvey here in my home country, while flooding has also inundated parts of South Asia and West Africa. I am seeing many of our LINGOs members, including Save the Children, Americares, and ADRA, who are on the ground in Texas providing much needed relief. It is a useful reminder that no country is immune to crisis and conflict. It reinforces the universality principle of the Sustainable Development Goals. It heightens the urgency to find more agile, more scalable, and more sustainable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
So, let’s keep learning—together.
Chris Proulx, CEO, LINGOs