The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) is the non-profit organization that supports the LA Zoo. Like many zoo and aquarium organizations, GLAZA utilizes a mix of volunteers a employees to maintain their facilities and tend to the animals in their care. That’s where the Director of Volunteer Programs, Kirin’s need comes to focus.
Kirin and her team deliver and maintain training programs for 600+ volunteers operating in every sector of the Zoo system. Kirin needed a training solution that could help transition from in-person to online training while still offering an engaging learning experience. They also needed a solution that enabled scalable growth with thirty new volunteers training every three months in addition to the current roster.
Kirin’s volunteer training program involved a lengthy in-person training period that varies by the role a volunteer wished to take with the program. For docents (volunteer zoo guides), the training is a twenty-three week program that’s part of the UCLA extension program. Though accredited, Kirin notes the program was rigorous—combining traditional learning methods of instructor-led training, mounds of homework, and a two-inch notebook work of information.
Kirin has also had difficulty making traditional training methods more accessible and engaging. With traditional training methods, it can be difficult to deliver different training that suits various learning styles. It also requires learners to be in-person, typically in a classroom setting like the one Kirin and team used. This meant a volunteer had to dedicated additional time to be on-site to train for the role they wanted. Little to no training was done remotely or via mobile or other alternative training technology. This meant a big shift if Kirin was to transition her program from in-person to online training.
With the impact of COVID-19, GLAZA also required a training solution for their 300+ employees. Though Kirin’s responsibility was the volunteers, GLAZA needed to make the same transition from in-person to online training that Kirin’s team did. And they’d need a solution that can be rapidly deployable and at least partially build from content they already had.
I was attending one of the many panels at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums conference and somebody started talking about blended learning. They had online training as well in class and on grounds. And I said that would be a really great way to engage people
Coassemble stood out as Kirin’s top pick between ease of use and support services that enabled her to rapidly transition from in-person to online training.
Out of offerings Kirin found helpful, our support services shined out the most. Prior to Coassemble, Kirin had no experience working with an online training platform (like many of our customers). She initially felt this would be a huge barrier to break through to be able to find success. Thankfully for her, we offer award-winning support services including live chat, onboarding, training review, and a very detail product FAQ and Start-up guide. This helped Kirin become comfortable and eventually pro-level with creating and delivering online training.
One of the most surprising components of Coassemble that Kirin and her team love is the ability to deliver mobile-ready training content. This meant she could enable volunteers to access training from anywhere. Less time in a classroom meant volunteers could train on their schedules and be flexible with the learning environment.
Kirin is a huge fan of multimedia training content. Being able to offer more inclusive training content that’s accessible to more volunteers allows her team to expand their program without any roadblocks. Transitioning from in-person to online training usually enables teams to find easier access and increased engagement. Kirin sights video and gamification as especially effective—two of the many training modalities that can be leveraged through Coassemble’s all in one online training platform.
Kirin also liked that she was able to start creating training with her own content to get her program launched fast. This was especially helpful when the staff of GLAZA also needed a solution. They were able to adopt Kirin’s own strategy and advice to build training unilaterally for the entire organization
With Coassemble, Kirin and her team now have an opportunity for departments to work together and create content for the entire institution. They’re able to ensure consistent messaging and training across all staff and volunteers now.
By leveraging online training, GLAZA is able to improve the entire volunteer program, department, and facilities. Kirin has found that how staff and volunteers interact with guests and each other has really improved since implementing Coassemble. By transitioning from in-person to online training, every GLAZA volunteer and staff member had access to the most relevant information when they needed it.
When the Zoo began planning to reopen, the training that Kirin and team were able to produce helped make the entire process seamless. The training helped staff understand new policies and procedures as well as be able to convey the new updates with guests. Everyone could feel safer and the measures were implemented across the organization.
In total, Kirin was able to leverage Coassemble to take training for 600 volunteers and transition it online over a period of four months. And in addition to this, they were able to add an additional 300 employees to their training program.
Lastly, Kirin found real success with Coassemble in developing a stronger company culture. This is the first time GLAZA has had a real opportunity to bring everyone together and evolve as a group. In the words of Kirin:
“It’s gonna change our institutional culture, as well. So we’re gonna have a lot more inclusive education.”
And by having that fundamental development at her and her team’s fingertips, Kirin is able to help her team get back to what’s important: caring for the animals and their community.
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