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Disability Matters creates effective learner audiences with Totara Learn

Launched by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Children’s Health (RCPCH) in February 2015, Disability Matters is an innovative suite of free resources to support those who work, volunteer or engage with disabled children and young people (from 0 to 25 years) and their families.  It seeks to address the barriers that make society disabling for those with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.


The Challenge

Developed by disabled young people, parent carers and other experts, Disability Matters wanted to arrange individual modules into helpful bite-sized “Learning Packages” so that the training offered matches the needs of specific individuals, groups, organisations and sectors.  It offers practical advice about supporting disabled children, young people and their families to achieve the outcomes that matter to them.

The Disability Matters portal content needed to consist of online learning sessions (mostly 20-40 minutes) on a wide range of topics to help people reflect, challenge and change their own fears, idea, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours towards disabled people. This content needed to reach two very different types of audiences:

For those looking to remain anonymous, the content had to be served up in a casual “browse and select” fashion for this audience to complete as a ‘one-off’ or ‘standalone’ training session.

For professionals and care workers, the content had to be tied to a broader comprehensive offer allowing users to sign up to the Disability Matters learning community and complete several sessions or a Learning Package that can be recorded in a personal learning account. Signing up and creating an account allowed users to keep a record of learning and to print certificates to evidence the learning.

The Solution

The solution designed for the Disability Matters portal was a perfect fit for Totara Learn as it showcased two of the LMS’ best features: its flexibility and customisability around the user(s) experience and content strategy. It should be noted here that the client’s knowledge of their users and carefully plotted-out user journeys was pivotal in making this a success.

There were two main components of the solution designed for Disability Matters. The first was to guarantee that both guest (non-registered) users as well as registered users could access the same content throughout the site.

The second component was that the portal needed to incentivise users to provide personal information to obtain something additional, but not changing the look and feel of the portal enough to make users who have not registered feel like they are missing out.

The first was accomplished by modifying the front page slightly for registered users by personalising their experience. The portal asked users to provide information about their industry and job title. Once entered, this personalised a user’s home page with a new block as well as providing him/her with additional functionality to enable them to track the training he/she has done as well as save training to complete at a future date. Had they remained a guest user – not registered, they would have been able to select and launch sessions, but this was all done in one sitting with no tracking or saving to their account.

The second element of this solution amplified the first, and provided the real incentive to the registered user. As the premise was that all content on the portal was to be made accessible to all users, the incentive was to build and provide “Learning Packages” of related sessions to users by using the industry and job title information they had provided during registration. Additionally this “Recommended Learning Package” was unique and displayed to the users as soon as they had registered with Disability Matters on their front page.

This solution was made possible by primarily standard Totara Learn functionality involving audiences, courses, learning plans, and programmes.

The Result

An accessible learning solution has enabled Disability Matters to address societal barriers and offer support to those who engage with disabled children and youths.

The portal was launched in February of 2015. That summer the portal, as well as the Disability Matters team, was recognised by its peers with the RCPCH 2015 Award for Creativity and Innovation.

To date, it boasts 3,000 registered users and nearly 2,500 session completions. Traffic to the site has been estimated at 13,000 unique visitors in the 9 months between February and November.

An excellent example of City & Guilds Kineo’s engagement not only with Disability Matters immediate design needs but future initiatives is seen in its utilisation of partner learning package pages. This was a marginal requirement during project implementation but the functionality that City & Guilds Kineo put in place has allowed Disability Matters to fly with this new initiative boasting 18 organisations actively engaged. This has provided Disability Matters with industry exposure and support. City & Guilds Kineo has worked side by side with the Disability Matters team to help them not only improve their portal but accomplish their strategic goals as an organisation and we are looking forward to continuing to do so.

 “We gave the City & Guilds Kineo development team a tough brief that really pushed the boundaries of a traditional learning management system. Professional from the start, they took the time to listen, and completely ‘got’ what we were trying to achieve. The project manager and solutions architect were great at coming up with creative, practical solutions we would never have thought of, and worked closely with us to ensure we received the product on time and in budget. We really enjoyed working with the City & Guilds Kineo team, and are immensely proud of our final learning platform.”
– Layla Brokenbrow Programme Manager, Disability Matters Implementation Manager, MindEd & Healthy Child Programmes

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