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Humanitarian Leadership Academy Innovation eLearning

The work described in this case study was performed by LEO Learning prior to becoming part of GP Strategies.


The Humanitarian Leadership Academy (the Academy) specializes in training for humanitarian organizations. Through its Kaya eLearning platform and accompanying mobile app, the Academy has around 120,000 active learners. The platform houses a mix of freely available English, French and Arabic courses, on-demand webinars, details of face-to-face training, videos, and assessments. More recently, the Academy has also added 360/Virtual Reality (VR) videos and scenario-based learning games.

Between 2016 and early 2019, LEO Learning created five comprehensive eLearning courses that, collectively, have had over 7,800 enrollments to date. They are Effects of Emergencies on Health & Nutrition (introduction and advanced versions), Coaching & Mentoring, Child Protection in Emergencies, and Innovation Essentials, the focus of this case study.


The Academy identified the need for innovation skills in the humanitarian sector and provides the first clear steps for humanitarian workers to innovate from within their own organizations.

The aim of ‘Innovation Essentials’ is to provide an introduction to innovation for:

  • Local responders
  • Humanitarian organizations
  • L&D providers
  • Regional learning managers who will facilitate face-to-face workshops and virtual sessions

Another challenge was that LEO needed to create the course material with limited direct access to the Academy’s Subject Matter Expert (SME), an independent thought leader whose source material hadn’t yet been published at the time of starting the project.

Bespoke learning design designed for mobile
Embedding thought leadership into learning programs
Designed for a worldwide audience

A lot of people have worked in this sector for decades and while the impression is that the work is important and helps a lot of people globally, you can’t keep repeating the same thing. There’s a need for new concepts and ideas. Innovation is a word that people use constantly but many don’t know what it actually means. There aren’t a lot of courses like ‘Innovation Essentials’ out there.

Anne Garçon, Digital Communications Advisor at the Academy.


LEO’s learning design team created its own notes and draft script based on the SME’s experience and a content workshop. These successfully captured his ideas and reflected the content of the unpublished materials. “We were happy with the way LEO’s instructional designers worked with the SME to understand the materials and develop an engaging learning approach,” says Atish Gonsalves, the Academy’s Global Innovation Director.

The developed program is a blended learning solution, built using Moodle modules in Kaya, comprising:

  • ‘Innovation Essentials’, a 45-minute eLearning module built using the gomo authoring tool, designed following best practice for mobile learning not just in terms of responsive design, but also learning design
  • A portfolio of eight case studies/stories of real-life innovation called ‘Innovation Stories’
  • A flexible facilitator guide for two-hour face-to-face workshops and virtual sessions
  • A glossary
  • Printable resources
  • A pre- and post-learning assessment
  • A completion certificate

The course makes use of vertical scrolling, clickable image hotspots, and knowledge checks and summaries to reinforce the learning points.

LEO Learning was professional and supportive of our approach, delivered to time and receptive to our feedback. The look and feel of the courses and accompanying materials met our brief and they were easy to work alongside through the design and development process.

Atish Gonsalves, the Academy’s Global Innovation Director.

The Results

The flexibility of the components of our blended learning solution allows the Academy, regional learning managers and humanitarian workers around the world to easily create their own contextualized learning experiences, using the Moodle structure.

As of November 2019, ‘Innovation Essentials’ has reached over 1,100 humanitarians and been completed (and badged by HPass) by 280 humanitarians. The course has also been adapted by various organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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