First Aid Non-profit Leads The Pack In Digital CSI Strategy

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A new project aimed at equipping more South Africans with the skills to save lives is blazing a trail for corporate social investment strategies.


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The initiative by global non-profit St John Ambulance is unique in that it is the first in the country to provide a blended learning approach that enables greater accessibility to basic first aid and CPR.

Blended learning offers a mix of online learning and face-to-face teaching.

St John, which has operated in South Africa for 140 years and has a presence in more than 40 countries worldwide, has partnered with learning solutions provider New Leaf Technologies on the project.

Aside from giving more South Africans the opportunity to learn first aid skills that can help save lives and treat serious injuries, whether at home, work or play, the project has the potential to open doors for those wanting to pursue a career in healthcare.

“There is a certain level of passion and dedication required to build and maintain a core of volunteers. St John Brigade members are called upon to serve a higher purpose,” says St John Director of Training, Saroj Rajoo.

“One of the benefits of joining St John is that it enjoys a national footprint, with 10 centres across the country. So once the theory course has been completed online, users have a convenient choice of venues to complete their practical.”

Rajoo says making the transition to digital requires that organisations get to the point of a proof of concept and a minimum viable product as soon as possible.

“You need to know and understand your content and know and understand the needs of your target audience. This way, your product will meet their expectations and you will be well positioned to offer sound guidance, support and aftersales service.

Transparency is vital, she adds, as under no circumstances can the public be misled.

The advantage of eLearning is that it allows learners the flexibility to complete the courses at their own pace. The theoretical component can be accessed from mobile devices to enable learning-on-the-go.

Furthermore, because the learning management system (LMS) caters to groups like schools, universities and colleges, top-achieving students can be tracked on a leaderboard to encourage competition and enhance the overall learning experience.

St John enjoys accreditation with a variety of quality assurance partners, including the Quality Council of Trades and Occupation, the Sector Education and Training Authorities, the American Heart Association and Resuscitation Council of South Africa.

St John partner New Leaf Technologies has a proud track record of working with organisations to create, curate and deliver blended learning systems.

Thanks to the aNewSpring platform, of which New Leaf Technologies is the sole distributor in South Africa, learner progress can be tracked and skills gaps quickly identified and addressed.

Studies have also found that eLearning can increase knowledge retention by between 40 and 60% because it can be more engaging and far more convenient than traditional, classroom-based learning.

In addition, eLearning courses are shorter than traditional courses by between 25% and 60% because learners are given more autonomy regarding their learning processes.

These are among the other reasons St John collaborated with New Leaf Technologies on the programme.

“It is such a privilege to partner with this incredible organisation on this project,” says New Leaf Technologies MD Michael Hanly.

“So often you hear about the negatives around technology, but here we are using it to help people save lives, perhaps the greatest thing anyone can do. We are immensely honoured to be part of their journey.”

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