For the past 118 years, Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSSA) has worked to prevent drowning by equipping Australians with water safety skills and to promote healthy, active and skilled communities through innovative, reliable, evidence-based advocacy; strong and effective partnerships and quality programs, products and services.
Today, Royal Life Saving operates as Australia’s leading water safety educator. Over one million Australians undertake a Royal Life Saving course or program every year.
The Royal Life Saving Society has been using Canopi to host its eLearning since 2004 and in 2007 they moved over to the Janison hosted Learning Management solution. In November 2013, they became the first customer to move over to Janison’s latest innovation, the Cloud Learning System (CLS). The move to the CLS has enabled them to deliver a range of products and services that they would have never been able to consider developing in the past. This includes online submitted workbooks and answers, video assessment and the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Since then, they have gone from strength-to-strength and are investing in the development of high quality content including personal safety skills like First Aid, Resuscitation, Asthma and Anaphylaxis, as well as developing a full qualification in Aquatics.
Q&A with Michael Ilinsky, Operations Manager for RLSS NSW
Can you provide some background on your requirements?
We have about 30k members in NSW alone. 80% of our members are school teachers and around 4.5k are active instructioners. We have a member in nearly every school in the state. RLSS has in the past, operated as a very traditional training organisation with a range of products that are primarily most suitable for school-aged kids and young learners. We recognised that to appeal to these young learners, who are very technologically-savvy, we would need to develop offerings in a format that they would not only expect, but that they would also enjoy. We have therefore made the move from a very traditionally-based training delivery system to providing more flexible online training solutions and we use Janison and Canopi to do that.
How did your work with Canopi and Janison come about?
We met Canopi in 2007 through the Australian Sports Commission who had been working with them for some time. We were therefore confident in their credibility and expertise. We had a requirement for flexible courses on resuscitation. Canopi provided the instructional and content design and recommended that it best sat on the Janison platform. We found out more about the products and services that Janison offered from there. We’ve worked very well together ever since. The platform is developed and provided by Janison and the style and creativity has come from Canopi. It’s a very easy relationship between the three parties.
You were the first of Janison’s clients to upgrade from the Janison LMS to the latest Cloud Learning System (CLS). How has this benefited your organisation?
The solution is an excellent one. The upgrade from the LMS was seamless and everything went very smoothly. The CLS has enabled us to develop products and services that we would never have been able to provide before. We have multiple products launching over the next few months including an aquatic course for hotel and motel owners allowing them to do their pool safety courses online; an alcohol initiative being launched by NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister; a river safety module; and a new CPR module for schools in time for summer. It has provided us with the flexibility and functionality to deliver online training products that include online submitted workbooks and answers, video assessment and we’re now considering the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It’s one that we know both Canopi and Janison have invested heavily in and that makes our continued financial investment a lot easier.
Did you face any challenges with the project?
It’s been a huge cultural change for our staff and for the organisation as a whole going from the very traditional face-to-face learning style to now saying to your client that a training officer won’t come out to your school anymore, it’s all done in their classroom. We’ve had to manage the process very carefully. We’ve had to rely on the expertise of Canopi and Janison to assist us in that transition and even in some cases to explain it to our Government partners. The relationship has gone beyond ‘please give us a solution’ it has become ‘please help us with managing those other complicated issues with implementing new technology’. It scares a lot of people. The guys at Janison and Canopi have been there to help us through the cultural and HR implications and to ensure the technology solutions will support our clients, first and foremost.
How have your clients responded?
We’re receiving very, very positive feedback.
Our clients in the Education sector have been over-the-moon. For compliance, schoolteachers had to do a 4 hour CPR course every year. That’s a big chunk of time when you have so many other priorities affecting the academic achievement of kids in schools. So, they came to us to provide them with a CPR Online solution. Now they can complete the course within minutes, not hours. We’ve not only helped them to achieve compliance within much less time and at a time that’s convenient to them, but the learning materials remain accessible. They can go back to reference the subject matter any time they want. The accreditation system is also built in. Human support is still available through our member on the teaching staff, through our Customer Officers, or from one of our partners who can provide a higher level of technical support.
The Aquatic industry are also very happy with the solutions that they’re using for new public health products.
We’ve also impressed the NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister who is launching our new online Alcohol Initiative. For the Department to say ‘we like what we see, it’s cutting-edge stuff, it’s engaging and we want to be involved in the launch’, is something we’re pretty proud of when it comes to the quality of what we’ve been able to provide.
From Ministers and Bureaucrats to schools and the kids themselves, the feedback’s been impressive. That helps us sell more solutions too.
How would you summarise your experience in working with the Janison teams?
We are extremely happy as an organisation. The service, the quality we get, the swiftness of response. When the subject matter gets beyond our understanding, we know we can rely on a team of people to provide us, or even our clients, with a solution. We rely on both Canopi’s and Janison’s technical skills. They know about technology. We know our clients. So collectively, we now put the issues on the table and they bring the solutions. We rely on their high-end skills and capacity to keep us at the cutting-edge and to give our clients enjoyable experiences online. We can’t fault the relationship to date.
Would you recommend Janison and Canopi to other organisations?
Yes. They are very easy to engage, always on task and always available. They are passionate about our brand and what we try to achieve as a humanitarian organisation, so it’s a very loyal relationship. I will say too, that the fact that Canopi and Janison are in Coffs Harbour has never been an issue because they’ve always been very flexible with their time and are happy to come to Sydney whenever required, and they’re just at the other end of the phone or email.
Finally, how would you sum up your experience?
Using the Alcohol program as an example, in the beginning, we didn’t have a lot of money to support the project and the Government didn’t have a great deal of funds to throw at it. Today, this system is offered to every student in senior schools for free. It takes up space on the system, server space, it takes up cloud space and there are cost implications for someone at the end of the line – and that lies with Canopi and Janison. They’re providing us with a high-end, visual solution to tens of thousands of kids in NSW schools, whereby they are absorbing costs, time, effort and technology. Could we have done it any other way? No. We just didn’t have the dollars in behind it. Canopi and Janison can see the broader humanitarian benefit of the work we do, saving lives. The relationship that we’ve developed means that they’re happy working with a charity to provide cutting-edge solutions for the Education sector. They’re comfortable saying ‘don’t worry about it this time, let’s just get it up there and give the kids a great experience’. Now that’s a pretty special partnership to be part of.