ENS Escola de Negócios e Seguros (ENS School of Business and Insurance or ENS), is a technical, graduate, and post-graduate institution offering courses related to insurance, risk management, reinsurance, and private pension funds, as well as topics encompassing business, marketing, and economics. With its main branch located in Rio de Janeiro and another instructional center in the country’s bustling São Paulo, the institute had traditionally delivered courses in-person at their institutes, through face-to-face corporate training, and some online up until 2020.
In March 2020, as the country went into national lockdown, the institute successfully migrated all in-person learning modalities to online in just under a month, hosting as many as 26,000 learners via Open LMS, their chosen eLearning provider.
Moving thousands of learners to online learning required effective coordination, staff training, and adopting the various tools and functionalities offered and integrated within the LMS.
Moving In-Person Courses, Instructors and Students to eLearning
While ENS had consistently worked to be up to date with the most current educational technology and industry best practices, a joint effort involving the entire organization was required to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on student learning. As classes had already started in March 2020, “a task force was implemented to create the courses within Open LMS EDU, in order to welcome the new students and adapt the face-to-face methodology to online”, shares Matheus dos Santos, virtual school coordinator at ENS.
EaD, the institution’s virtual school, led the migration of courses, working closely with academic coordinators and providing support to teaching staff and students as needed. The virtual school team is responsible for providing new technologies and solutions for distance learning courses and all the technical LMS support. In addition, it also produces all content hosted on the platform, creating resources such as video lessons, infographics, and SCORM packages, such as pages, that allow for animated presentations for students and staff.
To plan the migration, the EaD team met with the institution’s academic coordination offices to define the resources that would be made available on the platform. Instructor training also began on all the educational tools used within the courses. These included Blackboard Collaborate, a video conferencing solution that facilitates online classes, as well as taking advantage of the platform’s native resources such as questionnaires, SCORM packages, evaluation surveys, forums, and Open Forums.
Tutorials were also created to help students adjust to the new educational process, from how to access the platform to course navigation. The entire operation was up and running by April of 2020, without any burden on the students, allowing the school to operate 100% online for the remainder of the year. ENS also took great care of its administrative staff. Everyone was transferred to a home office scheme, with no impact on the school’s operations due to the institution’s heavy investment in network technology and communications security.
“We managed to perform, in less than a month, the complete migration of all students enrolled in face-to-face courses to EaD. Working closely with the academic coordinators, we were able to provide the necessary support to students and teachers. This whole change was the result of work that was already under development and foreseen in our planning,” affirms dos Santos.
After the successful migration, 26,000 learners have passed through Open LMS EDU in just under a year.
How ENS Navigates Digital Transformation in Education
Digital transformation at ENS has been an ongoing process for a long time. As part of its strategic planning, the institution is constantly looking for solutions that add value and generate an innovative experience for students, regardless of where they are in the education journey.
In fact, in 2020, ENS inaugurated the first ‘Room of the Future’ in Latin America, which promotes transformation in the student experience through hybrid learning. It’s a unique educational environment that features fully immersive learning, exceptional audio and video quality, and instantaneous features such as polls and breakout rooms.
“I believe that digital transformation starts by focusing on the end-user and thinking about the ‘pains’—questioning what problems they currently have, how we can solve them, and if possible, to implement an automated, high-quality solution,” asserts dos Santos.
Uncovering Challenges and Opportunities in eLearning
The biggest challenges experienced by ENS during 2020 were the creation of 150 new courses in Open LMS EDU to accommodate in-person students, and training 100 faculty members to teach remotely in a short time span. For the latter, the EaD team has created many resources to support teacher training and holds a meeting every six months to discuss new developments and initiatives.
“We create many tutorials for faculty members, including videos, manuals, and a testing environment for them to apply their knowledge in practice. In addition, we hold a meeting every six months to discuss ideas and new tools that can be used during classes. Being close to the teachers is essential, and when we bring everyone together, this exchange of ideas turns into new ways of learning,” shares dos Santos.
Communication tools, such as the discussion forum, have also been essential during this trying time to facilitate institution-learner communication.
In terms of opportunities, ENS has been keen to understand how students perceive the new educational model. To this end, student surveys have been consistently sent out to gauge the level of student satisfaction with the online learning experience and whether there’s interest in continuing to take courses fully online. ENS has uncovered that eLearning has opened the doors for more individuals to access the institute’s course portfolio and the opportunity to achieve professional insurance certification in Brazil.
“I would like to emphasize the importance of Open LMS EDU as a fundamental tool in a very challenging year. Generally, the system remained stable and support was there for us when needed,” concludes dos Santos.