In late summer/early fall, MAI leadership recognized a gap in our organization. For over 40 years, MAI utilized a process called Community Health Evangelism (CHE) to educate people around the world in how to live healthier lives physically and spiritually. Those lessons have brought great results, but it didn’t help our own people (employees, volunteers, board members, etc.) develop professionally or to improve their skill sets. It was for that reason that MAI Academy (MAI-A) was created – to meet real and felt training and development needs so that we can not only better address the needs of the present, but of the future as well.
Thus began a lengthy process of thinking and planning, researching, evaluating and selecting not only the tools we would use to deliver the training, but also planning the curriculum that we believe will help better equip students to thrive in their work and ministry. Several Learning Management System (LMS) vendors were evaluated, and their platforms were tested to see if they would meet our needs. After the evaluation completed, we settled on Thinkific.com as our vendor. Not only do they offer a robust platform with many types of learning tools, but they also appear to be the most cost-effective platform for our purposes.
Conversations were held with various individuals within MAI about perceived training needs and by the end of 2020 we built a list of potential courses that continues to grow. Our strategy was to start by developing some materials for the home office first until we got more familiar with creating on-demand training modules with the LMS and later roll out the platform to anyone who wishes to enroll in a course in mid-2021. Where it makes sense, we are leveraging existing training materials that we might obtain from partners, other missions organizations, TED Talks, free training videos from YouTube and other sources, and when necessary to create other materials internally.
Thus far we’ve created 19 courses with a total of 320 lessons in areas as diverse as Microsoft training tools, creative thinking, discipleship, how to tell ministry stories to better engage an audience, photography and videography, understanding one’s purpose in life, HR topics and more.
We believe there is great potential in how MAI-A can better equip students to be more effective and efficient are excited to see how this all helps us grow in 2021 and beyond!