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Optimism wins triple business awards crown

Optimism wins triple business awards crown

New Zealand corporate learning and development company Optimism has won four business eLearning Awards in the last three months – one in Australia, two in New York USA and then most recently overall winner in New Zealand. The business works at the leading edge of online learning best practice and put forward two of its client projects to LearnX Awards, the International E-Learning Awards and eLearnz Awards.

Optimism Chief Executive Sussan Ockwell says “it’s the first time we’ve submitted entries for any awards and we won in every category we entered. It’s amazing to be recognised as world-class, as well as being acknowledged right here in New Zealand.”

One of the internationally accoladed client projects was for NZ Coastguard Boating Education (CBE). Their flagship programme is the Day Skipper course which prepares recreational boaties for safe boating. Until recently the course was taught as a 2-day (or 6-week) classroom course, led by marine instructors. Working with CBE, Optimism’s team, led by Learning Partner Nicola Macdonald, translated the course into an online modular programme which can be completed in just 2-3 hours - when and where it suits.

The resulting online course stunned the international awards judges. It uses interaction, animation, audio and video to facilitate learning, and provides for accurate assessment of skills and comprehension as endorsed by NZQA. “We want to create learning that is fun, accessible and works,” explains Nicola Macdonald. “It’s about creating a simulating learning context and making it relevant so that the learning sticks.”

NZ Coastguard Boating Education Market Development Manager, Sue West, says “There are 600 people who have passed the course and thousands more are in the process. The programme launched in early 2015 and students are allowed 12 months to complete and be assessed. Day Skipper is one of our most popular courses. It wasn’t reaching all the people who need it because it was face-to-face. By moving online it gets a much wider reach nationally, as well as attracting a large number of schools who are enrolling students as it counts towards NZQA unit standards.”

“Ultimately we want to create learning that is fun, engaging, accessible, and gets the job done,” explains Learning Partner Nicola Macdonald. “It’s about simulating the context and environment as far as possible, and making it relevant so that the learning sticks. We’re all about creating learning strategies and solutions that get awesome results.”

NZ Coastguard Boating Education CEO Neil Murray says “Our challenge was to take a practical course and make it online so that it was both enjoyable and engaging for boaties and still challenging and effective. That way we would also create word of mouth endorsements to get more people to participate in future.”


LearnX Impact Awards Australia 2015 - Best eLearning Development Company - Silver (April 2015 - to be presented September 15 in Australia )

International eLearning Awards 2015, NY USA – Winner Business eLearning category, and Highly Commended in the Business eLearning category (June 2015)

eLearnz NZ 2015 (July 2015)


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