Breaking Down the Barriers of In-Person Teaching: Projeto Pescar's Mission to Empower Underprivileged Youth
In Brazil, at least 30% of the population lives in poverty. Coupled with the country’s high rates of violence and the fact that only 57% of adults have a remunerated job, it’s clear why non-profit social initiatives are so valuable.
One of those initiatives is Projeto Pescar, which has helped over 35,000 underprivileged youth since being founded in 1976. The non-profit is one of multiple projects addressing the country’s poverty gap. Projeto Pescar provides a free education program that combines vocational training with personal and civic duty-based development, and helps secure job placement for vulnerable young people. In so doing, it protects these young individuals from taking the wrong path in life by giving them the opportunity to build a financially stable future.
Read on to find out how the organization achieves its mission with the help of Open LMS.
The Challenge: Scaling Beyond Spatial Constraints to Embrace Remote Teaching
Projeto Pescar’s programs across Brazil involve one year of personal, civic, and professional training, after which youths begin working, followed by two years of ongoing support from Projeto Pescar. Youths can choose from ten career options, including administrative assistant, logistics, vehicle mechanics, industrial mechanics, and computer programming.
Juliana Dos Santos, Projeto Pescar’s Innovation Coordinator, says that they don't consider it a success if their youths merely secure a job; the true measure of success is if the young individuals change their mindset to believe they now have an opportunity to develop a professional future with a stable income.
In the pursuit of this mission, Projeto Pescar identified the following obstacles:
- A significant number of vulnerable youth wanted to take up the opportunity for professional training—up to 29,000 applicants—but the organization can only accommodate 1,500 youths in its annual program.
- In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caught Projeto Pescar off guard, highlighting the importance of having a remote teaching alternative. In particular, not having an LMS to facilitate virtual and remote training was a problem at the time.
- Some teachers lacked confidence in remote teaching, which made them hesitant to embrace virtual learning methods.
- Some of the graduates were delaying professional development, prompting Projeto Pescarto to explore new ways to promote their alumni growth, especially considering that many wouldn't be able to attend in person.
MORE CASE STUDIES FOR YOU TO ENJOY | ‘Universidad Santo Tomás’s Virtual Mission: From a New Online Campus to Colombia’s First Online Doctoral Program’
The Solution: Open LMS’s Highly Intuitive and Accessible Learning Platform
Projeto Pescar decided that it needed to embrace virtual teaching, delivered through a learning management system (LMS). After evaluating several alternatives, it determined that Open LMS EDU was the best choice.
Open LMS offers the organization a cost-effective and highly intuitive platform, that’s easy to manage, even for staff with limited knowledge of computers and eLearning tech. The platform also features a responsive mobile app, which is beneficial for youths without access to a computer, and provides an option to download and access content without an internet connection.
Also, since this was Projeto Pescar's first experience with an LMS, it required a lot of support as the organization had a lot of questions upfront. The Open LMS team provided continuous support, addressing all Juliana's team's questions during the onboarding process, and to this day, Open LMS continues to ensure that the team understands how to manage the platform effectively.
“From the beginning, Open LMS ensured there were always people available to address our questions. They made a concerted effort to provide special attention to the teachers, ensuring that they had no lingering doubts. This process has been very well managed and made us feel well taken care of.”
READ MORE ON THE POWER OF LEARNING APPS | ‘How Casper College's Mobile Learning App Improves the Youths Experience’
The Results: Expanding the Mission of Ensuring More Young Lives Can Have a Promising Future
Thanks to the Open LMS platform, Projeto Pescar can now offer short virtual courses (up to 20 hours) to 170 young individuals who couldn’t secure one of the 1,500 space in the main program—expanding its reach by over 10%! The first course offered was on entrepreneurship, and the organization is planning to launch new short courses related to digital marketing, business, and technology.
“The aim of the short courses is to keep the youths interest in pursuing a professional career by ensuring they remain connected to Projeto Pescar even if they don't secure a spot.”
Additionally, 473 youths from the main program are using the Open LMS platform to enhance their learning through multimedia resources and the convenience of having an organized repository of knowledge they can access when needed. Going forward, the institution aims to extend this opportunity to a larger percentage of the main program.
Open LMS proved so user-friendly that youths not only grasped it immediately but they also encouraged their teachers to use it. The platform’s intuitiveness empowered hesitant educators, helping them overcome the beliefs that had previously hindered their use of LMS technology. Likewise, teachers with prior experience in virtual platforms have praised its usefulness as a tool.
“Open LMS works really smoothly, making it very accessible for young people, especially those with no prior experience with technology on computers or virtual environments. The platform makes things much easier. It's very helpful. It’s intuitive. It’s explanatory, in the sense that when you look at the screen, it has all the information right there, so there's no need to search for things. Very straightforward, easy to use.”
According to Projeto Pescar data, the current average satisfaction rating for the platform stands at 8.7 out of 10. To date, they have not received any complaints from youths regarding the platform's usability and youths are pleased with how well it works.
“Open LMS is really good. I have nothing to complain about. It's very detailed, and it organizes things nicely. It shows the percentage of progress you've made, which is quite motivating for us as learners. It presents the topics in a simple way, especially the videos. I complete the assignments based on the multimedia and the text, but I rely a lot on the videos and the infographics. I don't have any issues with this platform; I really like it and wish other platforms were designed this way.”
Finally, thanks to the great experiences with its youth programs, Projeto Pescar has decided to introduce virtual courses to promote the professional development of its graduates. The organization is currently working on creating this new program, for which the course design feature has become essential.
Juliana told us that before acquiring the platform, Projeto Pescar had hired a third-party team to design their first courses. However, after implementing Open LMS, the organization realized that Open LMS’s built-in course design tools were so intuitive that it can create the courses itself. It’s now capitalizing on this feature for the graduate program and plans to do it for future courses, contributing to cost savings by not having to hire a third-party content creation service.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE | ‘How Euroidiomas Enhances Its Learning Programs With Help From Open LMS’
Want to offer the world’s best open-source learning technology? Contact us for more information.