Depart Smart is a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota, USA, working to reach, teach and engage travelers as active participants in their health and safety abroad.
Travel and tourism is a strong and profitable industry. However, most people do not know how to Depart Smart for the world. Simple things can make lifesaving differences, like registering trips with foreign affairs offices, having emergency numbers, knowing how to ask for help (or if you should), protecting yourself with vaccinations and travel insurance.
To address the issues above and help people to Depart Smart, the organization created the first consumer-driven, online travel safety certification.
The certification – TravelHEROES.org – provides travelers with a customized action plan so they can avoid trouble because they are informed of warnings and alerts, are insured, have preventive medicine, prepare their emergency contacts, and know how to get help and home safely to the people they love.
As a nonprofit, Depart Smart needed to find a cost-effective learning platform that can also be accessible worldwide by every person who would like to travel safely to and from their home and destination.
Depart Smart recognized the demand from consumers for travel safety preparations. However, like many nonprofits, Depart Smart is a bootstrap organization with no full-time employees.
They wanted to create a rewarding course to save lives and help people navigate the world by preparing wisely. Their vision is a world where people help each other travel safely, in every language. In their search for the right platform, to save time and money, they took the advice of other businesses who had funds to write and manage in-depth requests for proposals.
Based on their advice and referrals, Depart Smart started with Matrix LMS, which did not support saving students’ work through their SCORM. The organization was told that they needed up to USD $20,000 or more in LTI development and a long development time to make the course viable.
Not having the necessary funds to do more development, the organization used a Boolean Google search for “Quality Assurance SCORM LTI” which brought up Moodle!
By working with an eLearning professional who volunteered to help Depart Smart, they were able to have their online travel safe certification (TravelHEROES.org) up and running in Moodle. In one week they had paying customers, just in time for their Travel + Leisure advertisement in the September edition before 9 million viewers.
The team worked with their eLearning Quality Assurance professional, Sarah Ashley, to also implement the following features in Moodle for TravelHEROES. :
- Customized a third-party theme, Strix, to custom brand the website
- Configured the site as an LTI publisher for inclusion in external LMSs
- Integrated eCommerce with PayPal and Stripe
- Secured the site with an SSL certificate
- Developed a Community Hub through Forums
- Created customer portals with multi-tenant features using IOMAD
- Setup Google Analytics and Google AdWords plugins
- Implemented a help desk using a tracker plugin
- Developed a Travel Safety Savvy quiz, SCORM, and badges for the travel safety certification
- Integrated MailChimp mailing lists with the Myddleware plugin
- Implemented Coupons plugin
- Used events monitoring rules to alert administrators of new users and course completion
Sheryl Hill, Executive Director and Founder of Depart Smart, commented: “Moodle saved our reputation, investment and potentially millions of dollars for our nonprofit. We seriously want to help the world travel awesome in lifesaving ways with Moodle.”
By using Moodle as the platform for delivering the Travel HEROES online travel safe certification, Depart Smart’s SCORM did not have to be redeveloped. Travel HEROES in Moodle is now an engaging, animated, fun, gamification course that helps you and your loved ones Depart Smart with a customized Action Plan for your global destinations. Depart Smart did not have an increase in budget, yet were able to get a more powerful learning platform that their users are complimentary about.
“Moodle saved us thousands, potentially millions of dollars,” said Sheryl Hill. “We scaled our certification and Moodle platform to offer tenant services for corporations who want to empower their employees to travel safely and integrated a community where active Travel HEROES participants can help each other with decisions affecting their safety abroad. These abilities are done with open source, no-cost add-on to our important, philanthropic mission. Moodle helps us save lives.”