Vital Strategies

The Challenge

Jackrabbit LX was tasked to develop a virtual adaptation of the Data to Policy (D2P) training program. This is an intensive, mentored training course which helps enhance policymaking by leveraging data and data analysis to develop policy briefs.

Led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New York-based nonprofit Vital Strategies, D2P involves collaboration with ministries of health to expand their use of data in policy-making. The objective for Jackrabbit LX and Vital strategies cooperation was twofold:

    1. To enable Vital Strategies and CDC to deliver D2P virtually.
    2. To facilitate a more flexible, blended delivery of D2P in future.

D2P participants joined this program to get more knowledge about using data to advance health policy. During the program, they worked together on their policy briefs in teams, culminating with the opportunity to present their work and receive feedback from the mentors. Therefore, we planned to include one assignment per module that is directly related to the policy brief. Each participant came to the program with varying levels of expertise, especially in the field of economics. This program has been implemented across the globe in countries participating in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data for Health Initiative. Participants used it for policy issues ranging from tobacco use to HIV prevention and treatment.

Each mentor is assigned to a project group of three to four participants who are collectively focused on a specific health topic (the number of mentors can vary, depending on the number of participants). A typical cohort is 2025 people, but it can vary. Participants were likely to have a master’s degree in public health or previously worked in a ministry of health for some time as epidemiologists. 

Upon the consultation with all the relevant stakeholders, the Jackrabbit LX team needed to make sure that the virtual adaptation of the course materials still allows everyone on the policy brief teams to be able to support and defend their own brief to their ministry of health or other decision-makers, even when discussing the areas that are not in their field of expertise.

The Process

As part of the initial rapid planning phase, we interviewed program stakeholders to collect their thoughts regarding the program and its virtual adaptation. During this initial phase we determined all the logistics related to beta testers and eventual prototyping phases. We created two groups for beta testersone with people who were in a previous cohort and one with people who are lined up for the future cohorts.  Finally, we needed to assess LMS capabilities, as the partner used a proprietary LMS. 

Early on, the team conducted a workshop with a focus on translating strategies that work in the live classroom and in asynchronous content into the online environment, as well as investigating which elements and tools the partner would like to see in this course based on their internal requirements. 

Conducting comprehensive stakeholder interviews informed the course design. The team adopted the sprint model, starting off with broad concepts and then zooming in on each challenge to analyze, brainstorm, and problem-solve.

The Solution

As part of the beta prototype, the Jackrabbit LX team worked on instruction, creation of various activities, and opportunities to boost participants’ confidence. Following the results of the beta test, our team completed two full iterations of the program, which  launched in various countries. To remedy the gap in knowledge between different participants in the program, additional supporting videos, enhanced scaffolding through dynamic resource pages and comprehensive strategies for mentor support were added where needed. For example, capturing data about concepts the participants struggled with helped ensure mentorship success, and having perspectives from the field videos allowed participants to apply concepts to their jobs.

During COVID pandemic times, we made a decision to move video production away from the studio, which required creativity and attention to detail in relation to the quality of sound, lighting, and video setup while filming instructors in their homes. Our production team tackled this challenge without compromising on the quality of the instructional materials, including video lectures, video feedback, and interviews with policymakers. 

Together with our Vital Strategies and CDC partners, we brainstormed and provided suggestions for the structure and schedule the program e.g. how condensed or spread out the sessions will be, and how to structure them in relation to participants’ availability and their constant work in the ministries of health during the pandemic. 

The Jackrabbit LX team conducted stakeholder interviews and submitted a summary of our stakeholder analysis in conjunction with the development of our online learning prototype and product. We used the summary analysis for the virtual adaptation of the materials and for thinking about future directions for the course; thus, we shared it with some of the internal stakeholders  on the partner’s side.

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