Saving Lives with Online Learning

In 2015, UMBC Training Centers collaborated with CourseArc to help one of their partners, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), transition face-to-face workshops to the online environment.

ICISF are the education and training leaders in crisis intervention and disaster behavioral health services. They support emergency response personnel with regional workshops on crisis management, and offer over 50 different courses on related topics. ICISF was faced with rising interest due to the increase in national and global crises and, at the same time, declining training and travel budgets. ICISF reached out to UMBC Training Centers, and requested assistance in creating a strategy for moving their content online. ICISF’s main challenge was creating an affordable, easy, and scalable solution with no internal knowledge nor capacity to go online.

Listen to ICISF’s CEO, Rick Barton, talk about their rationale for working with UMBC Training Centers.

The numbers below prove that ICISF’s investment paid off.

Expanding Markets

ICISF used to offer workshops in the United States only. However, in just a year after moving online, they have been able to expand their reach to the countries identified below. Some of their new clients included police departments in The Bahamas, a pastoral counselor in Canada, and emergency responders in Australia. Move your mouse over the map to see all the locations ICISF now serves.

Increasing Enrollments

Because online classes offer much more flexibility in comparison to face-to-face workshops, enrollment in eLearning increased dramatically. The graph below compares with online enrollments from January 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. As you can see, in 2016, online courses are on track to increasing their enrollments by 200 percent compared to in-person workshops.

Increasing Revenue

The increase in enrollments translated into 144 percent increase in revenue. This allowed ICISF to recoup their initial investment after just two offerings, and use the profits to invest in their next course.


ICISF used CourseArc to create their courses. CourseArc was so easy that even non-technical subject matter experts were able to create an interactive, high-quality content without needing any development skills. Because CourseArc integrates into any LMS using Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), ICISF has the flexibility to offer the content using multiple delivery methods.

Select this link to take a look at a few pages of content in the Suicide Awareness course.

The content experts who used CourseArc to develop content were impressed with the end result:

“Our hesitation for years was, ‘Could we develop a quality [online] product that conveyed a complex subject?’ But, CourseArc made a believer out of me.

In some ways, it may even be more effective than in-person training because we don’t do those interactive exercises at the same level of cognitive stimulation that the online course does. I think it will enlarge our footprint internationally. This is huge for us.”

– Dr. George Everly
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Professor, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Professor of Psychology, Loyola University Maryland
Professor (Honorary), Universidad de Flores, Buenos AiresChairman Emeritus and ICISF NGO Delegate to the United Nations

Most importantly, the training had a positive impact and helped to save a life:

Thank you. The saying “timing is everything” certainly holds true for me and taking this course.  My daughter-in-law’s sister has been in a deep depression for almost a year and sent a note illustrating everything we learned in the course. I don’t think I would have picked up half of the warning bells if it weren’t for what I learned…This course just might have saved one more life and if it weren’t possible for me to do this virtually, I wouldn’t have been able to take it…It was invaluable.

– Student Testimonial


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