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Case Study: EMBERS Canada


EMBERS, the Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society, is a non-profit based in Vancouver, Canada. Their mission is to create economic and employment opportunities for people living on low incomes, changing lives through the power of work.

What was the need for elearning?

As a non-profit, EMBERS has the goal of improving the lives of people in the Vancouver area. They do this primarily through training programs and employment support services for people who may have experienced barriers to fulfilling their potential at work.

Whilst the employment focus is the main part of their work, they have other areas they look at to really maximise their positive impact on the people they are working with. One of their areas of focus is around financial security, and they have a Cash Plan savings program where if someone is able to save CAD$600 then EMBERS will match those savings. In order to increase the impact and success of the savings programme, they also provide the Money Matters series of elearning courses to support financial literacy.

Like many organisations in early 2020, they were needing to move more of their work online where possible. There are lots of different reasons why organisations don’t take up elearning sooner. Perhaps it’s because of habit, and they just keep doing things the way they usually do. Sometimes there’s a perception it’s going to be expensive or require some skills they don’t have in their team. But the lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic pushed EMBERS to make the decision to take up elearning.

Why Nimble was the right choice

The task of finding the right elearning provider fell to Lynne Tapper, Training Manager at EMBERS. With a bit of research she found Nimble. Lynne wanted to be sure that she’d be able to create elearning courses quickly and easily, so she challenged herself to ignore any instructions and just give it a go!

“Within two minutes I had created something” – Lynne Tapper, Training Manager

Straight away she felt confident about what she was able to make by herself. This was really important for Lynne because she wanted to know she could create courses herself with minimal stress. She also wanted her learners to be able to complete their elearning as simply as possible, on any device and with no need for complex IT requirements.

Nimble’s authoring tool has been designed based on key ideas from research on how people learn. It’s a great choice for giving you the confidence that the course you are creating will be a success; it encourages you to break up any large chunks of text, and there are loads of easy ways to add interactive elements that keep your learners engaged. Nimble’s excellent customer support is always there with extra tips and tricks to ensure your elearning is exactly what you want it to be. Lynne even felt confident enough to have a go at a few new skills in the process, recording video and audio tracks to get the content just right for her learners.

The results of the elearning project

Within just a few months Lynne created the Money Matters series of courses. The content included elearning on Basic Banking, Credit and Loans, Saving and Investments, and Changing your Financial Blueprint, all with the aim of allowing users to reflect on their own financial attitudes and gain a solid basic understanding of money and banking.

“Learning how to manage your money is perhaps one of the most important skills you can ever learn” – Basic Banking course introduction

The greater aim is that, when combined with the savings programme and secure employment, it sets people up for a more stable, fulfilled life.

Elearning might have been a slightly forced choice due to lockdowns, but looking back there were many benefits to delivering the Money Matters series in this way.

People can go at their own pace through the learning modules, and can go back and revisit content as and when needed.

There’s an advantage of having a sense of privacy when completing this learning programme, because money conversations can be sensitive. When it’s just between you and your screen, it’s easier to be honest when reflecting on your relationship with money. Having to share personal beliefs and your own financial situation with a group of colleagues might run the risk of putting people off attending and completing the course.

As well as providing a great experience for the learners, using Nimble has given Lynne new skills and confidence too.

“I just clicked with Nimble, it has the same values as me”
Lynne Tapper, Training Manager

Lynne approached the project with a clear vision of what she wanted and the energy to get it done, and Nimble was there with the tools and support she needed to make it a success – a great partnership.

To find out more about EMBERS and their work visit their website emberscanada.org