Some of the most common barriers to expansion for small organizations, associations and non-profits are capacity, funding and infrastructure. But overcoming these barriers can often be made possible through determination, technology and partnership.
In 2008, two young professional women in San Diego, California, found themselves working together as literacy coordinators in an Adult Literacy program at a local library. Committed as they were to their clients, they recognized that the underlying problem with adult literacy was that children with Dyslexia were not being identified and helped early enough. So Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley and Tracy Block-Zaretsky founded the Dyslexia Training Institute (DTI) to address some of the gaps in the dyslexia training available to educators living on the west coast of the United States.
Very quickly, however, they discovered that the need for effective dyslexia training was far greater than they had imagined. In fact, training was needed not only for educators, but also for medical professionals and even family members of those with Dyslexia.
And the need wasn’t only on the West Coast, but spanned all across the U.S. and even the world. While Dyslexia isn’t rare, only five percent of the estimated 43.5 million Americans with this learning disability are properly diagnosed in order to receive the help they need.
At the time the Institute was launched, both Hurley and Zaretsky were also new mothers who could not consider extensive travel to serve the mission that so inspired them. The puzzle they faced was clear: how could they work from home and yet reach any geographic location at times convenient for professional students? Moreover, how could they nurture the peer-to-peer support systems they found to be so important in their work?
Once they defined the puzzle, the solution came quickly. Hurley and Zaretsky learned about iCohere, an online classroom platform that fosters community-building and engages participants with instructors and fellow students. They realized that DTI could expand its geographical outreach without compromising the sense of community and interaction among its trainees. And without either of them having to travel! Their new goal took form: to use an internet-based platform to create an online campus so they could realize their professional goals without sacrificing their personal commitments.
Today, just a few years after its founding, the Dyslexia Training Institute reaches a global audience. The services have expanded to provide not only training for educators, reading therapists and teachers, but also a variety of courses for parents, including how to navigate the educational system by understanding Special Educational Law.
ATTENDANCE HAS GROWN OVER 430%
SINCE THE ONLINE PROGRAM LAUNCHED IN 2012
In a complimentary webinar held on Tuesday, December 2, DTI founders Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley and Tracy Block-Zaretsky shared their strategies and best practices for launching an online campus and certification program. (View webinar or read the full case study here.)
The webinar was part of the iCohere Leadership Learning Webinar Series featuring leaders from associations, government and private practice who share best practices and strategies for using an online platform to drive mission success. This webinar is ideal for Independent Practitioners / Private Practice, Women Owned Small Businesses, Medical Trainers and Consultants, health industry professionals, and professionals interested in developing 100% Online Conferences, Courses, and Workshops.