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ECB’s Pioneering Blended Learning Approach to Coach Development

About the ECB

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the national governing body for all cricket in England and Wales, based at the illustrious Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. ECB is responsible for every form of cricket for men and women, including all levels from clubs, schools, juniors and youth, disabilities cricket, representative, and first-class, through to international cricket.

Capitalizing on the success of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, ECB’s “Inspiring Generations” campaign is a five-year strategic plan to increase accessibility and grow cricket in England and Wales from 2020–2024.

A recent shift in demographic appeal has seen player numbers surge, leaving a shortfall in qualified coaches. ECB identified a strategic need to make it easier to become a qualified coach. This requires a clear development path to enable coaches to progress and coach at the different levels of the game.

With research showing that coached players have higher advocacy and satisfaction scores, ECB’s coach development programs provides a sustainable strategy to support its wider mission to attract more players to the game, raise standards at all levels, and promote cricket as a spectator sport.

ECB Foundation I Coach has been very well received and we hope it allows more people the opportunity to start their coaching journey and give players great positive experiences.

- Martyn Kiel, Coach Development Learning Design Lead, England and Wales Cricket Board

The Challenge

To make coaching more accessible, ECB wanted to:

  • Reduce barriers of entry to become a coach
  • Reduce the associated costs
  • Increase the diversity (age, gender, ethnicity) of new coaches
  • Reduce course waiting time and provide instant access to learning content
  • Reduce the cost of curriculum delivery
A screenshot of the ECB Foundation I Coach eLearning, which was designed by LEO Learning using the Gomo authoring tool

One of the key challenges was how to take learning based around a highly physical skill, individually coached in face-to-face sessions, and apply it to digital learning—without losing effectiveness?

As coaching qualifications progress through different levels and specialties, careful consideration was required to provide a clear structure and ongoing learner journeys. This resulted in the start of a phased rollout of four core coach development programs, with an additional ECB Support Coach program available.

The solution needed to support ECB’s business model, demonstrating success and effectiveness to stakeholders. Creating data-led insights was also critical to inform decision-making for the development of future modules and learning content.

The Solution

LEO’s approach started with strategic consultancy, exploring ECB’s technology infrastructure and wider learning strategy, as per the ‘Inquire’ phase of our Learning Transformation Model. We also took a literal ‘hands-on’ approach, with our Managing Director and Consulting Lead immersing themselves in face-to-face coaching sessions! This offered the practical insight required to understand which content components could be digitalized as part of a blended learning approach.

 A screenshot of the eLearning that LEO Learning created for the England and Wales Cricket Board using the Gomo authoring tool

The solution comprised a blended learning journey, with eLearning modules built using our sister company Gomo’s content authoring tool, and delivered through ECB’s Moodle LMS. This provides learners with on-demand access to video content and bite-size learning modules (five to 15 minutes in length) on their smartphones or device of their choice.

This approach allows the theory to be covered prior to physical training sessions through a variety of rich media and video content, allowing subsequent face-time with coaches to focus solely on the application of the learning.

By breaking the content into manageable chunks, learners can dip in and out at times that suit them, with the additional benefit of having learning support resources readily accessible in one location. Moving to a digital platform also allows assignments to be submitted via the learning platform for assessment, offering a more convenient experience than the previous paper submissions, with additional benefits of a reduced environmental impact.

The Result

The initial rollout of the ECB Foundation I Coach program has shown some outstanding early results, achieving the annual enrollment target in half the time, with 2,200 registrations between October 2019 and March 2020.

Key to this initial success is the increased flexibility to access digital content on-demand and on learners’ device of choice, coupled with a greatly reduced completion time—down from 24 hours of face-to-face coaching sessions to 12 hours face-to-face with an additional 100 minutes of supporting eLearning modules.

A screenshot of the Lancashire Cricket Foundation's Twitter feed from March 2020 showing the success and uptake of the ECB Foundation eLearning course
Working with LEO’s multidisciplinary team allows us to deliver solutions based on our strategic, operational and educational needs. They have gone to great lengths to get under the skin of what we and the game needs. This includes their staff being part of face-to-face pilots.

- Martyn Kiel, Coach Development Learning Design Lead, England and Wales Cricket Board

The ECB has also seen a noticeable increase in the diversity of enrollments, both in ethnicity and gender, aligning with ECB’s objectives to encourage an open and inclusive playing culture at all levels. ECB Foundation I Coach program has seen a 14% increase in female participation compared to the previous provision.

This initial success will be further built upon with the launch of the remaining programs (Foundation II, Advanced and Specialist), offering a cohesive learning path for coach development at all levels of the game.

A screenshot of the eLearning that LEO Learning created for the England and Wales Cricket Board using the Gomo authoring tool

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