Brevard Zoo


Training and orientation isn’t a requirement for staff only, for many organizations they have volunteers who require these programs as well. Volunteers are critically important to the mission of so many organizations but can, administratively, be a challenge to oversee. Volunteers can be an even tougher group than staff to provide training for because their backgrounds, schedules and level of commitment vary greatly. Online learning and blended learning approaches become an ideal solution for volunteers and staff who need flexibility.


The Brevard Zoo’s eLearning Academy uses CollaborNation, our Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS was introduced first with volunteers when a donor who supports the volunteer program provided the funding. For those who want to learn more, the eLearning Academy provides that with consistent content and an easily accessible format. The Academy is an important component of blended learning and Brevard Zoo strives to use it to the fullest capacity to attain their goals each year. They’ve come a long way from merely trying to get the volunteers to register on the Academy; now, both volunteers and staff are actively participating.


Improved Communication

Volunteers use CollaborNation for the online learning modules but also to communicate with one another using our Discussion feature. For example, the volunteers who are part of the Sea Turtle Healing Center Team know that many things can change from one shift to another, so they use Discussions to give each other animal updates. Likewise, the Greenhouse Team uses discussions to let other shifts know what they have done such as watering, planting, and fertilizing. The staff that supervise these volunteers have also been registered on the appropriate team so they can communicate with their volunteers and read the updates posted. CollaborNation also allows them to upload resources they want the volunteers to read. Improving the connection between staff and volunteers has enriched both of those experiences.

HR in Action

HR is now actively encouraging staff to register and utilize the many modules available on CollaborNation. Several of the compliance modules have become a mandatory part of the onboarding and orientation process, while other modules are deemed mandatory by individual departments. Training staff and management are using it as a benchmark component for individual financial reward and advancement within the organization. They find that eLearning is strongly utilized and appreciated by those who are looking for a long-term career within the organization.

Do It Yourself

The Create-A-Course feature is used to create their own customized modules as part of the orientation and training process. Moving orientation online has saved on staff time resources and improved efficiencies. It also guarantees every new staff member or volunteer is receiving the same information. The Brevard Zoo team continues to discover new ways to use the Teams and Discussions features for both staff and volunteers. The Events management tools are particularly effective for the Conservation Team when posting and seeking volunteer help for its many offsite programs.


These features not only increased staff/volunteer retention but support the overall strategy of the organization. They are now well on their way to having a successful and enriching learning and communication tool for staff and volunteers alike. As part of their strategies and goals, the HR director and the volunteer director jointly have several goals that are directly related to the Academy: e.g., ensure high quality training through a blended learning approach and increase volunteer/staff retention. It’s one more perk to offer those staff and volunteers who are committed to the organization and have embraced their mission: Wildlife Conservation through Education and Participation.

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