Developed by DanChurchAid’s Learning Lab and the Danish Forum for Microfinance, with support from the Carsey School of Public Policy and VSL Associates, the VSLA Training App covers the 7 modules of the VSLA Program Guide and is structured into two parts. The first part is built around interactive sessions of 15 to 20 minutes, where the learner plays a character who is a member of a virtual group and who performs common VSLA activities such as saving, taking and repaying loans, and the sharing out at the end of the cycle. The second part includes five animated videos that introduce the learner to the VSLA cycle and highlight key information. The learner is quizzed to evaluate her knowledge and understanding of the respective topics. The training is developed as a stand-alone offline learning resource, but the different modules can also be combined with other blended learning modalities, for example as a supplement to traditional in-person VSLA trainings.
Early pilot results report key benefits of combining the application with traditional training methods, including allowing the trainer to go through the content at her own pace, accessing refreshers on topics of interest, and successfully testing her skills through built-in knowledge assessments. The application is designed to work offline after the initial download. Also, given its interactive design, it has a high appeal for low literacy populations. Organizations interested in adapting the application, however, should consider the limitations of customization, as the application strictly follows the VSL Associate’s Field Officer’s Training Guide, and is not customizable for other methodologies.