Understanding disabilities through soccer, promoted through e-learning training
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- Group training for companies has become impossible due to the impact of the new coronavirus.
- As opportunities for group training have disappeared, companies have requested e-learning courses. In addition, there were requests for microlearning, which allows learning to take place in a short period of time.
- Soccer coaches requested knowledge of how to respond to the characteristics of disabilities.
- An e-learning system has been installed to provide e-learning training.
- Launched an e-learning training program, "Understanding Disabilities through Soccer," which produces video content of 5 to 15 minutes per video and includes knowledge on how to respond to the characteristics of disabilities.
The Japan Football Association for the Disabled (JIFF), in cooperation with the Japan Football Association (JFA), promotes the realization of its vision and the strengthening and popularization of seven soccer organizations for the disabled. JIFF is working to realize a symbiotic society, and one of its activities is to "create an environment where anyone can enjoy sports anytime, anywhere by promoting soccer for people with disabilities and making it an integral part of society. As part of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, the company has introduced and is using learningBOX in response to requests for e-learning of content previously provided in group training sessions. In this interview, we talked about the changes that have taken place since the introduction of learningBOX, the actual content, and future prospects.
We want to create training opportunities for able-bodied people in order to realize a symbiotic society.
Please tell us about the business and actual activities of the Japan Football Federation for the Disabled (JIFF).
The Japan Football Federation for the Disabled (JIFF) was established in 2016 as an affiliate of the Japan Football Association (JFA) and works to achieve a symbiotic society. its two main focuses are to support seven soccer organizations for the disabled and to create a symbiotic society through soccer.
The seven types of soccer for the disabled are "Amputee Soccer" for amputees, "CP Soccer" for those with cerebral palsy, "Social Football (futsal)" for the mentally disabled, "Soccer and Futsal for the Mentally Disabled" for the mentally disabled, "Powerchair Soccer" for those with severe disabilities that mainly make it difficult to walk independently, "Blind Soccer" and "Low Vision Futsal" for the visually impaired, and "Deaf Soccer and Futsal" for the deaf. The following categories are offered: "electric wheelchair soccer" for people with severe disabilities who have difficulty walking independently, "blind soccer" and "low vision futsal" for people with visual impairments, and "deaf soccer/ futsal" for people with hearing impairments.
In support of seven soccer organizations for people with disabilities, we provide office support, personnel support, and information dissemination, such as unifying uniforms for the Japanese national category and also serving as a joint secretariat for the seven organizations in our office.
In terms of creating a symbiotic society, we are promoting the creation of an environment where anyone can enjoy playing soccer anywhere, anytime. We are also training leaders who will be the key players in creating such an environment, and holding events such as the "Inclusive Football Festa" where people with disabilities and able-bodied people can mix and enjoy playing together.
In addition, to ensure that these activities are promoted locally and become ongoing activities, we are working with the Sports Agency to conduct the "9 Regional Soccer Collaboration Councils for Persons with Disabilities". Together with regional soccer associations, prefectural soccer associations, J-League clubs, and local soccer teams for the physically challenged, we are building a network to promote soccer for the physically challenged in the region.
What challenges did you face before introducing learningBOX?
In order to realize a symbiotic society, it is important to conduct activities not only for people with disabilities, but also for the majority of society, the able-bodied. The Japan Football Federation for the Disabled (JIFF) offers training programs for partner companies to promote understanding of disabilities through soccer for the disabled, as well as business trips for elementary and junior high school students.
When our partner companies were unable to conduct group training due to the effects of the new coronavirus, we began to receive requests to convert training to e-learning and to support microlearning.
Furthermore, when we were offering a curriculum on soccer for the physically challenged to qualified coaches of the Japan Football Association (JFA) (86,777/fiscal year 2021), we received requests to learn more about how to accommodate the characteristics of disabilities.
Therefore, it was necessary to create content that could meet the needs of both parties. And a system to deliver that content was also essential.
Also, from the perspective of our organization's operations, our main funding for our activities currently comes from revenues from our partners and grants, but we need to establish new pillars of revenue and we wanted to enhance our content creation. In a non-profit organization, it is very important to have a portfolio of financial resources in order to maintain decision-making authority.
E-learning training can be provided without much cost and effort
Can you tell us how you came to know about learningBOX and what made you decide to introduce it?
The trigger was an Internet search for "e-learning system" that turned up a hit.We researched various e-learning systems, but the best was that the screen was easy to see and use.The website had a good page on how to use it, and when I inquired about it, I was glad to receive a quick response.
I signed up for the free plan myself and actually created content. We are a small organization, so ideally we wanted to be able to operate with as few resources as possible.
The learningBOX was intuitive to use without having to look at the instructions, and I thought, "This is the only place to do it.
In addition, the company's philosophy of "changing the world with the power of EdTech," its development of systems that are easy for anyone to use, and its focus on global expansion, are common to the Japan Football Federation for the Disabled (JIFF), which aims to realize a symbiotic society, and to world-class soccer for the disabled.
What effect have you seen since the introduction of learningBOX?
In March 2022, at the request of a partner company, we produced video content for e-learning. At that time, we only provided the content, which was incorporated into the company's platform before being used. With the introduction of learningBOX, we are now ready to offer e-learning training to companies and instructors who do not have a platform.
I believe that the fact that we were able to launch something new and smoothly operate something that did not exist before was a major step toward the realization of a symbiotic society. It was also a major step forward in terms of developing a pillar of fundraising.
In addition, we have been able to reduce operating costs compared to group training. We have just started up, so the number of participants is not very large, but the content of the training has been well received, and we hope to increase the number of participants in the future.
How are you using learningBOX? Please tell us about the actual content provided.
We are currently offering an e-learning training program called "Understanding Disability through Soccer". We offer this program exclusively to our partner companies and qualified instructors of the Japan Football Association (JFA) who have completed the curriculum of soccer for the disabled.
The production of the content was supervised by the Japan CareFit Co-education Organization. There are a total of five videos, each of 5 to 15 minutes in length, including "Social Model of Disability," "Basic Knowledge of the Law for Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities," "Characteristics of Persons with Physical Disabilities and How to Interact with Them," and "From the Field of Soccer for Persons with Disabilities.
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Rather than just providing knowledge, the training includes videos that summarize in an interactive format what is being practiced in the field of soccer for people with disabilities and how the companies where the players work are devising ways to make it easier to understand.
In the future, we would like to develop training programs for local governments, educational institutions, and the general public.
Are there any difficulties you encountered in operating the learningBOX or any areas you would like to see improved?
It went smoothly, so there were no difficulties. It was very helpful. In terms of requests for improvement, as we asked when we first contacted you, we would like to address web accessibility (i.e., the ability for anyone, including the elderly and people with disabilities, to use the information and functions provided on a website without difficulty).
In the future, we anticipate that the number of students with disabilities will increase. The video content we currently use is subtitled in advance, but it would be helpful if there were a function on learningBOX to add subtitles for the hearing impaired and a voice reading function for the visually impaired.
Currently, there is a "text-to-speech" function, but it is limited to quizzes only. If you have any other specific requests, we would be happy to hear them. Next, please tell us about your future plans.
We sent out a press release about the "Understanding Disability through Soccer" training program for our partner companies and soccer coaches, and we received inquiries from the general public who saw the release and wanted to take the course. We have also received requests from people who have actually taken the course to provide the information to their own teams and local sports associations for people with disabilities.
By the end of 2023, we hope to have a system in place to provide information to the general public. In addition, we have recently had more opportunities to communicate with local governments and boards of education, and we would like to provide content for each.
In 2025, Japan will host the Deaflympics, the pinnacle festival for deaf athletes. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have attracted attention to wheelchair basketball, blind soccer, and other sports for people with disabilities, and we believe it is important to deepen understanding of people with disabilities that are difficult to see from the outside.
Many companies actually employ people with the same types of disabilities, and we are often asked by companies to expand their understanding of the characteristics of various disabilities. Soccer for the Disabled targets people with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities, and because it uses soccer as its starting point, I think it is easy for people to visualize and incorporate it into their own lives. We would like to continue to expand our activities in order to realize a symbiotic society.
Thank you very much. Finally, what advice would you give to those who are considering implementing learningBOX?
First.I would like to recommend that administrators can smoothly start using the system without incurring many training costs.Furthermore, it is also helpful that the participants have no questions about the operation of the system and are using it without any problems.
Also, the cost is easy to understand with a pay-as-you-go system. It would be good to try the free plan first to see how easy it is to use.
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.