A lot of companies had to adapt going through the Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown measures that followed. ICDL France was no exception.
But as new challenges are always a way to learn, evolve and grow, the French operator for ICDL is now proud to take stock of what has been accomplished during a first lockdown period.
Taking the lockdown as a source of innovation
Beginning on 16 March 2020 until further notice, a first mandatory lockdown forced 67 million people in France to stay at home. Anticipating the consequences of such a decision, ICDL France quickly responded and set up—in less than a week—an exceptional remote proctoring protocol for ICDL testing. Developed in line with the ICDL guidelines and approved by the ICDL Foundation, this new technical solution was delivered on 23 March 2020 to the 800 ICDL Accredited Test Centres in France. It enabled them to maintain ICDL examinations despite lockdown measures. In total, around 1,500 ICDL certification tests were taken during April and May 2019.
Adapting themselves to new business conditions, French ICDL test centres also started to change their habits and quickly developed an increasing interest for distance learning. To support them, ICDL France launched a brand-new page on its website especially dedicated to every French ICDL test centre, providing candidates with a distance learning program and/or remote proctoring for ICDL tests. 346 ICDL test centres registered on the ‘seformermemeconfines.fr’ portal, getting extra visibility among hundreds of daily visitors. Institutional partners such as Centre Inffo and local delegations of the MEDEF (the most significant employers’ federation in France) also relayed this initiative.
Moreover, ICDL France extensively promoted its own e-learning programme among the French ICDL test centre network. Developed in partnership with AlterCampus, this modular solution matches with the ICDL syllabus content and helps candidates to improve their preparation to the ICDL examination.
At the final day of the first national lockdown, on May 11 2020, all these measures provided the French ICDL network with extra resources to adapt to any future lockdown and to a fast-changing market.
The initiatives taken during the first lockdown period allowed the ICDL network to be resilient. In September and October 2020 (orange curve), the number of ICDL tests taken in France (diagnostic and certification tests) was comparable to the one registered last year (blue curve) during the same period.
Providing support beyond innovation
Enabling ICDL test centres to continue their activities through new technical solutions is crucial, but truly supporting them goes beyond that. During the entire lockdown period, ICDL France put efforts into sourcing critical information from institutional partners (Fédération Française de la Formation Professionnelle, Centre Inffo…) and kept the ICDL test centre network informed through e-mail and marketing campaigns both on Facebook and LinkedIn. A series of 12 webinars, which attracted more than 500 attendees, also helped to share information about e-learning, ICDL products, remote proctoring for ICDL test or new financing tools especially designed for partially employed workers.
Furthermore, the first national lockdown which lasted for 55 days—and stopped every onsite training in the country—created a difficult financial situation for a significant number of test centres. Facing this challenge alongside ICDL Accredited Test Centres, ICDL France took the decision to help them by extending their accreditation for a period of two months free of charge.
In the same supportive approach, ICDL France kept a personalized contact by phone or email with all of its 800+ test centres.
Ready to face upcoming challenges
As a second national lockdown started on October 29 2020, ICDL France is now better prepared than ever to face any challenges of that kind.
Since the remote proctoring protocol for ICDL tests became available, ICDL remote testing has represented 10% of all ICDL tests taken in France. This temporary solution has clearly been adopted by ICDL test centres.
In the same perspective, ICDL test centres are also adapting their organisation and programs to distance learning. Comparatively to Q3 2019, ICDL France provided its network with 15 times more e-learning solutions during Q3 2020.
Last but not least, ICDL France never stopped to maintain an active public relations policy and continues to keep close contact with key institutional partners. An ongoing effort which is particularly valuable at a moment when vocational training is at the heart of the French government’s recovery plan.