Request for Proposals: Online Learning Research, Evaluation Design, and Pilot

Download a pdf of the RFP here: RFP: Online Learning Research, Evaluation Design, and Pilot

INTRODUCTION
Since 1990, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) has had a singular focus on preparing the world’s young people to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. Working in partnership with businesses, governments, and civil society organizations, IYF capitalizes on its technical expertise, proven curricula, and training methodologies to support young people to (1) become active participants in the economy through gainful employment or entrepreneurial endeavors, and (2) become agents of social change in their countries and communities.

IYF has produced and distributed youth-facing online learning courses for nearly a decade, beginning with the launch of Build Your Business, an entrepreneurship training collaboration with Microsoft. Along with the development of tailored content for specific programmatic goals, IYF continues to iterate on its flagship life skills curriculum, Passport to Success (PTS),  for distance learning engagements. Below are a few examples of signature product releases available across major programmatic distribution channels:

  • ePassport to Success (ePTS) for Hospitality: This 5-learning module course for desktop devices was developed in partnership with Hilton and adapted from 17 instructor-led PTS lessons designed for the hospitality industry. Hilton Team Members accessed ePTS for Hospitality through their learning and development portal during their workday on their respective property. IYF and Hilton completed an evaluation of this tool by surveying supervisors of Team Members who had completed this course and those who took the instructor-led version. The results demonstrated comparable skill gain by those who had taken the online content against their peers who had taken the program in-person. Learners in the 30-hour instructor-led classes only slightly outpaced the results of those who took the 2.5-hour course.
  • Passport to Success Traveler (PTS Traveler): Launched in January 2020, PTS Traveler represents IYF’s most comprehensive digital adaptation of PTS. This 18-unit, mobile-first course was adapted from 50 in-person lessons and designed to be accessible in low-bandwidth markets across the globe. It is available in English (US and UK), Spanish (Latin America), Hinglish (Hindi in Roman characters), and Arabic (Modern Standard and Moroccan: fall 2020). PTS Traveler is a dynamic, game-based learning experience that virtually takes the youth learner around the world to build critical life-skills through following a self-guided learning journey or via a programmatic planned experience. Data collection to date has focused on youth input and perception indicators during user acceptance testing (UAT) and design, registration, and course completion tracking.
  • Passport to Success Concierge (PTS Concierge): Coming fall 2020, PTS Concierge is the next generation of ePTS for Hospitality. This mobile-first learning course follows the structure of ePTS for Hospitality, but leverages a new design and experience advancements, in addition to 3-4 new modules of content. PTS Concierge will be available beyond Hilton properties and will launch in English with subsequent versions in Spanish, French, and Arabic.

OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTION
With the launch of Passport to Success Traveler in January 2020, and a global pivot to distance learning across current and future programs due to COVID-19, IYF seeks a firm or consultant to design its global MERL approach to evaluating digital learning solution effectiveness. The design questions and methods should be adaptable and, in some cases, product agnostic to inform organization performance indicators for online learning. IYF anticipates this proposal to follow a four phase/sprint process from September to December 2020:

1) Brief Literature Review: The vendor will provide an initial briefing on the digital life skills space and the best practices in evaluating online learning content, dosage, and associated methods. Limited time is projected for this phase as successful vendors should predominately draw from a preexisting knowledge base rather than conduct a major external research sprint.

2) Design Workshop: The vendor will plan and conduct a virtual workshop or series of workshops with IYF staff to confirm the scope, identify priorities, and source research questions.

3) Research Products: The vendor will produce a MERL toolkit for eLearning solutions. This toolkit should include research learning objectives and the associated research questions, along with evaluation instruments and methodology for IYF. The evaluation design should prioritize remote evaluation methods and ways to leverage Cornerstone OnDemand, IYF’s learning management system, in conducting these evaluations.

4) Pilot Evaluation: The vendor will conduct a pilot evaluation to test their research products and assess the impact of Passport to Success Traveler within a designated project(s). They will manage all associated data collection throughout the pilot phase. The vendor will review collected data and present summarized findings of the solution’s effectiveness to IYF. They will complete the project by modifying the MERL toolkit and its associated instruments based on pilot findings, if applicable. This phase is dependent upon budget and may instead be conducted by internal monitoring and evaluation staff.

Research Questions Examples
IYF seeks to answer questions such as:

  1. How do outcomes of digitally administered life skills training differ from traditional, in-person, life skills training for youth?
  2. Under what conditions should digital or blended solutions for youth economic opportunities be applied?
  3. What contextual factors, including youth profile, a minimum skills level of learners, etc. must exist for effective digital life skills training?
  4. To what degree does the amount of digital content delivered impact the skill gain of youth learners?

DELIVERABLES AND TIMELINE
The below chart outlines key deliverables associated with the project. These are subject to mutual consultation and agreement prior to finalization in a formal scope of work and contract.

Task

Deliverable

Desired Timing

Contracting

Contract signed

9/28/2020

Kickoff Meeting

Timeline & Finalized Workplan submitted

9/30/2020

Literature Review (Brief)

Written literature review submitted

10/9/2020

Design Workshop(s)

Virtual design workshop(s) conducted

10/16/2020

Research Design and Methods

MERL toolkit with research questions, data collection tools, and evaluation design

10/30/2020

Pilot Evaluation

Evaluation report, reviewed MERL toolkit products

12/21/2021

REQUESTED PROPOSAL ELEMENTS
Please include:

1) Company Overview

  • Contact information for the key person(s) to be contacted regarding this RFP
  • Brief company history, including years in business, number of employees, and office locations
  • Vendor’s approach to research design and evaluation, especially for online learning products
  • Vendor’s experience in designing research instruments and evaluations for life skills solutions, and online learning products
  • Vendor’s experience in managing international projects of a similar scale and/or scope
  • Key staff and bios for any team leads who will work on this project

2) Research and Design Solution

  • Describe approach to the scoping of this project
  • Provide illustrative proposal for evaluation methodology for project

3) Prior Experience and Work Examples

  • Please provide a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 past performance examples. Examples should be aligned to a similar project scope and budget as the approach being presented to IYF.

4) Client References

  • Provide three (3) references of organizations that have utilized your research and services. Please include contact name and, title, organization name, city/country, phone number, email address, and nature of the project.

5) Budget and Timeline (Anticipated budget ceiling for project activities: Approximately $25,000 USD)

  • Detailed budget and explanation of cost structure per phase/sprint
  • High-level GANTT chart outlining key activities and milestones
  • Any standard terms of agreement (Not included in page length)
  • The contract must be a fixed-fee contract where the terms are set in advance.

SUBMISSION PROCESS
Firms interested in this opportunity should submit a brief (4-8) page proposal inclusive of the above Requested Proposal Elements to Rhonda Greenway, Corporate Programs Manager, at r.greenway@iyfnet.org. The budget and timeline elements, as well as any staff CVs submitted, shall not be included in the page length parameters. All proposals must be received by 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time September 10, 2020, to be considered.

RFP AND EVALUATION TIMELINE
The expected timeline for the RFP and evaluation process will be as follows:

  • RFP distributed to vendors and posted on IYF’s website 8/20/2020
  • Question submission deadline 8/27/2020
  • Answers to questions provided by IYF 8/31/2020
  • Deadline for proposal submissions 9/10/2020
  • Vendor presentations* 9/16/2020-9/18/2020
  • Vendor selection notification** 9/23/2020

*Presentations may be requested of finalists.

**All vendors will be notified via email by COB 9/23 of their status.

BASIS OF AWARD
The following criteria will be used to evaluate submitted proposals:

  1. Company Overview: Breadth and depth of relevant experience, particularly related to experience in designing and implementing research approaches for life skills acquisition and programs with digital delivery mechanisms
  2. Research and Design Solution: Alignment to the identified initiative goals, rigor of evaluation approach, and feasibly of the undertaking, as well as usage of digital tools for evaluation
  3. Prior Experience and Work Samples: Comprehensiveness, relevance, quality of samples
  4. Client References: Strength of recommendation from both product and working relationship perspectives. IYF requires references at submission. Only finalists’ references will be contacted.
  5. Budget and Timeline: Comprehensive, competitive cost structure that clearly marks contingent costs. Ability to meet aggressive timeline with clearly defined work plan.
  6. Other: Overall responsiveness of proposal and “fit” of vendor to IYF needs and values.

Thank you for your interest in International Youth Foundation and this opportunity.