2019 Innovation Grants Program Award Recipients

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)

“Mixed Reality Simulation (MRS)”
Primary Investigator: Tracy Todd, Chief Executive Officer

The purpose of this project is to improve training for marriage and family therapists (MFTs) by introducing mixed reality simulation (MRS) into teaching environments (including academic settings and clinical communities).

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) seeks to improve the educational experience for therapists at all stages of their career. Two of the current methods to practice a new skill—peer-to-peer role-play and interacting with real clients – each have disadvantages. Peer-to-peer role-play may refocus attention on the trainee rather than the simulation learning goals and objectives; real clients introduce the fear of consequences. In MRS, an avatar—a simulated client portrayed by a human actor—receives learning objectives from the instructor and directions on how to simulate a specific clinical situation. Since the avatar is not a peer nor a live client, he or she can focus on executing the goals and objectives without the fear of consequence.

AAMFT will implement MRS as a tool to eliminate barriers to skill acquisition and learning by placing the educational focus entirely on the therapist/trainee’s performance. Through this project, AAMFT will invite academic programs and training networks to apply for MRS hours. Applicants with high potential to integrate MRS into their training curriculum will be selected. They will test the simulator and provide critical feedback, which AAMFT will use to improve the MRS.


American College of Cardiology National Headquarters (ACC)

“Breaking Down Educational Barriers: Meeting Members Where They Are”
Primary Investigator: Kaylea Algire, Instructional Design Associate

This project aims to improve the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) members’ experiences in claiming CME credit from online learning.

ACC will explore and implement a text-for-credit program. To accomplish this, ACC will test Twilio, a cloud communications platform for building, sending, and receiving SMS, Voice and Messaging; Twilio also performs other functions—via its web service APIs—that allow communication between and across educational platforms. By incorporating Twilio into the learning management systems and information systems at ACC will help members retain knowledge and save time by gaining and claiming CME credits with fewer administrative burdens.

When implemented, the process will allow participants who download podcasts to claim credit. Participants will receive a prompt to call a phone number and answer 1-2 questions; once complete, Twilio will send a message to the learning management system and record the credit earned by the member.

Internally, ACC will examine and incorporate needs from other departments to foster organization-wide adoption. They will experiment with different member groups to gauge their reaction and experience with Twilio in informal learning environments, with the goal of achieving organizational adoption of Twilio as a tool to improve member engagement.


National Association of Colleges and University Business Officers (NACUBO)

“Microlearning at NACUBO”
Primary Investigator: Tadu Yimam, Senior Director, Online Learning and Publications

NACUBO’s Microlearning project will create short, focused videos designed to help chief business officers at colleges and universities—and those interested in learning more about the CBO role—meet specific leadership competencies. After assessing its existing content and learning offerings, NACUBO will focus on five to 10 learning outcomes that emerge as high priorities for its members. Staff will then develop curricula, create video content plans, and produce videos for each topic.

Through this effort, NACUBO intends to provide another method of online engagement for its members. Given the many demands on members’ time, NACUBO’s Microlearning project team expects that the video segments will expand its reach to new members and new learners and will increase NACUBO’s value to its professional community.

Past Winners

View past years recipients from:  2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013