CFI Blog

Engage Online: How We Got Here — An Interview with Doug Kueker, Vivayic


Engage on the go – Introducing Engage Online

Doug Kueker, co-founder of Vivayic learning solutions company in Lincoln, Neb., is a farm kid from Western Missouri who loves contributing to the industry by building other’s capacity to do good in the world.

From an early age, Doug had an insatiable curiosity about learning and technology. With a degree in agriculture education and masters in educational psychology – and a passion for agriculture – Doug co-founded Vivayic, a company focused on providing learning services, including transferring content to e-learning. That’s what made Doug and his team of experts at Vivayic an excellent partner for The Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) to develop and launch Engage Online.

Engage Online is new self-paced, five-module course designed to empower participants to approach conversations in a whole new way –  to earn trust through the power of shared values. It’s modeled after Engage, a successful in-person course from CCFI that has equipped thousands in agriculture and food with the tools to effectively engage with consumers, thought leaders and influencers since 2009.

Doug understands the importance of online learning to expanding opportunities and reaching audiences anytime, anywhere.

Why is online learning so important in today’s environment?

In the fast paced world we live in today, learners want to access content at their convenience. Online learning allows learners to take their education on-the-go. Whether it’s a course on a laptop or an interaction on a mobile device, learning today benefits from the advantages technology affords.

Some tangible benefits of e-learning include accessing the content at the most appropriate time for the learner and interacting with the content in a way that meets personal learning needs. It’s an effective way to build skills and knowledge, with the added benefits of efficiency and convenience.


 Talk about your work with CCFI and Engage Online.

Like the in-person training, Engage Online offers a wealth of research and insights to equip individuals to effectively engage consumers in conversations about food and agriculture. Vivayic complimented CCFI’s deep knowledge of consumer trends and best practices for engaging consumers in meaningful conversations about food and agriculture with our expertise in adult learning and online learning technologies. (Our team’s passion for agriculture and experiences in developing and delivering agricultural literacy and advocacy training resources certainly helped, too!)


How does Engage Online work? 

Engage Online allows learners to work at their own pace through the material, but it’s not a “sit-and-get” learning experience. Following best practices for adult learning, Engage Online learners are routinely challenged to check their knowledge to ensure they’ve grasped the essentials. Scenarios and opportunities for personal reflection give learners a chance to apply and personalize the learning to their unique situations. It’s always important to the Vivayic team to create learning experiences that, above all, are engaging and immediately applicable.


Is online learning as impactful as in-person training?

There’s plenty of research to show that it is. For instance, a 2013 analysis of more than 99 independent studies comparing online learning with in-person training found that online learning on average produces stronger learning outcomes than learning solely through face-to-face instruction. Online modules allow for greater personalization of learning. You get to learn in an environment of your choosing at the pace that’s right for you. You can also revisit some of the key information when you need it most.

However, like all good things, online learning isn’t a silver bullet. Taking an online course is a great way to quickly get up to speed on a topic and develop an understanding of the fundamentals, but there’s no replacement for application and practice. That’s why we include features like the homework assignments at the end of each module as well as the capstone module with scenarios that challenge learners to apply their knowledge to solve a realistic communication problem.

Reference: Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., & Baki, M. (2013). The effectiveness of online and blended learning: A meta-analysis of the empirical literature. Teacher’s College Record, 115, 1-47.


Why is Engage Online curriculum and accessible platform valuable for those in food and agriculture?

Our team works with a number of agricultural clients who are all experiencing frustration with the growing divide between consumers and those working in the agriculture and food industries. So, we see the need for taking a different approach communicating with consumers first hand. Both industries have been guilty of falling into old habits – trying to engage consumers by sharing more information to try and educate them about where their food, fiber and fuel come from.

CCFI’s consumer research provides an eye-opening look at why this approach simply doesn’t work with today’s consumer. We know we’re a bit biased, but we think Engage Online is an essential primer for anyone working in the industry. As a team that’s passionate about applying our knowledge of learning and development to build other’s capacity, we were extremely proud to be part of helping bring this idea to life.


Ready to Engage Online? Get started now at!

For more information on group pricing, contact Donna Moenning.