E-learning professionalizes data analysis at all levels of NVWA

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) ensures that organizations comply with various laws. For example, it monitors the safety of consumer products and food and enforces animal welfare and nature laws. Inspectors are committed to preventing abuses. So, where exactly is their attention wanted? That’s where the value of data comes in.


Intuition plus data

The safety of fairground rides, conditions in slaughterhouses, hygiene in restaurants, the energy label on white goods, and the protection of toys are quite a few issues the NVWA monitors. Some 1,500 inspectors are, therefore, constantly on the job.

“Those people have often been working for us for years and have a wealth of experience,” says Tom Booijink, specialist advisor on data science at NVWA.

“They know exactly where to go; their intuition is excellent. At the same time, other tools are available today on which they can base their choices. We estimate the probability of wrongdoing at a certain organization or time with data. Moreover, we reduce the risk of blind spots and can better justify our efforts to society.”

They have been making solid progress in the data field for several years.

Increasing knowledge

Over a hundred employees in the organization are involved in data analysis. These are inspectors themselves, but also data analysts and other employees.

Tom Booijink: “There is also a team of about twelve data scientists working on statistical analyses, advanced algorithms, and prediction models. However, they were getting more and more questions from the organization about – for them – relatively simple analyses. This is a good sign that people in the organization are working with data more often. We wanted to seize this moment to professionalize further.”

In their existing e-learning system, the NVWA wanted to set up a learning program on data.

Bringing data to life

The NVWA works with SAS software and has already had good experiences with Cmotions’ trainers in that area.

Tom Booijink: “The people at Cmotions understand data and training. If one party knows how to captivate our employees with data and help them professionalize, it is them.”

The NVWA envisioned an e-learning in which participants from all levels of the organization would learn to perform a data analysis independently and professionally. Ideas already existed to highlight various topics, such as visualizing data. From here, it was up to Cmotions to take these ideas further and bring data analysis to life in an online course.

Modules packed with theory and practice

Cmotions and NVWA decided to develop four separate modules that can be taken sequentially and separately. They are:

  • Intake and data exploration, in which participants assess what data they have and what they need to answer the research question
  • Data quality and preparation, where participants learn to filter, deduplicate, infer new characteristics, and learn to combine data sets.
  • Exploration and analysis: a more statistical module covering significance and statistical tests such as t-test, ANOVA, Chi-square, and correlations.
  • Visualization and storytelling, in which participants learn to build the report properly and choose visualizations that support the message.

Quiz questions, videos, demos, assignments

Each module contains a theory part, which is made relevant with appealing examples from the daily practice of the NVWA, for instance, about the sale of tobacco to possible minors or the detection of bird flu.

Tom Booijink: “Such examples bring the sometimes abstract material to life and make it recognizable for our employees. In any case, Cmotions has done a good job of breaking down the material into bite-sized chunks and presenting it in an accessible way.”

Here, he refers to quiz questions, videos, demos, and assignments that alternate and enliven the theory. Moreover, the e-learning is structured so that participants can skip all or part of a module because they already know that topic.

“This way, the material remains relevant to all participants. And upon completion, participants are at a similar level from which we can continue working.”

Eve of rollout

The design and coordination with the content managers, internal stakeholders, and the e-learning software provider – were developed entirely when working from home. “That makes it extra clever that Cmotions has a good sense of how our business works. The result is top-notch. The form and content are strong; the subject matter is presented in understandable language,” Tom Booijink concludes.

“As a result, the test groups responded very enthusiastically to the modules. We are ready to offer this to the entire organization with an internal communication campaign to encourage participation.
I’m looking forward to it so much!”

“The result is top-notch. The form and content are strong; the subject matter is presented in understandable language.”

Tom BooijinkSpecialist advisor in data science at NVWA
Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

Stijn Kuijpers

+31 6 11 31 50 99

Need help with getting your data in order? Don't hesitate to contact Stijn.

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