Case Study: Global Learning Strategy for an International Financial Institution

Sonata Learning helped FINCA International train staff in 22 countries to provide credit and financial services to low-income communities.

A pioneer of microfinance and social enterprise, FINCA has provided millions of low-income people access to loans and other financial services to generate income, build assets and improve their lives.  A FINCA customer might be a farmer needing to irrigate their land, a restaurateur looking to replace a broken refrigerator or a tailor hoping to upgrade their sewing machines. For most of these entrepreneurs, a loan of $1,000 or even $100 could open a world of opportunity. Yet, while the loans that FINCA issues can be small, FINCA itself is a 15,000-member organization with all the same training needs as a conventional international bank, from regulatory compliance to product knowledge, technical skills, performance management and customer experience.

Initially, the FINCA Development Academy contracted Sonata Learning to review the reporting process for its global training programs.  At the time, the majority of FINCA’s regional hub offices and  22 subsidiaries delivered training via their own, separate learning management systems, many of which were only accessible from a subsidiary’s local intranet.  This made collecting learner and facilitator metrics across the global organization a slow and labor-intensive process.  After talking to stakeholders at the various national, regional and international levels, it was decided that a more comprehensive solution was required to accomplish FINCA’s goals.

Sonata Learning helped FINCA to migrate all of its myriad training departments to a single, global learning management system.  This unified platform provided management stakeholders with vastly improved reporting, reduced overall IT and administrative burden, and delivered a consistent, mobile-friendly, bandwidth-optimized experience for learners.  Sonata Learning also helped FINCA to recruit an administrator for the new platform and drafted a set of guidelines for e-learning development and delivery.

“Working with Sonata Learning was a strategic move that paid off big time for our FINCA Development Academy. Their deep technical expertise guided us through the implementation of a global learning management system that is now a catalyst for learning delivery best practices in 22 countries. They listened, understood our needs quickly, and were sensitive to the challenges of leading change and working across diverse cultures. Best of all, Sonata recommended a solution within our limited budget and even beyond our original expectations of what was possible. ”
– Elizabeth Robinson, Director, FINCA Development Academy, FINCA International, July 2016


After recently launching the new platform, the benefits quickly became apparent.  Reports that once took days or weeks to assemble are now available on demand.  In the mid-term local training departments will be spending less time on administrative tasks and more time on developing and delivering new training courses.  Meanwhile, the cost efficiencies of using a global platform is projected to be significant.

Through a combination of consulting, capacity building and hands-on implementation support, Sonata Learning helped FINCA International gain efficiencies from its investment in training. These efficiencies help FINCA to achieve its mission to grow its capacity to invest in communities around the world.

The FINCA Learning Management Site
“Building FINCA’s internal capacity to operate on our own was always a core concern to Sonata Learning. When we started we did not have the technical know-how to implement and administer a global system and now we do because Sonata Learning coached existing internal people to step up to enhanced roles and helped us make the right decision on a key hire. I would recommend Sonata Learning as a partner to any organization who truly is seeking a partner in the development of systems or curriculum—they deliver value and build trust all along the way.”
– Elizabeth Robinson, Director, FINCA Development Academy, FINCA International, July 2016

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