Cost effective and ingenious LMS solution – Boat US Foundation case study

HR Case Study: Boat U.S. Foundation

Boat U.S.


Having to offer state-specific versions of a boating safety online course threatened to break the BoatU.S. Foundation’s budget. The HR Learn learning management system provided the flexibility the foundation needed to devise an ingenious solution.


The BoatU.S. Foundation is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting boating safety and the environment. And like most nonprofits, they operate on a tight budget.

The foundation already had purchased an eLearning system, but it could not keep up with evolving requirements and industry standards. For example, several states had made the BoatU.S. Foundation course, “Boating Safety,” mandatory learning for their boaters. The problem was, as eLearning courses gained popularity, different states started setting their own requirements for the course’s material and tests.

Complying with those state-to-state variations, meant developing customized versions of the course for different states. Such an endeavor would be incredibly difficult to maintain. Foundation staff figured out a better alternative – developing a single course that dynamically adapted to the specific state in which a learner planned to boat.

However, they worried that such a custom solution would be expensive and time consuming to create.


After researching their options and meeting with numerous eLearning development companies, staffers found the answer in HR Learn. “We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the HR Learn Learning Management System was able to satisfy almost all of our requirements,” said Amanda Suttles, BoatU.S. Foundation Program Manager. “The few that were not met were accomplished with a few key modifications and some ingenuity.”

The HR Learn LMS allows users to browse the BoatU.S. Foundation course catalog and enroll in courses. Registration and payment are handled by the system’s built-in configurable registration forms, shopping cart, and e-commerce engine. Once registered, users can access their courses, view their learning history and status as well as print certificates once they’ve completed the course.

BoatU.S. Foundation’s ingenuity comes into play whenever a learner launches the Boating Safety Course. The foundation has customized HR Learn so that its SCORM launch data passes user information, such as the relevant state, to the course. That information enables the course to dynamically configure itself for each user, swapping content in and out as necessary. In that way, a single course satisfies the needs of users in all states.


Through creative use of HR Learn’s authoring tool and SCORM functionality, the BoatU.S. Foundation was able to overhaul and modernize their eLearning program. Now the foundation can confidently declare that it offers the only free online boating safety course developed specifically for each boater’s state. Their “Boating Safety” course is recognized by all state boating license agencies as well as by the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

And they achieved all that at a low cost they hadn’t thought possible!