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Volunteer Learning Modules


January 11, 2022 - Author:

Orientation and training are vital components of the onboarding process for new volunteers. Orientation allows us to share our mission, history and expectations. Pre-service training allows us to build skills and knowledge that are required for the volunteer role. Ongoing training allows experienced volunteers to gain additional knowledge and skills. At MSU Extension, Volunteer Central houses a variety of required and optional learning modules for volunteers. Learning modules are interactive and educational. A volunteer is required to complete learning  modules based on the volunteer role they are conducting on behalf of MSU Extension. Additional learning modules can be completed if the volunteer is interested.

Completing Learning Modules

There are three options to complete learning modules. These three options are outlined below.

Option 1: Volunteer Central for volunteer applicants

Gold volunteer applicants have one or more required modules to complete prior to acceptance. All Gold volunteer applicants must complete the Welcome to MSU Extension module. The most efficient and interactive way to complete this training is via Volunteer Central. Volunteer applicants access these by logging in to their profile. Once logged in, volunteers will see the tasks that still need to be completed on their screening dashboard. The learning modules that are automatically required based on the volunteer level (Silver or Gold) and the program area will auto populate to the dashboard. An applicant should click on the “Launch” button next to the course name to activate the course. When a volunteer completes a module through Volunteer Central, it is automatically recorded in eCoordinator, which allows MSU Extension professionals to ensure that requirements have been completed.

Option 2: Volunteer Central for current volunteers

The most efficient and interactive way to complete a learning module is via Volunteer Central. Volunteers can login to their profile. If there is a newly required training, it will appear under “Annual Dashboard”. Optional trainings can be found by selecting the “My Trainings“ tab and locating the desired learning module. Next, you should click on the “Launch” button next to it to activate the course. Upon completion, the learning module will be marked as “Completed” and staff will see this in eCoordinator.

Option 3: Group Training

At times, an MSU Extension professional will have a group of volunteer applicants or current volunteers that all need a specific learning module. MSU Extension professionals can utilize one of the learning module links to show a video version of the module to a group of volunteers via Zoom or at an in-person meeting. Staff are encouraged to view the video prior to prepare for the session. The group training option can be as interactive as the Volunteer Central version if the staff member pauses the video after scenarios are presented and engages the group in conversation to determine which answer to select before restarting the video.

Learning Module Overviews

Welcome to MSU Extension: In this module volunteers gain an understanding of Michigan State University Extension through learning about the land grant system, agricultural experiment stations, the origins of Cooperative Extension, how volunteers are vital to Extension and polices that all volunteers must follow.

Introduction to Michigan 4-H: In this module volunteers are provided with an overview of Michigan 4-H and the different roles a volunteer can play.

Working with Youth: This module will help volunteers gain knowledge around the topics of ages and stages, positive youth development, experiential learning module, youth-adult partnership and setting boundaries.

Child Abuse Reporting Protocol for Volunteers: MSU strives to offer a safe and supportive learning and working environment for all individuals. In support of that goal, this module shares reporting protocols for employees and volunteers to promote the safety and security of children and youth.

Communicating through Conflict: Volunteers often take on leadership roles and as a result, they may encounter conflict from time to time. This module provides participants with tools and techniques to handle heated situations and interpersonal conflict more effectively.

Chaperone Module: Chaperones play an important role in helping young people have successful experiences by building positive relationships that helps encourage their participation, answer their questions, and calm their apprehensions. This module provides information and policies critical to the success of volunteers that will be chaperoning overnight events

Upcoming Modules (in development)

4-H Risk Management: This module will prepare 4-H volunteers to understand, plan for and mitigate risk.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: In this module, we will look at implicit bias and how that can impact programming. We will discuss MSU Extension’s dedication to creating inclusive environments and provide tips for volunteers.

Understanding Michigan 4-H Finances: This module will provide an in depth look at 4-H financial policies and practices.


If staff, volunteer applicants, or current volunteers need additional assistance with learning modules they should contact a VEST member or e-mail using the subject “Learning Module Assistance Needed.”


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