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Digitising Engagement, Learning, and Development Processes with Workademy

February 27, 2024

Olga (Co-Founder of Workademy) shares her inspiration for creating user-friendly educational content, making learning engaging, and helping employees grow through a supportive learning management system

Empowering educators and businesses through custom learning solutions

Siska: Can you share what inspired the development of Workademy?

Olga: Rui and I, my co-founder and husband, are both software engineers. We've been working as programmers for a long time and were greatly inspired by online courses.

Back in 2014, when Coursera started, we began doing a lot of online courses. Eventually, we helped my brother in Ukraine set up an online education studio. Essentially, my brother and his friends were creating online courses at that time. We set up servers and online platforms for them to host and distribute these courses.

However, as their operation grew, none of the tools we had been using were sufficient for the scalability and customisation of the content they were producing. Over time, they started producing more high-quality content and distributing it to an increasing number of people.

At some point, they started working with the Ministry of Education of Ukraine to create online courses for school teachers as part of educational system reforms. We're talking about approximately 200,000 teachers. The platforms we were using were not scalable enough. At some point, we decided to create our own learning management system, and that's how Workademy started.

The transition from an online education studio in an NGO context to a business context was quite straightforward. First, we needed to find a business case because we required funds to support and sustain the development of the tool. Secondly, when we decided to build our learning management system, companies had already started digitising their learning and development processes.

Having worked with numerous startups and observed some training being distributed online, we noticed significant gaps in the quality of the tools used for distribution. We saw a clear opportunity to enter this field and create Workademy, not only for the studio in Ukraine but also for companies worldwide who want to build and distribute online training for their employees.

When learning is done in a smart and engaging way, you learn in the flow of work and everything connects. You learn again, and it's a never-ending process.

When learning is done in a smart and engaging way, you learn in the flow of work and everything connects. You go through the training and apply what you've learned, then you feel there are some more gaps. You learn again, and it's a never-ending process.

When you are able to also share this knowledge in an engaging way, the company becomes a learning and working organism that is constantly evolving. It's a great feeling.

An engagement-centric approach, simplified course creation, and customisable learning management system

Siska: How does Workademy automates the process of creating learning materials, especially for startups making courses and their principles of learning?

Olga: We've worked with different tools and encountered various problems. For example, one of the tools we used had two different applications, two different interfaces for creating and viewing courses. This made it extremely difficult for instructional designers and others creating content, because they had no idea what the final product would look like.

People who don't have the time or resources to navigate complex systems—we built a "what you see is what you get" interface. It's like Google Docs, but for online courses. However, if you're a subject matter expert looking to distribute your expertise, you're not necessarily also an expert in learning.

We are striving to incorporate all our instructional design expertise into the platform. It guides users through the didactical process, not only with an intuitive interface, but also by guiding them through didactical principles and assisting in their development.

We've also recently integrated AI, which is programmed to create courses based on instructional design principles. When you input your topic, it automatically generates a meaningful course for you. This is particularly helpful for people who, for example, are experts in time management and notice gaps in their team, especially in the area of context switching.

With Workademy, you can create a course on the basic principles of time management, focusing on context switching. It automatically generates a full outline, complete with YouTube videos, which you can then adjust based on your expertise. This is tailored to your company's needs and your team, making the process extremely streamlined.

Siska: How is Workademy incorporating gamification into this LMS system?

Olga: We believe that in a corporate environment, engagement comes from the employees' ability to apply their knowledge immediately after they acquire it. That's the most engaging part.

We believe that in a corporate environment, engagement comes from the employees' ability to apply their knowledge immediately after they acquire it. That's the most engaging part.

Applying what you learn at work is the best type of gamification. It's not all up to us, but we aim to link training outcomes to business goals. This makes employees see their learning's direct effect on the business, which is very rewarding.

Surely, we've added fun elements like achievements when you finish certain lectures. It's fully customisable. You can set which lectures or answered questions will grant specific achievements.

We have a feature where you can create skills that learners acquire after reaching certain milestones. This is done through a 'learning path', which is a series of training. Each training step can have a skill attached to it. You can design these skills and they will be displayed in the learner's profile. You can also decide the name of the goal, like "Time Management Guru" or "Sales Expert". All of this will be visible in their profile and it looks nice.

Supporting HR with employee onboarding, learning & development, and platform integration

Siska: Especially for HR, who are closely related to LMS, how is this platform integrated into their scope of work?

Olga: HR often begins with onboarding. AI can't create your company's onboarding because it doesn't understand your company. But when companies come to us, they have materials like PDFs, presentations, and videos. They usually have these because when they search for Learning Management Systems, they're already of a certain size and have digital onboarding materials. This simplifies the process.

We've made it easier to create courses from PDFs. If there's an existing presentation or PDF, just upload it to build a training program. We also work well with many HR platforms such as Personio, Bamboo, and Rippling. We can even develop new integrations. This allows users and departments to sync with a single click.

After setting up their onboarding, they can designate departments or create a new group, like "new hires". When people join this group, they get the onboarding trainings straight away.

You might wonder why companies need an LMS if they already have PDFs and videos. The reason is that companies need to keep track of progress. An LMS helps with this because it makes it easy to report and analyse progress.

For auditing, you need a system to show your records. Keeping PDFs in many places makes this hard. With HR tools, we can upload certificates directly. They can prove the company has done certain training without even opening a learning system.

Partnering closely, developing features to meet varied business needs

Siska: What does the creation process and learner engagement look like when collaborating with Workademy?

Olga: At Workademy, we're not just providers, we're partners. This means we're more than just a service. You don't just pay, use Workademy, and figure things out alone. Instead, we work closely with learning teams, HR teams, or any other team starting with Workademy.

We always go shoulder-to-shoulder with the teams and do it together. In this process, we've found new uses within the corporate world.

We study the business case, the workflow, and the needs, and we help bootstrap this academy in the best way. We always go shoulder-to-shoulder with the teams and do it together. In this process, we've found new uses within the corporate world.

Often, our partners or clients ask for a new feature, like a button. We always ask, "Why?" and "What's the goal?". We try to understand the problem they want to solve with this feature, and then we analyse it. When we find out the problem is bigger, we make new features to solve it. This becomes a feature that meets a global need. That's our work method.

Make learning a strategic advantage and priority for your team.

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