Empanda was born in the maelstrom of a massive digital transformation programme that had a series of extremely aggressive training plans. We were forged in the fires of change and the need to support learners confused by waves of technology innovation. In 2014, when we were born, eLearning was still about automated powerpoint that rendered most learners unconscious in seconds. How times have changed.
Today, just 6 years later, the landscape has completely transformed. Amazing content authoring tools abound and cloud based technologies are available in such extraordinary abundance that it’s breathtaking, exciting: and sometimes entirely overwhelming.
Our Juno platform has evolved massively over this period. We have tried, tested and surfed the waves of change. We have adopted and abandoned countless technical widgets, exploring and innovating our platform, based on learner experience. We have developed considerable know how and many pro-tips for accelerating content development, and for nurturing an online learning journey.
About our online learning ‘pivot’
In January 2020 we decided to make a strategic change. We realised that our learning platform, which we had seen as an enabler for our client learning programmes had, in fact, become the asset. As a learning enterprise ourselves, we started the pathway toward a more complete value chain, building customer relationship management and eCommerce capabilities, so that we could offer Juno for sale to business clients with employees to train, and also to training organisations offering courses to clients.
This journey was marked by new requirements, such as the need to manage an accredited course that needs a portfolio of evidence, and also the requirement for providing support for course creation and the adoption of new authoring tools. We also started the implementation of a HubSpot CRM (thanks go to Spitfire Inbound), and an ecommerce store so we could access a wider range of learners with course offerings. We discovered that this was our passion.
Why we have established a collaborative model
We also learned hard lessons. When we coded ourselves we faced high costs, and we often explored cloud based tools that had unyielding dollar subscriptions. Anything we coded ourselves was rendered obsolete shortly after. We learned to be an integrator. Juno is not a single system, it’s a constantly evolving platform of multiple technologies. It’s a best of breed combination of tools that we constantly evolve. We search for the best, most robust, secure and engaging solutions and we pull them together. We focus on being excellent authors, facilitators, and coaches.
When Covid19 hit earlier this year we saw a huge impact on the face to face training part of our industry. Aside from the wider human and economic tragedy, many of the most talented learning and development contractors in our networks started to become available. We also saw huge pressure to accelerate training online.
We have become curious about what we can do to bring together those seeking to rapidly mobillise online learning experiences with the talented learning and content development professionals that are impacted by this crisis. This is because it cannot be the right answer, that in our South Africa, which so depends upon education as an enabler for our people, that the learning industry is slow to respond, or that our talented learning professionals are rendered idle and without revenue to support dependants.
Our call to action for talented people, passionate about online learning
We are responding by communicating Juno as a platform that can help to create an online presence fast, offering free profiles to talented professionals on our website to create a ‘SHINE’ community of expertise, and launching a content accelerator initiative called the “SHINE Author Acceleration Initiative” that unifies syndicates of authors to create courses to give peer review, combined with content development resources and an rapid development and deployment process.
Our purpose is, indeed, to find people and organisations that are a good cultural fit for working with us, building our community to enable our ability to scale in the face of unprecedented demand.
We plan to host a series of webinars that delve deeper into key questions and to publish results. If you’d be interested in these options, or if you are interested in our SHINE community of talent we’d be super excited. Just let us know, follow us or watch this space. We believe that we’re stronger together, and we are committed to building and supporting a vibrant community of people that are passionate about engaging learning experiences that help us enable and evolve current and future generations.
Our first webinar will be on the 6th of August at 11am and will showcase our platform, our approach to growth, and the opportunities to get engaged with us.
Click here to join us and participate!
Christy Hunter Chapman
Founder and CEO Empanda