Remote Education in the Modern World: DataArt Perspective

Julia Zavileyskaya describes DataArt's authentic approach to corporate "remote education" and shares the most prominent lessons we gleaned about it over the last 10 years.
Remote Education in the Modern World: DataArt Perspective

In the modern world, «remote education» is the buzz term of the last decade. Now it’s time for a «remote education approach,» and «approach» is the key here. I’d like to share some lessons that we at DataArt gleaned over the last 10 years on how to guarantee corporate information is delivered and adopted with our «remote education» approach.

I have a personal interest in the subject matter, and we at DataArt wish to encourage professionals to think about it together. Let us share our insights and ideas, and address your comments and questions.

Have you tried to inform all colleagues at your company of new compliance-related features? Or organize an onboarding training, only to realize — at the end of the journey — that people skipped the tricky items you most needed them to learn? Too often, some target recipients «didn’t receive,» «didn’t see,» or «didn’t understand» the information in question.

According to DataArt experience, only the combination of the methodology to structure the information as an educational material with the EdTech platform provides a unique approach to deliver the information and guarantee its acceptance.

Today, we rarely have problems delivering the information. There are numerous channels and platforms, as well as creative ideas behind the processes: emails, chat groups, social media, corporate portals and newspapers, and so forth. The main problem, as Seth Godin put it many years ago, is that junk information and buzz it creates around us. So relying on the delivery method alone is not enough.

In any near-education realm, we as a company compete for attention with numerous sources, creative marketers, and experienced gurus. It is naive to believe our corporate courses can beat Coursera, MIT, or Harvard Online. This should not be our goal. We let the professionals do their job. At the same time, an EdTech platform by itself obviously can’t guarantee that the content published on it will be treated as educational material. By itself, no article on a corporate educational platform will educate or train someone.

There are three keys to successful corporate education:

  1. Educational content has to align with colleagues’ corporate journey. The information has to be desired at a particular moment.
  2. Information should be well-structured. There are numerous academic methodologies on how to transfer a bunch of new information in a single module.
  3. An EdTech platform guarantees delivery and practice, and verifies that the information was adopted successfully.

What are some use cases?

  • Corporate onboarding. Five years ago, we completely restructured our corporate onboarding approach using the three keys mentioned above. Today, onboarding at DataArt is a combination of educational modules with practical tasks, questionnaires, and quizzes.
  • Compliance related practices. When our colleagues pass compliance-related courses, we combine two crucial objectives: we educate them, and we track records of their progress.
  • Corporate role-specific expectations. There are several keys to success for most corporate roles, including general knowledge and understanding how things work at a particular company. Usually, for the former, we use respected professional sources, and for the latter — we apply our educational approach.
  • Educational activities in some narrowly defined areas. For example, we have internal courses for technical experts on how to conduct technical interviews at DataArt. Our company has a solid flow of candidates, and our colleagues treat involvement in the interview process as part of professional development. We have to sync how we as a company support the process to avoid possible biases in results, enhance communication, and provide feedback. This is where corporate courses are handy.

To summarize, the keys to a meaningful remote educational approach are: delivering the info at the right time; structuring materials so they are digested easily; using an EdTech platform for delivery, practice, and feedback to verify adoption of the info, and an additional bonus — to track the educational journey of each colleague for our corporate purposes.

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