Tuesday 26 September 2017

Can Learnovate help your organisation? We sat with Owen White and Peter Gillis to find out

Learnovate centre director Owen White
Learnovate centre director Owen White
Learnovate centre director Owen White
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Learnovate, one of 14 Enterprise Ireland technology centres, has grown from an initial seven members to sixty-five plus members.

Funded by Enterprise Ireland, its mission is to enhance the competitive advantage of Ireland’s learning technology industry, and more broadly, to maximise the success any company can derive from using learning technology effectively.

Following the success of their Learning Tech Ireland 2017 conference last week, I sat down with the Learnovate centre director Owen White and its communications leader Peter Gillis to find out more about what the centre does and how it can help organisations.

"Most of our members are companies that make learning technology products for various markets in Ireland and internationally, companies that develop e-learning, that develop products for schools, higher education, and so forth," Mr White tells me.

The centre also works with companies that don’t see themselves as being e-learning companies but are, for example, large corporates that have an interest in e-learning to achieve something like improve employee performance or onboarding, anything to do with the HR aspect that would deal with the learning side in the corporate space.

"There are an awful lot of challenges there at the moment in terms of motivating and educating staff," Mr Gillis says. 

Learnovate centre director Owen White
Learnovate centre director Owen White

In terms of problems that organisations may have, "there is too much focus on the tech and not enough focus on addressing the real needs or problem that the person or organization has," Mr White says.

"We are trying to help our customers ensure that they understand the real problems and then help them develop products that meet those real problems and as a result then have the impact that they need," he continues.

Helping customers

Learnovate carries out its work through a demand-led framework designed to deliver impact for its customer and its customers’ customers.  

"We help our customers identify and validate their customers’ demand in three areas; around the problem they’re trying to solve, around their proposed solution to this problem, and around their business model so that they can be sure they know how to bring in more money than they need to spend," Mr White explains.

Why does Learnovate do what it does?

"Learning technology has long held the promise to have transformative impact on the lives of learners.

In many cases it has underperformed its potential," Mr White tells me.

"We deploy our experience and expertise to ensure our customers achieve the impact they value by really solving their customers’ problems," he says.

I conclude by asking them who determines the research that that they are going to take?

The centre undertakes its core research project for the benefit of members, they tell me. Added to this, the centre is industry-led, with a focus on the commercialization of research.

"We work with our members to try and identify the demand. We are trying to make sure that what we do is meeting real demand, we help ensure that anything our member does aligns with their customer needs to ensure that we have the impact that is really valuable," Mr White says.

While Mr Gillis adds that, "a member can come to us and say we have a challenged in this area and we can work with them on this –this would be bespoke for the member in hand". 

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