Webducation is a long time Saba Partner, who recently won the German speaking content provider of the year 2013 award. I sat down with their CEO, Johannes Schneider to discuss their continuing relationship with Saba.
What is your business focus and what markets do you serve?
Our main business focus is the production of eLearning, mobile learning, and game-based learning content. Over the last few years, as the scope of our business has grown, there has been an increase in demand for Learning Management Systems to support eLearning solutions. As a result, we have worked closely with Saba to meet our clients´ needs. We are especially pleased with the Saba Cloud product, which is very popular with our clients.
The main areas we work in are soft skills topics such as company communication, publicity and presentation. We offer standard off the shelf training. There has also been a big demand for compliance training which has become increasingly important in the past year in Europe and also in the US.
How would you describe your offering’s differentiation or value proposition for our joint customers?
Our customers appreciate it when we think of their content needs. In fact, they value us so highly that they selected Webducation as the Content Provider of the Year for 2013 in German speaking countries – Germany, Austria and Switzerland - due to our expertise in creating high quality eLearning content. Recently, we have focused more on the US market. One of our clients is a medical, pharmaceutical organization and they presented an eLearning course at a medical congress in the US. The feedback from the medical congress participants was very positive. This event was run by Barnett, a company that specializes in medical training. This experience led to a partnership with Barnett, and our greater focus on the US market. It has also inspired our new company slogan – “Webducation goes Meducation.” Partnering with Saba has also given us access to the Saba Online Community, which is also a great step in expanding our business in the US.
What do you find most compelling in partnering with Saba?
We already work for companies who use Saba. Therefore, it became natural to partner with Saba. We believe Saba Cloud and social learning is the future of eLearning. Our joint events with Saba have been especially inspiring. Our joint slogan is “high end content meets social learning.” The aim was to emphasize that high quality content leads to excellent learning results, when combined with a social experience.
What do you think are the key trends and formats that will dominate the future of eLearning?
Social learning is definitely a stronger trend than what we have seen before. But as a company, we are careful to not blindly follow each new trend. We like game based learning and mobile learning, but we will not advise our customers to follow a certain direction just because it’s the latest thing. For example, there has been a lot of buzz about informal learning. But clearly, the method needs to appropriately fit the need. You don´t want to be treated by a doctor who did his training in oncology by “informal “methods only. Our competence is in scouting the trends to find out which mode best suits our customers´ projects.
From a media didactical point of view, I see interactive video embedded in a gripping learning story as a useful way of producing learning content. From a technical point of view, we are challenged by mobile devices and some sort of Flash-bashing that is going on right now. But whereas HTML5 has great potential as a one-for-all format, there is still a lack of authoring tools that can compete with Flash. What they are currently exporting as HTML5 is quite “Stone Age” compared to what a full-grown authoring tool like Adobe Flash can do. It is not enough to build in a “convert to HTML5” button and all you get are some boring HTML5 compatible slides you can yawn to on every possible device. We are trying to find ways of producing exciting content for all devices, which also allows for the possibilities of interactive multimedia story-based content.
What is one example of an innovative piece of content you offer that customers would be interested in?
Making an uncomfortable topic a compelling, interesting learning experience is a challenge. We created some eLearning content for inspection readiness for a pharmaceutical company. They may be challenged by an onsite inspection at very short notice. So how should employees deal with this potentially stressful “high noon” situation? What are the expectations of the inspector? We found a creative solution to address the stress inherent in this situation. The feedback from the users was very positive indeed. The training goes far beyond traditional screen based page turning. It functions more like an interactive movie with dramaturgical effects, highlights, sound effects, and the use of real actors to play the roles.