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Who

Is the Skills Debate Academic?

Is the Skills Debate Academic?

Employers are always on the lookout for prospective hires with skills for the job at hand, and have potential to grow into larger roles.

Unfortunately information is asymmetric, and it’s not easy to know ex ante who in our applicant pool are adequately-skilled, and who are insufficiently so. Some hires will fit well and do the job. Others won’t. That’s the risk we take.

Here’s something I’m starting to think about… isn’t hiring similar to investing?

It is hard to consistently generate alpha in markets. In fact, investment disclaimers tell us that ‘past history is not indicative of future performance’. Yet we do the very opposite for hiring!

Pedigree is not a precursor of performance.

I am starting to wonder if for hiring, instead of attempting to pick ‘alphas’, we can consider building a team of ‘betas’ that are coachable.

Hirers never truly know. There are no sure-wins. In professional football, not even ‘proven winners’ like Jose Mourinho could do the job at Tottenham Hotspur, while then-unproven upstarts like Mauricio Pochettino outperformed and brought 4 years of Champions League to North London.

Is Skills-based Hiring a myth?

LinkedIn recently announced “Skills Path“, a pilot skills-based hiring programme, supported by Singapore’s National Jobs Council.

The topic of skills-based hiring is not new and comes up every few years. In fact, I co-wrote an opinion piece on this topic 3 years ago:

LinkedIn’s announcement checks all the boxes. Unfortunately it doesn’t move the needle. There is a grand total of 8 companies under the programme offering a mere 6 job roles: customer service, data analyst, project manager, recruiter, supply chain coordinator and sales development.

To be fair, this initiative is a pilot. I fully support starting small, tracking the data, and if it looks like it works, scaling up only then.

As what I co-wrote above (and the LinkedIn initiative postures), the hope is for hirers to look past academic qualifications as a non-negotiable filtering tool for prospective candidates.

Otherwise, no matter what is said and done, incentives will drive behaviour, and every rational student will pursue the degree, because non-graduates continue to be disadvantaged at the hiring gate, and for career advancement.

incentives drive behaviour

Should we NOT try to pick winners?

Hiring well is crucial for every organisation. It’s also exceedingly-hard to do well, for reasons discussed above.

Which is why there’s so much money being spent on good hiring solutions, and much innovation in this space. The Singapore HRTech Market Map (brought to you by hrtech.sg & Adrian Tan) lists the different companies providing solutions for your organisation’s Talent Acquisition needs.

I wonder if we could take a different approach, and look further down the employee journey. I’m referring to the Talent Development area, where ArcLab has some track record (irony intended).

Since it’s so hard to bet on winners when hiring, could we adopt a more “portfolio” approach, especially if we are a large organisation. This means not optimising for the perfect ‘alpha’ candidate, since he/she does not exist. Rather, we do a few things to attract the ‘beta’ candidates:

  • Properly profile job requirements & packages. No ‘padding’, no ‘undercutting’
  • Set a minimum bar for the candidate. Everyone who meets this gets an interview (virtual or otherwise), which is more to assess team fit. Involve the team in the interview and give everyone an equal vote.
  • Suss out open-mindedness and ‘train-ability’. Look for evidences of picking up new skills and applying them.
  • Where possible, consider a work trial for demonstration of competency, softer skills and fit with potential colleagues.

Hiring a team of ‘betas’ means we don’t go all out to find Ivy League graduates. It means we put in place an exceptional learning & development programme, because we know that investing in our workforce gives our organisation the best chance of success.

Since people are the lifeblood of our organisations, we should put our money where our most important assets are, and invest in them, through training them to be the best professional that they can be.

The best part of this approach is, by hiring coachable people who have not yet been ‘proven winners’, we hire humble people, who are not afraid to admit they don’t know. They are then able to learn what’s needed to do their job so the organisation (and they) succeed. And when business requirements change, they change accordingly.

That means continuous, bite-sized training. Because no longer do we study for the first 10-20 years of our life and work for the rest. We study for a basic minimum, and keep learning as we work.

I submit to you that this is one good way for an organisation to succeed.

We’re building that sort of organisation at ArcLab, and helping many companies build theirs.

Can we help your organisation build yours?

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Why

Higher Wages. At What Cost?

Higher wages. At what cost?

A few years ago, our girls’ kindergarten informed parents they would have to increase school fees, which had been kept the same for the previous 10 years.

We greatly appreciate the love, care and education our girls received from their kindergarten teachers, and believe the fee increase was justified. Otherwise, how could the kindergarten continue to pay competitive wages to hire and retain good teachers, of whom our girls were direct beneficiaries? Furthermore, having no fee increase for the previous 10 years in effect meant the school fees we paid had fallen year by year, when we take inflation into account.

We acknowledged the letter and agreed to the higher fees.

One parent was unhappy with the fee increase. The irony was this was a well-off family (I gathered this from watching the family roll up to the kindergarten in a Volvo most days). The parent started to canvas other parents to protest the kindergarten’s fee increase.

When the parent-in-question came round to us, we politely informed her: 

“It was unfair to expect OUR OWN WAGES to continually rise, but expect our kindergarten teachers’ wages (aka our costs) to remain unfairly low.

That was hypocritical, not to mention foolish; not paying market-level fees would only result in the school not being able to hire good teachers, and our children would be the ones losing out.”

I do not think we got through to that parent, who I don’t recall ever spoke to me again.

But I am thankful the fee increase went through, because it is fair to pay more for better goods and services, which our girls benefitted from. I am also grateful that we could afford that justifiable fee increase.

Higher Productivity for Higher Wages

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s 2021 National Day Rally announced a stronger thrust of support for lower-wage workers. These include:

  1. Extending Progressive Wages (essentially sector-specific minimum wages that rise annually) to more sectors and more occupations
  2. Requiring companies employing foreign workers to pay at least the Local Qualifying Salaries to ALL local staff
  3. Accrediting companies that pay all their workers Progressive Wages with a new “Progressive Wage” Mark (a new requirement to sell to the public sector)
  4. Lowering the qualifying age for Workfare Income Supplement from 35 to 30 (to help younger lower-wage workers)

These are significant steps, because (point 4 aside), the Singapore Government is now also looking at EMPLOYERS and CONSUMERS to foot the bill for the mandated-increased wages.

Paying higher wages to workers directly affects payroll costs for businesses. The higher costs might also be passed to customers in the form of higher prices, depending on the price elasticity of demand. That extra dollar must obviously come from somewhere.

Higher costs are not easy to bear, especially when many companies and many workers have been negatively-impacted by COVID. As a business ourselves, we understand it fully and feel it directly.

Higher wages for low productivity is unsustainable. The market will make sure of that. Neither is a race to the bottom for wages the way forward for Singapore.

Instead, what we must have is higher wages for higher productivity. This is the very mission statement of ArcLab:

Higher productivity only comes about with technological progress, more and better capital, and a better-trained workforce.

Higher productivity is a positive sum game for the business and for the worker, because output increases and/or quality improves. This means justifiably higher prices for goods and services, which funds the higher wages. Higher wages also means better spending power, which flows back to businesses.

The data speaks for itself:

Higher productivity simply makes good business sense.

Here, ArcLab comes in to support. 

Use ArcLab’s mobile learning SaaS platform to easily author, distribute and track training modules and digital SOPs for your workforce. The way that companies like Fei Siong Group, 4Fingers use our platform for.

Using ArcLab saves you training cost, cuts down training time, and helps your business do more with less. This means higher productivity and better bottom line.

The savings enables your business to pay better salaries to your workforce, who are then better taken care of, more highly-motivated, and have higher spending power too.

Singapore is taking our first step towards this virtuous cycle.

Higher Wages for a Better Economy. And a Better Society.

ArcLab is encouraged that societies are taking more concrete steps at addressing income (or rather opportunity)-inequality issues. That may be one of the silver linings of COVID-19, where we have newfound recognition for our frontline workers, many of whom are lower-income workers.

Yet more than inclusiveness, higher wages for higher productivity is simply good business, and a positive sum game for all.

ArcLab believes that’s the best way for our companies, our workers, and our society to succeed.

We’re building that sort of organisation at ArcLab, and helping many companies build theirs. Companies like Fei Siong Group, 4Fingers and many more.

Shall we help you build yours?

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Why

The Future of L&D in the New Normal — In conversation with Alina Rusu

The Future of L&D in the New Normal — In conversation with Alina Rusu

Alina Rusu is the Founder and Learning & Development Director of Business Academia — a Singapore-based firm that helps client organisations implement customer centric learning and digital strategies to boost productivity and efficiency.

In this webinar, I had the privilege to learn from Alina how she has been supporting firms since COVID-19 hit, and her thoughts on the Future of Learning & Development.

Listen to what we spoke about:

Business Academia can help your organisation’s L&D efforts

To learn more about Business Academia’s Customer Experience Management (“CXM”) programme and to connect with Alina for your organisation’s Learning & Development needs that are Just-in-Time, Just-In-Time, Just-For-You, visit: https://www.businessacademia.co .

For a preview, check out Business Academia’s learning modules that you can Remix directly into your ArcLab dashboard here: https://builder.arclab.io/discover .


Here’s the transcript of our webinar:

James: I’m delighted to speak with Ms Alina Rusu, Founder and Learning & Development Director of Business Academia — on the Future of Learning & Development in our New Normal.

Alina is an entrepreneur, based in Singapore and hailing from Italy. She has extensive professional experience in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific, and was part of several Global Project Management teams in Fortune 500 companies: enabling sales growth, a customer centric culture and organisations’ Digital Transformation. Alina had worked in Vodafone, Randstad, Adecco and Club Med, before founding Business Academia in 2018.

Alina is curious about future trends, innovation, quantum mechanics (of which I know nothing about) and a passionate Science Fiction reader.

Alina — Thank you for joining us today!

Could you tell us more about Business Academia and the work you do?

Alina: We focus on three verticals:

1. Learning programmes: design and deploy learning programmes for corporate and higher education institutions in Asia Pacific and globally.

2. Business consultancy: we are diagnosing, following up and coaching professionals and MBA students

3. Innovation and Leadership: which we want to reactivate once air travel is back again. This is because we work with our business partners and we bring leaders from corporate companies from Europe to Singapore to learn from Singapore as a smart city. They can learn about the our fintech Landscape, innovation and disruption in the financial world, mobility, energy, green architecture, waste management etc.

In your training work, what are some of the specific courses that you run for organisations?

Alina: We run a customer experience management training. We are very happy and delighted that our Customer Experience Management programme (“CXM”) is subsidised by Singapore Government agencies: IMDA and SkillsFuture Singapore with 70% up to 90% support for Singaporeans and PRs.

We are running this for organisations in Singapore, across Asia-Pacific and worldwide. We are very proud of this CXM programme that the government has subsidised, which will run till 2022 with government subsidies.

Apart from that, we help organisations to solve their most urgent business problems with design thinking and agility sprints in order to accelerate their growth.

We also teach soft skill training such as negotiation skills, emotional intelligence at work, sales, business development and so on.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. How has your training approach changed in the last 6 months?

Alina: We are looking into tech components in our learning programmes. Including nano learning, mobile learning, bite size learning, interactive tools and everything we can use to make the learning journey enjoyable. That’s why with the current situation, we accelerate that tech component alongside what we have already designed for our learning programme.

We are answering a question “how to keep people engaged while in front of a computer for a long time?” We took the inspiration from movies — how and why a person should be stuck in front of a device for more than 2 hours. We took that question and worked backwards to see what sort of components, including tech, can we put inside the learning programmes to make it enjoyable.

How do you now assess learning, given you typically aren’t able to be in the same room as learners? Any specific tools that you use?

Alina: We have an interesting combination of pre-course and post-course assessment strategy

We include a lot of hands on practical assignments that we design even before the training or workshop starts. We are not waiting for the programme to end, but to encourage this practice, as well as experiential learning

On top of that, we use the ArcLab platform -launching ArcLab modules in 2 sequences, one before the training starts and the second during or at the end of the learning programme.

We use data and we observe the results from the practical workshops and exercises in order to understand the progress for both online and offline trainings. We measure in terms of percentage, how many of the learners have improved, in terms of knowledge, concepts and application.

After extracting the data from ArcLab, it is really impressive the amount of insights we can get. We also start to get qualitative conversation especially on the follow up and coaching sessions and suggest where are the areas that can be improved. To that, we encourage a lifelong learning attitude.

Could you share who are some of the client organisations that you serve, and a little more about digital and ‘virtual’ training that you now do for them?

Alina: We are running a lot of the customer experience management trainings for the organisations we work with, thanks to SkillsFuture supporting us.

We have human design thinking workshops, sprints and agility, emotional intelligence and soft skills. From there, we go into coaching sessions, follow-ups, implementations and so many more.

We work across industries, e.g. from telecommunications to consumer goods to airports, university, media and cable industries.

It is not important for us to position ourselves in a specific industry because our program supports the implementation of an entire structure, when we talk about people, processes, tools. Instead, we are positioning ourselves as collectors of business intelligence tools. So we collect the hottest and coolest business intelligence platforms. That’s why we are teaching ourselves a lot about what’s out there and we extract the easiest, most impactful and the most cost saving platforms. We do that and simplify it for our customers. So they have access to a list of providers they can look into and adapt as tools.

What are some of the key trends that you see in your work, that you think has gone on an irreversible course since COVID-19?

Alina: In L&D, the integration of online and offline is going to stay. It is as relevant as it is for the retail or F&B industry. The integration of these two will definitely stay. But when it comes to human interaction, it is very important. We need to understand how to balance that according to what is permitted.

Data is very important as it is no longer based on putting as much content out there as possible and hoping that our people/colleagues can assimilate it. But we need to look into cleaning, analysing, extracting the insides of the data in order to understand where we stay, where we should be, what should be done to reach that point.

We need to enabling a proactive culture, lifelong learning culture. This is an ongoing and relevant trend.

If you look at L&D prior to what’s happening today, you could notice more organisation would run by reacting to what is happening. So they would have skills or suggestions or behaviour that they would encourage the companies to look into. The learners would have catalogs to choose from that the topics they would think is more relevant to them.

This makes sense for a while, but now I am actually looking into trends and trying to get a competitive advantage to understand what are the skills that are necessary today and tomorrow so i can support my people to go towards that path.

What’s next for Business Academia?

Alina: We are working hard with our learning programme to enable organisation in their transformation journey and to support their teams altogether to work together to make things happen

We hope to reactivate the innovation and leadership programme to learn about the awesome things about the cities of the future.

We are working on projects e.g. a mobile app that supports people that have been made redundant and those that are without a job, to exchange their skills that are relevant in the workplace.

Thank you so much for spending time with us today. Before we end off, can you share some tips on what companies need to do, to equip their workforces to be ready for our Digital Future?

Alina: Keep it simple and enjoyable. A lot of people or colleagues might be scared of turning to digital completely. Even though there might be a lot going on out there, we might underestimate the power of resistance.

Support your people with JUST-IN-TIME, JUST-ENOUGH and JUST-FOR-YOUR-LEARNERS sort of journey.

We are no longer as L&D professionals reacting to what’s going on, we are proactively opening the learning library to our learners. The L&D department becomes a part of the operation so it is not the one that has the key to the learning library but enables everyone in the organisations to adopt this lifelong learning culture and be always on top of the game to stay relevant because everyone is replaceable.

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How

The Colour Orange

The Colour Orange

Photo by Matteo Fusco on Unsplash

As we continue to battle the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Singapore Government moved its disease outbreak response up a level to DORSCON Orange on 7 Feb 2020.

DORSCON Orange means additional precautionary measures to minimise the risk of further transmission of the virus in the community, detailed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health here. This includes responsibilities of employers to ensure daily health checks at the workplace, and ensure Business Continuity Plans (“BCP”) are in place. For companies who need help on BCP, here is an Enterprise Singapore Guide.

“Remote Control” In Practice

BCP is important, and requires proper PRIOR planning.

ArcLab works out of the offices of Tinkertanker, our founding investors — who have been prepared for some time, and over the weekend put these drawer plans into action as a precautionary measure to safeguard the health and safety of colleagues. These include:

  1. Reminding colleagues to take temperatures daily, and seeing a doctor (wearing a mask) if one has a fever.
  2. Working from home unless absolutely necessary to be in office (either needing access to office equipment or supplies), but only staying as long as needed.
  3. If in office – practising good personal hygiene and washing hands regularly (asking any office visitors to do the same).

etc.

Team members working from different locations requires good communication and collaboration tools.

The office has consistently used Slack as default communication platform, and this continues all through the current coronavirus outbreak.

Now more than ever — cloud is key for collaboration, with files saved and shared using cloud platforms like Google Drive / Dropbox. Our product / project management tools like Trello etc. are also cloud-based, and keep team members on the same page.

In addition, ArcLab is built on Amazon Web Services (We’re an AWS EdStart Startup), which means our platform keeps running for our users, and we continue to be able to serve any queries that might come in through our tawk.to chat channel.

So if your organisation is looking cloud solutions that can help with split teams and remote work, drop us a message at hi@arclab.io; we’ll be glad to share our experience with you.

Keep Calm and Carry On

In times like this, it’s important for all of us businesses to ensure we keep going, to be responsible to the users and customers who had put their faith in each and every one of our businesses.

This means:

(1) Remaining open for business, while dealing with the realities of fielding calls for cancelled meetings, events etc. These are understandable in the current time, yet we remain accessible and helpful to users and customers.

(2) Focusing resources on the longer-term, eg. product development and planning. As tough and stressful as the current situation is, even this shall pass. And if we’d taken this opportunity to maximise what we can achieve in a later BAU time, the business is well-placed.

(3) Upskilling your Workforce. Even when we can’t meet for training. In light of potentially lower customer activity and volumes, take the chance to keep the team sharp and current.

Having the team being able to work remote also requires their familiarity with office procedures and policies, so take advantage of remote learning tools, like what we’ve put in place ourselves, using ArcLab’s mobile learning modules.

This includes a module about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus itself, which you are welcome to use (for free) to educate your team.

The Meaning of Crisis

This coronavirus outbreak situation remains fluid, and we all need to play our part to help fight its spread.

For employers who may be looking for ideas / solutions, do consider what I’ve shared above. Obviously these software are just tools, and require team members (and managers) to have trust in one another.

The Chinese word for “crisis” is 危机 (“wei ji”) — a 2-word combination of “danger” and “opportunity”.

So while the virus outbreak is unfortunate, let’s take this chance to put our BCP into practice, and use this time to sharpen them. And businesses that hunker down and do our best to serve our users and customers (even as we minimise unnecessary contact), do longer-term development and planning — can be well-placed to overcome this crisis, and grow from strength to strength.

(n/b — shoutout to our healthcare professionals who are working hard on the frontline of our battle against this coronavirus, and our public officers, public transport workers too 🙌)

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Who

A New Adventure: Journey as an ArcLab Intern

A New Adventure: Journey as an ArcLab Intern

Editor’s note: In mid-2019, we received an internship request from a Temasek Polytechnic (“TP”) student. We’d never worked with TP before and weren’t sure what to expect. But we took the chance anyway. Nicholas started his stint knowing not very much about tech, startups or B2B marketing. By the end of it, he was managing all our online collateral, mailers, social media and produced 2 ArcLab videos.

Here’s Nicholas’ story — suitably, he put it in an ArcLab module, embracing what is known in #StartupWorld as ‘dogfood-ing’.


My whole journey was put into an ArcLab module.

As simple as it seems, that was my entire 4 months of intern into a short module. Imagine how learning can be made easier and simpler with nano learning, built with ArcLab.

Anyway, here’s the full blog…


With little to no experience in the ‘Adult World’, it was definitely challenging having to adapt to a new lifestyle; working in an office and commutes to work with the bustling crowd. Being a Digital Marketing Student, I wanted to showcase my skills as a marketer and successfully ‘market’ a product well. Interning at ArcLab gave me this opportunity and I was able to accomplish it. Here’s my journey in ArcLab as a Digital Marketing Intern…

On my first day, I came to the office with butterflies in my stomach, not expectant of anything. Questions of “What even is Nano Learning?” to “What if I’m not living up to expectations” flooded my mind. Thankfully, I was given tasks that I was familiar with and subjects that were already learnt in school.

My first major ‘project’ was Content Auditing. I was tasked to audit ArcLab’s pages (LinkedIn, blog, website) and assess the current score of the pages. From scoring the pages’ impression counts and bounce rates to scoring its clickthrough rates (CTR).

Content auditing was relatively straightforward and I was done with it quickly. Immediately, I moved on to the next and also, the most arduous task, SEO.

I was tasked to tweak the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for ArcLab’s website. SEO was relatively foreign to me even though I had learnt it before. Could it be because I failed to pay attention during class? Or it could just be the onerous and intricate topic by itself. Regardless, I gave it a go and had to do more research to back up my findings.

Ultimately, the long-dreaded research ended and I came up with web titles and alt texts for ArcLabs home and showcase page. The challenging part about SEO is not just the research and execution but rather understanding Google’s algorithms and proper keywords usage in order to rank higher in Google.

(and also the constant fear of whether your page would someday rank higher)

Keywords such as “nano learning” and “mobile learning” were important as this gives the website a boost in SEO. Thus, in order to understand SEO better, I made sure I studied guides on Google and be more profound in SEO.

one of the alt text captions I had to construct

My third major task involved a speck more creativity, and it was definitely one that I enjoyed working on. Ever since I had an interest in photography, it sparked the passion of film-making and photography in me. I enjoyed the filmings and editings of short films for my past school projects, not to mention taking photographs and short videos whenever I go on a trip. It definitely grew the passion in me and I always seek to learn new ways to produce nicer and better quality work. For this task, I had to create a short basic promo video that will introduce the new features for ArcLab. However, this time round there is no filming required and I edited a short infographic video with images that explain the new features. Although it wasn’t relatively a film-making experience, editing a short video was equally as enjoyable for me. Watch it here!:

A couple of weeks later, I was tasked with a new company promo video. This time, with a more professional touch. The shooting experience was interesting as I got to experience how professional shoots were done. Although it wasn’t a long shoot, it was definitely an eye-opening experience. Do check out the video on ArcLab’s channels when it’s ready!

The last ‘big’ project that I worked on was the tweaking of ArcLab’s website. I was tasked to overhaul the showcase page and pricing page by having the pages look less sophisticated and better looking. It was challenging at first as I was unfamiliar with the website builder ArcLab was using, and it was a little less user-friendly compared to other website builders. Despite the issues, I made it look to the best that I could. Finally, I managed to construct a simpler and slightly more aesthetically pleasing page layout. Now, we are able to better showcase different ways ArcLab users are training their workforce through bite-sized nano learning modules like these.

Learning is made so lengthy nowadays, articles and textbooks are pages worth. Who even has the attention span to absorb everything that was written? I, too, when in school, can only absorb so much in a 2-hour long tutorial. With shorter modules and more targeted learning, information can then be absorbed effectively and ArcLab empowers bite-sized learning to be done on demand. With ArcLab’s modules, deskless workers/learners are able to learn and train without the need to be there physically.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

My intern journey was definitely fruitful and I learnt many new and intriguing things. From lunchtime talks on career and football to attending events and shows with James, it was definitely a brand-new experience for me. I must say I have fully experienced the “Adult World” and achieved my goals. Interning at ArcLab gave me the opportunity to work in a Start-up and B2B company, which without a doubt, opened up my view to the market and industry. It is not the usual B2C company where “I sell, you buy” but the whole unfamiliar and foreign B2B industry. Interning has taught me things that school would not have and my experience here has been worthwhile. This has been a great journey and it has equipped me with the skills and knowledge that I will need for my future endeavours.

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Who

Many paths to success — The story of Bing

Many paths to success — The story of Bing

A short story of Bing — who helped us as we built ArcLab’s L&D mobile learning platform, and what we can learn from him.


With training and education at our platform’s core, ArcLab is honoured to work with Institutes of Higher Learning (“IHL”). One important IHL partner we support is Singapore Polytechnic (“SP”):

  1. We support SP School of Business — lecturers & students from their Dip. Human Resource Management with Psychology —who work on our ‘live’ HRTech L&D platform.
  2. We collaborate with SP School of Computing (“SoC”), offering internships to SP students to give them real-world experience, as they support ArcLab’s development under our CTO Steven’s guidance.

Our SP SoC interns proved to be adept coders and were of great help in ArcLab’s product development. Kudos to their lecturers for making them industry-ready — teaching coding skills and software engineering, while instilling in them the mindset of continuous learning (our firm’s raison d’etre), and perseverance & creativity while problem solving.

ArcLab 2019 interns at EduTECH Asia 2019 | Claire, Bing & Nicholas (missing Luke — at uni, Francis — serving the nation). NOT that 2nd guy from the right 😎

We’ve had the pleasure to work with Claire Liew, Francis Yeo and Chin Bing Huang from SP, and others we credit here.

They bring enthusiasm, vigour, hard work, and lower the office average age 😅.

On the ArcLab blog — I’ve written before about how we should make the opportunity for everyone to do well a reality — here, here and here.

Today, let me share the real-life example of Bing.

The Story of Bing

I first met Bing in late-2016, before ArcLab even existed.

I was then running a game-based learning firm serving schools, but I’d started to research problems organisations faced in scaling workforce training, as knowledge cycles kept shortening. This was before Digital Disruption had taken hold of the public consciousness.

Kris, Cedric and Ruiwen (My then-colleagues and intern 👋) and I met several companies to understand the problems they faced.

I had this idea to reverse-engineer the training process, then mainly face-to-face and requiring significant logistical coordination, with difficulty gathering data to help the organisation’s further training. Imagine the additional efforts needed for organisations with distributed workforces (think multi-boutique retailers, chain restaurants etc.), and how technology could reduce these pain points.

Leveraging the ubiquity of smartphones, we could deliver bite-sized training modules directly to staffs’ mobile phones! I didn’t code AT ALL then, so we needed someone who could.

Enter Bing — Final-year SP student, whose project ‘Happy Wheel’ ( navigational application with checkpoints annotating obstacles for the disabled or wheelchair bound users navigating from point-to-point) had just won in IMDA’s Data-Driven Innovation Challenge.

Bing was a quiet fellow, but had a mind like a sponge, absorbing all the information we fed him — problems we were looking to solve, first-iteration feature designs and wireframes, and a data dump of EVERYTHING.

Early ArcLab Ver 0.1 (Built by Bing, Kris, Cedric, Hei Wai, Ruiwen, Zainul, James)
Ver 0.1 Design Pillar: SIMPLE learning module creation. We still do this today.
Ver 0.1 didn’t have 5 million users. But it’s important to dream big 😉

We had no-one to guide him technically at that time (we were all designers, though Kris had working coding knowledge), but Bing simply took in all our functional design and UI/UX, and single-handedly architected and coded what would later become ArcLab Ver 0.1 — in all of SIX WEEKS.

What Bing built with us was a PoC we could now bring back to the companies we first interviewed, and they became our first beta users.

The amazing thing about Bing was how calm and organised he was. What I admire most about him was his clarity of thought, his ability to break complex requirements into simple pieces, to pick off, build and put together. He didn’t over-engineer, but because he architected properly, there was method to what he built.

(*N/B: When we later co-founded ArcLab in 2018, our CTO Steven remarked that Bing’s original code was well thought-out, with elements worth keeping even as we continued to scale and evolve the platform).

Many paths to success — The way of Bing

Bing enlisted soon after helping us with this Ver 0.1. But I’m forever grateful to this young man, for helping us lay the foundations of what would later become ArcLab.

So Bing had taken a slightly longer academic route than his peers. Before entering SP, he’d spent two years at the Institute of Technical Education (“ITE”) where others matriculated to SP directly after ‘O’-Levels. Where others might have ‘given up’, Bing became a top ITE students. He also did well at SP, as you know.

But what was more amazing was his thirst for knowledge and continuous drive to improve.

Bing participated in many industry hackathons, working backwards from problem statements to code a technical solution. So he constantly honed his skills, which are way better than his peers who may perform better academically, but couldn’t code as well.

As an employer, I much prefer Bing’s approach — to hone skill rather than optimise grades.

Bing also started me on my own coding journey. I got onto the Codecademy platform and started to do coding exercises and learn the basics of Javascript and Python (Note I’ve no ambition to be a professional programmer, but I wanted to at least read code, think like a developer and work with a technical team — which I (hopefully) was able to do when we co-founded ArcLab). Even when Bing was serving National Service, we kept in touch and he helped me out when I ran into learning roadblocks.

ArcLab got the privilege to work with Bing officially after he completed National Service. Bing worked with us in mid-2019 with Luke Tan and Claire (his SP junior). They were Steven’s “power dev team” as we responded to user feedback to build features for ArcLab (now an actual business with customers) to serve users’ L&D needs.

To me, Bing embodies this “Many Paths to Success” statement that has been much bandied about.

At the policy level, I think the right things are being done in Singapore so different academic routes can still lead to employability and viable livelihoods. At the societal level, we have someways to go; there are still many employers who use academic qualifications and grades as a non-negotiable filter (though these are slowly changing).

At our firm level, ArcLab is playing our part in this transformation journey by helping organisations continuously train staff, through ArcLab’s on-demand, bite-sized, mobile learning modules.

But it is at the individual level that I think most work needs to be done. Too many give up when they meet their first failure; they settle into a sub-optimal pathway when perhaps more perseverance would have helped them break through.

We can all learn from Bing. Never giving up, learning and doing. Building what’s useful, always improving.

Bing is now a freshman at Singapore Management University. I am so happy he continues to improve his knowledge, and eager for the chance to work together again in the future.

2019 Assemble! | Francis (leftmost), Claire, Bing & Luke (in white). Our CTO Steven’s 2nd from the right.

Join us! Be like Bing.

ArcLab has just opened our 2020 call-for-interns — across various disciplines.

We’re organisationally-flat so your voice always gets heard and you get to run with your proposals from start-to-finish.

For our tech interns — you also get the benefit of working with our CTO Steven, who’s held senior software engineering roles in PayPal, and previously built & sold his startup Spickify to Rocket Internet! One more HUGE plus: You get to ship ‘live’ code into production, working in consultation with Steven — invaluable experience in your programming journey (whereas (we heard) interns in other companies may only do bug-testing or buy coffee…).

So if you’re a student excited about solving real-world problems and having a positive impact on improving the skills, lives and livelihoods of millions of deskless workers, please apply to ArcLab, and be part of our mission.

(… And I may yet write about you too 😊)


ArcLab’s L&D Mobile Learning SaaS platform empowers organisations everywhere to create effective training that improves staff performance. It’s free to create. Get started today.

Categories
Who

On Lifelong Learning | Speaking at an SUSS event

On Lifelong Learning | Speaking at an SUSS event

I had the privilege to speak at a Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) event for entrepreneur-alumni. It was great to meet fellow entrepreneurs and learn of the businesses they run; I wish them well as they grow their ventures and serve their users.

SUSS was renamed from SIM University (UniSIM) in 2017 as part of its restructuring into Singapore’s 6th Autonomous University. SUSS retains a focus on lifelong learning and continuous education 👏, as UniSIM did by providing part-time education to working adults who formed a significant part of its then-student population.

My father was one of these adult learners / part-time students who earned his diploma and degree while working. Part of the recently-honoured Merdeka Generation, my father and many of his peers who came of age in the 1960s/70s entered the workforce early (after ‘O’-Levels or less) to support their families, even though many had wished to continue their education if financial resources had permitted.

Today, my missus is also a part-time student — working while training to be an early childhood educator, and rushing home after school to cook dinner for the family and take care of the home.

I have utmost respect for our part-time students, seeing first-hand how my father and missus juggle work responsibilities, family commitments and schoolwork. They show tremendous perseverance and a desire to continuously improve. Adult learners and part-time students deserve as much help and support as we can give.

Back in 2013, I’d proposed for Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) Education Scheme (a loan scheme where CPF Members used an approved amount of their own CPF Ordinary Account savings to pay tuition fees for their diploma/degree — to be repaid after graduation) to be opened up to Part-Time students — levelling the playing field for them as they upgraded their skills and qualifications.

My reasoning was simple and intuitive:

Giving part-time students access to the scheme does not require government funds. It merely allows them the same opportunity as their full-time peers to unlock their own funds to finance their education.

Upgrading their skills helps them increase their incomes and puts them in a better position to repay their CPF Education Scheme loans, no different from full-time students.

We would then be taking another step towards an equal-opportunity society, and give a greater proportion of our population the ability to upgrade themselves and improve their productivity, which is one of the key goals of our nation.

The Ministries of Manpower and Education replied negatively. While I acknowledge their point that there were many other avenues of financial assistance available to part-time students, they skirted my main point on Level Playing Fields for part-time students and full-time students. You can read their full reply 😐:

https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-replies/2013/cpfs-primary-purpose-is-for-retirement


In the six years since, it is now even more imperative that we embrace lifelong learning — in today’s Age of Digital Disruption

To be fair to the Singapore Government, official support for Continuous Education and Learning (CET) has scaled significantly in the past six years. While Singapore has always championed lifelong learning and skills upgrading, this has been made even more explicit now.

The Government set up SkillsFuture, a national lifelong learning movement to provide Singaporeans with the (quote) “opportunity to develop ourselves to the fullest, achieving skills competency and mastery”.

There is now even more support for Singaporeans to upgrade ourselves. SkillsFuture subsidises many training courses for adult learners, and Singaporeans above 25 years were given $500 in SkillsFuture credits to be applied towards training courses. SkillsFuture also engages employers and works with educational institutions and training partners to “ensure students and working adults have access to high quality, industry-relevant training throughout life”.

For Employers— there are now a myriad of initiatives encouraging companies to imbibe learning in the workplace, and continuously upskill staff capabilities. Though more needs to be done to shift mindsets away from academic qualifications towards Skills-Based Hiring.

From the Training Provision perspective, training and education needs to evolve to fit the schedules and needs of busy adults:

No longer can workforce training continue to be solely classroom-based, which is time-consuming and often not possible for labour-intensive businesses.


This is the raison d’etre of ArcLab, our learning & development SaaS platform that empowers organisations to create ON-DEMAND, BITE-SIZED, MOBILE training that improves workforce performance.

ArcLab is a more effective way to onboard, motivate and train the modern workforce. Designing the product from the perspective of busy schedules (and shortened attention spans) of the modern workforce, learning modules created in ArcLab are:

  • Bite-Sized
  • Fully-interactive and Gamified
  • Rich-media centric — Embedding video, rich media for greater engagement
  • Assessment focused — Testing knowledge retention and understanding
  • Data driven — Learner analytics providing insight to the manager and organisation

ArcLab ensures effective training can be done anytime, anywhere. This saves organisations training cost and provides them with valuable staff data, and enables workers to upskill more effectively, in less time.

Since ArcLab’s founding last year, we have had the privilege to support the work of Institutes of Higher Learning like Singapore Polytechnic, training providers like Business Academia, and organisations like hospitality company The Lo & Behold Group and luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass, to name a few (hopefully SUSS soon too 😊).

We are grateful for the faith and support they have shown in us in our earliest days, and will continue to work hard to fulfil our mission to support Lifelong Learning. ArcLab is still young, and there is a lot more that we are building and working on — taking in feedback from our users to improve our platform’s andragogy and technology – to help organisations everywhere train their workforces effectively.


I’ll end back at the SUSS Alumni event I spoke at. It was a brilliantly-organised event; there was plenty of discussions and I learnt lots from speaking with the folks in attendance.

For my sharing per se, I did not have any deep insight or academic study to share. Instead I shared the mistakes I’d made in my entrepreneurship journey (Section 9 of this Adrian Tan interview). Because mistakes are the most valuable lessons that the school of life teaches us (and I’ve made plenty, as a portfolio manager, an entrepreneur, a person), and I hoped this was of value to my fellow entrepreneurs.

My thanks once again to SUSS — Evelyn, Eileen, Ellen and Nicole, for the kind invitation to speak at your event. 🙏

Categories
Why

Snackable Self-Paced Learning for the Modern (Deskless) Worker

Snackable Self-Paced Learning for the Modern (Deskless) Worker

Buffets! Spread upon spread — Delightful morsels of savory and sweet dishes. (Hungry yet?) — Guest Blog Post for hrtech.sg

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Why we love buffets

Some say it’s the food. That’s a factor, but I suspect our love affair with buffets lies in knowing there’s ALL THAT CHOICE available. That’s what makes buffets special — the fact we CAN eat such a broad spread of different dishes, whatever you fancy, without limit!

Buffets have made their way into increasing facets of our lives, especially entertainment. Think Netflix, Spotify, MoviePass. These platforms make you the promise that there’s all this content (movies, songs…) that you CAN watch or listen to. It’s impossible obviously, but the fact that we CAN… has users stumping up their subscription fees. Month after month.

Netflix and Spotify do something else — they make recommendations to you — what to watch or listen to next.

To each his/her own

The recommendations are “personalised” for each of us, because our behaviour on the platforms are all different. We watch different movies, listen to different songs. Our likes and dislikes are different. The platforms aggregate all this data to personalise their recommendation, based on what they understand of us.

Yet personalisation is hardly new. As parents — we have knowledge (aka data) about our children’s likes and dislikes. We know Johnny loves his fish ball noodles and Jamie her chicken rice. So, we ‘personalise’ their lunches. We know Jimmy loves green and Jessica loves blue. So, we ‘personalise’ their room decor accordingly.

Personalised Learning — What’s hampering it?

In modern-day Learning & Development (L&D) — it’s not always easy to personalise training, especially if time and resource is constrained. So, often, it’s a one-sized-fits-all approach to training. Much of these changes in the classroom started in the Industrial Revolution — the advent of factories required skilled workers needing to be trained quickly and efficiently. Sadly, that hasn’t changed in the past 150 years.

We know training should be personalised, and we know that there is technology that can help us. But somehow — what Netflix, Spotify, Amazon and Google have honed to an artform — L&D practitioners find hard to do. This is despite a bevy of ‘personalised learning’ and ‘adaptive learning’ platforms that have sprung up over the last decade.

Yet, good teachers and trainers have always sought to personalise their teaching to the learners they interact with. In an older time, masters impart their skills to different apprentices differently, because each one is different.

Focusing (wrongly) on the technology

So, our first goal must be to figure out what best fits our modern-day learner. Focus should not centre at the technology; it starts with the learning pedagogy.

The modern workforce is becoming more mobile, and information’s shelf-life shortening. That makes traditional methods of training less effective. So, the delivery needs to change, and assessment too.

What we should first do is figure out the best medium and form factor of training. No longer should we front-load training in the first 3 days of an employee’s induction programme and hope they remember something. Rather, training now needs to be spaced out, made available on-demand; and if possible, ‘pushed’ at the right time.

Thinking specifically about the “deskless” worker — the frontline associate in the shopfront, the barista, the outbound healthcare worker: The gentleman or lady who does not have a cubicle or workstation; no computer to access the operations manuals (s)he may have vaguely remembered browsing through during induction.

Yet most (if not all) of our deskless workers now have powerful computers sitting in their pockets — their smartphones. Our Learning & Development teams can take advantage of these mediums and find an effective platform and toolset to engineer learning content. This investment is done once, and content can then be tweaked on an ongoing basis with relatively low marginal effort. This ensures accuracy and currency.

Snack-able Learning — Nano Learning

The best form of training delivery is to downsize content into ‘snack-able’ modules — Nano Learning.These are housed on the cloud and readily accessible for the worker to refer to, a recipe card for example, or a repair instruction for a particular machine. Whenever he/she needs it.

A worker who refers to it continuously will level up faster. It’s a proxy for employee effort to HR managers, which should ultimately translate to better productivity and better bottom lines.

Over time, the platform also builds its knowledge of the worker, and platforms can build recommendation engine to recommend learning — which is already proven to be effective. This helps our deskless workers continuously upskill and level up — translating into better job performance, promotions and better pay to uplift families.

Ending back at the buffet

We end back at the buffet spread, and the key element of choice. Best of all, there’s no wastage -because unlike buffets where unconsumed food is thrown away, all learning content always stays available, to consume as best fits our schedules, to adopt into better work performance — that leads to better organisational outcomes, and hopefully better livelihoods for our workers.

As we bring personalisation into learning — and in ArcLab’s case, Nano Learning, our focus still centres on human choice. So we do not just consume what is recommended or ‘pushed’ to us blindly.

Rather, that insight we glean from all that data and personalisation is the ability to make better choices. That ability to choose is what makes us human, and that’s why we love buffets.

Categories
Why

Creating Effective Training — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Creating Effective Training — The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

“Question: What’s effective training?” | “women’s gray cardigan” by rawpixel on Unsplash

In a previous blog post, we shared with readers how learning needs to be ENGAGING, EFFICIENT and EFFECTIVE. For workplace L&D in particular, today’s managers and trainers face:

  1. Increased Mobility — Our teams are more mobile and distributed. So it’s hard to get everyone in the same training room. Especially true for multi-branch / multi-geographical organisations.
  2. Reduced Attention Spans — The infamous study that us humans can concentrate for less than 8 seconds, ranking us below goldfish…

Organisations can no longer ‘pre-dump’ our teams with reams of training binders; it will get lost amongst everything else that they need to get up to speed on and daily work responsibilities!

L&D managers are convinced that the best way to train teams is by:

  1. Putting training content online to supplement (NOT replace) face-to-face training. This should be mobile-optimised to be delivered directly to employees’ smart devices.
  2. Making sure training engages the learner for more effective content absorption. Even better if the training is contextual and just-in-time.

That’s where Nano Learning comes in.

What’s Nano Learning? Bite-sized, self-contained training content that is rich-media focused and peppered with knowledge checks to make sure learning has taken place.

Think of Nano Learning as ‘power bars’ that are consumed just before a key task or activity. The learning is contextual, just-in-time, and application-focused. Employees learn what’s needed, do quick assessments to confirm learning, and put their learning into action through the task. The practical application reinforces the learner, and gets the ‘muscle memory’ going.

So how do we create effective Nano Learning? Do we simply take our existing Powerpoint training decks and chop them up into 15-minute modules?

The Bad

Bad Nano Learning: https://b.arclab.io/2ykhQWn

Here’s one learning module: https://b.arclab.io/2ykhQWn

Did this work for you? Did you get the point of the module? Or were there too many “focus points” that you got lost in the information overload? Were you able to test yourself that you learnt what you were being asked to

The module is indeed short, but we need to do more than keep our Nano Learning modules short.

More than that, we need to keep them focused, and to-the-point. Ideally we should only teach ONE learning point per module. There’s no focus if we ATTEMPT to cover too many things.

The Good

Now try this Nano Learning module: https://b.arclab.io/nano1

Good Nano Learning: https://b.arclab.io/nano1

This 2nd module is short, just like the previous one. But there are several important differences:

(i) This module is to-the-point.

(ii) There are knowledge checks to make sure the learner stopped him/herself and reinforced the learning.

(iii) There is also good use of infographics, contextually-appropriate pictures and a very short, to-the-point video on how Nano Learning can be created.

In general, the rich media appeals to our learners’ right brains, creating emotional connections that imprint on memories more strongly.

In short, it is effective.

How do we create effective training?

LESS is often MORE: Resist the temptation to load in more and more information. This leads to loss-of-focus, and your effort is wasted.

SHOW; don’t TELL: Spend time sourcing or crafting visually clear media resources, be it infographics that display data or information, or demo videos.

The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” never goes wrong, as the learner doesn’t need to imagine what wordy descriptions actually mean.

KNOWLEDGE CHECKS: We learn best by testing ourselves continuously. Nano Learning modules that have regular Assessment (be it simple MCQ or Open-ended screens) do this effectively. The learner reinforces his/her learning, and there’s good data for L&D managers.

Create Effective Training now!

We trust these short tips helps you the L&D manager and trainer to create more effective training through Nano Learning — to supplement your workplace learning programmes.

Remember, crafting effective training requires more than mindlessly chopping up 100-slide Powerpoints into 15-minute bits.

Put thought into the pedagogical approach we suggested, and let’s all create better training for our teams.


Creating effective training for your teams, self-service, with ArcLab Pro is always free. Start now.

For more help or are resource-constrained, get in touch with us for ArcLab Enterprise, where our Instructional Designers can work with you to help craft your content into effective training. Reach out now.

Categories
Why

Size Matters

Size Matters

Interactive Nano* Learning is small but POWERFUL learning.

(*Nano: 1 billionth (1/1000,000,000) a.k.a. bite-sized, digestible, very small)

NanoLearning: small but POWERFUL learning | Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

In this Age of Digital Disruption, organisations need to keep employees’ knowledge and skills current.

For all of us, continuous retraining and upskilling is no longer optional. Not doing so puts us all at risk of our jobs being made obsolete and us being made redundant.

Two key factors have major implications for the way we conduct training in the workplace today, or educate our children in school for that matter.

  1. Knowledge gets outdated much more quickly today.
  2. Our attention spans now average 8 seconds (FYI the average goldfish’s is 9 seconds).

It is ineffective to have 3-hour lectures, where a trainer stands in front of the class and lectures without break, or learners doing anything ‘interactive’.

This is especially true for millennial learners, who no longer have deep fixated attention spans. Instead, millennials “multi-task”, where attention is divided amongst many concurrent activities (aside: our brains don’t actually focus on many different things at the SAME time, but rather, SWITCH between different areas of focus — more on this in a future piece).

It’s also questionable if one-way content delivery in training settings adds much value since there’s already so much knowledge and content that is readily-accessible on the web by learners. In fact, the proliferation of web and digital media also makes it harder to get learners’ attention.

When the ‘competition’ is the latest superhero movie or hit mobile game, the teaching & training profession has its work cut out, to design and deliver knowledge in a manner that at least captures learners’ attention (for those 8 seconds anyway), and more importantly, effect the learning.

There is a better way:

We’re talking about NANO learning: bite-sized, digestible, on-demand learning.

Effective learning.

2 quick points:

  1. Learning in short bursts is not new. For example, the Israeli army, on recommendation by Daniel Kahneman (of “Prospect Theory” fame in collaboration with Amos Tversky), converted the training of tank drivers from a series of 2-hour sessions to 30-minute bursts, during the 1970s Yom Kippur War. This helped tank drivers get educated more quickly and effectively, and reduced war fatalities.
  2. We’re not advocating that trainers and educators do nothing more beyond break down 3-hour lectures into 5 minute chunks — lock, stock and barrel. Nano Learning is more than simply putting a shrink ray gun on a classroom lesson and nothing else.

Nano Learning is a PEDAGOGICAL FRAMEWORK where we work through the entire content base and think hard how to package it into bite-sized, interactive modules that best help the learner understand and absorb the content and learning points.

We’ll talk more about the science and pedagogical aspects in a subsequent post, but first let’s think about how we can operationalise Interactive Nano Learning for our organisations.

How do we start?

So, what does an organisation’s Learning & Development team need to do, to put this in practice?

  1. Start Small (pun intended) — Rather than propose an institution-wide overhaul, start by securing the support of a small group of stakeholders, and use it to get corporate leaders’ buy-in.
  2. Involve the TRAINER — Interactive Nano Learning never REPLACES the trainer & the educator, and we should work with in-house (or external) trainers to repackage learning content into a series of bite-sizes. Remember that the human brain works well with packs of threes, so that might be a good number to reach for, to keep training digestible, and show a progression path.
  3. Reach the LEARNER — The average person today touches his/her phone more than 2600 times per day. So embrace technology that can help to deliver your training content TO YOUR LEARNER. Hence, a digital platform might be your best bet.

Ultimately, it is all about letting our data guide us. Does this new form of nano learning help deliver content in a better way?

Hence, it’s important that we set very specific milestones and desired end-outcomes, so that we can measure effectiveness, which will help us secure buy-in to extend the framework to more parts of our organisations.

A good way to start may simply be to take 1 specific training module, like a new-employee onboarding programme, and break it down into a bite-sized format.

This Nano Learning format can be sent to the new hire ahead of them joining your company, and contain key information that they need to know: Start date, who to report to, dress code (if any), things to bring/prepare for etc.

Then when your new employee shows up on Day 1, they at least have some knowledge in their minds, and helps ease them into the new environment.

Talent is the most important resource that every organisation has.

It takes time, effort and costs to search, interview, recruit and hire every new team member. If employees leave because they feel they are not being trained properly, the re-hiring for the role hurts the cost by explicitly adding to firm hiring costs, and implicitly by dampening morale (and increasing workloads) of team-mates who stay.

So it’s in every organisation’s interest to train employees properly all throughout their journey with the firm.

Interactive Nano Learning can be a big help in making this training bite-sized and on-demand, better delivering the requisite content and skills to members of your team.

Don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself…


p/s: We’re excited to let you know that WE HAVE LAUNCHED ARCLAB PRO!

ArcLab Pro is a Software-as-a-Service web tool and platform that empowers organisations to build Interactive Nano Learning modules that can be easily distributed to teams to help them onboard and upskill.

ArcLab Pro provides easy-use templates, learner analytics, everything you need to effectively train your team with Interactive Nano Learning. There’s no software to download or install, no lock-in periods, no minimum number of learners.

Simply sign up, and start creating and investing in your team TODAY!