Posted by ann.shea | Filed under Global eLearning
Anton acknowledges that the name of the company he founded (Advanced Technologies for Business and Education) makes their approach to training more creative, as the team is involved in all touch points of their clients’ business. ATBE consultants essentially work to make the entire activities of their clients’ companies more efficient. Their holistic approach to training focuses on the fundamentals of good management. Anton explains that prior to designing any training, it’s critical for both trainers and management to crystallize their understanding of the goals and mission of the organization and how to achieve them. Anton added that the consulting element of ATBE’s services ensures successful implementation of learning technologies, resulting in increased productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage.
Anton gave insight into the challenges of the training industry in Russia. Nationwide, he explains, they are facing a real problem because they lost the quality of their educational base during the period of perestroika. There is a lack of universities that can keep up the volume of high quality education needed to support business and the governmental structure. The subsequent lack of a prepared workforce is exacerbated by unrealistic expectations from managers who expect a one-time training session to generate a transformed employee. In addition, he says, Russians usually get accustomed to buy something for life. There are two reasons for this, he says: 1) it’s the prevailing mentality specific; and 2) for economic reasons, including the realistic perception the funding may not be there next year. Hence, buyers want to buy one system for permanent use and are resistant to benefits of cloud-based applications. In addition, due to conservative management tendencies, Company ATBE faces a longer selling process, which is at least a year.
Anton’s knowledge of learning processes and how to lead this company of 20 employees in a complex consultative process is the culmination of a career focused on learning. Anton’s undergraduate studies at Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics. He continued post-graduate studies with a focus on organizational structure for entrepreneurial companies. He later became the University’s Vice Dean in Management and Marketing after that Vice Director of the Department of Education and Methodical Materials after that from 2001 Vice Rector for Innovations of the Moscow University of Industry and Finance, and around 2008 entered the private training sphere Company ATBE has enjoyed steady growth and now has over 30 clients worldwide.
This year is the 9th International Exhibition and Conference and over 250 eLearning specialists from Russia and abroad are expected. Besides Russia, there are typically companies from the UK, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Spain, Italy, USA, Finland, France, for example. Sessions are typically in Russian, with about one third of them offering simultaneous translation to English.
ATBE’s involvement in the conference will take several forms. Eight people from the firm will attend, with four working in the booth and another four staff members attending sessions. ATBE acts an involved partner of the show’s organization, and will capture many presentations using the same eLearning platforms they offer to clients. ATBE is also a co-organizer of several awards presented at eLearn Expo. This year, a new display and report will be provided to recognize exemplary and innovative programs in eLearning by both companies and universities. ATBE is also involved in a competition recognizing the best eLearning in Academic, Corporate, Schools and Social sectors. Anton is enthusiastic about these advances, as he says in general the Russian market is similar to the European market five years ago with exceptions, such as the Russian office of Hewlett Packard. In addition, Anton is preparing to deliver three presentations during the conference. Two will be about ATBE’s particular services and tools, and the third will demonstrate how to incorporate quality control in eLearning. He will share how to define desired outcomes of training, how to test for those outcomes, and how to communicate with company management the required involvement by them, post-training, to ensure ongoing results.
When asked about whether social media use around conferences is widespread in Russia, Anton said that people are using social media, but rather than Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, they are predominantly using Facebook, and something called Classmates (which in June of 2011 had 18 million users). In Russia, there are also two social networks specific to the field of education and training: eLearning PRO, which is community site that brings together professionals who work in the field of distance learning and want to develop this area in Russia, and pedsovet.org, which is a Russian organization for teachers. In addition, in Russia, while companies use social media and their website for marketing, most marketing in educational sphere is done via direct sales and one-to-one selling.
Stand-alone course creation platforms are not typical, so QuickLessons is unusual there. Anton recapped that for QuickLessons, an advantage is that an LMS is not required, and that it will also work with any LMS. Most companies have an LMS with a built-in course creation program that is often difficult to use. In Russia, Microsoft PowerPoint is widely used for training. Anton finds course creation in QuickLessons five times faster than in PPT and other solutions, which is one of the reasons the company provides training and support for the use of QuickLessons.
When asked what other upcoming events Company ATBE will be participating in, Anton mentioned they will be attending Edutech for the second year, Moscow Education Online for second year (which he describes as the Russian equivalent of Online EDUCA Berlin). More geared to the educational content of the conference than a tradeshow, it offers approximately 30 learning sessions. ATBE will also be organizing their own international conference named A.I.Kitov, about information technologies in education, science and industry, in conjunction with Plekhanov Russian University of Economics.
Anton explained that most agreements happen on the basis of referrals by trusted associates, and his introduction to QuickLessons happened accordingly. After receiving an email from colleague suggesting he look at the website, he became interested in offering QuickLessons in Russia. He then contacted Alfredo Leone, QuickLessons’ Managing Director, and subsequently met Alfredo by Skype in 2009 for demo, and says that within one hour he was able to make his presentations on the platform. He says, “I think it’s a very good solution. I really like it. It’s very easy, and we’ve localized it so we can explain it for everybody.”
Thank you so much for sharing with our readers, Anton!