This year I celebrate my tin wedding (10 years, what a ride!) with The Learning Hub. What a ride it has been! 120 Months, 3.650 days, 87.600 hours. To be honest, I had to scratch my head and hurt my brain to even remember what exactly I did 10 years ago.
How it all started
On a professional level it starts with a sizzle, but at the same time with a personal highlight… 1 month after signing my contract I was pregnant. 8 months later I became a proud mother (for the first time).
I was always an ambitious person, but being a mother made me even more combative! It all started with a vision, a mission and a brand.
In the past 10 years we had a different brand name, used countless PowerPoint look & feels, had a mascotte (Sir LearnsALot), font, etc, but we never changed our global idea.
The first 2 years The Learning Hub went by the name iLearn (you notice the trend here right). To be honest, getting iLearn launched was hard work and a bit of a struggle.
The problems we were facing
It was though, because
- nobody knew we even existed
- we were surrounded by IT (and we don’t speak the same language)
- we needed cases, a portfolio
It all started when someone offered us a shot. Our first official client where we got to show our expertise was V!GO. And then, magic happened, the first step had been taken. We had our first case. Word got out and – thanks to being part of a Cronos network – a second and third project soon arrived.
From one to many
By then, iLearn/The Learning Hub was still a “one-(wo)man-show”. In 2016 it was time to grow. Natasja, (still going strong) was hired. The arrival of a colleague meant a big change for me. Until then it literally didn’t matter how I saved files, under what name, how I followed up, etc. Now I had to make sure that my colleague could also find her way in all the documents that were going around. There was always a clear project approach (for customers), but internally there was – bit ashamed to admit- little structure.
A half year later we could hire a second colleague, Hannes (also, still going strong). Being a 3 headed group instead of a single individual gave us options. We could tackle more projects and we learned more quickly (from each other and from our clients).
In the years after we kept hiring people. Growth was steady, not too fast. Being with a larger group gave us more opportunities, but it also brought a need for clarification, guidance and agreements.
Questions such as: “What do we do with displacement?”, “What about colleagues who work with demanding customers and can therefore learn little themselves, versus colleagues who have to wait a lot for input and who can learn a lot in that time?”.
I even wonder how we got through the first years. Excel was the central go-to tool for – let’s be honest – almost everything. Project Planning: Excel, Budget tracking: Excel, Project follow-up: Excel.
More people required making investments. First on the list was tooling.
The evolution of tooling
Over the years we used several different tools. A brief overview:
- Content curation: we went from Dropbox, to SharePoint to Teams
- Centralizes communication: we went from Skype to Slack to Teams
- Project Management: we went from Excel to Trello to Wrike
- Budget tracking: we went from Excel to TeamLeader
(Maybe take a moment to pause here. When rereading my blog I have to say: at The Learning Hub we are very good at coping with change!)
And of course, we also had our job specific programs such as Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline, Vyond, Adobe After Effects,…
Finetuning the way we work
In 2017 we introduced a New Way of Working at The Learning Hub: Scrum & Agile. It lead to the birth of 2 subteams:
- Content creation team (Team Awesome)
- Learning Management team (Team Excellent)
From that point on, all projects will be tackled as a joined team effort, offering every colleague an equal amount of learning time.
By then it was clear that my role also had to change. I was no longer able to focus properly on creating e-learning content and the training design projects. I went from Instructional Designer/Training Designer/Sales to Team Lead/Training Designer/Sales to Product Owner/Sales to Managing Partner (which now sounds easier than all the combined jobs in the past, but don’t let the “single job title” misguide you!).
In the past 10 years (to name some):
- we grew from 1 to 20 people
- we helped more than 90 different clients with at least 1 project (and a large group has been a client for quite some years)
- we went from 0 LMS partners to (at the moment) 8 LMS partners
I myself have undergone a huge change and I notice this not only in the position I now perform versus 10 years ago, but also in myself as a person.
I am very happy with my role now, which allows me to exercise the bird view and enjoy (and be proud of) how the colleagues are currently doing. It is almost impossible to compare it with the first 2 years of life of The Learning Hub, although the soul (read: the mission and vision) has remained unchanged after 10 years.
Do you like to share your story?