Here at Thinqi, we’re passionate about collaborative and social learning. After all, there are vast reservoirs of untapped knowledge in your organisation. Understanding the best ways to utilise that knowledge can not only help people to fulfil their potential, but can also benefit your company’s bottom line.
On the subject of social learning, it was a real pleasure for us to catch up with our friends at Bantani Education. Currently at the beginning of their Thinqi journey, they’re already harnessing the powers of collaborative learning to build thriving communities and supporting their users with professional, shareable and high-quality learning content perfect for sparking discussion.
Here’s their story so far.
About Bantani Education
Bantani Education is a nonprofit organisation that works to develop entrepreneurial and creative mindsets through the power of learning. With a Welsh name (bant a ni means “away we go”), the company is based in Belgium with staff right across Europe.
Bantani Education is all about supporting individuals in any context to realise their potential and bring those entrepreneurial ideas to fruition. The company works with a wide range of different groups including organisations, schools, youth work, education systems, governments and employment organisations. Above all, Bantani Education works to build community and collaboration around this theme of entrepreneurial learning. They do this by focusing on:
- Skills development - working with partners to create further, better opportunities for entrepreneurial learning
- Networks and collaboration - developing networks to share information and practice with individuals and organisations
- Advocacy and awareness - increasing knowledge, raising awareness and encouraging debate
- Consultancy and facilitation - sharing their knowledge, experience and specific expertise in entrepreneurial facilitation.
We speak to Elin McCallum, Megan Reis and Candice Astorino about how they are using Thinqi to support people in achieving their entrepreneurial goals.
Whether it’s a learning management system (LMS), learning experience platform (LXP) or a system that integrates both, investing in technology is a significant responsibility for any L&D professional. Identifying key challenges is crucial for finding the right choice. If you’re facing this dilemma yourself, our free expert guide comes with all you need to know plus a handy pull-out section to take to product demos to help you go in fully prepared (you’re welcome).
What unique challenges did Bantani aim to overcome?
Juggling multiple platforms for multiple projects
Prior to using Thinqi, the team at Bantani were training different groups with no real cohesion between them. There was also the issue of having to use various different pieces of software for a range of different projects.
“We were using software such as Google Classroom and tried LearnDash, a Wordpress plugin, but didn’t really enjoy it,” notes Megan Reis, Communication Lead at Bantani. “Different projects gave us access to different platforms and we found it difficult to use four different platforms for four different projects all at the same time, for example. Our intention was to bring it all together and have one central, dedicated place we could focus on.”
Not only did the team at Bantani and their partners need to learn how to use the different platforms, but they also faced the challenge of having to guide their users through them too.
A lack of consistency and longevity
“There was a lack of consistency and longevity to this approach,” says Candice Astorino, Bantani’s Policy & Research Assistant. “Once a project ended, the platform was no longer used or updated. Instead, we’d have to start a new one with any new project. There was no continuity.”
A lack of user retention
“EntrecompEdu was a really successful course for us that was run in 5 different languages,” says Megan. “I think 700 people from 52 countries initially registered and over 100 people eventually finished. While it was successful at the time, we found that once the users of the platform were gone, they didn’t return in future.”
Instead, the team wanted to be able to retain their users and encourage them to remain in some form of community, with the ability to continue accessing resources. These are the people Bantani wanted to see returning for future courses in a year, or several years to come. They also hoped to see those high registration numbers convert to higher course completion rates.
It was time to seek a solution.
So, what was it about Thinqi that made it the right solution?
“We spent a long time researching different platforms and each one offered something different,” says Megan. “We were looking at Thinqi’s work with Welsh Government and were impressed with how well-designed it was, and how easy it was to use. I think there’s nothing like a visual representation of the platform to help you see how a certain course will work within it, or how the resources you want to share will appear in that environment.”
“Definitely. We liked the flexibility, too—it just looked like it would be easy to use,” says Elin McCallum, Director and Founder of Bantani.
Ease of access and usability is a critical factor in the decision-making process for an LMS. If the administrative process is overwhelming, there is a risk of disengaging the creators of a community as well as the end users. Thinqi’s simple, intuitive workflows helped allay any initial fears.
Finally, with great digital transformation comes great customer success. Bringing vast knowledge and experience in digital transformation, our team is committed to delivering success at every step of your learning journey—which for our friends at Bantani Education, was a key part of the solution.
“We went through a couple of different systems with different projects and to have you, the customer success team, is invaluable,” says Elin. “I don’t think we would ever have been able to create something as high-quality as we have without that support. We’ve got the customer success team really working with us to make it happen. Along with the simplicity of creating a library of resources, playlists, quick learning and longer learning, and the flexibility that affords, I feel that the whole of Bantani Education is future-proofed.”
Drumroll, please...here’s what Bantani Education has achieved with Thinqi so far.
A central hub of professional-looking learning content
Previously frustrated by a scattered approach to sharing learning content, Bantani now has a central hub of professional-looking learning content ripe for discussion.
“We were in a meeting with our partners and they gave feedback on how nice it was to have so many resources on the platform,” says Candice.
Megan agrees. “Everyone’s given really positive feedback on how well-developed it is, whether that’s the amount of content readily available in the resources library or just generally how everything just looks professional.”
“Only last week in fact, I sent over one of my shareable links to a colleague in one of the European agencies,” says Elin. “They then proposed that we should probably have a formal agreement so their work can be shared through the Thinqi platform. That for me is acknowledgement of how professional it looks and how effective that can be.”
A thriving community of knowledge-sharing
“The Networks feature is a good one,” says Megan. “We’ve renamed it as ‘Communities’. They’re really important as places for users to share things, whether that’s commenting or discussing, or sharing their own resources. We have a real tendency these days to just default to Facebook, but not everybody likes it. It’s nice to have somewhere that feels more private and special, and that’s not just open to anybody in the public.”
“This forum that we have through Thinqi allows us to bring people together, to show them what went before and to allow them to see the potential of how they can build on that,” notes Elin. “The thing about entrepreneurial learning is that it’s about understanding your strengths and being able to really use those to the best of your ability, and that’s what we want to be able to do with the community. Thinqi is the channel that allows us to achieve that—it’s all social and collaborative.”
Scope for growth into paid courses
Up until now, all courses at Bantani have been free. However, with the professionalism and ease of use that Thinqi affords, combined with the team’s expertise, they now see potential to expand into paid courses.
“Thinqi will give us the impetus to move onto paid courses in future,” says Megan. “Up until now, everything we’ve provided has been free, but we listen to our partners and our peers when they say that what we’re doing is great and that people would be willing to pay for what we offer. I think we’ve needed something like Thinqi to give us that push into offering this should the time come.”
Being able to offer paid services further drives the perception of premium quality.
Customer success every step of the way
While it’s important to select the right features and meet the right budget when sourcing a learning system, the importance of great customer success should never be overlooked. The unique set of challenges of any organisation should always be addressed by both the technical solution and the people behind it.
This is exactly why the team at Bantani were assured they’d made the right choice with Thinqi.
“Having Steve on call is great,” says Candice. “He has really got to know us and what we want to achieve, and fully understands what we can and can’t do. The helpdesk team has also been quick to solve any issues. It’s personalised support—we know we aren’t just a name or a number. The team knows us and takes care of us.”
Phew! That’s quite a lot already—and it’s only the beginning. What’s next for Bantani?
“Our goal is for EC360 to become the go-to online space for all things EntreComp and entrepreneurial competences,” says Candice. “We hope to expand our existing repertoire into new courses, including paid ones.”
“Being able to show this platform as being the backbone of entrepreneurial learning that we and others are trying to build has brought more people on board already into proposals and collaborations,” says Elin. “We’re bringing onboard organisations that are really good, really fundamental and are major players in the work that we’re doing. They’re able to bring in quality interactions into this community. The scope of what this will give us once we’re fully launched is just great.”
We can’t wait to see it happen. With Thinqi and Bantani, one thing’s for sure: we’ll be with them every step of the way.
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