“A lot of people think working in the pension sector is a bit boring.” Leon starts. “But in our working field things are changing very quickly, and every day newspapers publish stories that influence our jobs. That is what makes it so interesting and fun!”

So, it’s an industry with rules that often change. That makes the work diverse, but makes it very important to stay up to date. And that’s where SPO, as trainer in this sector, comes in. They are one of few pension training facilities in the Netherlands, which means almost all employees and employers in this sector have to deal with them sooner or later.

Recently SPO switched from their own e-learning system to aNewSpring. Leon Kurvers (exam manager) and Gaby Mol (education advisor) at SPO talk about their choices and experiences.

“aNewSpring stood out quickly, mainly because of their explicit focus on technique. That’s exactly what we need. Also on a visionary level and the way we do business we’re a good match.” –Leon Kurvers

A well-thought-out choice

SPO worked with their own e-learning system for 10 years which they developed themselves. “It was a very traditional system, we only had the option to show questions and documents. The system didn’t provide us what we needed anymore, and it cost us a lot of time and money to keep it running as well. Thats why we decided to find another solution.”

According to Leon and Gaby an extended reflection and inventarisation was what followed. “We asked ouselves: What do we really want? We didn’t wat to make any hurried decisions, but search for the right solution that worked best for us.”

SPO went back to basics by defining a new educational vision that centralized the blended learning principle. After that they researched which solutions matched this vision. From a long list with 20 systems a shortlist was made, and eventually the choice for aNewSpring.

“aNewSpring stood out quickly, mainly because of their explicit focus on technique. That’s exactly what we need. Also on a visionary level and the way we do business we’re a good match, that’s why we chose aNewSpring.”

Developing content is hard work

After this decision was made it was time to develop the first product. “Well, we really had a ‘what now?’ moment then”, said Leon. “You just don’t know where to start, there’s so much stuff to do. You want to get to know the platform, develop content, fill in courses, you name it. Luckily we got a lot of help from the Support team.”

“We definitely thought developing content would be easier.” says Gaby. “Beforehand we didn’t know it would be that much work! And we had a deadline, so it was tricky to get everything done in time. But we did made it, and are very proud of that.”

Luckily Leon also sees the positive side of all the hard work. “If we hadn’t had to work that hard, we wouldn’t have known that much of the platform right now!” he laughs. “And for us content is the most important. That is our responsibility and everything has to be 100% right, so it’s definitely worth it to put a lot of time and effort into it.”


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Great learner response

The pilot product SPO developed is available right now, and the response is very positive. The course addresses Permanent Education and is called SPO Permanent. As explained before, everyone has to keep their knowledge up to date in the pension industry, and this course makes sure that happens. SPO hopes that legislation won’t be necessary because of this course and that supervisors will be happy with this high quality product.

In any case, they can tell the first learners are!

“Self study is very nice. You determine the pace and intensity yourself.”
“I was very motivated to keep going.”
“I learned a lot with extra practices. At first I was sceptical if this was the right way for me to learn. Should I grab my book or practice with questions? Seeing the results practicing is definitely a way of learning.”
“How did I experience this way of learning? Great. Especially the MemoTrainer app and create extra practice app. Really great because I could make them easily during a tv commerical via my smartphone.”
“Very nice and stimulating. Fun to be working with material and topicalities this way.”
“Very flexible, learned a lot at my own pace, very nice!”

The Blended Learning couses are managed by a trainer of SPO. “We have great trainers, so of course we don’t replace them by just online learning. For us the combination works best. We give the teacher an identity by letting him lead the kick off session. Then learners practice and make the course online and in the meeting before the exam the trainer is there again. And finally the exam takes place online.”

 “At the end of 2014 all our courses are in aNewSpring”

The future is bright for SPO. “We expect 95% of the people working in the pension sector to come across our product. We really hope it becomes a product that we can’t do without anymore.”

At the moment they are working hard on the next courses and at the end of 2014 SPO hopes that not only all their courses are adjusted to their new vision and blended learning, but also that they will all be available in aNewSpring.

Website SPO

LinkedIn Leon Kurvers
LinkedIn Gaby Mol

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