Helping Banco Santander train the next generation of impact entrepreneurs

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In 2009, Banco Sant­ander launched a new ini­ti­ative, the Explorer program, through its Sant­ander Uni­ver­sidades. Explorer is an inter­na­tional pre-seed program for uni­versity entre­preneurs aged 18-31 who are inter­ested in devel­oping their business ideas. The program is run by CISE (Centro Inter­nacional Sant­ander Emprendimiento).

The par­ti­cipants will enter a 12-week course where they are helped to develop their ideas and turn them into a solution that con­tributes to achieving the Sus­tainable Devel­opment Goals 2030. The aim is for these stu­dents to become actors of change through the building of eco­nom­ically sus­tainable pro­jects in dif­ferent indus­tries, sectors and types of organisations.

So far, over 8,000 young adults with more than 5,700 pro­jects have par­ti­cipated in the program. Explorer is estimated to reach up to 2,000 entre­preneurs in 2020-2021 around the world.

How to form an online community for students

Forming a com­munity is a big part of Explorer’s teaching meth­od­ology. The intention is to develop ideas together. Being an inter­na­tional program, they also need to be able to reach stu­dents around the world.

To operate worldwide and to form a tight com­munity might at first sound like two puzzle pieces that wouldn’t fit well together. Then again, with the right kind of part­ner­ships almost any­thing possible.

Therefore, Explorer and Claned joined forces in October of 2020. According to Explorer’s Exec­utive Dir­ector Patricia Araque, the reason was to offer stu­dents blended learning.

“Explorer is a mix of online training and com­munity, both things are key to help stu­dents to achieve their goals. Claned makes pos­sible the kind of social learning we need to promote peer to peer learning and at the same time helps us leverage the blended learning exper­ience we deploy in part­nership with the uni­ver­sities that are part of the program.”

The Claned online learning platform focuses heavily on social learning. Stu­dents are encouraged to cooperate and work together instead of isol­ating them­selves, which some­times happens with online learning. On Claned, Explorer stu­dents can post com­ments, share notes and start con­ver­sa­tions about the topics or any­thing that comes to their minds. The exper­ience is very much like using social media, allowing stu­dents to create a com­munity. Because of the social media aspect, everything feels familiar from the get go and com­munity-building starts to happen intuitively.

Using learning design to create engaging courses

Here at Claned, we spe­cialize in designing effective courses. This means that we help our partners design online courses that follow the best ped­ago­gical prac­tices to deliver results. The platform itself already has many learning design ele­ments that guide users to create effective courses. On top of that, we offer learning design as a service and really go through what high-quality online learning is.

So, we organized learning design work­shops where we worked together with Explorer’s team to create a top-class online learning program. To give you a picture of what these work­shops are like, here’s how things went down with Explorer.

What are learning design workshops like?

The team from Sant­ander x Explorer approached our e-learning project with open minds, curi­osity, and a desire to learn how to create the best program they could.

One of the biggest chal­lenges in cre­ating an online course is letting go of what you think you know. For people who are experts in their field this can be intim­id­ating. The Explorer team recog­nized from the very beginning, that while they are experts in the field of entre­pren­eurship, they needed to learn about digital learning and how to best com­mu­nicate and impart the wealth of know­ledge they have to their learners. They approached each learning design and digital learning workshop as a learning oppor­tunity for how to achieve this.

During the work­shops we talked about key issues, like social learning. We gave the Explorer team ideas about how to encourage learners for more active par­ti­cip­ation by making their materials part of activ­ating dis­cussion assignments.

The team was enthu­si­astic and asked ques­tions when they wanted to know more about a topic or were unclear about a concept. Based on the resources we provided them, they made plans and got organized, both about the overall structure of the program and its spe­cific components.

We dis­cussed ideas freely. People offered insights, sug­ges­tions, and elab­or­a­tions to help fully realize the concept. These are things that make for suc­cessful learning in any program. In the end, designing quality learning is about col­lab­or­ation, dis­cus­sions and fig­uring out the best methods for each spe­cific case.

Improving the program over time

Feedback from Explorer has been pos­itive so far. They have gained useful insights into designing and executing modern online courses.

“We are more than happy. During these last weeks we dove into Claned’s fea­tures and worked with the team on the design of our learning path. This time has been mind-blowing. Now our approach to the design of learning exper­ience is more social and more col­lab­or­ative. That is going to have a huge pos­itive impact on how the Explorers achieve their goals,” says Patricia Araque.

Even though the courses have now been designed, Explorer is not done yet. By using Claned’s data ana­lytics, they plan to track, adapt, and modify the program. They will be able to see how well the program per­forms. Based on the inform­ation, they can then add, adjust, and replace content when needed, gaining insight into what types of activ­ities and pro­jects spark engagement and pos­itive reac­tions among learners and identify where and when learners need addi­tional support.

The Explorer program is shaping up to be a splendid example of how to use digital learning and Claned to its fullest potential. We cannot wait to see how they will fare in the future.

Are you planning to develop your own online learning program? Contact our experts for a free 30minutes project evaluation.

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