Keys of elearning startups in Spain: Interview with Felipe Casajús of Inserver



Q: How a startup elearning arise?
A: Well, in our case it arose from the need to address eLearning projects in a different way. My partner and I met for two years at the Ministry of Education as project managers to create the eLearning materials for 100 Professional Training Cycles. We succeeded, but perhaps we ended up a little bit tired of the environment around us and therefore we decided to go for ourselves, and although we had a very stable work place, we decided to found Inserver in order to show that it is also possible to develop eLearning professional projects in today’s technology startups environment.

Q: What is elearning for an entrepreneur?
A: In our case it is a passion: We honestly love everything that is around the elearning world, but if there is something that especially excites us is what it could mean for the future of education. We are lucky to be able to say that we work in something we love, could you ask for anything more?

Q: What can be done from a startup?
A: Well, many things can be done, may be in an easier way than in a larger company or a consultancy; We think we’re more flexible by the fact that not all our projects have to bring a percentage of economic benefit; So, sometimes we do accept projects, but not becouse of the money we are going to earn with them (in fact we lost it some times) but because we see that the client will let us innovate and offer a solution that we have not explored so far. That is for us to develop our R & D as well as developing projects, and we love doing it!
Another thing I think we can do and that is more complicated in a larger company, is to tell the customer that what he wants you to do is not the best for his project or company; I think being completely honest is easier when you don’t have the typical constraints of a larger company.

Q: What kind of projects can you cover?

A: In our case we have limited resources, so we look closely what kind of projects we can accept, in order to avoid too much work and to maintain our normal levels of quality and development.

Q: How far are you able to get?
A: The focus on Moodle and Articulate Storyline 2 has allowed us to acquire a lot of knowledge and we accumulated much experience. Therefore, we are able to reach a deep level of customization and development in both cases; This is fine and the results are spectacular. In addition, this generates us a constant challenge to keep innovating in projects and to continue offering better products, project after project.

Q: What is your flagship product?
A: It’s like asking me if I love my dad more than my mom, but in this case the answer is Moodle and Articulate Storyline 2: In both cases, we have a great acceptance by our potential customers; The demos we normally do generate enough impact and I think we get very good results in both cases.

Q: What is the most innovative case?
A: I always like to point out the same project, and it is not for business or technological reasons, but for what it ment for everyone involved.
The project was the first pro bono we did and it was for Save the Children Spain; In this case, we helped to create a virtual classroom so that all members could perform the necessary training in distance learning.

Q: What was the need of the customer?
A: Save the Children Spain, being a major NGOs, undergoes a characteristical problem of these environments, which is decentralizing its resources. This meant that all members’ training was a major effort by the organization in order to ensure that, for instance, all new volunteers were taking the welcome training.

Q: What solution did you offer them?
A: We offered a Moodle LMS platform that would allow them to manage all the training of the organization through a single channel, including a specific visual theme to adapt the platform to the brand image and all necessary training for administrators and content authors.

Q: What was the challenge and the objectives to be achieved?

A: To start with, this project was a challenge for us because it was our first project as Inserver and we wanted to prove to ourselves that our model could work. Save the Children had clear objectives: They needed to solve the problem of decentralization in training and to reduce costs by the way.

Q: What steps did you take to achieve them, for how long and with what resources?
A: Well, once we passed the first meetings and planning, we set to work developing a platform that we customized until it was ready for the pre-production phase. At that point, we made the necessary training and layed out the first training course, which was one to welcome volunteers. And when everything was more or less ready (you are never quite ready) we put the platform into production and operation.
Certainly the project dragged on far longer than we all thought at first, but I think the important thing was the result and in the end all partners were happy with it.

Q: Who was your target?
A: To all members of the organization, not just volunteers; The idea was to channel the training of the workforce.

Q: With wath cultural diversity and geographic dispersity?
A: Well, you can imagine, right? In such a big organization there is a huge cultural diversity and they are very dispersed: Take into account that the Spanish delegation has 11 branches spread across the country.

Q: What benefits did the company / organization got?
A: Well, I will first tell you the benefits that we had, which were many. The first thing we got was to prove to ourselves that our concept of up to date and close eLearning is perfectly valid when you apply it to a major project, and also we personally feel very accomplished, the relationship with Save the Children was always excellent and above all with our contacts within the organization (Belen Serrano and Miguel Garcia).

Q: How does the customer uses your product / service?
A: Well today I think more than a thousand students have already gone through the platform, so I think the use is given exactly for which it was conceived.

Q: Why do you consider it an achievement?
A: Just for that, because it meets exactly the objectives set out at the beginning and that helps alleviate the problems that generated the need for distance learning.

Q: What learning is extracted from the experience and how would you apply it to other companies?
A: We had never work for an NGO before; In fact, we came from the Ministry, ie, the opposite pole, so you can imagine the amount of things we learned; But above all, we were taught that having a gesture of social responsibility can mean a lot and can be very rewarding to see how your job helps others who in turn help others.
For us it has meant so much, that it was our first pro bono project but not the last: Since then, we have worked on this model with three other NGOs and we are now in the process of development with the Spanish Federation for Rare Diseases (FEDER).

Q: What does a startup gives to the elearning market in Spain?
A: I think e-learning startups can be a breath of fresh air in the industry, we are young people who have much to say, with a different point of view and innovative solutions that add value to our customers.

Written by Leticia Lafuente López for Learning

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