If you want to glimpse the future of professional education, look no further than Hyper Island. The creative business school—which sits “at the convergence of INSEAD, MIT, and Central St. Martins”, according to APAC Managing Director Melanie Cook — has been challenging the executive education status quo for the last 25 years.
Hyper Island lays down this challenge through its constructivist, learning-by-doing pedagogical approach, rejecting the type of theoretical analysis used in traditional business schools. “We don’t want people to just sit there and listen to us,” says Melanie. “We actually stimulate them with tools, references, methodologies, and practices that push them forward.”
The business school’s pioneering approach is designed to attract early adopters — both individuals and organizations — who understand that digital transformation requires a new way of learning. Every year, their online and in-person learning, Masters and upskilling courses serve 8000 participants in Asia Pacific, the Americas, and Europe.
Innovation at scale doesn’t come without challenges, even in instructional design. Hyper Island needs a learning platform:
- robust enough to support the rapid, repeated roll-out of large cohorts
- flexible enough to accommodate Hyper Island’s innovative learning philosophy
- user-friendly enough for Hyper Island to keep scoring 8 (or even 9) out of 10 on customer satisfaction
We spoke to Melanie, and Learning Designer Trechelle Lyn Ras, both from HI’s Asia Pacific team, to hear why Eduflow is the best fit for their business.
The Hyper Island team runs short executive courses up to 100 times a year, with 100s of learners per cohort.
That kind of launch velocity used to put pressure on the team, explains learning designer Trechelle: “The onboarding process to create the learning journeys, onboarding participants, creating and duplicating landing pages... it all used to take a lot of time.”
The logistics of launching new cohorts meant that each iteration needed three Hyper Island team members to get off the ground—two course facilitators, and a customer experience person. The latter handled set-up and operations, including certification and student communication.
Since the team started using Eduflow to duplicate and launch cohorts, the process is much more streamlined. “We can just duplicate an end-to-end flow,” says Trechelle. “We keep it generic, and even the Zoom links are the same, because we never run the same course at the same time. It's completely straightforward and it's saved us maybe 20-30% set-up time.”
The increased operational efficiency has even removed the need for a customer experience profile on each course. “[Eduflow] doesn't mean we can run more programs, but we need fewer resources to run a program,” explains Trechelle. “We only need the two facilitators, and all the set-up [...] can be done by the operations team.”
Delivering innovative learning journeys requires a non-traditional approach to instructional design. In an effort to break with traditional business courses, Hyper Island takes a “Montessori-for-adults approach”, says Melanie, leveraging everything they can to encourage learning-by-doing, not learning-by-listening.
That approach is reflected in the non-traditional tool stack in their courses, including collaborative brainstorm tools like Miro and Padlet, as well as traditional software such as Zoom.
Before working with Eduflow, Hyper Island used to have to provide access to these tools, and other learner resources, via landing pages for each cohort and course. That resulted in friction and confusion as learners jumped between pages and tools.
With Eduflow, tools like Padlet and Zoom are fully integrated into the software, meaning Hyper Island’s course-takers can do the required creative activities right inside the learning journey.
With the link-heavy landing pages consigned to history, Trechelle finds it a lot easier to sign-post students through the learning journey.
“There were limitations around landing pages because [we need] a one-journey type of interaction. We were looking for platforms that could allow us to have that, while still adhering to the flexibility of how we design our courses, because it's never one way. Eduflow came into the picture.”
With Eduflow, it’s much easier to ensure that the learners are directed to the right resources, reflection questions, and tools, without having to leave the learning journey. Learners can see at a glance what’s coming up in the course, and what they’ve just done. “It is an overview of your journey, where you are and what's next and what happened,” explains Trechelle.
Eduflow allows Hyper Island to bring all tools and interactions into one learning journey, while still being flexible enough to accommodate the school’s learning design philosophy. “[Eduflow] is flexible enough for you to customize if you need to run live sessions or self led journeys. It’s flexible enough for unique learning journeys like Hyper Island’s. That was one of our biggest challenges, finding a platform that doesn't overwhelm our learning principles with their own. Eduflow works together with whatever your learning principle is, because it's very flexible.”
No matter how great your course material or learning philosophy, it’s inevitable that learners start to forget things as soon as they graduate a course. “We've all been there,” laughs Melanie. “The forgetting curve comes into play and then in two weeks time you’re like, ‘What was that tool that I learned on Hyper Island, I can't quite remember it??’"
That problem was especially true for learners on short courses with Hyper Island. With access to course materials limited to the duration of the course, learners sometimes only had a couple of days to interact with course materials before losing access.
“We realized that in order to sustain the learning for learners, we needed to start using Eduflow across not only our Masters, but also our short courses and our self-driven courses,” explains Melanie.
Now, Hyper Island learners retain access to courses even after completion. Not only can they back and refresh their memories, but they can also reconnect with faculty members and request clarification. Learning doesn’t stop when the course does, and neither does Hyper Island’s relationship with their students. Melanie again: “Eduflow has enabled a consistency that wasn’t there before.”
Being able to offer students consistent, world-class learning journeys is what keeps the Hyper Island team with Eduflow. “It’s been transformational for our student experience,” says Melanie.
Now, Melanie and Trechelle continue to expand the ways they use Eduflow, from team training to content management for new initiatives, and to fellow Hyper Island teams beyond Asia Pacific.