Do you need training for your company or organization’s employees? Snackson is a mobile learning solution that organizes learning through microcontents. An innovative e-learning approach created by Miguel Ángel Muras (right side of the picture) and Jordi Pizarro (left side).
We’ve talked with Miguel Angel Muras about this project, the challenges posed by the learning of the future, and entrepreneurship in this interview for MasQueNegocio.
➽ What’s Snackson?
Snackson is a mobile learning solution for companies and institutions. Thanks to Snackson, employees and collaborators can acquire knowledge in a more natural, dynamic and comfortable way right from their phones in just a few minutes per day.
➽ How did Snackson come up?
From an analysis of the field. Organizations need to train their employees, but these don’t have time nor access to the appropriate devices and courses, often, are long and do not meet the needs of the user.
The mobile phone is becoming the main channel to access information. We can make the most of 5 minutes that we all can get over the day (while we wait before a meeting, in the bus, having a coffee) and if, furthermore, we apply gamification dynamics and an agile and easy to manage production process, we get as a result an ideal solution for companies.
➽ What advantages does Snackson offer over other traditional training systems? And over other online systems?
Snackson does not substitute other training models, given that certain kinds of knowledge need different methodologies and tools. But Snackson allows the user to learn in 5 minutes and without effort. And it also allows our clients to create modular content very easily, as well as carrying out a follow-up of the training process, free of superfluous elements. In some cases it can act as a substitute, and in others as a complement.
Other processes do not use the mobile phone naturally. They adapt content. We have studied how the user interacts with the mobile phone and then, designed an application that adapts perfectly to it.
➽ In your mobile learning and microlearning system, how significant are visual contents?
They are key. We always say that Snackson is 50% technology and 50% education. It’s clear that the technological part is important, but without the suitable content, visually attractive, this model would lose its strength. Now, people are used to visually attractive impacts and training has to catch the attention of the younger generations, more akin to videogames than to PDFs.
Snackson’s instructional design team takes care of the contents’ graphics, infographics and videos that we produce, and, furthermore, we train our clients not only in how to use the tool but also how to improve their communication and how to create appealing learning objects.
“We’re combating against a training model in which the volume has priority over the learning”
➽ How has this project been financed?
With an initial investment made by the partners. Enisa has supported us with a loan and now we’re reaching self-financement.
➽ Which are the greatest difficulties that Snackson is facing?
I would highlight 2 totally opposite ones.
First, we have to combat against a training model in which the volume has priority over the learning. Snackson wants users to learn through concepts, schemes, ideas… and that thanks to this, they feel able to develop their work better. We want to help them to develop professionally, not to spend lots of hours in front of a screen just because it’s necessary to justify it.
And in addition to that, we are a startup and we have global ambitions. Therefore, our difficulty/target is to grow up, expand to other countries and develop new functionalities… without losing Snackson’s essence.
➽ Snackson is available for iOS and Android and you’re getting ready for the Windows Phone release…
Yes. It’s available from the leading platforms since October, but when we’ve introduced the solution to different clients we’ve found that there’s a considerable target market using Windows Phone, so we’ve made an additional investment for the sake of reaching this collective. We’re very pleased with the outcome. We’re reviewing it at present and we hope it will be operating by the end of March.
➽ Are you working on any other initiative you could tell us?
We have a very ambitious roadmap that includes providing Snackson with functionalities as virtual reality, audio recognition… but if I had to highlight something, I would point out the creation of an adaptive learning model that allows users to receive content based on their personal evolution, keeping gamification and ease of creation that characterizes us.
Quite a challenge.
“The teaching of the future will be configured by virtual reality and videogames”
➽ Is microlearning the way of teaching of the future? Which subjects are likely to be passed on through this system?
It’s a way of teaching that fits very well with our reality. Mobiles as our main screen, constant connections of a short duration, short content consumption… It has a promising future but in the years ahead I think that we will see how virtual reality and videogames take a predominant role and configure what will be the teaching of the future. Combined with a social component, its possibilities are quite impressive.
➽ Mobile is also a tendency increasingly consolidated. Which are the key issues to addresses in the near future (big data, wearables…)?
Big data is a reality. Nowadays we have to address our database structures by thinking on the exploitation of that information. It’s key for the client and also to constantly analyze your own model. In the years to come, we think that mobile will be the absolute king, and we will build upon it a global communications center (health, leisure, economy…) Even tablets are seen as the secondary screen of mobiles.
➽ Corporate training seems an issue of growing concern in a competitive and changing environment. Do you think that companies should invest increasing amounts of resources for their employees training?
Indeed. Training should be a core element in the management of a business. A good knowledge of the company, its regulations, the competitors, tendencies, the technologies that surround your everyday… helps you, unquestionably, to make your job more and more efficient. Companies are in a continuous change, and it will only progress by training its people so that they can do it in parallel to, or ahead of these changes. If not, they will lag behind and will disappear. Disruptive business models make incumbent companies to fall mainly because the latter refuse to believe that their reality is actually changing.
➽ What did motivate you to be an entrepreneur?
This is my third business. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 27. I am what some call a “serial entrepreneur”. I’ve always been very lively, I wanted to do things differently, and I’ve been reckless enough as to take risks. And crazy enough as to keep trying.
➽ What advice can you give to somebody who is thinking about undertaking an entrepreneurship project?
Talk about your idea with other people. It’s very important to listen to other points of view.
Surround yourself with a professional team, responsible and autonomous, composed of people with complementary skills (technical, sales, management…), and from the beginning, be very transparent with your partners as well as with your team.
Keep a cool head and work a lot. Being an entrepreneur can be exhausting and frustrating. But if you are sure your idea is viable, fight for it. You’re fighting to change your future and the future of the ones who surround you. That should be your motivation.
Post translated by Carolina Serna