Annual Learning CAFE ME 2018 updates

Annual Learning CAFE ME 2018 – Updates

Learning Customer Advisory Forum Event (CAFE ME) 2018, the regions most anticipated annual digital learning and talent technologies conference took place in Dubai on 27 November 2018. XpertLearning, recognised as the thought leader in the talent technologies space in the GCC along with its international partners, Skillsoft and SumTotal hosted the event.

The learning CAFE ME conference series is an annually organised event by XpertLearning and its partners with the aim of offering its clients the opportunity to network with seasoned professionals and thought leaders, to share and learn insights and innovations shaping the rapidly changing world of digital learning and talent management. This year’s theme was “The Age of Learning On-Demand.”

The conference showcased a panel of distinguished speakers. XpertLearning’s Co-founder, Paul Michael Gledhill, kick started the event with his usual humorous and flamboyant demeanor, setting the mood for the audience to absorb the deep insights to follow. Steve Wainwright’s (MD, EMEA, Skillsoft) keynote titled “Knowledge in the Digital Age” followed.  Steve shared his personal experience of 2014 when he was to take over as SAP’s first Chief Digital Officer in the UK – deep reflection in the light of his experience led Steve to conclude that the job entailed helping his colleagues “solve previously unsolvable business challenges using Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Robotics”.   Steve’s talk pointed towards how Learning can drive Digital Transformation. He concluded with examples of how Percipio (the intelligent learning system from Skillsoft) can be a catalyst in this process.

Morne Swart, (VP Global Product Strategy and Transformation, Skillsoft) spoke on “Talent Agility in an Emerging Workplace” wherein he shared the Top 3 Digital Initiatives among 7000 customers. His talk also delved into the impact of automation and the significant redefinition of careers taking place therefore.

Interesting competitive inter-team and individual games and activities including surveys, crosswords, and even an escape room game punctuated the speaking sessions. Anna Shaw (Manager, Customer Success, Skillsoft) presented the amazing new Percipio system heralded as “The Future of Modern Learning.” In addition to making a compelling case for the need for such a technology touching up on the diverse needs of the five generations at the present-day workplace, Anna also demonstrated the user-friendliness of the system by helping the audience install the app on their phones and experience a course by doing a voice-based search, all within a short span of time.

Irwin van Stavel, (MD, LRMG Learning & Sr. Partner) followed up with an engaging talk on the “Impact of Culture on Business Performance.” Irwin talked about the V.U.C.A world we live in, the LRMG Performance Golden Circle, Culture Code and the impact of Learning Culture on business performance.

The event also had an insightful case study from MovenPick Hotels & Resorts who are XpertLearning’s clients and a comfy couch panel discussion each of which paved the way for some insightful conversations and learnings aligned along the lines of the theme of the conference –  “The Age of Learning On-Demand.”

Over seventy professionals from the region including Directors, CEO’s, HR Head, L&D Heads, IT and Training Specialists attended the event. The event ended with the coveted Learning CAFE ME Awards Ceremony, that honored clients that brought exceptional thought leadership and innovation to their technology driven learning initiatives.

Sajan Nair – Country Manager, XpertLearning – Oman

Keep Empowering Yourself – ‘KEY’ : A Digital Learning initiative by Al Ghurair Real Estate Group

As part of their Employee Engagement Program: “PEOPLE FIRST”, Al Ghurair Real Estate Group had launched their Digital Learning initiative called KEY (Keep Empowering Yourself) on the 4th of October, 2018.  KEY aims to inculcate among employees the value of learning agility.  The leadership at AGRE actively supports the employees in their self-driven learning journey, involving both informal and formal learning.


PEOPLE FIRST – KEY is a Skillport enterprise learning platform that has been designed to facilitate and deliver courses that will drive the performance and development of the AGRE employees, enhance their engagement and productivity and upgrade their skill sets. With a select library of Skillsoft courses, aligned to their competency requirements, these online courses are effective in addressing the employees’ learning needs, along with a bespoke development of customised multimedia online courses.


The launch was celebrated in the Burjuman Office Towers, engaging Departments’ Heads, who will be the Digital Learning Champions of the organisation.  With balloon towers, party picks, and a giant cake, the HR Team at AGRE has done a great job with campaigning for this initiative, also following the launch up with a series of information sessions to roll out KEY to the rest of AGRE.

XpertLearning wishes the KEY team the best in their Digital Learning Journey and we look forward to a successful program!



Katrina Bituin, Learning Consultant at XpertLearning



XpertDragons Paddled Down at the 2018 ‘Dubai Properties’ Annual Dragon Boat Race 2018

The annual Dragon Boat Race at Marasi Business Bay was hosted by Dubai Properties on 9th and 10th February 2018. The 11th edition of the popular water sport race welcomed an estimated 5,000 spectators and over 1,500 participants across 75 teams. The 2018 edition of the race was the biggest yet, and XpertDragons, (XpertLearning dragon boat team), were there to take part in this exhilarating event!

The XpertDragons, donned the team colors; green, which associates with nature and paperless/online services, and blue which relates to trust, honesty and dependability, and waving the banner with the new logo that gives a strong and modern look that depicts their mission to deliver eXcellent quality of service and support.

They joined visitors and fans who were treated to great views of the action along the Marasi Promenade. The city’s newest marina at Marasi Business Bay was decorated in celebration of the Chinese New Year and featured family activities, entertainment, a live DJ and Dubai’s best food trucks throughout the weekend.

The team, composed of Xperts and their friends, paddled their way through Heat 2 and marked their achievement at 2nd place!

Paul Gledhill, Co-founder and Executive Director- XpertLearning said, “Dragon Boating is a great way to stay fit have fun and get connected with a great community”.  He thanked Jason McKenzie and his team for their superb organisation and cooperation and further added, “It’s a pleasure to be part of this initiative and we look forward to more adventures on the waters, win or lose.

The XpertDragons went on to compete for the Corporate Shield and placed second overall on that category.

Team Captain, Katrina Bituin, remarked: “It was great to go out there and I believe the team brought their A-game.  It is always a delight to see your colleagues inspired to do the challenge.  This is the second one we have had to do this year, after doing the 10k last month and I am extremely proud of what we have achieved!”

Great going Captain Katrina! Congratulations to the team! And good luck for more challenges ahead.

Research – Digital Learning and Talent Survey 2018


Executive Summary

Once again It was an honor to host the leading HR and Talent development leaders from the best organisations in our region. The participation of our annual survey once again was tremendous. The clear topic winner this year was “Digital Transformation”. We spoke about the death of the L&D manager as we know it, and the need for us all to ensure we were up to speed with the ever-changing world of technology. It’s not always a natural thing for many HR and Training professionals but we must embrace the change and learn ourselves to become more agile and knowledgeable.

Overview of Survey

The survey consisted a total of 14 questions, 1 of which were posed around demographics and 13 questions are seen as part of the research in this report.

Demographics & Survey Results

The survey was completed by representatives of 75 large companies within different industries in the UAE. All participants were either Training and Learning Development Specialists or senior HR professionals. More than 70% of the participants stated that some form of Online-Learning was being used within their organisations.

Observations and Highlights

  • Around 47% of the organisations surveyed said their L&D budget for 2018 were the same as the previous year, while 11% said it significantly increased.
  • Over 55% said online learning had played a significant role in their L&D strategy as 34% said this to be on 50-50 basis.
  • 70% agreed that eLearning will exist in the next 5 years.
  • Around 72% participants had expressed that video based learning was either important or extremely important as a learning modality.
  • Only approximately 8% had deployed social networking for learning with 6% of those unable to correlate any success from this.

Survey Results 2017/18 : Click to download : Digital Learning and Talent Survey 2018

Please note:  Use IE or Firefox as the browser to download this pdf.

Still running… still learning… 2018 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

XpertLearning burst into 2018 with 8 members of the Dubai based team completing the 10K race at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon last Friday morning.  It is the sixth consecutive year that XpertLearning have sponsored a team at the event, which supports several initiatives, and underpins the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy.

Whether participating in the event as part of a January health kick or in a bid to break a PB, office comradery in the weeks leading up to the race fueled the motivation of the team to ensure all were prepared for race day!

This year saw both new and seasoned Xpert team runners taking to the 20,000+ strong start line which took in a route past the XpertLearning offices at Knowledge Park.  Paul Gledhill, Co-founder and Executive Director, who has completed the race several times before, commented ‘We are happy to be part of this race and are proud that every year our team is ready to take up the challenge with such enthusiasm.”

Rob Coulthard, Implementation Consultant, commented; “It was great to see runners of all ages, abilities and nationalities join together on a sunny Dubai morning for a very worthwhile cause’’, whilst new starter Fabian Pereira who joined the Sales team in December added; “This was my 1st time running a 10k – but it was a great experience.  The last 2 kms. were the toughest, but pushing through in those last moments taught me that the rewards are greater than the pain I had to endure. I’m already looking forward to the next one!’’.  Jimit, Accounts Executive, who also ran for the first time said, “My experience at the Dubai Marathon was very good. Seeing and competing among all age groups of runners was really motivating and helped me do my best”.

Katrina and Krish from our Sales and Support team, who have participated previously, were a source of motivation to the other team members. Katrina was pleased to be joined by more of the XpertLearning girls this year and said “It is always a great work out and I look forward to next year’s run!”  Whilst Krish added “for the last 4 years I’ve been part of XpertLearning’ s marathon team and this year we had a big team. All of us were excited – kudos to team XL!”

Well done and congratulations to all our participants who successfully completed the course….   What’s next for the XpertLearning team?  Watch this space to see what’s coming up next!

“GROW” eLearning Portal – a global L&D initiative by Movenpick Hotels and Resorts

Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts launched a global Learning and Development initiative fittingly named “GROW”, in the effort to provide their colleagues a unified website where they can access eLearning content that are beneficial for their growth as professionals.

XpertLearning supported this launch and conducted open sessions and webinars to introduce this program across the hotels worldwide. Last month, I was fortunate as to have been welcomed by the great Mövenpick hospitality at the Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu, in one of the most scenic island destinations in the Philippines, to conduct the session!

Ms. Rose Carayo, the hotel’s Learning and Development Manager and a team of supervisors and department managers joined us for a fun and informative session to discuss the benefits of eLearning to professionals in the hospitality industry.  They were encouraged to explore training outside of the normal classroom sessions by accessing Skillsoft eLearning courseware.  According to an industry research conducted across 36,000 end users of Skillsoft eLearning programs, 8 out of 10 learners have applied what they have learned in 6 weeks.  This is something that can be of great benefit, especially to Staff in Operations.

The session also helped them to understand the ROIs of training— that the Skillsoft Learning Management Systems can help generate, to further support the training and development needs of their team members.   In realising that the top outcomes that are influenced using eLearning programs are quality, productivity, employee satisfaction, and customer satisfaction, they could not be any more excited about it!

A user demonstration for the GROW portal was also done to further assist them in this effort to familiarise themselves to the system.

Many of the participants expressed their excitement in Online Learning and feel that they will greatly benefit with the flexibility and accessibility of the eLearning courses, as well as with the user-friendly interface of the portal.  As managers of their departments, they are now able to track the training being undergone by their team members and help support their development in each of their roles.

We, at XpertLearning, congratulate the Mövenpick team on their Online Learning journey and thank the staff for their hospitality that has been a highlight in my trip to the Queen City of the South!

– Katrina Bituin, Learning Consultant at XpertLearning

Communicate with Confidence – GlobalEnglish Graduation Ceremony

Communicate with Confidence – GlobalEnglish Graduation Ceremony

It’s been a year since I attended the orientation program for the 2016/2017 GlobalEnglish Program, hosted by Multiplex Constructions LLC in conjunction with XpertLearning, in June of last year.  The objective of this program was to support thirty Multiplex employees; male, female, supervisory and managerial, in their journey to improve their business English communication skills and more over their self-confidence.

They did it!  These thirty employees, or participants, graduated this month from the GlobalEnglish Program (formerly known as Pearson English) with flying colours!

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”5″ gal_title=”GlobalEnglish Graduation”]

The graduation ceremony began with a welcome note from the Multiplex Executive Team and Program Committee and lead into a sharing of the learning experience, skill applications and future strategy presented by each employee and their program group.  All participants within the program had positive feedback and thanked Multiplex and GlobalEnglish for the opportunity and continual support throughout the lifetime of the program.  One of the participants even mentioned that GlobalEnglish was a “magic program” for him.

Multiplex employee Edward Martin, HR Executive and one of the four program committee members said, “There was an extremely substantial and observable positive change seen in all participants.  From orientation to graduation, the change has been night’n’day”.

Mr. Angus Saunders, Head of Learning and Development at Multiplex, said, “There has been a lot of improvement in the workplace; tasks being completed faster and more accurately that has been reported by the participant’s managers to our support team”.  Mr. Saunders further mentioned that “[We] are seeing a lot of passion in all the participants, as well as the eagerness to learn and improve, which is what we are striving to utilise in as many ways as we can”.

XpertLearning Senior Consultant, Mr. Farhan Bhatti, shared the statistics of the year’s program with the graduating group (a record of how the online features were utilised) and mentioned, “This year’s batch has outperformed, taking the number one spot within the region and I’m glad to say that many of the participants have completed the top level (10)”.  He further thanked the management and the members for spending their time and effort to make this program a success.

To formally conclude the 2016/2017 GlobalEnglish Program, all participants were awarded their completion certificates by Mr. Saunders and Mrs. Emma McKain, People and Marketing Manager.  Here’s wishing to further successful years of communication and personal development!

– Eleanor Rodrigues, Research & Marketing Consultant at XpertLearning

Dubai Dragon Boat Festival 2017

XpertLearning Dragon Slayers at the Dubai Dragon Boat Festival

The Culture Village Marina was abuzz with paddlers, patrons, and partying at this year’s Dubai Dragon Festival from 21 – 22 April 2017.  The atmosphere was one of excitement, of anticipation, and of fierce yet friendly competition as the community of Dragon Boat enthusiasts in Dubai celebrated one of the most anticipated races of the season.  Paddlers from different companies, along with race teams, have participated as corporate representatives, including the XpertLearning Dragon Slayers.

The Dragon Slayers did exceptionally well in the 2-day event, placing 1st on all the elimination rounds and semi-finals, while all finishing times well under the 50-second mark.

Having to qualify for the Corporate Cup was definitely a step up from the Dragon Slayers’ previous performance and on the 2nd day, they found themselves rowing against the best teams in Dubai.  Their 45.78-second finish may have landed them the 4th place in the competition, however, this was a personal best for the Slayers.

Paul Michael Gledhill, Co-Founder and Executive Director of XpertLearning, said “we are so proud of the guys, their level of fitness and commitment is paramount to success and they give it all they have to strive to be better each time they race. Above all though it’s the enjoyment and sense of comradery that is plain to see by everyone. I would urge anyone who has not tried dragon boat racing to give it a try. You don’t need to be a professional athlete to compete and it is easy to learn and improve within your first few races.  Looking forward to seeing you all out on the water”.

Onward to the next competition, with heads held high.  The XpertLearning Dragon Slayers have leveled-up!



– Katrina Bituin, Learning Consultant at XpertLearning

XpertLearning’s Reason to Run. 2017 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

XpertLearning’s Reason to Run.  2017 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 

Every year, for the past four years, the Xpert Team joins thousands of runners at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.  This year’s edition was held on the 20th of January with over 100,000 people who participated, including the crowd that cheered the runners on all the way to the finish line!

The hashtag line for this year’s Marathon was #reasontorun, over 30,000 runners meant that there were a million reasons to run: various charities, causes, loved ones, etc.  Let’s hear the Xperts’ reasons to run:

Kat: “Today, there is much chaos in the world so I decided my #reasontorun was for those who are persecuted across the globe, may it be political or religious persecution.  I dedicated every kilometre praying that these people groups are alleviated from their situations.  I also ran for a special lady, my good friend’s mom, who was battling cancer—she sadly passed away a week later I did the run, but I am grateful for the chance to run for her.”

Krish:  “This was my third year in a row and it was the toughest one! I wasn’t fully fit, but took this as an opportunity and perhaps my #reasontorun was to regain some fitness. The first 3-4 Kms. was easy and the next 5-8 Kms. was tough. But as they say, “finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible.”

Jack: “It’s my first run in Dubai and I’m delighted I made it till the end as I challenged myself to lose some weight.”

The team is always happy to do the yearly marathon.  Somehow, we feel it embodies the culture of eLearning we aim for organisations to imbibe: to go the distance and build endurance.

Congratulations to the Xperts who ran for a reason!  We are hoping that the rest of the team will join the run next year!

– Katrina Bituin (Learning Consultant – XpertLearning)

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