Learning at work with Sponge University

Posted on May 19, 2015

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You might expect learning at work to be important for a company that makes learning for others, and that is certainly the case for elearning provider, Sponge.

The business has created its very own internal ‘university’ to develop the skills and potential of its staff, and as part of Learning at Work Week, we’ll be taking a look behind the scenes.

For Sponge’s Managing Director, Louise Pasterfield, learning is at the heart of everything the family-owned business does. Clearly, it is the bread and butter of the company, in terms of the custom-made elearning it creates for clients around the world. But learning is also a watchword when it comes to Sponge’s internal culture. Louise said:

“When I started Sponge I wanted to build an organisation where people can thrive – where everyone is constantly learning and developing their skills, both for their own benefit and that of the company. I want to give people the opportunity to be creative, explore new ideas and develop imaginative solutions. I like to think we are learning and growing ourselves as we help our clients to learn and grow.”

As Sponge recruited more staff and expanded beyond a small business, the idea of Sponge University (SU) was born. The initiative is designed to help staff achieve their full potential and develop their skills within their chosen field. It aims to not only support individual growth and development but also to enhance collaborative working practices throughout the whole organisation and ensure consistency across the team.

Each department within Sponge is developing a learning pathway made up of 24 sessions covering key areas of a particular role within the elearning industry. Sponge’s Visual Design Team piloted the SU curriculum. Head of Visual Design, Alex Stewart, said:

“What I love about our approach to Sponge University is the collaborative nature of the project. Every member of the team has taken on a topic to share with their colleagues - it’s all about learning from each other. The areas we’re focusing on are practical and closely linked to our day to day job. Everyone who takes part will learn something that helps improve their skills and make their everyday life at work better.”

The SU Visual Design pathway includes sessions on data visualisation, user interface, photography, animation, video – among many other topics.

Other departments including Instructional Design, Project Management, Elearning Development and Marketing are developing their own SU learning pathways during 2015/6.

As well as the Sponge University programme, staff are offered other informal and formal learning opportunities, from lunchtime ‘brown bag’ sessions (where colleagues share something new) to external face-to-face training courses.

It’s fair to say, learning and development’s not an afterthought, it’s a daily preoccupation at Sponge.

To find out about working for Sponge visit our jobs page.

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