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Arnaud Blachon, Rise Up: “make learning part of your everyday life, it should be habitual”

As interest in the online learning sector grows, it’s critical people use secure, trusted platforms. Learning should be habitual. That includes learning the security measures needed to protect online data.

When it comes to digital learning and development programs, personal data is at risk if clear cybersecurity measures aren’t taken. It is important to use trusty antivirus software and VPN service to keep your data and learning programs safe from cyberattacks. Supplement that protection by learning about safety procedures from the experts in the L&D industry.

To share how the online L&D world is impacting the education sector and what that means for cybersecurity, we spoke with Arnaud Blachon, CEO & Co-Founder at Rise Up – a company providing interactive, accessible learning tools aimed to help businesses grow.

How did the idea of Rise Up come to life? What has the journey been like?

The creation of Rise Up was in response to the needs of the market. When my brother and I started in 2014, we were not working in the learning or training industry. We trained as software engineers. Nonetheless, we saw the L&D industry rushing toward digital learning. We saw an increasing interest in open online courses. We heard more and more about the education sector and how the industry was changing. We thought that, with our experience, we could offer something different.

Although there was a mass movement toward digital learning, our conversations with trainers and directors told us that face-to-face training remains the key to a successful L&D program. Digital should supplement them, not replace them. This led us to explore "blended learning," which, at the time, was not widely used.

After significant product development, we signed our first client, Schneider Electric. This allowed us to take off. Our first round of investment raised less than a million in 2017 and grew from there. We went from 0 to 400 clients, mostly in France, and then moved into Benelux. Then, we decided to raise capital in the Netherlands. Wanting to replicate what we did in France in other countries prompted our expansion in the UK and Germany. Now, we use 140 people globally with a core team based in London. Other teams are in Germany, Amsterdam, and Lisbon.

Can you tell us a little bit about your learning platform? What are its key features?

The platform uses blended learning modules that are white-labeled for companies to create their in-house academy. We look to manage 100% of learning activities. Both internal and external, on top of client training.

The aim of every program is for Rise Up to deliver personalized learning in the flow of work for all businesses.

What strategies has Rise Up implemented to ensure its learners have a positive experience?

We want to accelerate and improve the efficiency of learning. Every person opens three or four different applications at the start of each workday. We want to learn to get embedded into your day the same way.

If you're working on Microsoft Teams, the learning material can pop up through the Teams application when needed. That means accessing learning when it’s relevant and immediately applying the knowledge.

How did the recent global events affect your field of work? Were there any new challenges you had to adapt to?

Brexit had a profound impact on the ways businesses can operate in and out of the UK. At least compared to two years ago. Even down to relocating our key staff, which has complications. We must consider the administrative red tape that we didn’t have to think about before.

Post-Brexit is more complex and more expensive, but I like the challenge. The flipside of entering a more difficult market is that a lot of our competitors will choose not to come here. Also, there's a great market opportunity for learning and development in the UK. So, although we have more hoops to jump through, it's still worthwhile.

What do you think are the biggest advantages of online learning?

The biggest advantage is how it can fit around the lives of the learners. With a shrinking workforce and increasing pressures, it's hard to dedicate more time to professional development.

Particularly if it interferes with that important flow of work, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it; it's all about adapting to thrive. Online learning gives employees the growth they’re looking for in their careers. Employers also have attractive perks for current and prospective staff.

What advice would you give to someone looking to learn a new skill?

The best advice I can give is to make learning part of your everyday life, it should be habitual. We're all guilty of fulfilling our obligations, both personal and professional. But we're not thinking about the bigger picture; our growth.

Be accountable. Set aside time to explore new topics or skills and make it part of the daily learning culture.

In the age of online learning, what would you consider the essential security measures institutions should implement?

First, you need to ensure your employees are cyber-aware. Here are some critical points: your learners are confident in knowing what reminders, tasks, and emails from your learning management system look like. That way, they avoid phishing attacks from threat vectors pretending to send learning tasks that have a harmful cta link. It’s also helpful to include cyber awareness training and data protection content in your new starters’ onboarding learning programs. It should have annual refreshers for everyone too.

When it comes to the online learning system, ensure you work with trusted online learning suppliers. They should have a clear cybersecurity and data privacy program in place. Ones they can easily prove. You want to ensure that you only give users access to the data they need. For example, think carefully about who should be an admin versus a learner. As always, working with technology providers that have various password settings, single sign-on, and two-factor authentication is always helpful. Finally, do your due diligence and send a checklist for the vendor to complete. It's to help further mitigate third-party risk.

Since learning and development is your main field of focus, how do you think this industry is going to evolve in the upcoming years?

Even four or five years ago, no one showed interest in learning. The market was slipping, and even the big players were managing the learning as an add-on. COVID enabled some big changes.

It's well known that the UK is facing a recruitment crisis. They're investing more in developing their current staff, giving them some agility and flexibility. Now, learning is a key pillar for every HR department as a crucial element of growth.

The technological revolution is already underway. It's changing how information gets accessed. A few months ago, everyone was struggling with content. Now, with generative AI, that's no longer a problem. The one thing that will remain true is that we need people to shape the content. That way, we're sure that the learner will absorb the information and take what they need away from it.

Share with us what’s next for Rise Up?

A company like Rise Up needs to be agile to keep up with technological advances in this way. We will continue monitoring the market, addressing any challenges and changes that arise. We will continue to be a viable alternative to the traditional players. We can serve large clients in many European countries but keep the agile start-up culture.

We work with partners in all the countries we operate in. We'll continue to operate at a local level to build relationships with businesses. To understand the needs of the market and serve it well. We don’t believe in delivering the same content to everyone across the board. Even if you're using the same training schematic, learning should always be personalized, and this will continue to be our mission at Rise Up.

About Rise Up

Established in 2014, Rise Up is driving employee training and empowerment for brands across Europe. It's pursuing its regional expansion, with a recent €30 million in Series B financing. Today, its learning technology platform, combining LMS, LXP, and Authoring Tool across omnichannel and multimodal services, serves 1 million active learners in 73 countries. With over 510 customers, including AXA, Schneider Electric, Domino’s, Decathlon, and Sika.

Rise Up empowers everyone to Own Today. It helps organizations stay up-to-skill in real-time. Fuelled by tech, designed for people, and driven by performance, its LearningOpsTM framework drives organizational transformation and enables learning to work at business speed. Its learning software solution delivers a personalized learning experience for all stakeholders, from trainers and administrators to learners.

It helps with all approaches, from e-learning to face-to-face and mobile. It's also in compliance with the regulatory framework. Rise Up is a full stack learning technology solution; it's LMS, LXP, Authoring Tool, and an omnichannel and multimodal service. For more information, please visit our website Riseup.ai.

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