The New Identiv Academy (S1:E27)
August 4, 2022
It’s time for an upgrade to hands-on training and e-learning in the security industry. Tatum Mathis, Director of Technical Training at Identiv, has breathed new life into the Identiv Academy. The refreshed Center of Excellence is focused on customized experiences that keep learners coming back. She joins us to talk about the latest trends in training, like mobile accessibility, AI, and microlearning.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
You're listening to Humans in Tech. Our podcast explores today's most transformative technology and the trends of tomorrow, bringing together the brightest minds in and outside of our industry. We unpack what's new in physical access, identity verification, cybersecurity, and IOT ecosystems. We reach beyond the physical world, discuss our digital transformation as a species, and dive into the emerging digital experience. Join us on our journey as we discover just how connected the future will be and how we will fit into that picture. Your host is Leigh Dow, VP of Global Marketing at Identiv.
Leigh Dow (00:43):
Welcome. Thanks for tuning in to Humans in Tech. I'm joined today by one of my favorite humans, Tatum Mathis. She's the director of technical training at Identiv. And Tatum, I'm really looking forward to chatting with you today. From the moment we met, I just knew big things were coming to the Identiv Academy. And it's been just such a pleasure watching you roll up your sleeves and really transform our training offerings, so let's get to it. What is the mission and purpose of the Identiv Academy?
Tatum Mathis (01:10):
Question. So the mission of the Identiv Academy is to provide a world class learning experience that truly enables individuals to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills that they need to successfully engage and confidently engage with our Identiv solutions. Our purpose is to be an active partner in the participant's learning journey, really providing a space for them to engage with our courses, engage with our product experts, or collaborate with us to create their own customized learning experience at their location, including their certification.
Leigh Dow (01:46):
Who's the primary audience of learners then?
Tatum Mathis (01:49):
So the primary audience of the Identiv Academy, it's a global blend of channel alliance partners seeking to fulfill their certification requirements, and also end users wanting to refine their knowledge and skills around the Identiv security solution that they have in place. In addition to the partners and end users, we also welcome subcontractors working with an established Identiv partner or other business roles that might not necessarily be on the front lines of the project implementation, but require a specific level of knowledge of Identiv of solutions.
Leigh Dow (02:21):
What prompted the change to this new Center of Excellence concept and what are some of the highlights of the new academy?
Tatum Mathis (02:28):
So the new Center of Excellence is an initiative that we are very excited to showcase. Tying back to our mission to provide a world class learning experience, we recognize that while our previous training platform served its purpose well over the years and providing a centralized location to access technical training and certification, it wasn't fully meeting the needs because quite frankly the experience, and so have our learners. So what we wanted to do is we want to create a learning experience that keeps our learners coming back, and there's just so much that we want to offer to the audience in terms of ease of use, how we package and deliver the content. And this new platform is the springboard that we needed.
So we're eliminating many manual enrollment processes and delivering to our learners a modern, robust, intuitive, hassle-free learning space. So some of the highlights that you can expect would be intuitive navigation with customized learning experiences based on the partner type, simple course enrollment processes for online, as well as our instructor led courses. We're also going to provide a customized course catalog view, customized learning plans and content recommendations. And each learner can experience their own dashboard that's adapted to their individual learning activities so they can easily launch their courses, print certificates, and really view their overall activity within the academy.
And another highlights that we're really excited about that we haven't been able to offer is visibility for our partners' administrators. And so for those who want the ability to enroll their own participants into courses, or view reporting to see how the technicians or installers are working through completing their certification status, like that, just an overall view of their team, they're going to have that accessibility and that visibility to do so.
Leigh Dow (04:27):
Oh, that's great. I'm sure that's something that's been asked for and now you've been able to deliver on. Everybody has different learning styles, so how are you meeting the needs of those different learning styles and the different training modalities you're now able to offer?
Tatum Mathis (04:46):
So meeting the different learning styles, I think is something that comes naturally to the Identiv Academy team, because it's something we've been doing for decades. We recognize all individuals learn differently and value the importance of catering to each style. What's interesting here with this question is most individuals can immediately identify their preferred learning modality, but they may not be aware of their actual learning style. And there's a distinct difference between the two, and both are equally important for us to recognize, to set the learner up for the best success.
And what I mean by this is the training modality is a fancy way of saying how the content is delivered, and Identiv Academy offers self-led, complete at your own pace courses, classroom facilitation, and onsite training. So our learners can definitely identify and they have their preferred choice here amongst these options. But the overall success of retaining the content comes into play with meeting the different learning style needs. For example, regardless of the manner in which the content is presented and consumed, the different learning styles will always be an important consideration. So some examples include visual, auditory, kinesthetic, hands-on, or a combination of those.
So whether our participants are in a classroom or taking an online course, we strive to meet those different learning needs by incorporating techniques into the course design and delivery that meet those needs such as designing hands-on, interactive labs, narrated scripting, videos for our visual learners. And then for our kinesthetic learners like myself, it's important that we include all of those styles, that they're included, and then also incorporating a comfortable vibe and a comfortable pace as well.
Leigh Dow (06:32):
I'm definitely a hands-on learner, for sure. How are you applying gamification to this new platform?
Tatum Mathis (06:41):
So gamification, we're really excited to be able to offer this because it's a fun reward system that where our learners can come in and they can earn points towards prizes for the time and effort that they're spending within the academy. So while we're still evolving this new feature, sooner learners can look forward to earning badges and points, and then cashing that in for gifts based on their course completion, activity, social posts, and then peer to peer contests as well.
Leigh Dow (07:11):
I would imagine that designing any technical course requires just a lot of deep thinking, a lot of understanding of how people learn and how people consume technical content. So what all goes into designing a technical course?
Tatum Mathis (07:28):
So the short answer is you're absolutely right, it's countless hours of work. But truly designing a technical course, it's a combination of methodical steps based on instructional design theory, and then also the course developers' artistic input in terms of the imagery and the visual experience. I think the first step before any course is designed is you have to understand the learner personas. Who's the course audience? Who is it intended for? And what do we want them, at the end, what are we wanting them to accomplish?
And so typically once we go into a course, a technical course design, it goes through many steps of design, with the first being a review and consultation with subject matter experts, to really sit down and define what the course overview and the objectives are. And then, from there, we develop the course outline and review that just to ensure that we met all of the topics and everything is accounted for. Once the outline is complete, we then move to the next step would just to create what's called a storyboard, and it's really the blueprint for the entire course. So that would include things like the overall flow, what learning assets are needed, such as screenshots, videos, audio narration, really details around the entire course programming in terms of how we intend to create an interactive experience and so forth.
Once the blueprint is done, you have in front of you this design of where you can look at it and you can conceptually see what this course is going to be once it comes to life. And so once you have that, the next step is to create that narrative script for our auditory learners. And then the final step in the design would be to create the course using our course software. Now, once the course is complete, we've got all the interactions and the additional resources to complement it. Then it goes through a pretty rigorous vetting process with lots of eyes before it probably becomes a published force.
Leigh Dow (09:23):
I'm always on the lookout for new technology trends and innovations and things like that, regardless of the industry that they're. In the learning space, many years ago, I met locally in a different technology networking group, two medical students who built a tool called Picmonic, and it was established by two medical students to help students retain and recall all the large amount of facts that you study in medical school using pneumonic learning. And I always thought that was just, I would probably been a much better biology student if that existed when I was in high school and college. So what are some of the latest trends in learning and development that you're seeing and you're excited about?
Tatum Mathis (10:09):
So with the evolving technology, the expectations of learners are also evolving. And so today it's all about that ease of access to the content, mobile device accessibility. AI is also the latest trends in terms of built-in algorithms that recognize learning preferences based on what content is being consumed, and then in turn making recommendations on other courses that the learner may be interested in. The other latest trend is what's known as microlearning. And what I mean by that is really taking topics and presenting them in a micro manner that can be quickly consumed and absorbed, whether that be a short three to five minute video or a short read, and then moving on to the next piece of content, packaging it in that same micro manner.
Leigh Dow (10:57):
Oh, that's really interesting because I'm also starting to see, that makes a lot of sense, because I'm starting to see more and more speaking events, like speaking engagements are using more of that format where it's like you have maybe three to five minutes to get your point across instead of a 30 minute presentation.
Tatum Mathis (11:13):
Yeah. I think we just retain it a lot better when we can chunk it down like that.
Leigh Dow (11:17):
I know I do. What's coming in the near future to the Identiv Academy?
Tatum Mathis (11:23):
Now that we have our new platform in place, I think this is where the fun part really starts happening with making enhancements based on our feedback from our learners. So on our roadmap, we plan to expand our course catalog offering. We want to expand the gamification, and then also incorporate a social community within the platform that promotes peer to peer collaboration and learning. I'm really excited about that aspect of it, because I think sometimes the best learning comes from learning from your peers and learning from other best practices and real life applications. So really excited to get that going. And we're also exploring some different accessibility options and pricing plans for our participants who might require exclusive content or extended course access, or they may be ramping up the volume of technicians requiring certification and with different purchasing model options.
Leigh Dow (12:17):
Given your role and you're constantly researching and thinking about new ways to educate, especially on such deeply technical content, how do you think training's going to evolve over the next decade?
Tatum Mathis (12:32):
Oh man. So I spent over two decades dedicated to training and development. The majority of that's been in the security industry, and I have to say that this last decade, I've probably seen the biggest evolution in terms of the technologies that's at our disposal to create amazing learning content and methods for delivering that to our learners. I expect that trend just to continue to grow, allowing course designers to shorten their development timeline, and to really wow the learners with designing and incorporating interactive learning techniques. I also think AI will continue to become a standard in learning, but I think the biggest evolution will be a more immersive learning experience with the incorporation of virtual reality. This is an area that I'm super excited to delve into more and identify the possibilities and how our learners can benefit from that experience.
Leigh Dow (13:27):
So is that the first step to getting to the Neo Matrix style knowledge injection?
Tatum Mathis (13:33):
Yes. Yes. Soon to be continued.
Leigh Dow (13:38):
Yeah. Tatum, it's always so fun to talk with you and all the great things that you're doing at the academy. Just the strides you've made in the short time that you've been working on, it is incredible. So thank you so much for joining us today.
Tatum Mathis (13:50):
Thanks. Thank you.
Speaker 1 (13:52):
Control access anytime, anywhere and on any device 24/7. The Freedom Smart Bridge is a leading edge door controller that integrates seamlessly with existing IT infrastructure and management tools. It stores information locally from any server and remains fully functional in the event of a network outage. The Freedom Smart Bridge eliminates complex control panel configurations with technology communicating over encrypted IP network protocols. It meets audit compliance requirements and easily supports on premises, hybrid and cloud deployments. Learn more at identiv.com.
Physical security, identity verification, the IOT. The hyper connectivity of our lives will only grow more pervasive as technology becomes more automated and experiences more augmented. It's up to us to preserve our humanity and use new tools and trends for good. The only question is, are we up for the challenge?