Spotlight Q4: Solving for the future with Lighthouse Academy

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Posted Dec 15, 2022
Emily Kelley

Last week, we hosted a roundtable webinar discussion with four members of our Learning Enablement team titled, “Solving for the future with Lighthouse Academy.” We aimed to highlight today’s vast and complex research industry, and how a partner in learning can make all the difference. Because  at aytm we believe that market research doesn’t (always) have to be rocket science, we’ve also made it easy for you to learn all you need to know about our platform and survey building best practices with the new Lighthouse Academy! We’ll share the highlights of the conversation with the team in this post, as well as the on-demand recording for the full scoop!

Our speakers:

  • Jeff Johnson, Director of Learning Enablement
  • Eliza Jacobs, Sr. Learning Enablement Manager
  • Jeremy Eagan, Learning Manager
  • (And me!) Emily Kelley, Learning Manager

Why is learning enablement so important for researchers?

To kick things off, we wanted to explore certain changes happening in research that have highlighted the need for learning enablement.

Jeff: People are relying less on service dependent research, and instead we’re seeing an increase in demand for DIY insights and quicker turnaround. There’s also a democratization of data and insights happening, meaning we’re bringing more people into the fold of research and they’re expected to do more with less. It’s not just about researchers and insights teams anymore, it’s also about para-research professionals and research-adjacent teams who are trying to leverage agile insights to drive better decisions.

What exactly is Lighthouse Academy? 

Seeing these shifts happening in the industry, there was a clear need for a centralized knowledge hub where researchers and non-researchers alike can access educational materials. 

Jeff: Lighthouse Academy is a purpose-built learning platform intended to empower folks who are interested in running online market research. There is a difference between attending a course vs. reading a textbook—and our goal is to  find a new language for old and foundational concepts. Several tenets drive our work. The desire to build new frameworks, scaffold knowledge, and account for adult learning.

aytm has a lot of really intelligent research subject matter experts (SMEs)—everyone has something to learn and everyone has something to teach. We are able to tailor education to the different personas who would be interested in running online research and providing content that aligns with their intentions. Whether someone is new to Research, new  to DIY, or in a research adjacent role, they can find resources.

How do you design learning materials for adults? 

Jeremy: When you think of school, you had a teacher up front guiding and instructing the students. It was a teacher-centric model with the expectation that the students do not bring much to the table other than some minor prior knowledge from their last grade level. Young students are also in need of someone to drive them through and motivate them. 

Adults are generally self-driven and can rely on their experience and personal history to solve problems. We can set  up scenarios and problems for the adult learner to solve using brief instructions and an explanation of the “why” this needs to be solved. It’s learner-driven, learner-focused. The teacher is the anonymous combination of the subject matter expert and the designer of the asynchronous lessons working together to put the learner in the driver's seat.

Asynchronous learning happens on your own time and doesn’t need scheduling. It’s on-demand. This is best for active, employed, adults, because it is flexible around their schedules, can be tailored to the learners true needs as online modules are typically bite-sized and can help immediately develop in-demand skills, in our case, using the aytm platform.

How do the modules in Lighthouse Academy help users in interactive ways? 

Emily: Starting with the basics, in general,  interactivity is a huge contributing factor to success in the eLearning environment—when a learner is checking boxes and clicking buttons, doing matching exercises, and completing quizzes it really helps drive home the main points of a course.

With this in mind, the Academy courses are designed to incorporate these types of interactions into both video and long-form content. Most courses also take the learner directly into aytm’s platform,  giving broader context for not only how to do something, but also when and why it would be necessary or prudent to do so. By providing context, interaction, and direct examples within the platform, the courses in the academy are accessible to any level of Market Research proficiency.

What are some of the most common barriers to learning?

Eliza: The broadest goal of the Lighthouse Academy is to help people do better research. In order to do that I think it’s important to remove some of the barriers that researchers often face when they look to grow their skill set through professional development. 

One of those barriers is the cost of professional development. The Academy is free. It allows people to refine and enhance their research skills at their own pace— taking bigger picture courses or honing in on a specific skill like a MaxDiff test, and then applying what they’ve learned to their projects and day to day tasks.

Another barrier is not meeting people where they are in their career path—meaning sometimes training is for either the very new researcher or the very experienced researcher. The Academy is designed to be for researchers at any skill level or point in their career. 

Finally, the fact that it’s asynchronous and there are not any course prerequisites is really beneficial. People learn at different paces and need to be able to carve out time when they can focus on their learning because that’s how they will get the most out of it

Emily: To address and overcome all of these barriers, in aytm’s Lighthouse Academy, you’ll find resources to aid your research at any level. With over 20 courses currently available on demand, downloadable documents and templates, and monthly webinars, we can help you hone your skills and get the most out of your market research—you don’t have to have a background research to get started!

So how does the Lighthouse Academy support the insights industry shift towards tech-enabled or DIY?  

Eliza: For us, DIY is about enabling independence in a way that allows researchers to level up their skills and gain confidence. It’s also about offering support and solutions for any stage and any scale. The idea is that we want to empower you but also don’t want you to feel  that you’re totally marooned on DIY island. 

In addition (and this is kind of tangentially related but does align with aytm’s philosophy), technology and survey research platforms continue to evolve and automate—there’s a big focus on automation. And while, in general, I think that’s great—working smarter, not harder is helpful in terms of efficiency, there is a bit of a slippery slope with automation. Where I have concerns about total DIY and automation is that I feel strongly that the conceptual elements of survey research need to be understood regardless of how sophisticated and automated a platform is. The Academy strikes a balance between helping researchers learn the aytm platform and all it can offer while also making sure that the conceptual elements of research are not overlooked.

As we move into 2023 and begin to factor in the economic climate and growing expectations from leadership, there are clear signs that the insights industry will continue to  see the emergence of a new type of user—one that favors a more hands-on tech approach. 

We hope to see you at the Lighthouse Academy soon!

Watch the webinar recording now

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