New digital tools are here to disrupt corporate learning – and here’s how you can get in on it

SmartUp co-founder and CEO Frank Meehan says the smartphone has changed the way employees want to undergo corporate training and development.

If you’re tired of subjecting yourself to classroom environments in order to attend courses on corporate development and training, you’re not alone.

Even online course platforms which you have to log into are often considered a drag, purely because of the time you need to dedicate to get through them.

This is why new knowledge-sharing platforms such as SmartUp,, Grovo and EdCast are looking to disrupt the way employees learn by studying how people interact with content.

The biggest game-changer has been the smartphone, and people now want micro-learning as well as content that is interactive and gamified, said CEO and co-founder of SmartUp Frank Meehan.

In an interview with Business Insider, Meehan said: “Coursera and traditional learning platforms aren’t like that. SmartUp is built for the reality of learning today, not yesterday. It’s not long videos, where you have to log on at a certain time like Coursera.”

The way platforms like SmartUp work is that it creates private communities, accessed through a mobile app, which are tailored by corporate entities to carry out onboarding programmes, leadership development and compliance training, among others.

These organisations can choose to create open channels of content to all employees or limit them to close channels, only accessible by certain groups.

For SmartUp, the content it carries is structured into “bite-sized” cards that can be text, an image, a video, a quiz or a poll – which can not only be consumed at a pace that works for an individual, but is also non-threatening to older employees.

The UK-based startup that began in 2015 now has offices in Silicon Valley and Europe among other territories.

Its Singapore office opened this year and has already snagged notable clients such as DBS Bank, Aviva, Hong Leong Bank, the Singapore Management University and the Institute of Banking & Finance, to name a few.

Meehan, who was in Singapore recently, said: “The feedback that we have received from our clients has been positive.”

“Data collected, and shared with our clients, show that people continue to use the app to learn after office hours and on weekends, and they are consuming learning that is non-mandatory.”

The writing’s on the wall that corporations need to explore new digital tools to rebuild their infrastructure for employee learning.

Consider this: The global corporate training market is worth $320 billion (S$435.55), and $130 billion in the US alone.

Citing a recent Deloitte report, a Forbes article in March this year said that some 700-plus business and HR professionals gave their current learning management systems a net-promoter score of -8.

Yes, that’s a negative eight.

The article went on to explain that while a wealth of instructional content is freely available online, companies offered very poor options.

Meehan said: “Millennials are placing a lot of pressure on corporates to change their systems.”

“And that’s why we’re getting such strong corporate take-up, because of the pressure for corporates to adopt the next generation learning systems like ours.”