In this article, we would like to share the Raccoon Gang company's results of 2020 with our community.
The pandemic and lockdown have driven fundamental changes around the world, the company itself as a brand, and each of our teammates. As every company and individual around the world, we faced the need to adjust to the new circumstances, new trends, and new needs of our market. For us, 2020 was the year of urgency, need for speed, and need for transformation. We are proud of having these challenges tackled with the help of our team’s outstanding motivation and empathy. The combination of dedication, involvement, and insane dynamics helped us to successfully launch more than 50 projects – both for universities and for big-sized corporations. All of them are using our Open edX platform, of course 🤜🤛.
New challenges and projects
The changes always come with challenges and opportunities. We felt this spirit of changes in some distinctive shifts in expectations and goals of our new partners.
Universities were seeking new ways to encourage learner engagement, extended abilities to monitor learners' performance and efficiency (gamification, social learning, extended reporting).
Corporations required custom features to digitize processes that might have been covered by offline activities before.
Some of the requests looked like there was a need to optimize costs by automation of learning processes and keep up with the competition.
It took great efforts for some employees to switch to working remotely, therefore it became a necessity to implement effective and engaging training courses into the workflow.
Below we are presenting some of this year’s projects that reflect the main trends “in our world”.
Custom Corporate Training
The transition from offline to online that we have observed since 2015 has been speeding up further in 2020. Online corporate training business from Singapore contacted us as they’ve been looking for some custom LMS with several (common to many of B2B cases) segment-specific features:
Manual registration and bulk enrollment process on a department, team, and individual levels. Ability to associate departments and teams to some specific predefined learning paths.
Course synchronization and white-labeling. The ability to provide B2B customers with their own “branch site” and give access to some specific courses/libraries/paths to those branches in 4 clicks.
Custom reports and dashboards – custom reports and dashboards that will be suitable for specific business verticals and b2b clients of the platform, including custom metrics, integral metrics, and department/team/individual level metrics.
Cybersecurity training platform
Considering the specifics of the industry and each business vertical training, the RG team has developed the custom corporate training platform by using standard Open edX functionality with custom features, gamification tools, and custom reports. Here are some details.
Gamification and badges, based on our RG Gamification tool, with the extended set of custom gamified events and the ability to easily set up the gamification logic.
Custom dashboards with industry-specific, dynamic multi-factor metrics and models to provide B2B clients with relevant and transparent training effectiveness information.
Feedback on our work in 2020
We are happy to share some warm words from our partners about our work in 2020.
Don’t forget that feedback on our work is always welcomed and appreciated, so you can leave your comments in the form below.
The Gang’s Growth
The Raccoon Gang workforce increased by 12%. We are glad that now we have 110 smart raccoons in our team! To satisfy a growing demand for Open edX hosting and to provide top-notch support services we have expanded our DevOps team. We’ve also scaled up our team of Python Developers to provide advanced Open edX customizations, data connections, infrastructure development, etc.
To provide high-quality service and to keep pace with the changing dynamics in the eLearning industry, we decided to extend our team with the Reputation department and two additional roles – Client Advocate and Support Consultant.
The Reputation Department and The Client Advocate
The Reputation Department helps us step into our customer’s shoes and see our business from their perspective. We focus on giving a client-oriented service, thus we prioritize a client's needs above all. We would love you to help us improve by filling out our customer surveys.
Client Advocate protects the interests of our partners on behalf of our company and makes sure that all tensions and dissatisfactions are regulated and mitigated.
The main purpose of introducing the new role of Support Consultant is to radically improve the quality of the support to create a best-in-class support service that is loved by our partners.
Products and Services Updates
The 2020 year was productive for us. We’ve made several significant leaps in the development of our internal projects:
RG Gamification (a brand new product from Raccoon Gang)
RG Analytics (speed up, fresh look, and 4 new reports)
Mobile application (fresher design, more key features)
Gamification is undoubtedly one of the booming topics in modern eLearning, so we couldn't help paying attention to it.
Fundamental concepts and the theory that stands behind eLearning gamification are already discussed in our blog posts.
More practical details and actual implementation of eLearning gamification in Open edX using our RG Gamification tool are described in Open edX blog post.
In this post, we’ll just outline the main features:
Learners can earn points based on the activities they perform on the platform (videos, quizzes, discussions, enrollments, certificates). Platform owners can manage the amount of awarded points for each action
The list of actions (events) that are awarded by points can be extended, including external signals: the system is integration-friendly
Learners can earn Statuses based on the number of points they’ve earned. The statuses are reflected in the form of Status Badges. The rules for statuses are set using a user-friendly admin section
Learners can get badges for an unlimited variety of combinations of actions. Administrators can set the rules of any complexity (eg watch 5 videos and submit 5 problems, and post 3 answers in discussions) with no code: 8 clicks and the complex rule is created, the badge image is uploaded, the system starts gathering the data and awarding learners
2 meaningful dashboards are in the box: Performance Dashboard for tracking own progress; Leaderboard to compare oneself with peers.
If you are interested in the personal RG Gamification demo – please click this link
We’ve already talked about RG Analytics on Open edX 2018 and 2019 events. We’ve also posted the dedicated case study.
So, to be short, RG Analytics is the best Open edX LMS reporting tool.
In 2020, we’ve updated and extended RG Analytics:
Site-wide report – the report shows demographic data based on information provided by users during registration on an Open Edx platform. Decomposition on a microsite/site level is available as well
Loading and calculation speed improvement
Redesign and several UI updates to make the tool more pleasant and easier to use and understand
If you want to know more about RG Analytics we’d be glad to present it to you – book a demo with us.
Raccoon Gang has been partnering with Open edX for a long time and in 2020 our company became the Open edX Preferred Provider.
As a leading provider of Open edX services we were invited to contribute to the Open edX blog with our article about the Gamification tool “Effectiveness, and Open edX Applications eLearning Gamification: Its Role, Effectiveness, and Open edX Applications”. The article explains why gamification has such a significant impact on the learning experience, how it can help to increase student engagement, and how to implement it into the Open edX platform.
We never stop improving ourselves, to keep pace with the changing dynamics in the Learning industry and provide our customers with top-notch products and services. One of the key processes in this direction is our research activities.
In 2020, we’ve performed 3 research projects:
Online learning projects needs and habits
Open-source LMS actuality
Corporate training trends and insights
Let us share the insights briefly in the form of infographics.
Online Learning Projects Needs and Habits
More insights to be shared soon on our social media pages: follow us and we’ll keep you posted.
Open Source LMS Actuality
Open-source LMS has their advantages and disadvantages. So, it’s going to be a good or not a good fit for some organization/project depending on their needs and circumstances.
We supposed that by knowing what factors are going to define those preferences, we can build the “preferences/circumstances-based” open-source LMS actuality model.
The results are presented below:
If you would like to check whether open-source LMS is a good fit for you, we encourage you to pass the quiz:
Corporate Training Trends and Insights
The purpose of our corporate training research was to learn the trends and challenges of the corporate training world. In our survey, 2 000 professionals spanning more than 15 industries revealed their priorities, challenges, and inspirations.
Check out the results in our corporate training post.
Gang’s Top Content in 2020
We are happy to share useful and high-quality content that is worth reading and which can help specialists engaged in eLearning to understand the issues of the ELearning niche. Here are some of our most popular articles for 2020:
1. How much does it cost to develop an online course?
Useful information that might help course authors to understand how much course creation costs in 2020 compared to 2019.
Number of views: 148589 (at the time of this writing)
2. Ultimate Design Guide to eLearning Gamification in 2020
This guide helps to implement eLearning gamification so it can work and engage your online students.
Number of views: 18136 (at the time of this writing)
3. How to create an online course: a step by step guide
The post describes a step-by-step online course creation guide to help you build a relevant, engaging, and successful online course.
Number of views: 29133 (at the time of this writing)
4. Open edX: What Is It And Why 19 Million People Use It?
The article tells what Open edX is, explains several customized Open edX features that make the platform tailored for the customer’s needs and convenient to use, and it also answers why it is the greatest open-source LMS.
Number of views: 43177 (at the time of this writing)
5. LMS Comparison: What LMS suits your needs best?
This guide could help you with choosing the best eLearning platform for your particular case.
Number of views: 42046 (at the time of this writing)
Despite Covid-19, we did not face strong changes in our daily work routine. Our company policy includes the ability to work from home, our teams have already been working remotely before, so we simply adjusted to the current situation.
The changes didn’t significantly affect our deadlines and effectiveness because we are used to working from home as it is an integral part of our corporate culture.
We would like to share with you some of our work-from-home habits:
Communicate in general channels of the messenger, but not in private ones
Set your real photos as avatars in Messengers and Task Trackers
Create a virtual “coffee-break room” where colleagues can discuss distant topics
Introduce online team building activities where you can play games or chat
Daily Syncs should be conducted in Google Meet with a camera turned on
We have more useful habits, which you can explore in our article How To Work From Home Productively in a Time of Social Distancing.
We Are Social
Being a socially active company, our team started to expand our presence on our social media. We are posting useful content that helps our followers to dive deeper into the world of eLearning. In our social media channels, we share eLearning stats, data from researches, discounts for our active social followers, and Open Edx related info. On our social channels, you can find ideas and solutions on how you can improve your online courses, how to make your students more engaged, thereby increasing eLearning effectiveness and ROI, and much more.
We will be thankful if you can share your feedback about our social media profiles, and don't hesitate to tell us what would be interesting for you to read in 2021.
Follow us and let's keep in touch:
Our plans for 2021
Extend our team by ~30%
Release massive upgrades of RG Gamification and RG Analytics tools
Release massive update of Open Edx Mobile application
Arrange 2 new market research projects related to corporate training and eLearning business
(As always) Continue improving the Open edX platform
We are so excited about the great projects that are waiting for us in 2021 and also we are happy that more and more online learning providers join us on this journey. We would also like to express huge gratitude to all the great people we are lucky to work with!
We wish you a lot of success and joy in 2021!