In the coming months, we’ll be having “conversations” with our consultants about their background in learning and development, the Xprtise projects that make them proud, and their vision on the greatest challenges in Learning & Development in the coming years. This time, we’re having a conversation with our Consultant, Rachel Brouwer. Rachel has a background in education and was an e-learning specialist, before making the switch to workplace learning and performance support in 2017. Within the team Rachel helps in the design, content and recommendations for the Performance Support solutions delivered to Xprtise customers.

Who? Rachel Brouwer (33).
What? Consultant at Xprtise since August 2017.
Where? Xprtise NL, ’s Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

“I often wondered what employees really do with e-learning modules and whether they’re effective enough. When I heard about Performance Support, I was immediately ‘done’! This is what it’s all about in L&D”

I am living in Ravenstein, a small village in Brabant between Oss and Nijmegen. Before embarking on my degree in Educational Design and Consultancy, I first started with a degree in Pedagogy. The theory was very interesting, but I soon realised that I didn’t necessarily want to work with children. So I studied Educational Design and Consultancy, part of Pedagogical Sciences. I found that much more interesting because you can work in different sectors and help people in their personal development. I took a Bachelor’s degree in Nijmegen for two years, followed by a Master’s degree at Utrecht University. I then worked for an Institute which develops BBL- online post-secondary college courses. There I came in contact with the e-learning sector and became an e-learning specialist, producing training materials for various companies. It was a fun and instructive time, but I still regularly wondered what employees really do with e-learning I was designing, was it going to be effective enough in the long term?  When I heard Janine van Zoest, Business Consultant at Xprtise talk about Performance Support at an event, I was immediately ‘done’! This is what L&D is all about. Because we’re all looking for something we need to know or learn, aren’t we? In the moment… not in a classroom…?

What gives you the most energy? What is your passion?

I come from a large family, five children, a close-knit and adventurous family. I really enjoy discovering new things; travelling the world, trying something I’ve never eaten before, getting to know new people. I also enjoy going to festivals. Once a year I completely immerse myself in the Ravenstein carnival where I have been a member of the ‘women’s council’ and the ‘princess’. An honour to be asked for this! Workwise, I get a lot of energy from working for different clients in both the Netherlands and America. Every company is different, has a different vision on learning and has a different approach. I love that variety. Last year I worked four days a week for a client in Amsterdam. I was really part of the team and felt completely at home. We achieved a lot of great results and I’m proud of that

How do you feel about working in the Learning & Development sector?

Times are changing, business processes are changing and so are communication methods. My profession makes employees work more efficiently and stay up to date with their development. Sometimes a small adjustment can make a big difference. For example, for a company in America, our solution has reduced unplanned downtime, the time when the production line machines are stationary, by 8%. At first glance this may not seem like much, but on this scale, we are talking about saving millions. The fact that I can contribute to this feels very good. I also find this sector interesting because I also learn a lot through my own work. Once, I developed a training course for a customer, where I turned the learning in the AskDelphi Performance Support solution, into a game. This meant that we were able to get employees up to speed quickly and get quick results. Within two days, employees were able to work independently.

What do you think is Xprtise’s distinguishing characteristic?

We are one of the few companies who fully support learning in the workflow, the Moment of Apply, known in the 5 Moments of Need™ methodology. There aren’t enough learning programs that take place in the workflow, even though that’s the future. I recently spoke to a friend of mine, who had just received an extensive Outlook course from her employer. Very specific feature and possibilities were taught about this software, but she’ll probably have forgotten half of it in six months’ time. How useful would it be if a Performance Support solution would be available for this! The moment she forgets, she can look up her questions, learn and apply them directly in her workplace. As a team, we are also very involved with our customers, we think along the same lines and we build great bonds. Because we also deliver 5 Moments of Need™ training, where we train customers in workflow learning methodologies, we end up becoming closer than your typical generic consultant. We work in close-knit teams and have a lot of fun together!

Which project are you most proud of?

(Smiling) That’s a difficult choice, because I’m actually proud of all my projects, they are all so different. At a Social insurance company, I spent a couple of months interned on a project to improve the claims registration process. This was a complete AskDelphi solution, a successful project delivered in the summer of 2018. Months later we still are approached by the client with ideas for other areas in which to extend solution. That makes me proud! At Stedin, we recently mapped out the processes, tasks and steps of the engineers and we are now working to develop a solution fully in line with the ideas of the 5 Moments of Need™. At Alrijne, too we are developing Performance Support solutions. We have trained the team in 5 Moments of Need™ and they are setting up new projects according to this methodology. My colleague Marco is responsible for the methodology and I assist them in working in AskDelphi platform and how they can best use the 5 Moments of Need™.

What do you think the greatest challenges will be in L&D in the coming years?

How to switch the mindset of the key stakeholders to valuing Performance Support solutions rather than traditional training programs. Despite all the developments in the L&D sector, e-learning and classroom training are still the most often tool used. Companies may be progressive with their design of e-learning, but there is so much more to be gained with support at the Moment of Apply. I do hope that there will be that recognition that employees need support during their work, and Performance Support solutions will be used more and more. But that is not an overnight thing; it will take time.

“I hope that there will be that recognition that employees need support during their work, and Performance Support will be used more and more.”

Want to know more about Rachel Brouwer? Check her LinkedIn profile or send an email to: r.brouwer@xprtise.com.