We talk with our colleagues about their background in learning and development, the Xprtise projects that make them proud, and the biggest challenges in learning & development in the coming years. This time it is Learning & Performance Consultant Dian Stassen. Dian obtained her bachelor's degree in Organizational Learning and Development in the summer of 2020 and immediately started working with Xprtise. During her studies, she discovered that learning and development has a significant influence on how someone works. As a Learning & Performance Consultant, she is co-responsible for several projects, including Erasmus MC.

Who? Dian Stassen.
What? Learning & Performance Consultant at Xprtise since November 2020.
Where? Xprtise NL, 's Hertogenbosch.

I live with my boyfriend in Duiven, near Arnhem, The Netherlands. That's not close to the office, but my roots are in North Brabant – in Oss specifically, like several of my colleagues. I like traveling overground, so now that we can go back to the office and visit customers a little more often, I enjoy that. It gives me a sense of freedom; I like to do it abroad and simply around the Netherlands. Before starting my studies in Organizational Learning and Development at the HAN in Nijmegen, I did social work for two years. I stopped that because I was looking for a combination of digital and social work. Then I started in L&D. And here, I discovered my passion for helping people learn and develop.         

I think that many organizations are not yet putting learning and development at the forefront. I now appreciate how big an impact this has on how someone works. That's true not only in the workplace but also in secondary schools, for example. If they organize the learning differently - more focused on the individual - then you achieve way more. But we are (unfortunately) not there yet. I don't believe in learning styles, but I think that everyone learns in different ways and is unique.

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

A big part of my job and what I like to do is talking about it. [Laughing:] Maybe even a little too much if I believe the people around me. I used to find it hard to find a hobby or come up with something I liked. For me, L&D is the perfect combination of everything that interests me. I like to play, for example. Think of creative games where you build something. In those, I can find my relaxation zone and can express my creativity. I am also passionate about learning things around the home. My boyfriend and I bought a house last year. It's a 1980s place that needed much work. Because I like to get busy with my hands, we got stuck in and renovated it together. I wasn't that handy to start with, but I learned a lot in the process! I think a lot about things I want to do, but I also like to be practical. These two have to come together. Plan first, then get to work. So next, we are going to tackle the garden, something I've never done before. And after the garden, it'll be the roof as the next challenge.

"During my studies, I discovered my passion for learning & development, and fully appreciate its impact on how people work.”

What makes the field of Learning & Development so interesting for you?

I think we are now at a point – even more so due to Corona - where Learning & Development must make big steps. There's still a lot to achieve. There's talk nowadays about AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning and the role those will play. I find this area very interesting as it's so agile. It forces you to think about where you are going and what you can improve - it's infinite. In addition, you see that productivity is becoming a real focal point. I think that Performance Support is the future and that e-modules and classroom training will be arranged differently and maybe even slip more into the background. My mother is a great example. She follows a learning program where she has to take several mandatory e-modules every year, a practice she finds tough to maintain. As a result, she risks lagging behind in new developments when this doesn't need to be. When I showed her a Performance Support solution, she immediately brightened up. Learning while working, looking up information, finding answers, and applying them directly, fits her situation much better. It's interesting to see how much interest and enthusiasm there is when I talk about workflow learning – not only with customers but also with people who are not yet so familiar.

What do you think is Xprtise’s distinguishing characteristic?

That is, of course, The 5 Moments of Need® methodology. We are good at combining The 5 Moments of Need® with innovations in learning and development, such as adaptive learning and Performance Support. How Xprtise uses this is unique compared to what I learned during my studies. It's not comparable. There's a force in there that I hope many people are going to discover. In addition, we have a very laidback but extremely efficient team. We are a breath of fresh air to many organizations. We try not to hammer the methodology into everything, but together we look for the best solution. Short contact lines, personal contact with colleagues and customers, and an informal setting ensure very productive collaborations.

We sometimes see that people want to have a system with all the trimmings. But the system alone won't get you there. You have to think about the future and how you will implement it and, above all, maintain it. So, we think much further than the system. The 5 Moments of Need® allows creating a unique solution for and with the customer.

You work for many different clients. Can you indicate which projects make you most proud?

One of the biggest clients I work for is Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Although, I also have an enviable position where I get to do something for almost all our local and global customers. That's because I work on the 'look & feel sets' where I give the workflow learning solutions new theme designs to look modern and optimally user-friendly. Here is also where I can put my creativity to good use.

At Erasmus MC, we have several projects where I am involved: the original workflow learning solution launched in response to the coronavirus outbreak, a project for Human Resources, and the EPAs (Entrusted Professional Activity) in Healthcare project, a focus at Erasmus MC. The EPAs define the healthcare professional's key activities and the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors needed for each. So, we are developing workflow learning solutions for different target groups within the hospital, such as ICU nurses, radio-diagnostic lab technicians, and neo-natal nurses.

I am most proud of the Erasmus project we did for work and practice supervisors of (higher) vocational nursing students at the hospital. This is a special project where we started with excellent collaboration from the content managers of Erasmus MC. It's very well organized, and they regularly push new content and fully participate in The 5 Moments of Need® philosophy.

" We are a breath of fresh air to many organizations. We try not to hammer the methodology into everything, but together we look for the best solution.”

What do you think are the biggest challenges in L&D in the coming years?

Today, there is much talk about Learning Analytics and how technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and big data feed into Learning Analytics. Learning Analytics is up and coming, and so lies the big challenge. Data and Measurement are still in their infancy in L&D.  Data are linked to the organization data, but too often, it isn't easy to combine the two. For example, we may want to weigh the number of hospitalizations with Corona with the use of the Performance Support solution in the hospitals. This is where you want to move, and even more precisely. What impact does it have on that individual hospital? What are the successes? Where are the challenges and opportunities for the future? I think that's the biggest challenge. Anyone working in L&D will sooner or later have to make this leap. Otherwise, they'll disappear into the background when it has made such great strides already. There is great value in setting up L&D properly in an organization. Performance Support is a logical component within this. Yet still, we need the data available to prove it.

Want to know more about Dian Stassen? Check her LinkedIn-profiel or send an email to: d.stassen@xprtise.com.