We talk with our colleagues about their background in learning and development, the Xprtise projects that make them proud, and their vision on the biggest challenges in learning & development in the coming years. This time it is our Learning & Performance Consultant Thomas van Kerkhof’s turn. Thomas completed the 5 Moments of Need™ Designer Certificate program at the 5 Moments of Need™ Academy Europe in December 2019 and thus came in contact with Xprtise. As an educationalist, he is passionate about the opportunities to learn and self-develop and brings that energy to his work with others. As a Learning & Performance Consultant, he works on several key projects, including the Princess Máxima Center.
Who? Thomas van Kerkhof (29).
What? Learning & Performance Consultant at Xprtise since March 2020.
Where? Xprtise NL, ’s Hertogenbosch
Since working at Xprtise, I am kind of going back to my roots, as my parents live just around the corner from the Xprtise office! I actually live in Utrecht with my girlfriend and three chickens. I was the youngest of three children, and really wanted to be a pediatrician as a kid. But after being rejected twice by the Dutch draw system for certain studies, I turned my attention to Education, and that turned out to be a bull’s eye!
My Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Educational Sciences were mainly theoretical. Alongside my studies, I also worked as a teacher for secondary school students, teaching them how to learn, and how to self-develop. During my Master’s, I also started my own company with a business partner. We developed a program for teachers to make personal development part of their daily lessons and advised school boards on how to give this a place within the organization.
I was working at a training company designing learning paths and curriculums when I first came across Performance Support and the 5 Moments of Need™. This methodology fascinates me. The 5 Moments of Need™ Designer training I completed in December 2019 at the 5 Moments of Need™ Academy Europe was the confirmation of my conviction in Performance Support. When I then heard that Xprtise was looking for a Learning & Performance Consultant, I immediately took action. There is still a lot to show in how we deliver workplace solutions; I’m happy to be working with this daily.
What gives you the most energy? What’s your passion?
Learning has always fascinated me. At school, I wondered why I needed the extra coaching in Chemistry, but my buddy, needing it in Writing. Why this difference? During a school test, I would wonder about the design of the questions and the logic in their structure. I wanted to know more about how people learn and what it takes. The great thing about Performance Support and workplace learning is that we never hear a contrary opinion. Anyone who sees this solution believes in it. This gives me the feeling that I am doing something worthwhile for now and also for the future. Customers tell me what they work on every day. Take, for example, the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology. It is impressive to see what their healthcare professionals do. To make work-life easier for these people with our solutions, that gives me a lot of energy!
In my spare time, I get a lot of energy from cooking and playing sports. I used to play a lot of rugby and football, now hockey is the favorite. As team sports are currently banned due to the pandemic, I like to take the mountain bike out on the weekend or after work. There are beautiful routes near Utrecht. When I’m not outside being sporty, you can find me in the kitchen, being chef-y. I like to cook for groups of friends when there’s something to celebrate. I come up with a theme or storyline for the dinner menu and create beautiful and fun dishes. A hobby I enjoy a lot.
“The 5 Moments of Need™ Designer training that I completed in December 2019 at the 5 Moments of Need™ Academy Europe confirmed my conviction in Performance Support.”
What makes the field of Learning & Development so interesting for you?
I am passionate about learning and being able to work with other people makes me happy. My areas of focus are personal growth, building organizational communities, and supporting the work itself. So how can people build and sustain their competency in this area? With the 5 Moments of Need™, Xprtise has a very nice methodology to do that effectively. It is still a relatively unknown field. That’s why I think it’s great to contribute to this and provide insights about Performance Support and workplace learning. I believe the 5 Moments of Need™ methodology is an effective approach that we, in the L&D industry, can all learn from.
You work with many Xprtise customers. Can you tell us which project you are most proud of?
I am currently working on projects at the Princess Maxima Center, Aviko, Stedin, and the Albert Schweizer hospital. When I started working at Xprtise in March, I did a project for the SVB (Social Insurance Bank). As this coincided with the Corona measures and lockdown, we carried out the whole project virtually. Something I’d never experienced before. I’ve now realized that virtual, remote working can be very effective and yield highly satisfied customers.
Now I am working, also completely virtual, on a project for the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in Utrecht, where all highly complex care and research for children with cancer takes place. Increasing the use of workplace learning makes healthcare professionals more efficient. Learning becomes more appealing, and there’s a better balance between formal and informal learning approaches. In this way, the Princess Máxima Center can quickly respond to workplace changes and updated treatment methods. That has become even more urgent in these times of Corona. It is impressive to see how the doctors perform their work; and how they dare to move away from traditional forms of learning. That makes me very proud.
My work at Stedin is also pretty cool, as we have created a perfect workplace learning solution for many different roles there. At the moment we are filming for the telecoms cable engineers.
I had been at Xprtise for just a week and a half when the Coronavirus lockdown started. At first, work seemed to slow down, but soon our projects ramped up at full speed. The pandemic appears to be a kind of catalyst to the take-up of workplace learning solutions. More and more projects are going ahead, and new projects are starting. Training cannot continue in the same way as before, so we are looking for new ways to deliver learning. And the 5 Moments of Need™ is just right for that.
“The pandemic seems to be a catalyst to the take-up of digital workplace learning solutions. More and more projects are getting the go-ahead, and new projects are starting.”
What do you think are the biggest challenges in L&D in the coming years?
It is a challenge not to make the learning design all about content. In my opinion, it should be aimed at the learner in his or her daily activities. That’s why employees should also be involved in the process of designing, developing, and implementing a learning solution. On the other hand, learning should always serve the organizational goals. When it comes to supporting the work, it should not be developed just for the sake of learning, despite my own passion for the subject! I also have reservations about the growing attention to what is called the Netflix Learning Model. Learning shouldn’t be something you do because developers are great at making content look good. Learning should be something you do from intrinsic motivation because you have thought about it, and it suits your desires for personal growth.
The biggest challenge now is that we can’t fake classroom training, so it’s a good time to rethink how we want to design our digital learning approaches. Think about how learning occurs on the job, instead of at formal moments for which an employee has to register and take time out. Also, losing the everyday connection points with the organization is a worry for many at the moment. Most people are working from home right now, so how do you stay connected with the workplace, with your colleagues and, how can you learn together? Xprtise workplace solutions are a great approach for that, so get in touch!