Custom learning for all

Founder and chief executive of the Training Room Online, Kirsty Chadwick

Founder and chief executive of the Training Room Online, Kirsty Chadwick

Companies and institutions around the world have increasingly become aware of the necessity of finding smarter ways to educate, develop and empower their workforce and students. The exponential evolution of technology has created growing demand for companies to incorporate these new developments into the methodology of successful learning.

The Training Room Online (TTRO) combines various types of design to produce customised e-learning programmes for many types of clients. Learning can be complex, and not everyone learns in the same way. TTRO utilises almost every mode imaginable, using instructors, activities, print material, audio, video, and even interactive apps for desktops and tablets. This means that training can happen wherever and whenever it is most convenient, and clients can have the programmes designed for their specific needs.

Founder and chief executive Kirsty Chadwick has 20 years of experience in education. In 2008, she founded TTRO after having been exposed to the idea and potential of e-learning while in London and seeing its potential for South Africa.

To date it has worked for over 100 clients, ranging from local corporations to international companies, and has created employment for 75 people. Its success has enabled the company to build its own in-house production studio and facilities.

Technology-enabled learning solutions are increasingly in demand, especially in countries like South Africa, where access to learning is not always available. TTRO has grown to be one of the largest digital learning design and development companies in South Africa through its innovative approach to teaching through technology.

TTRO’s main product is customised e-learning development, which includes the unique art of instructional design, animation and video. The components that the company uses within the e-learning courses, such as games, assessments, animation and role-plays are unique and innovative. It aims to deliver knowledge through any device, allowing its methods to reach anyone, anywhere and at any time.

Its major clients include Standard Bank, Pearson, Cell C, Unisa, Blue Pebble/Britehouse, NOSA and AVI. The training it has offered to these clients has ranged from courses for sales staff on product knowledge, to world-class on-boarding programmes that pique the interest of new employees as they begin new careers. The company specialises in blending new technology with traditional approaches, ensuring that learning becomes accessible and familiar to all.

Historical context

Chadwick was born in New Zealand, where she grew up on a dairy farm with her parents and three older brothers. She was an entrepreneur from an early age, receiving an income from students at Inglewood High School, where she tutored music in both the primary and secondary school. Chadwick obtained a teaching diploma from Auckland Teachers’ College in 1995 and began her teaching career in her home province of Taranaki. She established the Young Teachers Network in New Zealand to encourage and support young teachers to join and remain in the profession.

While in the UK, between 1999 and 2004, Chadwick founded two businesses — one in direct marketing and the second in financial services, which included a financial services training academy. In 2005, she moved to Cape Town to start a call centre to run the UK companies. In 2007, she started to research the opportunities to leverage and enable education through technology, and discovered a very powerful space. She was inspired by the potential that technology had to make a significant impact in education across all levels, and across the globe.

In 2008 she sold her UK companies and started The Training Room Online. She had small offices in Long Street and six employees at the outset, and began to build a network within corporate South Africa. MicroMega acquired TTRO in 2015, but Chadwick retained her role as chief executive, resulting in a profitable symbiosis.

Bright future

The future vision for TTRO is to extend the capacity of talent within the industry, thereby creating further employment opportunities to take their core offering globally, and to use their expertise to have a high impact on learning in South Africa. Chadwick sees people as the core of the business, and considers herself “passionate about people and developing people through high quality digital learning solutions”.

Chadwick foresees a promising future for the enterprise. “TTRO has really started to scale into a global business over the past 12 months, and we have produced some really innovative and creative projects.

 “The two biggest challenges since starting the business in 2008 are people and cash flow. Getting the balance of expanding and scaling the team aligned to cash flow is a constant juggling act.”

Nevertheless, she remains motivated by “looking at all the innovative, creative and inspiring projects that the team are working on”.

Find out more about The Training Room at www.ttro.com

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