Pascal Debordes is the Director of Global Channels and Alliances at Cegos, where he oversees all relations with Distribution Partners globally, including selection process, definition and implementation of the go-to-market strategy, performance and contract management.
Prior to taking on this role, Pascal headed several business units for Cegos France, notably as the Director of eLearning Solutions Business Unit.
A celebrated author, Pascal has two published books to his name, along with several studies and surveys that focus on transformation programs, eLearning practices in global companies, change management and HR strategy definition. In addition, Pascal also features regularly on the annual Corporate eLearning Movers and Shakers’ List.
In this brief interview, Pascal gives his expert opinions and sheds more light on the evolution of eLearning, employee skilling and the importance of localized, multilingual and context-appropriate learning that suits the diversity of the workforce.
1.E-learning has evolved rapidly over the last few decades. As Europe’s largest training organization, Cegos has been a key part of that evolution. What has changed for the better and what still needs to change?
After reviewing training practices in the Western European countries for the past 15 years (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, The Netherlands, Switzerland), with a special focus on e-learning adoption, we’ve noticed two positive changes. Firstly, the level of adoption has increased year on year across all countries, industries, and business size. Secondly, the gap between countries has become narrower. There is now a truly European offering from technology providers and publishers.However, there is still a long way to go, especially in the use of distance e-learning experiences mixing asynchronous resources with human interactions. Most of the organizations have yet to adjust to this fully.
2.How important is it for businesses to provide continuous opportunities to upskill and reskill their workforce, especially in the face of constant disruption?
We all know that upskilling and reskilling are critical for the performance of any company. I would put the emphasis on the importance of soft skills in the extraordinary circumstances we’re experiencing with the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re experiencing a huge disruption due to the impact of coronavirus on our lives and on our economies. Perhaps we’re switching to a ‘new world’ with deep changes to the way we live and work. Experts are predicting less globalization, less travelling, and more remote working, but there is no certainty about the impact at this stage. What we do know is that soft skills, like emotional intelligence or co-operation and teamworking will strengthen our resilience. In the coming months, companies will have to review if they have the right leadership and soft skills to cope with the changes they face.
3.Why is it critical to offer more localized, context-appropriate and multilingual training to the workforce?
This is a good question. The terms ‘translation’ and ‘localization’ are sometimes used interchangeably in the industry. However, there is a big difference. Localization ensures that cultural considerations are respected, and the courses are impactful for local populations. True localization is a real challenge for a publisher because it’s time consuming, difficult to find the right SMEs locally, and it’s very expensive. Fortunately, we can rely on our presence in 50 countries through our direct operations and partners.
4.How important is it for businesses to provide learning that suits the diversity of their workforce, especially in diverse locales like the APAC region?
The user experience is paramount for today’s learners. They can put themselves into a scenario, test their existing knowledge, and build new skills based on the learning experience. But if that learning experience is in a language that you haven’t mastered or if the examples or the situations don’t make sense with your daily work, it isn’t going to be attractive, engaging or,ultimately, useful.
Experts agree on what makes an e-learning course effective.Learners will improve their skills and become engaged if the information is provided in different ways, through audio, video, text, graphic animations, and various interactions. We all learn in different ways. That’s why the design of an e-learning course can be so difficult. How can you lead adults, who are all different, to change their specific perception or habits? This is a real challenge and you can imagine the difficulty if you don’t overcome the barriers of language or cultural differences.
This is exactly what we try to overcome for each localization.
We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to Pascal for sparing some time from his packed schedule to take this interview. It has been incredibly insightful to say the least.