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A Company is the Reflection of its Leader – Meet Sylvain Boulianne, External Consultant for Novaconcept

The Novaconcept team comprises more than 50 experienced consultants with a range of expertise to guide you in developing your teams and leaders and meeting your organization’s transformation challenges.

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Sylvain is usually the one asking the questions, getting people to reflect and turning their attention inward. It’s not often that the roles are reversed. He is already curious to find out which discussion points will shape our conversation. From the beginning, he is already thinking about the outcome. During our discussion, it will become clear that this attitude says a lot about his approach as a coach. For Sylvain, when we decide to do something, it’s because we are looking for a certain outcome.

From the beginning of our conversation, I notice that Sylvain’s answers and way of responding to me demonstrate directness, efficiency and concreteness, aligning perfectly with his practice. Sylvain specializes in coaching leaders in various global performance optimization contexts, especially through the mobilization of people. As a result of his experience in the field, Sylvain has developed a very pragmatic approach, which features introspection as a powerful tool for taking action and generating fast, tangible results. Just like his clients (mainly SMEs and construction or manufacturing companies), Sylvain likes it when things move and when real action produces real results. Thus, through his coaching, he invites managers and teams to go beyond thought experiments and be ready to make rapid changes in their daily lives.

This need to move is evident in his philosophy. For an organization to be successful and continue to thrive, it must be in a state of motion, along with all its members. And this movement must start with the leader. Of course, innovation is also an important variable, but for Sylvain, it’s the leader that plays the pivotal role in the ability of the company or organization to transform. It’s a simple concept: for an organization to evolve, its leaders must evolve. The path to achieving this vision is not always straightforward, but Sylvain is ready to go where few are willing to venture in order to get there. As he explains to me,

“A leader who isn’t able to develop their company and employees as they would like, in spite of there being great potential, must start by asking themselves to what degree they are responsible for this.”

As Sylvain becomes more animated, it is clear that this is where his special magic lies.
To find out what is causing discomfort or frustration and preventing the implementation of the leader’s vision, Sylvain asks questions that aim at transformational awareness and managerial accountability. What is your responsibility for the things you are not happy with? Is it your attitude, your behavior or your habits that are preventing your team from developing and reaching the full potential you so desire? What initiative can you take today to kick-start the changes you want to see?

In the end, it’s the leader who sets the tone. If they start their day with energy, there is a very good chance that their team members will follow suit. If they want to see changes in their employees, they need to be aware of the changes they themselves need to make. If the leader is making an extra effort and showing openness, staff will be more willing to do the same. If the leader takes their personal development seriously and does ongoing work with the team to find better ways of doing things, it will foster and encourage the development of everyone in the company. This is when extraordinary things can be done!
Sylvain adds,

“It’s not just leaders who need to change their ways, it’s everyone. It’s the force of numbers that makes the real difference!”

For Sylvain, we should always start by asking ourselves what action we can take right now, no matter how small, to improve a way of doing things, to enhance the work environment or to increase workplace happiness. Since work is such an important part of our lives, it needs to be a place of development, trust and recognition. Work must have meaning and be a source of fulfillment and pride for everyone. If we succeed in creating this climate, everyone will be proud to participate in the company’s development.

A question comes to my mind that makes me pause—does this mean that there are no bad employees? Sylvain smiles, and I sense that I have hit on something. According to him, there are rarely bad employees. More often than not, the problem is that people are not in the right place or role. Sometimes, the work environment doesn’t allow for development, or there is a lack of understanding of a person’s motivations. Leadership is about finding the best possible place for each person, understanding their deepest motivations and working to develop them, because all these things will contribute to the company’s development. Sylvain returns again to a familiar point:

“It’s the leader who sets the tone. The company will reflect the leader’s own development.”

Organizational Transformation | Novaconcept

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Did this interview with Sylvain Boulianne inspire you? Are you a leader who wants to take action? Novaconcept and Sylvain Boulianne are here to help you and your company develop and get where you want to go.

Mirror image of a work team who is depleted on one side, energized on the other

Six Ways to Reenergize a Depleted Team

This article is an adaptation of “6 ways to Reenergize a Depleted Team” by Ron Carucci and Kathleen Hogan. We also added a few tips.

“Everyone on my team seems tired…all the time. I ask them how they’re doing, and they tell me ‘fine.’ If someone asks for time off, I say yes. They get the work done, but it seems like they’re in a fog. I don’t know what to do.” Does this sound like what you’re currently going through as a manager or team member?

The last two years of volatility saw increased employee turnover, supply chain disruptions, changing workforce expectations about flexibility, and exhausting demands on time and labour.

According to Gallup, seven in 10 people globally report they’re experiencing distress, are exhausted or feel isolated. 53% of respondents—particularly parents (55%) and women (56%)—say they’re more likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work than before. What we’ve learned during this tumultuous period is that people want to keep working—just not at the expense of their overall health and happiness. People don’t work so much for the future now, but rather for the present.

If your team isn’t displaying the vibrant energy you believe them to inherently possess (or that they once had), here are some renewable energy sources you can tap into to help get that vibe where everything seems possible.

1. Initiate purpose-driven career conversations.

The last two years have unleashed a hunger for deeper meaning from our work. People want to know they’re on a path of growth and opportunity for greater impact. They want to talk about their careers but aren’t always comfortable initiating that dialogue.

Leaders can show they care by starting or prompting those conversations and making them routine. This legitimizes people’s desire to talk about their future aspirations while removing any awkwardness. These conversations should also include caring feedback on work areas to improve so that people are ready for opportunities when they arise.

Leaders should also be on the lookout for especially talented (high-potential) people getting bored. For them, your greatest support might be helping them find a more challenging role within the organization, and it could keep you from losing them to an external opportunity.

2. Create team rituals that foster mutual care and belonging.

Team members should be able to talk freely about family difficulties, health needs, and other general concerns. This also makes it safe for people to ask for help when needed and make plans for covering for each other when someone needs to step away from work.

Routinely open team meetings with a variety of check-in rituals. For example, asking people to share something they’re grateful for that day or one word that describes how they’re feeling. The idea is that, over time, the team becomes a place of refuge where you go to get reenergized and restored. Use yourself as an example to encourage buy-in.

3. Help build a portfolio of diverse relationships.

Remote work has narrowed people’s exposure to their immediate peers, weakening ties to cross-functional relationships by as much as 25%. This can increase isolation and monotony, two energy-depleting experiences.

Some companies have started a program called “walk in their shoes,” consisting of weekly peer-mentoring sessions between people in adjacent functions (other teams, divisions, departments, positions, etc.). Participants said they didn’t foresee how much people would learn in the process and its positive effects—in certain cases, it helped people gain more empathy for certain colleagues through a better understanding of what they did and the pressure they were under. In other cases, the program changed how people performed their own jobs and opened lateral career paths they hadn’t considered.

4. Model “Being okay with not being okay.”

Openly discuss how you’ve dealt with work stress or even other challenges like anxiety or burnout. Acknowledging your humanity by being vulnerable about your own well-being makes it safe for others to admit when they’re struggling, rather than feeling the need to feign a posture of false positivity. If you’ve found your company’s wellness benefits helpful, share how they’ve helped you and encourage team members to take advantage of them. Your example of practicing self-care signals its importance to your team, empowering them to follow suit.

5. Swap productivity paranoia for helpful prioritization.

Because leaders lack the visual cues they once enjoyed in an in-person workplace, 85% of leaders say that the shift to hybrid work has made it challenging to have confidence in their teams. Are their employees being productive? This can result in “productivity paranoia” or falling into the micro-management trap.  We’re in the realm of perception here since the actual data tells us the opposite.  87% of employees report being very productive, as evidenced by a colossal increase in meetings (153%), the volume of multitasking, and the expansion of work hours overall, not to mention data from the past few months on overall productivity from other companies.

More than just reordering the to-do list you overloaded as a result of worrying whether people were doing enough, you have to eliminate non-value-added activities and connect each person’s work to the organization’s most important priorities. That’s why it’s important to have discussions and training on work organization and managing priorities and time.

6. Watch for signs of flourishing and intervene when it’s waning.

What kinds of questions do people ask in your team meetings? Are they curious, asking with an intent to learn? Are they cynical? Do they have complaints? How are people talking about their challenges? With a sense of empowerment and agency or with a sense of resentment and futility?

We can use Microsoft’s tool as an example: Ensuring our employees are thriving! Premise: Fulfilled employees meet their needs for empowerment, energy and meaningful work and become more engaged, productive and happy.

Be on the lookout and make sure you are helping, supporting and encouraging your employees meet their needs. Be aware of early warning signs and if you spot them, intervene promptly. If someone is dealing with personal stress, they can choose whether or not to share and what to share with you. If they’re overwhelmed with workload demands, offer help as a clear expression of confidence in them, not as a loss of confidence.

The data has shown that today’s volatile, ever-shifting workplaces have the capacity to de-energize employees. Embrace the role you play in keeping your team’s energy replenished and prioritize creating a team environment that keeps energy reserves high.

Organizational Transformation | Novaconcept


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Cross-communication - Meeting with Cyrille Zimmer, External Consultant for Novaconcept

Cross-communication: a key tool to better cope with complexity and today’s transformation challenges

The Novaconcept team comprises more than 50 experienced consultants with a range of expertise to guide you in developing your teams and leaders and meeting your organization’s transformation challenges.

Photo portrait de Cyrille Zimmer

It’s 9 a.m. on a Friday, and I joined Cyrille for the third meeting of the day on his agenda. And yet, I felt that I had his full attention over the hour in front of us. His demeanour during our meeting mirrored his client-focused approach. He’s a great listener and pays special attention to understanding my needs for our discussion. That’s great, as I was keen to learn more about his vision and approach to organizational transformation. How do we change course and sail on the uncharted waters in the current context of organizational change?

When he talks about his approach and expertise, our shared values and cz conseil’s synergy with Novaconcept’s mission become obvious. Cyrille and his team guide company managers as they build and maintain effective, committed and motivated teams in a changing workplace. The client is core to his approach, and he suggests highly tailored solutions during his work, as each organization is unique.

Cyrille has coached teams through various change management challenges for over 15 years. His mission is to dispel the perceived complexity of that topic. He makes sure to gain the commitment of managers and gives them the tools to sail with confidence and ease as they go through a transformation that sometimes causes a bit of doubt and discomfort.

“We work really well together. We have fun. This partnership makes a lot of sense to me!”

Cyrille and his team work in co-creation with their clients to ensure they’re asking the right questions to get things done. For Cyrille, managers have a crucial role to play during the transformation.  A lot is expected of them, but for that to happen, they need the right tools. This is where he comes in by asking questions and humbly listening to understand what the client is facing and the issues they’re encountering, in order to co-create and propose relevant tools tailored to each manager’s needs. His greatest strength is taking his knowledge and experience in about twenty sectors and putting them to use in the field to offer tailored and concrete solutions that will make a difference. In his experience, a solution doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective—quite the contrary.

Since 2020, by force of circumstances, companies have had to adapt and quickly transform on an ongoing basis. They had to quickly make decisions. The impact of organizational decisions on team manager workloads has often been downplayed. That’s not even mentioning the lack of time to ensure everyone is on board with the transformation proposal. Cyrille goes on to say that we give a lot of thought to the project itself, but not necessarily to how people will experience the project.

Coming up with a solution is only part of the process for Cyrille. It’s vital to consider how this solution will be received and anticipate how people will live with it in their day-to-day. Take the time to analyze possible apprehensions, explain the reasons (the “why”) for the change, and put the change’s positive impacts forward. This minimizes resistance to change, which is and will always be there in this kind of process.

Let’s not forget the need to provide managers with the tools they need to deal with this transition period so they can become change facilitators for their teams and take charge of developing their teams’ skills. Teams will have to learn and create new ways of doing things, integrate procedures, change habits, and find their pace of work again. There’s a learning curve that inevitably leads to a short-term drop in productivity. However, this productivity drop is not a bad sign. Quite the opposite, it’s proof that everyone is moving and that the transformation has truly begun. When you create organizational alignment and ensure buy-in from everyone, you set the table for the suggested solutions to stick and help achieve your desired long-term goals.

It’s clear to Cyrille that a successful organizational transformation depends first and foremost on everyone’s commitment. No manager should carry this burden alone. Cyrille’s strength is getting teams to better communicate with every stakeholder and to develop shared leadership, whether at the executive, managerial or employee level. When he takes action, he ensures that the message is carried strongly and shared across the organization. He coaches management teams to show them how managerial decisions can be well conveyed, as well as how to go from game plans to concrete and engaging employee actions.

Cyrille’s words resonated with me. He definitely has a gift to put the right words to a feeling, ensuring everyone understands. I can see the strength of this people-focused and tangible approach, where listening helps us shift to solution mode. Turning a ship around, charting a new course and staying on that course requires a whole crew, a lot of communication, and sometimes a little outside help.

Organizational Transformation | Novaconcept

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Illustration of a learner using their smartphone to see 360° content

360° Applications

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about immersive 360° technology for images and videos.

This technology is used to make panoramic videos and photos, similar to the images you can see on Google Street View. By using a 360° camera, a panoramic view of the real world can be captured in a single image. The image is then projected onto the screen of a computer or mobile device, allowing the viewer to control where they point their gaze. Users have access to a 360° view—they can look up, down or sideways.

This immersive technology is a very effective training tool. It makes it possible to simulate real tasks by interacting with content in a very realistic environment. Interactive elements like questions, information bubbles and augmented reality objects can also be added to the environment. Training that uses this technology is also engaging and motivating for learners, who get a more concrete sense of the value of the material they are learning. Augmented reality can further enhance the impact of a demonstration, allowing employees to easily transfer the knowledge they learned into their real-life work context.

Example of an online training class using 360° immersive and interactive technology via Storyline.

360° and Virtual Reality

Unlike virtual reality, which requires a helmet, 360° content can be viewed without special equipment. Activities can be performed using only a mouse or a touch screen. However, the most compelling way for users to experience 360° content is undoubtedly with a smartphone, which also includes an accelerometer that senses how tilted the device is. All you have to do is move the screen to change the field of view!

A mobile device can also be used with special glasses, like Google Cardboard glasses, to explore 360° content simply by turning your head. With this minimalist piece of equipment, users can enjoy a higher level of immersion approaching the level achieved by virtual reality.

Now let’s take a look at the huge potential of 360° applications in digital learning environments.

Onboarding and Integrating New Employees

Onboarding and integration present a unique opportunity for creating a sense of engagement among new employees. The onboarding process can be facilitated with dynamic and instructive activities that quickly put new employees in an action mindset.

A virtual tour of a plant, office space or remote worksite can help employees become familiar with their new workplace before they ever set foot there.

By adding interactive elements, the tour can also become:

  • An exploration of the company’s history
  • A way of introducing employees to their colleagues
  • A demonstration of good occupational health and safety practices
  • A presentation of fun facts about the company’s culture

Employers can instill an even greater sense of belonging among new hires by using a personalized approach. New employees will then be more likely to perceive the environment as warm and friendly. Some companies also choose to split integration activities into short 360° segments to avoid cognitive overload and allow new knowledge to be applied more easily.

Démonstration d'une formation en 3D

While it’s not essential to incorporate a game into the integration process, 360° content lends itself perfectly to this sort of approach. A fun and playful onboarding process conveys a joyful work culture. For example, a 360° tour could feature a treasure hunt with riddles or clues that need to be solved or photographed by the employee.

Practical Experience Is Essential

Activities that use 360° technology rarely leave learners indifferent. The technology allows them to be the protagonists in a captivating, interactive story, and can bring to life personalized education that changes and reacts to each person’s decisions and behaviour.

Here are some training contexts that lend themselves well to this approach:

  • What to do in an emergency (fire, spill, etc.)
  • Good occupational health and safety practices (e.g. operation of plant equipment)
  • Communication and team building (e.g. counselling, managing difficult clients)
  • Decision-making in high-risk and hazardous environments
  • Individual and team-based problem solving

This technology also allows processes that are rarely encountered to be practised in a safe environment. By repeating them as often as necessary, employees can internalize the processes and integrate them more easily into their practice.

Example of an online training class demonstrating how to react in case of a fire alarm using 360° interactive technology via Storyline.

Why Is the Technology So Effective?

  • No special equipment or technical supervision is required.
  • There is no limit on the number of individuals who can do the training at the same time.
  • Activities can be carried out at a time and place that is convenient for each person.
  • 360° video can effectively render areas and locations that are very big, dangerous, or expensive and difficult to access.
  • Research shows that 360° learning environments are highly valued by learners—they feel that their learning is facilitated by doing concrete activities where they are actively making decisions.

Virtual Reality | Novaconcept

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Whether you’re looking to onboard new employees or help your existing staff practice different processes in difficult, remote or dangerous environments, you can easily apply your existing training experience to the interactive 360° medium. The Novaconcept team will be there every step of the way to help you get the most out of this innovative approach, allowing everyone to experience immersive activities that create vivid and lasting memories.

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Infographic detailing how the brain learns while we sleep.

Assimilating while you sleep

Sleep is key in helping you retain the information you learned during the day. This is called memory consolidation. As such, sleep greatly affects our ability to learn.

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While you sleep, your hippocampus organizes information. Much like a sorting centre, your brain unloads everything that you experienced throughout the day.

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Your brain plays and re-enacts representations of learned knowledge. It trades information between its various parts depending on the type of memory (semantic, emotional, spatial or procedural). It’s how your brain encodes information in your long-term memory.

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Knowledge is also built during sleep because that’s when the brain links memories together. New connections are created between neurons, growing your knowledge. That’s why it’s vital to have a restful sleep before and after learning.

Next time you have a training session, be sure to get enough sleep the night before and the night after!

Infographic detailing how the brain learns while we sleep.

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A woman is holding an idea in her hand, taking the same of a lightbulb. A brain illustration and icons are floating around it.

Adult learning and employee experience

Attracting and retaining talent is one of the top concerns in our society today. It pushes companies to innovate in order to find different strategies to better meet the needs and expectations of their resources, especially for the new generation of employees.

Is andragogy, defined as the study and practice of adult learning, a key solution to this hot-button issue?

Although the concept has been around for over 50 years, the adult learning field has grown significantly over the last decade. This is not surprising, considering that skill development has the power—when properly targeted and coordinated—to directly address every human being’s three basic psychological needs underlying self-determination theory, namely:

  • Competence
  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness1

Instability, uncertainty and change have become more pronounced on the job market in recent years and it’s clear that it is now imperative that we revisit traditional training approaches, which no longer seem to be as successful as they once were.

Getting back to basics…

Before exploring new avenues and approaches to developing skills, let’s get back to basics and recall the six principles of andragogy that foster adult learning, as put forward by Knowles.2

  1. Adults need to know why they need to learn something (why, what and how).
  2. Adults have a need to feel responsible for their learning.
  3. Adults need to build on their experience (based on known resources and models).
  4. Adults are ready to learn if training solves an immediate problem.
  5. Adults want their training to be focused on problems rather than on skills.
  6. Adults learn best when motivation comes intrinsically.

Now, let’s connect these principles to current company needs: synergy, cross-functionality, agility, innovation, resilience, competition, engagement and talent retention by asking the following two questions:

  • Do the coaching solutions currently available to your teams meet the needs mentioned above and develop new skills that your work context requires in a sustainable and personalized manner?
  • What can be done to get there if that’s not the case?

Here are a few avenues Novaconcept suggests to companies to fuel thinking in line with these questions and consider a fresh approach to developing skills:

  1. Take a step back and take stock of the current situation in your company 
    What strategies to support your teams have worked well and/or not so well in the past and why? What are the current statuses of your teams in terms of capacity, talent and existing and missing skills? What are your identified learning needs? What about your leaders?
  2. Carry out specific strategic planning for skill development
    Following your analysis, draw up a chart of the skills your company needs in the future that are in line with your strategic orientations and operational needs. Scale up the exercise to your entire company, paying special attention to developing your leaders. They are your key players in building a learning culture. Set clear objectives that will become key metrics to help you nimbly track the effectiveness of the coaching activities you’ll offer in the future.
  3. Target, plan and implement different coaching solutions to support your leaders and teams, in line with your corporate DNA, needs, challenges and ambition
    Evaluate different potential coaching approaches to help you achieve your goals and guarantee sustainable development for your teams, like workshops/development paths combining e-learning and group learning, individual or group coaching, strategic consulting, co-development activities, mentoring, talent assessment, conferences and design-thinking activities. These are just a few ideas of what you can put in place to help your teams thrive. Ensure that your chosen strategies are complementary and establish a realistic and progressive plan to develop the targeted skills.
  4. To implement training activities, ensure that the proposed methodologies are consistent with the adult learning principles suggested above
    Aim for development spaces that foster reflection, discussions between peers, mutual support, experimentation, action and collective intelligence rather than piecemeal training not tailored to your company’s situation. John Dewey, an American psychologist, philosopher and specialist in education and new education, reiterated this idea as follows: The less you teach, the more you learn. Each experience should help prepare a person for more profound and beneficial future experiences. That is the very meaning of growth, continuity and renewed experiences.3
  5. Feel free to seek out external support in crystallizing your thought process and in offering support solutions

In short, adult learning’s place in a company’s ecosystem should be more important than ever. The work needed to change your approach to skill development may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s a key element in attracting and retaining talent to build teams committed to and engaged in your company’s success.

Novaconcept is a skill development and organizational transformation agency that helps companies challenge the status quo and do things differently. We co-create support solutions with you to build unique development spaces through a mix of multi-modal approaches.

[1] Deci, E. L., Intrinsic motivation, New York, Plenum Press, 1975

[2] Inspired by: Andragogy in practice (Knowles, Holton and Swanson), 2005

[3] Mayen, Patrick, and Catherine Mayeux. Expérience et formation, Savoirs, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2003, pp. 13-53.

Organizational Transformation | Novaconcept

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Vectorial illustration of colleagues using role play-based pedagogy

Reacting to the past to shape the future

One presentation in particular caught our attention during our visit to the Numérique 2022 conference at HEC Montréal, last May. Two philosophy teachers from Collège André-Grasset shared how they use the game “Reacting to the past” to put into practice the philosophical ideas discussed in class.


Illustration vectorielle de collègues en plein jeu de rôle

The concept :

“Reacting to the past” is a competitive role-playing game based on historical events. The objective is to recreate a key moment in history, for example the French Revolution, by playing the relevant historical parties. Each participant receives a card with the role they will play. The card details, among other things, their political positions, their values and the objectives that the participant must try to achieve (for example, passing a law). As the game progresses, each player must react to the announcement of real historical events (riots, attacks, accidents, etc.) according to what is on their card. Archive articles can also be used, or press briefings staged, to introduce a historically realistic media presence. To achieve their objectives, participants must give speeches and make alliances. Will they make the same decisions as their historical predecessors or can they change history?

A role play-based pedagogy

This pedagogical formula, increasingly used in the workplace, puts participants in a fictitious yet realistic situation where they must apply their knowledge and in which their decisions have consequences (fortunately, not real ones!). This approach, seen in online training, makes it possible to apply theoretical ideas in a safe environment. Using events that have taken place within your company (managing a project involving a large number of people, for example) or an external event that had a significant impact on your operations (such as the ice storm), provides you with tangible elements to react to and upon which to base your decisions. This can help you to better understand the strengths of your teams and which situations may require more preparation.

What kind of situation would you like to prepare your teams for?

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Collage of Canadian's Queen Stamps from 1950 and 2020 alongside a picture of a classroom in 1950 alongside today's classroom

The Last 70 Years in Education: What’s Changed?

What a meteoric evolution education has had in less than a century! In the 1940s, there were some 4,000 schoolhouses in Quebec. Today, new technologies such as tablets and interactive whiteboards have invaded classrooms, not to mention the possibility of learning remotely! What are the greatest transformations that have left their mark on education and continuing education since the end of the Second World War?

Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 1950 alongside a picture of a class in 1950

1950 : At that time, educational posters, like geographical maps and the periodic table, were a decoration staple in classrooms, and the smell of chalk hung in the air. The walls were otherwise unadorned in order to avoid as much as possible any distractions that could interfere with the students’ focus. However, during this decade, the educational model started to shift. Until then, students had to adapt to the school’s way of doing things, but it was then that the relationship reversed. It became understood that educators needed to pay attention to each student’s needs to foster their development. Student individuality was beginning to be recognized, and this showed in school furniture as desks in rows gave way to single desks.

Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 1960 alongside a picture of the Rapport Parent

1960 : The Quiet Revolution brought enormous change to Quebec! For education, it’s the Parent Report that made the difference. Its main goal was to democratize school and higher education. The Ministère de l’Éducation was founded, and its mission was to establish high schools and CEGEPs and expand the network of the Université du Québec across the province . That’s a far cry from schoolhouses!

Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 1970 alongside a picture of class in 1970 in Quebec

1970 : In addressing student dropout, the government sought to provide a stimulating learning environment that would motivate students to learn. Already present in the workplace, the concept of ergonomics made its way to schools and introduced movable chairs, which are lighter and more flexible, because comfort positively affects focus and motivation. The desks also took on an irregular shape, so classrooms could be set up differently depending on the activity. This way, teamwork and autonomy were fostered, two skills that would be especially useful in the job market.

Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 1980 alongside a picture of an IBM computer

1980 : In 1981, IBM introduced the Personal Computer (PC)! The computer turned into an increasingly important work tool. It made its way into homes, and schools started preparing for its arrival. The launch of multimedia CD-ROMs precipitated a greater use of the personal computer. Among other things, CD-ROMs helped people learn different software on their own, where and when it suited them. It made it possible to rethink continuing education. It was no longer necessary to travel to update your skills and knowledge. Digital technology allowed for greater flexibility in training.

Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 1990 alongside a screen capture of a web browser in 1995


Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 2000 alongside a picture of an older computer using Windows XP

2000 : The internet’s arrival opened up a world of possibility! In the education industry, learning management systems (LMS) made it possible to complete online courses from one’s own computer. It then led to the development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which aimed to provide high-quality education, often for free and in a collaborative format. This way, no matter where we were in the world, we could improve our knowledge! Provided we had an internet connection, that is. The professional community also benefitted from this fantastic innovation. It was a formula for accessibility that was both efficient and affordable.

Collage of a Canadian Queen Stamp from 2010 alongside a picture of a woman at the office using a standing desk and an exercice ball for better ergonomy

2010 : Well-being and mental health concepts became an increasingly important part of our value system and changed how we learn. Flexible classroom designs made their way into Quebec schools. Why? To improve student comfort and improve focus. Not everyone performs the same under the same conditions, so it’s important that different options be available for everyone to reach their full potential. We see the same trend in the workplace with more adaptable office spaces (possibility to work standing up, on an exercise ball, etc.) and flexible working hours.

Collage of Canadian's Queen Stamps from 2022 alongside a picture of kids on computers in a classroom and a man learning via a VR headset

2020 : What lies ahead for this decade that was catapulted into remote learning and working? More than ever, digital technology is an integral part of how we learn, but to be able to navigate this online world and face the challenges it presents, new skills are needed. That’s why we’re seeing so many programming classes for every age group and in every field. It’s imperative that we understand the inner workings of the tools we use every day and that are central to our work. Including programming courses in school curricula or learning a computer language on one’s own through e-learning are but two of the ways to accomplish this.

It’s clear that, in the last 70 years, the world of education has changed significantly! Far from the austere classrooms of yesteryear, where religion made up most of the curriculum, today’s classrooms are flexible, stimulating and high-tech. Adult education also evolved in this direction. Online and customized trainings are now must-haves. Novaconcept was able to adapt and make the most of all these innovations. We’ve come a long way from our CD-ROM trainings to our recent projects where we use 360⁰ visuals and augmented reality! How far can we take your training projects?

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Vectorial illustration of a manager guiding their team in their online training

Guiding Your Teams Through Their Online Training

Continuing education has become a cornerstone in the job market. It helps us stay up to date in a world where knowledge is constantly changing. It’s also a great way to improve our professional practices—as long as we leave nothing to chance. As a manager, you can help your teams get the most out of each online training session.  Here are a few tips you can use before, during, and after online training for best results.

A supportive learning environment

For your team to get the most out of their online training, you need to set up optimal learning conditions. First, you need to know your performance objectives and clearly communicate them to your team.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is your training topic?
  • Why is it important to update your knowledge on this topic?
  • Which skills will this training help sharpen?

When your team knows the company’s motivations and goals, they can understand the value of the training and more easily identify when they can apply this new knowledge. If you’re having trouble setting your goals, our expertise in instructional design can help you identify your needs and the best way to meet them.

For your employees to give due attention to this training, they need to see that you value it as much as they do. Ask them to set aside time in their schedule to attend the training, just as they would for a mandatory meeting. Scheduling a time to take the training helps organize tasks and fosters learning. You can also build an optimal learning environment by sharing best practices to limit distractions and keep your team focused throughout the training. You can suggest, for example, that they close their email, put their phone on silent, set their TEAMS status to “Do not disturb” or tell their colleagues that they won’t be available during the training period. Making it possible for every team member to focus throughout the training will lead them to take the training seriously and to absorb the new information better.

Behaviour during training

You can also ask your team to be active throughout the training. When it comes to developing new skills, being passive is not enough. Here are some tips for promoting engagement during online training:

article guider vos equipe dans la formation pointer

Whether it’s keywords, a graphical representation of a concept or a summary of a new process, the important thing is that they make the training content their own by explaining it in their own way.

Its a simple way to stay alert throughout the training. The goal is to learn new things, so testing their understanding by immediately applying what they’ve just learned is crucial.

Mistakes are part of learning, and they help us make progress. If your team members get it wrong, it shows they are committed to the training and try to apply what they are learning. Remind them that there’s always room to learn and improve.

Knowledge retention is better when people think it’s going to be helpful in their day-to-day. This helps quickly refresh what they’ve just learned.

Reactivate the new knowledge after training

Your work is not done once your entire team has finished the training. The next step is to put this new knowledge into practice in the real world.

The first step is to ask your team members to discuss what they’ve learned during and after the training. You could, for example, create a TEAMS channel, a forum or even have a short meeting. Discussion between colleagues helps confirm understanding, consolidate learning, and make it easier to form connections between past and new knowledge.  The second step is to use this forum for concrete examples of where to use this new knowledge. You can also present scenarios and ask your staff what the best approach is, based on what they’ve just learned. The more quickly and regularly people use new knowledge after training, the more fully they will master it. In addition, the forum will show your team how relevant the training was by reminding them of the goals you presented at the beginning of the process. You can plan this kind of reactivation and learning consolidation activity with our instructional design team and use it when the time is right.

These tips will help you create a learning culture within your team or company while encouraging your staff to continue their professional development! Acquiring new knowledge and developing new skills that the learners will quickly put into practice is a net positive for their confidence and creativity. You also encourage your team to be proactive by finding solutions and rethinking their work methods to be more efficient. Ongoing training has become a must because it allows learners to continue their professional development, and companies to face new challenges in creative and innovative ways. And Novaconcept is there to help you achieve these two complementary goals!

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Vector illustration of a neuron seen through a magnifying glass on a brain

Let’s get our neurons working!

You’ve been wanting to learn to play a new instrument or to use new software for a new job since the year began. You’re trying, but it’s not a resounding success. You tell yourself it might be too late to learn new skills or master new technologies. Think again! You do have everything you need to keep learning!

Our brain constantly changes, adapts and evolves based on what we’re learning, our environment and what we do. Your brain’s malleability is possible thanks to something called neuroplasticity. These changes alter how our neurons communicate with each other throughout our lives. This communication, activated by processes, affects memory and supports learning. Each time neurons activate and communicate with each other, their connection strengthens. Our new experiences, whether it’s at work or in a language class, multiply the links between our neurons and let us learn throughout our lives. At Novaconcept, continuous learning lets us help our clients reach their goals by creating training programs adapted to their needs.

Animation des neurones en action, illustrant la neuroplasticité

Neuroplasticity and Learning

Neuroplasticity is an ability that highlights the capacity to improve and learn. Let’s use a concrete example to understand the concept of neuroplasticity better.

Imagine that you just arrived in a new city. You need to drive to the grocery store. The first time you leave your home (point A) to go to the grocery store (point B), you keep your eyes glued to your GPS. The next time, taking your eyes off your phone is easier. After a while, you feel more comfortable, and you almost know the route by heart. It becomes automatic for you, meaning neuron A and neuron B talk to each other just as easily as you make the journey from point A to point B. One day, though, you’re going to the grocery store, and the street you usually take is closed. You’re surprised and decide to take a new way there. You need to focus and find a new path to the grocery store. A new connection between neurons A and B is born!

As you can see in this image, practice is key to keeping the route in your head while paying attention to everything around you. This also applies to your learning! The more you practice, the more your neurons talk to each other. They strengthen each other and make learning easier. On the other hand, if you’re learning something new, you neurons will need to work harder to communicate. Moreover, if you stop practicing, little by little, the communication slowly breaks down and disappears from your memory.

Lack of sleep, anxiety and lack of motivation are barriers to new connections between neurons. When these barriers stack up, we find ourselves in cognitive overload. These factors can make your learning more difficult.

How can you avoid cognitive overload and optimize your learning?

Have you ever tried to read a book while listening to the radio? It’s pretty hard! This is because working memory has a limited capacity. As soon as you reach this limit, your brain stops learning. We call that cognitive overload. Even though there are factors that we can’t control when we’re in a learning situation, there are still things we can do to reduce our cognitive load:

  • Have a development mindset: understanding that we develop skills through perseverance and effort and that there’s always room for improvement.
  • Reduce distractions: turn off phones, turn off computer notifications and close the door.
  • Begin the training by taking a few breaths to reduce our level of stress.
  • Take breaks.
  • Go back to old training courses. Attend other training on the same topic and practice new and old knowledge to create strong bonds between them.

At Novaconcept, we believe in everyone’s neuroplasticity. Our role is to remove as many barriers as possible to make it easier to acquire new knowledge! We can help you master your learning and make your continuous development easier. Our expert instructional design and multimedia production teams developed several strategies to streamline learning. When we create training, our experts ensure information is structured to develop good neural networks in your brain. We use a variety of teaching approaches to activate your neurons and we create thoughtful and quality graphics.

Lastly, it’s together that we’ll continue to learn effectively.

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emendo 19 avril 2022 2 01

E for Emendo

While working with us on training projects, you’ve probably already clicked on the small “e” in the upper right-hand corner of the online training courses that we delivered so you could validate them. By doing that, you’ve used our in-house correction management tool: Emendo.

Our very own programming team developed this discreet, but oh-so-useful, app and is doing a remarkable job of streamlining our technological processes.

We’re continuing to develop our Emendo tool to add several new features as part of our continuous improvement approach. In technical terms, let’s say we’ve “evolved our Pokémon” and it’s not as easy to miss now.

Here’s what’s new after Emendo’s evolution:

  • The platform was completely redesigned to provide users with an intuitive browsing experience.
  • The comment panel now has new options for clarifying requests and improving communication. For example, you can now draw arrows to point out elements or draw rectangles to frame an area on screen. You can also use labels to indicate whether the correction relates to narration, visuals or on-screen text!
  • We added the Correction Finished command that automatically notifies Novaconcept that the validation round is officially finished.
  • Sorting correction requests is now easier thanks to filters. You can filter requests by author, creation date and label type (e.g., narrative, visual or on-screen). This same sorting feature is also available for downloadable reports!
  • Previous validation link versions can be accessed at any time to follow the evolution of the course from round to round.
  • And much more!

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Cultivating knowledge illustration

Cultivating knowledge

It’s said that you reap what you sow. And if we sowed knowledge and learning in a company, what would we reap? A field of full possibilities is open to you. Creating a learning culture in your company, with the right tools and the best advice, is a way of multiplying your resources to better reach your goals.

Learning culture in a nutshell
Continuing to learn and improve on the job are musts for this new wave of workers, whose curiosity and self-guided learning make them key assets to any company. 1

  • A learning culture can be summed up as ways of doing and being that value learning new things and developing skills.
  • It can manifest in many ways, including formal training, knowledge- and skill-sharing between colleagues, collective thinking on best practices, and organizational development.
  • Learning culture requires a climate that’s conducive to innovation and where mistakes are allowed. Challenges are seen as opportunities to practice new knowledge or skills. Learning is everywhere and could happen at any time.
  • Feedback during a project or after a training is a lever for change that’s at the core of learning culture. The constructive comments that result from this process lead to adjusting and valuing individual and collective progress.
  • Learning culture is cross-sectional. In fact, it can be found in several areas in a company, in each member’s day-to-day, in the various work groups, and elsewhere. It must be put into practice on every level.

Lastly, learning culture is one of the solutions for retaining staff in their respective positions. It appears that staff who have access to diverse types of training supported by their employers stay in their jobs longer. This can be explained by the quality of the work environment, the value placed on expertise and the emotional bond with the company. 2

Some Novatips for a flourishing culture

  • Plan a comprehensive strategy that will provide an overview of training paths leading to the acquisition of specific skills. A diagnosis of training structure can be beneficial to your organization. This way, each suggested solution will be in line with your needs and values.
  • Provide learning solutions based on the specific needs of your team members, fueling their personal and professional development. These can be innovative and outside the box, especially with game-based learning that helps create bonds between team members, as the MINKA platform does.
  • As a manager, value the time invested in training by allocating a number of hours per month to do so; this will show your team members the importance you attach to training.
  • Offer the right tools to create a flourishing culture. It’s important to consider the accessibility and user-friendliness of the technological tools used for training. These details have a major impact on interest in training and learning.

A rewarding partnership
Setting up a learning culture with the help of NOVACONCEPT means being supported every step of the way and creating a partnership by pooling expertise to complete your projects. Whether it’s delivering learning devices, creating tailored and creative content, or developing training modules with varied and engaging learning methods, you can count on us to help you cultivate knowledge.

1 (accessed on 2022-01-27)
2 (accessed on 2022-01-27)

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