Ben Wiegman. Photo: LearningStone
Ben Wiegman of Cultuur Ondernemen in Amsterdam is pleased that 'Route Entrepreneurship' - the learning program for artists and creatives - has been set up entirely using blended learning.
Ben Wiegman. Photo: LearningStone
What is the big advantage of blended learning? That’s the question. "Normally, I would have already sent four or five e-mails to the participants at the beginning of our program. Now all that is unnecessary. All the information is in the system and presents itself. The list of participants. The location. All the artists can present themselves online. For me, blended learning mainly means saving time," Wiegman explains at the office in Amsterdam.
It's not that the transition to blended learning with LearningStone was only a smooth ride: "In the beginning we needed to learn a lot and had to explore the technology. Now we have good working knowledge, also thanks to an online course by LearningStone. Last summer I had a great time playing around with the system. For example, we make a lot of use of videos. I then had to try that out in LearningStone. I like that."
'Cultuur + Ondernemen’ is the knowledge platform for entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative sector. Moving the cultural sector forward, in a broader sense, is the focus of the knowledge platform, which has been around since the 1930s. During this period, Cultuur Ondernemen also supports many venues that are facing huge cost increases, due to rising energy bills. In addition, the foundation's specifically offers training to individual artists and self-employed workers in the cultural sector.
The ‘Route Entrepreneurship’ training is running for the seventeenth time. Every time Wiegman concludes that the training really has impact. Asked about great successes or famous names of artists and creatives who have gone through the training, he is silent for a moment. He prefers not to speak about individual artists. He doesn’t want to single out one name in the parade of hundreds of musicians and creatives he has seen pass by.
What he does want to say about the training: "You see musicians and artists becoming much more self-aware. There are people who are achieving solid successes," Wiegman says. "And that’s also exactly what we want to achieve. We are trying to make the industry better. We want artists and creatives to develop professionally. We inform people how to finance certain things. We want them to learn how to do their own PR well. We inform them about networking, how to maintain their website and do their social media."
Every version we build is better than the last
Corona in 2020 inadvertently made the final push to go all blended training after all. "Our program fell apart because of corona. Oh my, what should we do now? That was really our feeling. Corona accelerated the whole process to blended learning," says Wiegman, who saw the growing importance of LearningStone's online learning environment. "We started putting everything online in the learning environment. It turned out we actually also had a lot of information that we couldn't put in the training."
Trainees watching the prepared videos in advance, before coming to the live training, that was the idea. And so it went. This took trainees a step further. The trainees liked having the digital learning environment at their disposal. It was also nice to have an easier way to communicate with each other, even after the training had taken place. Because everything is and remains in LearningStone, the trainees immediately had a good way to keep in touch with each other.
Wiegman is visibly proud of the training. At the Cultuur Ondernemen office, he shows what the blended learning environment looks like on a projector. Above all, he finds it a very uncluttered environment that "doesn't scream" for attention. "I think we now have LearningStone under control. Every version we build is better than the last."
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