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Learning Management Systems are broken. Period.

It’s in the name – they exist to manage learning data and admin, but the need is a digital learning space where teachers and learners can interact.
Rather than being a glorified file storage platform, we’re designed to engage, educate and enable. In simpler terms, a platform for teaching and learning that is interactive, personalised and encourages active participation.

We’re the interface.

Moving on from digitisation of content and running admin tasks, we’re creating a technology-enabled space to enhance learning. To deal with the needs of the modern day learner, it is going to take more than a few UX tweaks on an existing LMS framework because these things are linear in nature and were designed for a different need. What is clear is that the LMS has been highly successful in enabling the administration of learning but less so in enabling learning itself.

The pedagogy itself needs to change.

If eLearning 1.0 was about getting content online – eLearning 2.0 is about using technology to enable learning. This is about bringing together teachers and learners through a native digital learning experience – not about an over-complicated platform with a ton of niche features.
We need to turn passive learners into active learners. We need to foster a community of learners. We need to personalise learning at scale. And where content is king, context is God so we need to make learning available when and where the learner needs it.

That’s why we built HowNow.

It’s in the meaning of our name – both a jovial greeting and a teaching technique in elocution. A nod to how we’re combining interaction with education to create a digital learning space where people can communicate, share ideas, teach and learn. The way we engage with content has changed across other consumer platforms i.e. Snapchat, Facebook, but it is yet to happen in education and this is where it matters.
So dear LMS, it was good while it lasted but it’s time to hang up your coat and enjoy retirement.

GDPR…GDPR…GDPR

These four letters have been dominating the headlines over the last 12 months, with businesses of all sizes reviewing and redesigning their data processing activities to ensure they will be compliant by the deadline on the 25th of May 2018. We at HowNow have had GDPR T-shirts made so it’s always on the forefront of our minds (just kidding!).

So what is GDPR?

GDPR (aka General Data Protection Policy) is the EU’s data protection law that comes into affect on the 25h of May 2018. This law will be implemented throughout the EU and will impact all businesses operating within the union, driving more consistent approach to data protection. You can find out more information by visiting the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website (https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/)

How does it affect us at HowNow?

 
We have always taken data protection and confidentiality very seriously at HowNow. The new regulation means that we have to make a few tweaks to our existing data processing activities to be fully compliant. At HowNow, we are both “Data Controllers” and “Data Processors”. Data Controllers are businesses who decide why and how personal data is processed. Data Processors are businesses that process the data on behalf of the Data Controller.
So to all of our clients, we are “Data Processors” as we store and process data on their behalf. To all our third party software partners, we are “Data Controllers” as we instruct them on how the data is to be processed.

So what are we doing to be GDPR compliant?

 
We have carried out a full review of all our data processing activities – as both Data Controllers and Data Processors . As a result of this review, we have set in motion a number of actions, including:
As “Data Controllers”…
  • As a result of the review, we have assigned a team to implement the changes to ensure that we are fully compliant
  • We have contacted all of our third party software providers to ensure that they are working towards compliance or are fully compliant already
  • We have appointed a Data Protection Officer, who you can contact at hello@learnhownow.com
As “Data Processors”…
  • We reviewed the data processing activities involved in our HowNow schools
  • Based on this review, we are implementing changes that will help our clients be GDPR compliant
  • Developing tools (including Privacy Policy & T&Cs templates) to help our clients to be GDPR compliant

How does it affect you?

 
We want to make sure that our clients are GDPR compliant too. Running an online school/academy means that you will have your own clients, who share their personal data with you through our platform. As your ‘Data Processors”, we will ensure that we are GDPR compliant. As “Data Controllers”, you will need to ensure that you are GDPR compliant too.

What do you need to do?

  • Review all of your data processing activities and identify potential areas of non-compliance using the ICO’s guidleines
  • Implement the changes based on your review
  • Review existing Privacy Policies and T&Cs
  • Contact any other third party providers you use to ensure that they are GDPR compliant
We appreciate that this is a lot to take in but don’t worry, we will do our best to make this easy for you!

Guys. How the hell are we at the end of 2016? At times it felt like we were never going to get here. But we made it through the craziness and it’s time to start looking ahead to the new year. 2017 should, by all accounts, be a doozie as well. So in the quiet few days before the madness starts all over again we wanted to take a look back at 2016, partially out of nostalgia, and partially because everybody on the internet is legally obliged to do this now. Take a look at your Facebook Newsfeed on New Years Eve if you don’t believe me:

HowNow Highlight #1: My Dad Wrote a Porno

It’s not that our workplace is inappropriate, but My Dad Wrote a Porno is literally all we’ve been listening to at the office all year. And this is why we don’t have an HR department.

HowNow Highlight #2: Lisbon

I mean, really.

Team HowNow had a few days in Lisbon after this year’s Web Summit. We had a chance to see the sights, eat a lot of fish, and pose for our album cover photo at every available opportunity. Now all we need to do is write the album.

HowNow Highlight #3: Fleabag

If you give me three seconds, I will brag to anyone about how I already had the play script and new about Fleabag years ago. But for the rest of the team it was a revelation – hilarious and heartbreaking in equal measure.

HowNow Highlight #4: Trapped in a room with a zombie

In this immersive game you solve clues in order to escape a room, while also being chased by a zombie. We may or may not have been so bad at the clue solving that the zombie had to help us. Either way, it was scary and amazing, and we did not get out alive.

HowNow Highlight #5: House of cards

I have to confess to not having seen this myself, but when asked how I should describe House of Cards in this post, the rest of Team HowNow told me to write “It was the best fucking TV show ever”. So I guess I should get on that.

HowNow Highlight #6: Kothu Kothu

If you like great food and happen to be in Croydon you need to check out Kothu Kothu at Croydon Box Park. It’s so good it’ll make you forget you’re in Croydon, and that’s not an easy task.

HowNow Highlight #7: The chicken connoisseur

We love nothing more in life than chicken shops, so we’re pretty sure the chicken connoisseur is our soulmate. We’re all about doing your own thing and not listening to other peoples’ opinions, but we would 100% check out any chicken shop he recommends, anywhere in the city.

HowNow Highlight #8: Nandos

As previously mentioned, Team HowNow have a healthy enjoyment of chicken. Pretty much every Friday this year has seen us at our local Nandos, dreaming of the day that one of us gets a black card. Maybe in 2017. Hint hint, Nandos.

HowNow Highlight #9: The Missing

It. Was. So. Good. The weeks after I recommended this were the only weeks of the whole year I felt like I had any street cred. Do I need to get over it now? Absolutely. But it totally makes the list.


So what were your highlights of 2016? Anything that should have made our list? We’re already on the lookout for awesome things to check out in 2017…