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Whirling Chief

HR Management

Nº 63

A Few Questions for the CEO of Knolskape, a Software Company Focused on the Future of Learning


The world is at the cusp of redefining itself. Businesses are being redefined. The way we organize ourselves, the way we connect. The way we learn is no different… Today’s patterns for learning (professionally or personally) is vastly different than in previous times. Knolskape does just that. It helps organizations rethink the experience of learning.

Whatever the need – on-boarding, capability development, assessments, or engagement – Knolskape can help re-energize any organizational programs through its award winning experiential learning products and platforms. It has been recognized among the world’s top 20 learning gamification companies. We recently conducted a Q&A with Founder and CEO Rajiv Jayaraman to discuss what the future holds for us…

Whirling Chief:
Before we start our interview, what does the name Knolskape stand for or mean?

KNOLSKAPE is a combination of Knowledge and Landscape. We are playing an interesting role in shaping the landscape of learning.

In the digitalization of the workplace, we hear so many technology companies pop up with the most creative solutions. How or from where did the idea of Knolskape originate?

We were focusing originally on the academic market. We developed simulations and serious games for making management education interactive and impactful. We worked with a lot of Top tier B-schools across the world, and slowly we pivoted and started focusing on the corporate market.

Why did you choose to focus on learning, as opposed to another discipline?

Before KNOLSKAPE, I was working for Oracle in California. During that time, I was very passionate about theater and film making as well. I wanted to do something at the intersection of computer science and story-telling. It is with this thought that I decided to pursue my MBA at INSEAD. During my MBA program, I used a powerful simulation product that opened my eyes to alternative forms of learning. That was my ‘A-ha!’ moment: computer science and story-telling coming together for a domain that I was always passionate about – learning.

What’s the significance of simulation learning? How does it differ from other types of adult learning activities?

In the last 150 years, we have managed to industrialize learning. The so-called expert comes in and delivers a lecture, and the learners are expected to absorb this and undergo a behavioural change automatically. In this process, the experience of learning takes the backseat. Today, with technology, we are able to bring experience back into the learning process through simulations.

The significance of this mode of learning is that it targets the head, heart, and the hand, as opposed to just the head with traditional forms of learning. Learners learn in a safe environment where they can learn by doing. This helps them see the relevance of learning and also prepares them for real world decision making.

With simulation learning, do we completely do away with classroom learning? How do you ensure different learning styles are being served during a game?

The best way to use simulations is in a facilitated environment, be it in classroom or live virtual programs. While simulations promote learning by doing, it is important for reflection to happen at the end of action. This is where facilitators play a big role. This way, we are able to cater to different learning styles as well.

One of your services concerns ‘Leadership and Strategy.’ For our readers who may be unfamiliar with such concept, can you please elaborate how one simulates strategic leadership or similar?

We live in a VUCA world today, where strategies change ever so often and leaders are expected to act in a highly uncertain environment. In such conditions, it is highly imperative that we give our leaders a safe environment where they are able to hone their decision-making skills. We focus on specific leadership topics in our simulations: leadership styles for a multi-generational environment, leading without authority, building trust, and business acumen, where the learner takes a decision across many functions of the company.

Could you talk about your clients? What kind of organizations leverage your products and services most? Are there some organizations better suited for this sort of learning than others?

Any organization that wants to see business impact for their learning dollar is an ideal client for us. Our methodology helps you deliver level 3 and up on the Kirkpatrick model. Typically, companies that are geographically distributed, dealing with a large number of employees tend to derive maximum benefit from our products. We run gamified leadership, sales, and digital academies for our clients globally.

How would you categorize the future of learning for us? How do we need to rethink the what, who, and how of learning in our dynamic global and digital times?

The future of learning is everything that is learner-centric. We will see systems that will foster self-paced learning in an engaging fashion, and provide analytics that will help learners learn deeply and will also be anytime-anywhere. I foresee that bite-sized mobile learning is going to be a big thing in the short term. We are also betting big on AI in the learning process. In the future, the classroom will learn us. Social learning is also very important.

How about for HR professionals? What should I, and my colleagues, do differently in our teaching, learning, and leadership to meet the new digital and global demands in practice?

L&D function needs to build the following skills:

  1. Business Acumen – bridge the gap between business and learning
  2. Digital Marketing – apply marketing skills within the company to drive adoption
  3. Analytics – apply analytics to understand talent better

Any last pieces of advice?

Learning professionals in the future need to be design thinkers with deep understanding of business needs and the individual’s learning aspirations. For the longest time, we have not used science in the talent process. Now technologies are available. Time to get cracking.


  • 2 November 2016

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