Access to Success: Tigerhall promises tailored, bite-sized Learning for a New Generation
An interview with Nellie Wartoft, who created Asia’s first Microlearning Platform. She is pioneering a new way for professionals to develop their skills and learn from market-leaders.
Q: Why is there a need for a new content and learning platform like Tigerhall?
Nellie Wartoft: Formal education has not been disrupted at all in the past hundred years. You still have full-time professors with Ph.D. teaching based on theoretical research. For adults, you now have MOOCs, and yes they did change the way content is delivered, but not the content itself. And of course, we see more and more bite-size content online, but when you go towards bite-size, it’s hard to find depth.
Another issue with learning platforms is how to make learning engaging, and that’s why gamification is so important in education. People love listening to podcasts and reading articles online, so how come learning platforms can’t get it right when it comes to engagement?
Q: And that is what you want to change?
Exactly. The idea is to fit learning into pockets of your life while working. This includes the time you wait for the bus or the subway and the time before you go to bed. That’s how the concept of Tigerhall was born: connecting ambitious people in the region to Asia’s most successful people via bite-sized Podcasts, Power Reads, Private Dinners and Personal and Group Mentorship Sessions — all in one app.
And crucially, Tigerhall is about access because that‘s what people need.
Q: How do you curate the content on Tigerhall?
Our research showed that we should be focusing on people’s life goals rather than education in itself. People want to reach certain life goals: be successful at work, make more money, live a healthy life, etc. We looked at those goals and structured the whole app around this.
When you log into the app, you can select one or more life goals, and the app curates content relevant to your goal.
That’s one of the main differences with traditional learning platforms, where you can find courses such as“Leading in the digital era”… That’s not what people want to do, they want to succeed. You need a goal in mind and you go backward from there. This user-driven approach is central to how we built the app.
Q: Learning is also about socialization and community. How is the social dimension embedded in your platform?
Part of our subscription includes offline events, like private dinners with business leaders (for example, with the former President of Air Asia). On the platform, you can listen to the podcast of a senior executive, then read their ebook then attend their dinner and book a 1:1 mentorship session. Research has shown that building a network is key both in learning and in reaching professional and personal goals.
Q: What gave you the idea for Tigerhall?
When I moved to Singapore, I worked with the recruitment firm Michael Page for four years. As a recruiter, I used to meet a lot of candidates — at least 4 or 5 per day — who all had many aspirations and life goals but had no idea how to get there. While some candidates could have a 4.0 GPA and fancy degrees, potential employers were struggling with three knowledge gaps that needed plugging: soft skills, leadership skills, and commercial skills.
I started thinking about how I could help bridge the gap between people with knowledge on these desired skills, and the people who need it. People with current knowledge can’t teach it full time as they’re busy. As for the professionals who are looking to acquire these skills, they need to get them while working. Not everybody can pause their careers for a 3-month course or a 2-year MBA to upskill.
Q: Having researched your user base extensively, how have millennials entering the job market affected L&D?
There is a need for faster upskilling. Content is becoming obsolete in a very short span of time. But the way we learn is also changing: learning has to be more bite-sized, more affordable, and more accessible to people. We millennials want a lot out of life and we don’t want to close up opportunities by making a choice between studying and working. We need to fit both at the same time.
And finally, we don’t want to learn from someone who completed a Ph.D. 30 years ago, we want to learn from someone who is actually good at the topic at hand. If you look at leadership, for example, it will be more enriching to hear from Jack Ma on the topic than taking a university course.
Q: What is the biggest challenge to achieving Tigerhall’s vision?
My biggest concern is that we as a society need to stop being so obsessed with the paper-credential. I am afraid this will take a long time. For now, I believe it is the main obstacle that hinders people from learning. I dream of a society in which people are learning for the joy of it, for self-development, and for consistency.
Investor-backed and headquartered in Singapore, Tigerhall is an app that connects ambitious people in the region to Asia’s most successful people via in-person events, podcasts, dinners, power reads, and personal mentoring sessions. Experts include the Vice President at Google, Head of Digital Marketing APAC at Facebook, Head of Partner Marketing Creative at Netflix, Executive Director at UBS, Partner at Deloitte, the former President of AirAsia and the Director of Special Events, Obama Campaigns, 2008 and 2012. Topics include how to manage a co-located workforce, managing a PR crisis, launching products in emerging markets, making your next career move, handling poor performing staff and intrapreneurship. The following offerings can be accessed on the Tigerhall app:
- Podcasts — With an average duration of nine to 20 minutes, users can listen to thoughts from successful leaders and experts on topics of their interest
- Power Reads — Packaged as concise articles that can be digested in eight to 25 minutes, users can read insights from successful leaders and experts on topics of their interest
- Private Dinners — Interactions frequently organized to provide nine users the chance to interact with successful business leaders privately in exclusive restaurants
- Group Mentorship Sessions — Events organized frequently that can seat 20–40 users, who can pick up insights from successful leaders and apply the tips at work as soon as the next day
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