Mark A. Barry, a Senior Knowledge Management Analyst with the Customer Success Group at Tideworks Technology, Inc., is a man of easy charm. Our conversation flows seamlessly from training to trekking, Photoshop to photography as we discover common areas of interest and things we are passionate about. Learning & Development (L&D), for starters.
Mark has been an integral part of the L&D field for more than three years. As the unofficial ‘Dean of Tideworks University’, Mark is responsible for project management, instructional design, mixed-media content development, LMS administration, and consulting on all aspects of training and knowledge management. Prior to joining Tideworks, Mark has worked in international transportation and logistics roles for over 16 years.
Mark has a BS in Psychology with a minor in English Literature from the University of Utah. He enjoys spending time with his family and their Cairn Terrier named Timber, along with doing volunteer work, backpacking, reading, and digital photography. It’s the latter that Mark lends a lot of his hiking time to, capturing the serenity and nature’s beauty and bounty with his Sony point-and-shoot.
How has the partnership with UpsideLMS benefitted Tideworks’ employee Learning & Development?
Answer: In March 2018, Tideworks launched a new training initiative called Tideworks University with a two-fold mission: First, to provide Tideworks employees, customers, business partners, and vendors on-demand access to high quality continuing education; and second, to incorporate a lifelong learning mindset into our corporate culture as the catalyst for delivering world-class customer experiences. UpsideLMS platform enables Tideworks University to host a dynamic learning community that greatly enhances employee engagement, customer success, and brand perception. The partnership between Tideworks University and UpsideLMS is a strategic asset, and a truly competitive advantage for Tideworks Technology, Inc.
The learning management system from UpsideLMS is a key differentiator, greatly enhancing the Tideworks brand while providing a robust platform to enable us to deliver on our training objectives. We were drawn to UpsideLMS initially because their products and services exceeded all our requirements. During our engagement we learned that in addition to a wonderful product, UpsideLMS is a remarkable company full of incredibly talented, responsive, and innovative employees who are leaders in every aspect of the learning technology space. Tideworks Technology, Inc. is thrilled to partner with UpsideLMS team.
How have online content marketplaces changed the face of online learning?
Answer: The growth of the online content market place is changing the face of asynchronous learning in many ways. Companies like LinkedIn Learning, Safari Books, and OpenSesame have already aggregated thousands of courses and provide access to this content for a fraction of the cost of sending employees to an offsite seminar or enrolling them in a more traditional certificate / degree program. In many cases it really is a no-brainer for a company like Tideworks to leverage the online content marketplace for most of our compliance training and professional development requirements. The fact that the UpsideLMS platform makes extending third-party content so easy was a big selling point for us.
More traditional brick and mortar colleges and universities are also getting into the third-party content marketplace. They pay some of the brightest minds in every academic field to write their courses and attract students to their campuses. Online higher education programs are quickly becoming the norm for busy adults, and companies like Tideworks benefit greatly from the latest research and cutting-edge pedagogy being written into those courses. This business model also offers the convenience of subscription pricing combined with the transferability of completing coursework offered by a fully accredited and respected institution.
What do the learners of today need for the workplace of tomorrow?
Answer: What won’t change is the fact every working professional wants to keep his/her skillset up to date, and every continuing education provider wants to deliver positive ROI to their executive sponsor(s). On the other hand, it’s inevitable that the workplace of tomorrow will be very different than it is today. Today’s learners will need to upskill every few years to continue to contribute at a high level in the workplace of tomorrow. Today’s learners will also need highly polished soft skills to thrive in the automated and AI augmented workplace of the future.
To accomplish this, what we call training today must be embedded in the learners’ actual workflow to deliver context-specific support at the moment of need. The workplace of tomorrow should leverage robust collaboration technology to connect learners with subject matter experts to facilitate knowledge sharing and social learning. The workplace of tomorrow should leverage ‘intelligent’ technology to alert learners when topics they are interested in are being discussed inside and outside of their organization. Finally, the workplace of tomorrow should provide tools for learners to see how the time they invest in continuing education is contributing to their professional growth as well as their employer’s strategic objectives.
UpsideLMS empowers Tideworks University to deliver on all these demands from our learners. I’m confident that UpsideLMS will continue to introduce innovative new features in their products to enhance the learning experience and help Tideworks University stay ahead of the curve. Tideworks Technology, Inc. is thrilled to partner with UpsideLMS.