Inside WKT: Our Spring 2020 Hackathon

What is a hackathon?

Hackathons are a major buzzword in the start-up community. At We Know Training, hackathons are an event that brings together people from across multiple teams to collectively solve a problem together in a short period of time.

This past May, our Content Development division hosted a hackathon. We included individuals from multiple teams across the Content department, including visual design, instructional design, project management, and technical development, as well as members of other teams.

Some hackathons pitch different teams and ideas against one another for a little friendly competition, others get different teams to work together. Since one of our primary goals was team building during COVID-19, we decided to work as a single team and involved everyone as much as possible from the start. Participants had the opportunity to pitch and vote on topics, and collectively assigned resources, roles, and responsibilities to the chosen project.

Benefits of hosting a hackathon

Team building

It’s no secret that hackathons are an excellent team-building exercise. Our hackathons comprise cross-disciplinary teams and set them to work on a single, discrete common goal. The result is always a shared sense of achievement and a better understanding of each others’ strengths.

This is even more important during COVID-19, as most of our team is working from home and therefore not necessarily interacting closely every day.

Problem solving and skills development

We pick a problem as a team, and give different team members an opportunity to take a leadership role in the project. This helps us identify and build new leadership talent, as well as better prepare everyone on the team to solve our clients’ problems.

Trying new things

As a business, we typically allocate our time and resources to best meet our clients’ needs. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of project work. The trouble is, if our clients aren’t currently looking for a certain kind of interaction, or don’t know that it’s available, we might not get the opportunity to learn how to build new things. In turn, this means we won’t have examples of various interactions available to showcase what we can do.

A team hackathon breaks us away from our daily tasks to expand our repertoire, and ultimately, equip us to better help our clients deliver the best training to their learners.

Test driving a new process

Our Content Development team is a well-oiled machine. Many of our team members have worked together for over a decade. Our development process is tested, efficient, and adapts well to the different needs of our customers. That said, it never hurts to shake things up and determine areas for improvement. We sometimes use hackathons as an opportunity tweak our project management and development process to find new efficiencies and further refine that process.

What we built

For our first hackathon as We Know Training, the team decided to build a fun online learning interaction on working from home. This topic was relevant to our current reality, two months into COVID-19 lockdown, as well as that of most of our customers.

More importantly, it gave the team an opportunity to work together on gamified learning elements that we haven’t had the opportunity to build for our clients, and to brainstorm new ways to look at how we might engage with our learners.

View the final product screenshots below, and we hope you enjoy the interaction as much as we enjoyed building it!

If you or your organization is interested in learning more about how we can incorporate gamified elements or interactions into your online course, book a consultation with one of our online training experts today.

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