Sharing knowledge is of enormous importance in horticulture and is even one of the things that has made Dutch horticulture prominent. But sharing knowledge is also difficult: it takes a lot of time as well as money to get everyone in the same place at the same time. Priva has therefore renewed the Priva Academy. Users can now take a course online, anytime they want to - and perhaps more importantly: let your employees take a course.
"We find sharing knowledge and sustainability very important. It is in Priva’s mission statement for a reason," says Rob Schoones of the Priva Academy. "Knowledge sharing is often done through classroom courses. That works well, but is also taxing for both the teacher and the participants. Both have to find the time and attend the class and be there all at the same time. There are always people for whom the timing is not suitable and the backgrounds of the students are never the same. This applies to us, but also to our partners, who usually pass on knowledge to their employees or to their customers."
Digitizing is the way to go - and that idea eventually led to the renewal of the Priva Academy. The system was launched last year for Priva Partners. They can go online the moment that suits them best and in any place in the world (with internet connection), log into the digital Priva Academy and follow one of the courses. The progress is monitored, at the end of a course, learning questions will follow and sometimes a short test. Questions can be asked directly to the teacher - wherever in the world he or she would be.
"We absolutely do not want to offer a replacement for personal contact," according to Rob. "We just see it as an addition to it. That is the way that it is used: a base. For example, think of the moment when you as an installer hire a new colleague. You do not have to wait for the desired course to be offered, and then send him off for a few days to follow the course. He can start immediately to familiarize himself. He does not have to be in a classroom where half of the participants have less knowledge than he himself. Support is available to answer questions. That saves a great deal of time, which the knowledge carriers can use for sharing other knowledge or to develop it further." Besides, the threshold for asking questions is low and also feedback about the courses is received. "If there are many questions about the same subject or something is not clear, we can explain it further."
Besides time and money there is another important aspect. "As a company we stand for a more sustainable future. By digitizing, we can greatly reduce the CO2 emissions that are linked to learning." Rob estimates that employees from the Netherlands often drive 100 kilometers in a car to get to the course location. "With the 2000 courses we have done so far, that already generates a saving of 21 tons of CO2. And that will only increase, especially as the distances in export areas are often many times larger and students often have to travel by air in order to follow the course."
Currently, the system is expanded with courses for Priva end users. In the meantime, over 700 people have access to the system and in total they have already done more than 2000 courses. And it does not stop there. "We are seeing a lot of possibilities here. Finally, we also can help our partners (other companies) to turn their learning material into e-learning. So they can also share their knowledge in a sustainable way online."
An important aspect is that the learning material is not only about Priva products but about domain knowledge. "We were the first to start working with this because we have the most experience. We believe that this way of transferring knowledge is the way for the future. This goes further than just Priva."