9/19/23 · Research

Training at work: a new e-learning solution specifically designed for SMEs

A start-up uses an inclusive training and learning model that focuses on diversity integration and agile internal knowledge management
The project was short-listed for SpinUOC 2023
The learning processes needed by SMEs are very different from those required by multinationals (photo: Dylan Gilles, unsplash.com)

The learning processes needed by SMEs are very different from those required by multinationals (photo: Dylan Gilles, unsplash.com)

Technological evolution, which has been affected greatly by recent developments in artificial intelligence and new ways of working, inevitably has an impact on the job market and workers' training needs. In its 2023 report on the future of employment, the World Economic Forum estimated that, on average, each worker will have to upgrade 44% of their skills in the next five years and six out of ten will need to undergo training by 2027. Although this will affect all kinds of organizations, it a particularly serious challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) due to their restricted budgets and employee recruitment capabilities. Anna Domínguez, a participant in the Edutech Emprèn programme at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), and María de la Peña Sola have launched eTrivium, a new inclusive e-learning and online training solution tailored to SMEs. This was one of the projects short-listed for SpinUOC 2023, the UOC's annual entrepreneurship event organized by the Hubbik platform.

The two founding partners, who have over 25 years' experience in the training sector, know from their own experience that "the learning processes needed by SMEs are very different from those required by multinationals, and they need resources that are suited to their culture, their people and their budget," said Anna Dominguez.

She added that "we also realized that many people were being left behind when it came to training and developing their full potential because learning solutions failed to accommodate teams' diversity or learning needs".

In response to this panorama of technological transformation, eTrivium proposes a technological and methodological solution that aims to boost internal talent at SMEs: "Why look for knowledge elsewhere when it is our own people and our own teams who best know the business, our processes and our products? The aim of our platform is to help companies create, for example, training pathways leading to internal certifications so that anyone, regardless of conditions or preferences, can move forward in their career plans," said Domínguez.

Personalization, support and measurement

In view of this challenge, they have developed an online solution based on the personalization, support and measurement system that can be adapted in a way that is completely scalable to each company's characteristics. As a result, the user experience provided by eTrivium makes it possible to design training plans in a guided and agile manner with defined performance objectives for individuals, teams and whole organizations.

This approach includes everything from creating courses from scratch to turning each company's current materials (e.g. procedures, policies or handbooks) into dynamic and educational online solutions to help them reach people more effectively.

A platform in which no one is left behind

The personalization of learning is another major concern for the project's founders. "It's not just a matter of providing a learning management and administration platform: it's about turning it into a platform that tailors learning to each person's development and ensures that no one is left behind," said Domínguez.

One of the platform's key and differentiating features in this regard is its use of an inclusive model as regards both the development of the technology itself and its contents. This entails working on the basis that each company may have employees with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorders, or with eyesight or hearing conditions, or employees from different backgrounds and cultures and of different races, genders and ages. "It is key to ensure that all of a company's employees can both access the training and learning contents and feel integrated in the related processes," said Domínguez.

An example of this inclusive model is the assumption of diversity "by default" from the course design stage, taking account of issues such as the use of "inclusive language, different types of avatars, inclusive images or the right colour contrast or fonts for each situation," she said.

A funding round for the integration of artificial intelligence

The company, which is already in operation, has over 80 successful training projects under its belt. The next step is to continue to work on integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the platform, for the purpose of managing an organization's knowledge (using chatbots and automating a variety of processes) and creating online content (e.g. for anticipating learning needs or identifying areas of difficulty).

In order to achieve this technological progress and reach other business development milestones for eTrivium, the company has recently launched a €150,000 funding round. "This is exactly the right time to seriously integrate AI into the system. Our platform is already operating on the market, and our methods have been tested. What we need to do now is boost our technology to provide SMEs with easy and scalable learning options," she concluded.

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Rubén Permuy
+34 659 05 42 39

This UOC project supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, quality education.



The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health.

Over 500 researchers and more than 50 research groups work in the UOC's seven faculties, its eLearning Research programme and its two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).

The university also develops online learning innovations at its eLearning Innovation Center (eLinC), as well as UOC community entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer via the Hubbik platform.

Open knowledge and the goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: research.uoc.edu.

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