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Creator Profile: Helen Routledge, CEO Totem Learning

/ 4 months ago

Meet Helen Routledge, CEO of Totem Learning. Based in the West Midlands, Helen and her team of designers, artists and developers create digital learning experiences using VR and AR. Totem Learning are one of the many immersive solutions providers on the Blend Market platform. If you would like to discuss your immersive project, you can get in touch at Hello@blend.media and connect with a network of global creators.

Tell me a little about Totem Learning,  how did you get started?

At Totem Learning we create world-class learning and development content using the latest and most practical technical and graphical methodologies, coupled with proven learning design theory. We have a long record of achievement in creating engaging training content that has delivered proven and significant ROI, attitude change, and cultural shift through solutions including Gamification, AR, and VR.  Our mission is to improve the way people learn. By driving whole-brain engagement grounded in theory, delivered on fit for purpose technology, and wrapped in engaging interaction mechanics and beautiful artwork, we deliver measurable and impactful results.

 Some of the results we have seen on recent projects speak for themselves:

- An increase of 25% productivity for KPMG equating in millions of dollars saved year on year

- Users see their ROI in 9 weeks on GuideweldVR with 85% of welding skills learned in the simulation

- 100% pass rate for courses using Unlock Project Management with increased mean scores. 

What are the challenges you face on a regular basis?

Totem is an incredibly agile business and like any digital business we need to keep up to date with the latest innovations in technology and help our clients navigate this fast moving world.  

Connecting to like minded project partners is something we love to do and of course finding a technology partner that understands the various options available for the learning need is critical for our clients to create a good solution, that is why a platform like Blend is so perfect for an organisation like Totem Learning. 

What excites you about the future of immersive tech?

When we think about the future it's easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest hardware, or graphical capability,  but what excites us most is the accessibility of these technologies. The fact that we now all carry around VR and AR ready devices in our pockets (smart phones) and can access these phenomenal experiences is a game changer for L&D.

 What these devices now enable us to do is hugely exciting. Via VR We can now step into another world, transport ourselves into new environments that were previously too dangerous, expensive or inaccessible. We can step into another's person's shoes through a VR experience and experience their point of view. AR enables us to bring live data into our world to help us through processes and see information and objects in situ.

These advances in immersive tech will become more familiar to us in our everyday lives and I'm sure we will see lots of exciting new developments in this space soon.

 

Can you tell us about a piece of work you are most proud of?

In 2018, Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) developed the International Levels of Employment Survey (ILES), a survey of working-age adults living with sight loss that aimed to understand the nature of employment as well as barriers to workforce participation.  According to the study, one in every six working-age Canadians who are blind or partially sighted are self-employed, this is double the Canadain national average for self-employment.  

CNIB has a strong drive to build entrepreneurial skills amongst its client group and has a separate business arm called “Venture Zone” specifically for this purpose.  Entrepreneurial skills are a lifeline for many people who face barriers to employment however engaging the community and teaching these skills can be difficult, an issue that’s only exasperated by the geography of Canada.   

With the end goal to help support blind and partially sighted entrepreneurs, CNIB approached Totem Learning to see what kind of solutions a serious game could offer. Working closely with the CNIB, Totem set about building an all-inclusive app that could handle a wide range of accessibility needs whilst at the same time being fun to play and help develop skills. 

Starting a new business often carries financial risks and it's important that any entrepreneur understands the basics.  It is often said that 50% of new businesses fail within the first year a daunting saying for anyone looking to start a business. However, by gamifying this experience, players are provided with a safe place to learn the basics and build confidence without the fear of going bankrupt in the real world.  

The game encourages players to learn about key aspects of running a business, these include but are not limited to branding, marketing, production, staffing, funding & sales. Venture Zone Game, was released in Canada in May 2019 and was very well received within the CNIB community. To achieve CNIBs goal to create a world where passionate entrepreneurs with sight loss transform ideas into successful businesses without barriers, a second version of the game was created. Venture Zone Global was released in August 2019 to players around the world. 

Anecdotal feedback of both apps has been extremely positive, games for the blind and visually impaired until now have been considerably lacking in challenge and creativity. 

If you would like to chat with one of the team about a potential immersive experience, please do get in touch at hello@blend.media or if you’d like to connect directly with immersive creators and developers from around the world, head to Blend Market and post your project brief.