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Academy Xi Blog

Behind the scenes: how Academy Xi drives student success

By Academy Xi

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Businesses want to be customer-centric, but few come close. How do we put our students front and centre, and deliver the best-in-class training in the digital space? Let’s take a look behind the scenes. 

Continuous learning is not just another fad: for many, it’s now a part of life. Learners from all backgrounds are flocking to short, skills-focussed training more than ever before. Motivations vary wildly – from kickstarting careers to reclaiming confidence, from helping businesses soar to simply learning for enjoyment. 

Check how we at Academy Xi, Make it Happen, for you and your future. 

So what does Academy Xi do differently to deliver the best experience and outcomes for our students? 

Sounds cheesy, but it really is a team effort, weaving human-centred design principles into everything we do. We chat to our leadership to learn more. 

Product Development 

Tiffany McHugh, Head of Product (Learning), explains Academy Xi’s approach to delivering highly engaging content for online learning. 

The Product Team at Academy Xi is made up of highly experienced, technically skilled learning designers who are using Human Centred Design principles to create world class online learning – essentially practising what we preach! With backgrounds from instructional design, teaching, education management, and multimedia design & production, the team uses a mix of learning theory and digital practices to design experiences, not just course content. 

At the heart of it, we aim to demystify technology in a rapidly changing industry. Our job is to explain complex ideas in simple terms, using plain friendly language, supported by plenty of real world examples and industry stories. No lofty jargon, no unexplained terminology, no intimidating concepts – we aim to make our courses as accessible as humanly possible. 

Our courses are particularly unique in that we create our own learning frameworks; these are deeply researched, co-designed with industry experts, and delicately balanced sets of design, business and technical skills that employers in digital industries want. These frameworks underpin all course material we create in-house, ensuring we deliver the learning outcomes students need for their careers now, and into the future. 

The result is a suite of online courses that give students the perfect mix of skills, practice and knowledge they need to confidently advance their careers, or even start a new career

The courses are easy to progress through, using a combination of multimedia content, plenty of interactivity, lots of social engagement opportunities and regular learning support from the mentors and student experience teams. Our learning platform is specifically selected for the best user experience possible, and feedback confirms this to be true – our students love it! 

Learning is a two-way conversation, so we design-in plenty of opportunities for learners to check their growing capability, get feedback and test ideas with others.

We also update our course content regularly to make sure what we teach is as current and fresh as you will find anywhere in the world. 

I was blown away by how the course was put together and loved the fortnightly catch ups with my group. The course structure and delivery kept us all engaged with the topics we were covering each week and a lot of the resources were very comprehensive and super helpful. I liked the mixture of mediums used for course instruction – video content, written and live tutorials – it worked well. I also really enjoyed the quizzes and having break out rooms to discuss concepts with my classmates.” – Imogen Abandowitz, Digital Marketing Elevate graduate

Student Experience

Chris Veness (Head of Design & Business Portfolio)  and Renju Phillip (Head of Technology Portfolio) chat to us about how the student experience is shaped by mentors and the student support team. 

The Academy Xi Student Experience team has a combined 30 years of expertise in delivering online education and building digital capability. The team’s commitment to delivering a first-class learning experience for our students really sets us apart.

Our learning model empowers students to not only absorb new (and sometimes complex) concepts, but also put what they learn into practice right away. 

We do this by engaging some of the world’s best industry practitioners as our ‘Mentors’. With backgrounds ranging from Customer Experience to UX Design and Data Analytics to Software Engineering, these qualified professionals know what first-class looks like and are very passionate about sharing their knowledge.  

Every person who chooses to study our courses achieves the highest level of commitment and support from our team to ensure they succeed – in the course, and beyond graduation.

We pride ourselves on our small class sizes, which allow students to participate more fully in discussions and get to know each other more intimately.

Academy Xi online training was completely different. I made so many new connections and I felt a sense of community that I didn’t with university training. The class sizes were small, so we actually got to know each other – it was way more engaging.” – Oshi Paranavitane, UX UI Design Transform graduate

Our live sessions are run by Mentors who provide far more than just training –  they supply our students with operational perspectives from their current industry practices, using client scenarios and real case studies to bring the learning to life.

“There’s always this question in your mind of whether I could have learned it on YouTube. You see a lot of stories around software developers or engineers self learning on Udemy. But where this course distinguishes itself is the real people – a supportive peer to peer network. Making use of the unlimited mentoring sessions was critical. [My mentor] Albert did a great job and I didn’t know initially that you could book time with him everyday, but then, after a few weeks when I did that, and started accelerating – it made all the difference.” 

– Barry Nguyen, Software Engineering Transform graduate

Our courses are all designed such that our students learn by doing, and walk away with immediately applicable practical skills. Projects are therefore an important cornerstone of each course. Depending on the course, these may be real-world client projects, or personal projects. 

Live client projects are a unique feature of our Transform courses, which really take learning to the next level. Students work on real business problems and deliver their solutions using learned skills. Our students graduate with real world experience and exposure to relevant industry practices… and have the portfolio or github profile to showcase these projects. 

Our unique training and delivery model ensures the highest level of success to best prepare our graduates for any interview.

“I went in with high expectations, which were all met. I totally understand why people recommend this course, and in particular, Hayden… [the training and project] absolutely enabled me to get the job with Westpac.” –  Yuka Mochizuki, UX UI Transform graduate

Career Support 

Will Phillips, Head of Career Support & Talent Services, explains the different tools used to empower our Transform graduates to secure jobs in their field of choosing.

Everyone’s journey is different when it comes to their career path, and here at Academy Xi we provide our graduates with the tools, support and guidance to help them take that first step towards achieving their individual goals and landing that dream job. During their Transform course students have access to our digital Career Toolkit which establishes the foundations needed to be job market ready, covering topics such as resumé writing, crafting the perfect cover letter, building a personal brand and harnessing the power of LinkedIn for your job search. 

Post-course our graduates can opt into our industry-leading Career Support Program where they have access to a Career Coach to help refine their job search strategy, in a one-on-one setting. As participants in the program, the graduates are in the driver’s seat and are accountable for their own job search, with the Academy Xi team on hand to help them navigate the employment market, providing insights, advice and guidance where necessary. Everything from interview preparation, networking tips and mindset coaching is available as part of the Career Support program, which is tailored to each participant’s needs through our personalised approach.

Our Talent Services team are focused on creating awareness within industry about the pipeline of graduates coming through our courses and tap into our extensive network of employers to seek out potential opportunities that might be the right fit for someone at the start of their new career.

As a team, what motivates us is seeing our graduates land that first role and transform their careers into something new and exciting. We are very proud that 9 out of 10 of our active participants in the Career Support Program land a role in under 180 days. In many ways this last phase is the toughest part of the whole course, it’s not easy to get your foot in the door and it takes a lot of drive and determination. A job search is challenging and there is no golden ticket or cheat sheet to achieve instant results. Everyone’s path is different and those graduates who put in the hard yards and stay motivated are the ones that make it happen.

“The practical up-to-the-minute advice from Dan and the Career Support team was absolutely outstanding. Being able to practice for mock interviews and talk through how to best approach my non-linear career journey, and compose my own narrative for the job market, was critical to land my new role shortly afterwards.” 

Alessio Somma, Service Design graduate

In the words of Matt Hill, Co-CEO, “It’s absolutely fantastic to hear these success stories – from both students and corporate clients –  as it reinforces that our approach to learning is delivering tangible individual and business outcomes. It’s so pleasing to see teams come together to deliver a fantastic result for our students and clients.” 

___ 

With Academy Xi, you can make it happen. 

For your business. For your career. For your team. For your future. 

To learn more about our courses for individuals and teams, contact us at [email protected] or 1300 098 165.

Academy Xi Blog

4 ideas to help kick procrastination

By Academy Xi

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Many of us have made procrastination an art form; coming up with a myriad of ways to duck and weave and simply avoid whatever it is that needs to be done. 

And it’s not just about our ‘to do list’ for the day to day tasks that don’t light us up, such as the sink full of dirty dishes that I can see as I peer over the top of my laptop screen right now.

Procrastination is often connected to the bigger picture things that we want for ourselves and our lives – dreams and goals that we would love to make a reality.

It seems that many of us actively avoid what we truly want for ourselves. And the pile of dirty dishes.

So, why do we do it?

Much has been discussed and written on the topic and there are a number of theories as to why we procrastinate.

One theory suggests that it is a form of stress relief. Former lawyer turned author and motivational speaker, Mel Robbins, agrees with this view and urges people to recognise that they aren’t ‘procrastinators’ but that they have the ‘habit of procrastinating’. 

She believes that the main trigger for procrastination is always stress and that we procrastinate to avoid doing something and the reward we get for avoiding doing that thing is a bit of stress relief.

Another theory comes from behavioral psychology research. ‘Time inconsistency’ looks at how the human brain values immediate gains over future rewards. 

New Year’s Eve is a good example. We might create a few (or an extensive list…) of goals that we want to achieve over the coming 12 months. Our brains recognise that it would be a very good idea to take the regular actions needed to make these goals a reality. We could even imagine what it would be like in the future, once we have made the goal happen.

And for a few days, weeks or even months we may well take these daily actions that move us closer to meeting our goals. Yay for us.

But, research shows that when given the choice, our brains much prefer instant gratification to the longer term benefits of those now seemingly lofty goals we had set. When push comes to shove, our brains are more likely to nudge us toward the thing that gives us the immediate rewards over the actions necessary to achieve our longer term desires. 

How can we bust procrastination?

There are loads of tips, ideas and advice available for how to bust procrastination. We’ve rounded up a bunch to get you started.

Temptation Bundling

James Clear is the New York Times best selling author of “Atomic Habits”, which is well worth getting your hands/eyes/ears on, if you haven’t already.

One interesting idea he swears by for curbing procrastination and boosting willpower is called ‘temptation bundling.’

The basic idea is to do something that you love (or at least quite enjoy), while at the same time doing something that you tend to procrastinate on.

Some examples of temptation bundling he suggests include:

  • Only listen to audiobooks or podcasts you love while exercising 
  • Only get a pedicure while processing overdue work emails
  • Only binge watch the latest Netflix series while doing household chores

Whatever you choose, the basic format is: 

Only do (thing you love) while doing (thing you procrastinate on).

Like to know more about ‘Temptation Bundling’? Have a read of this article, which is an excerpt from ‘Atomic Habits’.

Do one thing

Mel Robbins, who we mentioned earlier, is an author and motivational speaker who is ‘teaching people how to improve their lives one decision at a time’. She suggests the following idea if you find yourself stuck in a procrastination rut at work or during study.

First up, acknowledge the stress

When you catch yourself procrastinating, stop and acknowledge that there is something (or a number of things) that you are stressed about. It doesn’t have to go deeper than purely acknowledging the fact you’re stressed about it.

Count back from 5 to 1

Once you’ve acknowledged the stress, count back: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Mel believes that counting back from 5 to 1 will interrupt the stress habit that is procrastinating.

Then do one thing

Right after counting back from five, choose one thing and work on it for only five minutes. The idea is that you are breaking the habit of avoidance by acknowledging the stress and shifting the focus to work, but only for the super short time of five minutes.

Research suggests that by stopping procrastination in its tracks, admitting to the stress and then working on one thing for just for five minutes, that at least 80% of people will be encouraged to keep going with the activity (as opposed to retreating back into the stress/procrastination cycle).

You can check out more tips and ideas (or as she calls them ‘Pep Talks for Life’) from Mel Robbins on YouTube.

30 day procrastination diet

I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see or hear the word ‘diet’ I am about as far from motivated or excited as I can get.

But this one doesn’t involve ditching my favourite treats (unless, of course, that is something I have been procrastinating about, and well then, it might be included in this following idea after all. Dammit).

Canadian born writer, Robin Sharma, is best known for penning the book series, ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’. He writes and speaks about anything and everything to do with stress management and spirituality.

One of his many tactics to stop fanning the flames of procrastination is the idea of a 30 day procrastination diet. Sharma says that by sticking to the plan for a full 30 days, we will be retraining our subconscious mind, which apparently runs 95% of our life.  

He suggests we get started sooner rather than later and just get going (as in, not procrastinate about it…)

Every day for 30 days you have to choose something that you’ve been resisting and do it. The action or activity needs to be different each day and could be as simple as making your bed right after waking up in the morning. Exercising first thing. Public speaking. Decluttering your wardrobe. Doing your tax return. Paying a bill. Calling your gran. Whatever you have been putting off.

The idea being, that as you start to do more things that you’ve been resisting, you are rewiring the brain and training it to be in action around resistance.

When you do the things that you have been resisting, you take back the power that you gave to the things you were resisting. And in doing so Sharma claims that we will increase our energy, willpower, confidence and personal power. Sounds like it might be worth a crack…

Sharma doesn’t specify to do so, but I would imagine it would help to brain dump a list of 30 things before you begin the month to avoid scrambling day to day to come up with stuff to action. Just a thought.

Robin Sharma shares a whole stack of ideas and tactics to ditch procrastination in this video on his YouTube channel.

Hypnosis

For some the mention of hypnosis may conjure up images of a person in a deep trance being told to behave like a chicken on a stage in front of a large audience of onlookers.

If you can separate the idea of hypnosis from this image for a moment, you may be interested to know that it can have a lasting positive effect on your procrastinating ways.

Hypnosis works by encouraging the participant to drop into a very relaxed state, usually through a guided visualisation, and once in this deep state, suggestions are made to redirect the thinking that takes place in the subconscious mind, to encourage more useful and beneficial thoughts and ideas.

Many people have used this approach to assist with a wide range of issues, from quitting smoking and easing social anxiety to improving sports performance.

The cool thing is, you don’t necessarily have to go to a hypnotist. There are downloadable tracks available online, at fairly reasonable prices.

There’s a selection of options for overcoming procrastination on the popular site, Hypnosis Downloads.

If all else fails…laugh

Tim Urban has never been able to shake his habit of waiting until the last minute to get things done. His TedTalk, ‘Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator’, is insightful, hilarious and incredibly relatable and has over a whopping 41 million views.

Grab some popcorn and give yourself 15 minutes to watch it….technically it’s not procrastinating…it’s ‘research’…just try to avoid spending two hours watching cute kitten videos afterwards.