Forbes Middle East

Tech-Based Learning Hits The Gulf: Is A New Learning Hub On The Rise?

Val Jusufi, CEO at the LEORON Institute, reveals how strategy, expertise, and a bit of luck has resulted in a turn of events for the better.


As a new CEO for the LEORON Institute, what new trends are you witnessing in the industry?

One word—EdTech. E-learning, distance learning, virtual, augmented reality, and much more. From now on we’ll be learning way more often from the comfort of our home, office or workplace and the training mix will be a lot more diverse in delivery types, learning methods, and content.

Tech-based learning has seen record-high adoption in the GCC region, and I expected it will reach new heights in term of sales volumes during 2021.

During the crisis you undertook product transforma­tion, cut prices, and built up your IT infrastruc­ture. How did you achieve this?

In all honesty, we were lucky to be ahead and implicitly expect this. It was a corporate near-death experience back in March 2020 as we were deprived of face-to-face events—the backbone of all our services. But years ago, we sensed the need to introduce virtual learning and built an e-learning platform— Ta3leem. We replicated much of this experience to foster our new mode of delivery for LEORON live training, and it worked. We trained a record number of profession­als in 2020.

Do you feel you caught up with regional digital transforma­tion or led from the front?

We’re actually a pioneer in digital transforma­tion. We’ve helped everyone, from listed companies to government entities, comply with national strategic frameworks such as the Saudi Vision 2030. Last year, however, the region became a competing arena for global providers who were no longer required to be physically present, and the competitio­n increased tenfold. We believe LEORON sustained the competitio­n by offering a superior product.

As a direct result of this crisisindu­ced change, the GCC region has become a global learning hub, and we’re fortunate to spearhead the market.

What’s next?

First and foremost, our people. Our staff worked relentless­ly to keep us afloat and improve our clients’ capabiliti­es during the crisis. I won’t forget that.

Apart from that, we’ll need to prioritize internatio­nal expansion and business diversific­ation. We’ve started well with two new franchises in UK and Egypt.

A separate LEORON coaching and consulting venture is underway, too. And we’ve also improved our portfolio, which should help us enforce our position as a market leader.

As a female leader, why do you think there are so few women in senior leadership positions in the Middle East?

Women in the GCC are more visible today than ever before, and most countries have taken a giant step forward in empowering women in taking leading roles in C-suite positions and boards of directors. The road to senior leadership takes years of devotion and sacrifice, which is often cut short by women and men alike. Giving up halfway is usually the main reason for not reaching the zenith of your potential.

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