BlogOppida’s end of the year wrap-up: 2020!

2020 … a year of global transformation and uncertainty.

2020 … a year of global transformation and uncertainty. A year where these sentences were the norm:

  • ‘I was supposed to be … right now’,
  • ‘You have yourself on mute’ and,
  • ‘I really don’t know … it just depends …’

Personally, I started the year with a plan to take some time off. I was going to bring Oppida to a sustainable, moderate position and then take some downtime—the idea being I would come back excited to either grow Oppida or take a different path in life. 

Then digital education became the favourite aunty, instead of the poor cousin! Suddenly, people were interested in hearing what we had to say about raising the bar in online education and how we are taking a stand for learning design. Companies started to lean in to their move online and saw the value in our support to make it a quality move for their learners.

So, in short, Oppida is here to stay … we have work to do!!

On behalf of the whole Oppida team, I would like to thank all our clients for the trust they have put in us in 2020 to support their digital education initiatives. 

Here are some 2020 Oppida fast stats:

  • 12 unique clients (10 new in 2020) and over 35 individual projects. 
  • 20 active Oppida team members. 
  • Appointment of a Head of Operations, Head of Growth and Partnerships, and a Virtual CFO. 
  • Appointment of 4 full-time team members!
  • Co-founding LeePakk Productions.
  • Brand strategy complete to inform an uplift in 2021.

As I reflect on this list, I am in awe. Our amazing team managed to do all this while also grappling with the effects of 2020 on their own lives. Everyone showed up with extreme gratefulness and positivity every day. Even as emotions were running high for us and our clients, we worked together and focused on delivering value and reassuring each other it will all be ok. 

So, what did Oppida and I learn in 2020?

Individuals are amazing and there is a strong desire for educational improvement!

We saw so many cases of digital education champions coming to the surface to advocate a new, more flexible way of delivering. Some were forced by circumstance, others were already waving the digital education flag. Oppida is in NO WAY hoping that the events of 2020 mean a too dramatic shift from face to face delivery … However, we are excited to see the sector start to understand the value of a blended learning experience. Now more than ever, we need human connection so we hope each organisation embraces and designs for all 3 delivery modes: face to face, blended and online. 

Critical thinking skills are necessary in order to function effectively in the current environment

So is the ability to hold two opposing views lightly and pragmatically. The world is being divided more and more every day. If it’s not ‘Trump vs Biden’, ‘leave or remain’ and now ‘mask or no mask’, we are all being constantly challenged to ‘pick a side’. This is a dangerous and slippery slope for societies … To ensure you don’t fall into this well-laid trap by having unrelenting, unmovable points of view, you will need a strong dose of critical thinking. This so-called ‘soft skill’ now has to be an essential ‘human skill’. The ability to ask hundreds of probing questions on topics that affect your life and humanity is now the only way you can find truth. 

In my opinion, educators have a huge role to play in this: first, leading by example, then by opening up their classrooms for rigorous, sometimes uncomfortable, debate. To do this well they will need the skills to create forums, environments and platforms that promote psychological safety (either online or face to face) and the personal resolve to have their own views challenged. 

By the way … developing your critical thinking skills can start with just sitting down with someone who thinks the total opposite from you! Ask questions, listen to the answers and try and respond without too much emotion. 

Adaptability is a superpower!

All year I have been practising gratitude for many things, one of which was that I decided to found a fully remote digital company in digital learning. For us as an organisation there was no real transition to a new way of doing things. We were already equipped with all the tools and skills to work from anywhere in the world. My own personal desire for full freedom and flexibility paid off in the way in which I built Oppida. This enabled us to really show up in our support for our clients as they sometimes navigated a ‘whole new world’ of remote working.

We watched as they realised the pros and cons of working from home … We met nearly everyone’s beloved pets and sometimes their offspring! We got to know each other and our clients in a new way. I also realised there are still 10 Oppida team members I have never met in person … Who knows how tall they are? 

Underlying the ability to adapt is a sense of trust. I am proud of the trust we have built as a team and excited to see how this bond supports us in 2021 and beyond. 

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What does 2021 have in store for Oppida?

Well, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we have no idea what the future holds! All we know is that we love the types of projects we are winning and the clients we are getting a chance to work with. We are committed to being a part of the solution in higher education, not the problem. We are committed to raising the bar and encouraging the role of Learning Designer to bloom in online course development. We are committed to creating a company with heart that allows everyone to grow and make an impact.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas break. See you in 2021 🙂


Writer’s Bio

Bianca is an experienced educator in K-12 and higher education. With a passion for learning design and online learning—she founded Oppida in 2019. Follow her on LinkedIn or be sure to visit her website here.

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