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Written By: Farah Ahmed

The last week of Ramadan was full of surprises! And as promised, today’s article will feature the international speakers that were guests in the summit. 

Let’s take a quick look at these tempting panels…

Day 22 displayed “The Future of E-Learning after COVID19” with Muhamed Reda, technology education specialist and owner of EduVation, Dr. RashaEssam, educational technology lecturer in AUC and consultant, and Rasha Ashraf, software project manager and currently working in a project for the digital transformation of Egypt’s cultural heritage in the Ministry of Culture.

They started the stream putting some lights on the importance of E-Learning. Dr. Rasha described its facilitation for any student to obtain a degree overseas without having to travel, and the possibility of earning a degree while working as well. In short, it makes the person a life-long learner. While Rasha tackled it from the children’s perspective, stating that it provides an interactive environment and gives them a new higher edge of learning. Later, Mohamed added to its importance the achievement of the principle of equality between people; as they can access education anywhere at any time. Also, it saves time, cost, and effort. He then agreed with both women on its global domain and its social interaction. 

Discussing the biggest challenges now and post-COVID 19, Dr. Rasha mentioned some points such as the misinterpretation of E-Learning due to the lack of training for teachers, not all schools have the learning management system, besides the unqualified teaching mode. While Rasha highlighted the challenge from the children’s domain stating the biggest one for kids from 3-12 years, is keeping them interested. Likewise, the E-content creators must be always updated, as the market develops very fast. For her, budget and the difference between formal education and E-learning difference are big competitions as well. Mohamed Reda sees the next period as the era of prosperity in digital education; where there will be an increase in initiatives and investment in education’s infrastructure. 

Later, they gave some insights on the tools needed for E-learning, like:

  • Microsoft Themes
  • Google Classroom
  • Learnovia 
  • Learning Management System (Model)
  • Flash Adobe and Adobe Captivate
  • Articulate Storyline 360

Here you go our International experts’ section! Starting by “Gamification for Solving Problems, Increasing engagement & market research” on the 23rd day. 

Betty Adamou: CEO and founder of Research through Gaming (RTG), the inventor of ResearchGames™, and author of academic text-book, “Games and Gamification in Market Research”. 

She sees games and data changing the world everywhere and helping businesses grow; games are indeed data collection tools and the most engaging medium. She then clarifies that it applies in any discipline; in employee engagement, training, healthcare industry, online learning, etc. 

Steve Bocska: CEO of PUG Interactive, an award-winning company that uses gameplay principles and technologies to solve challenging business problems. For him, ‘Engagement’ is a competitive drive; it keeps the company ahead, like Nike, Sephora, and Starbucks. It is increasingly important for survival and it was highlighted during this period. In the video game industry, engagement is the product, and the bar of engagement in this industry is so high, as you try consistently to attract customers. 

Will Stuart Jones: Head of Solutions Consulting at audience engagement specialists 3radical. When asked about how gamification and mobile applications have a positive impact on customer engagement and experience, Will agreed with Betty and Steve, as it is all about data. Businesses use gamification to capture data to target their consumers/audiences more effectively. 

Regarding market research data collection, Betty instructs to examine the variables of the market you target and consider the clients’ recent objectives. Thus, it is all about using games as a technique for marketing. At the same time, Will added the role of ‘Gamification’ in market research and gamifying some elements in a website, for instance, to observe consumer behavior. Steve laid down a little disagreement, illustrating that there is another layer that should also be considered, which consists of the personality and the motivation of the sector that I’m targeting. Thereafter, objectively asking about the motivators I’m trying to drag them for and how to keep them in the loop. So, it has to be always tempered with the business goals, and to achieve that, consider 3 factors to create engagement: 

  1. Are the community members making interesting choices? 
  2. What is the consequence of those actions? 
  3. How much time pressure you put on someone for engagement?

Linked to the same topic, “The Impact of Gamification on Marketing, Employee Engagement, and Learning” was the focus of the next day! 

Rachel Swann: Commercial Director at 3radical based in the UK. She carries the belief that Gamification is an extension of audience engagement and gives a real-time value exchange. 

Karl Kapp: Instruction Technology professor at the Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and the author of “The gamification of learning and instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education”. He maintains the belief that Gamification is all about engagement and methodologies of engaging people; what elements of games lead to engagement over time.

Ferdinand Goetzen: Director of Marketing & Growth at 3D Hubs an on-demand manufacturing platform in the Netherlands. 

How can gamification improve the engagement of companies with their customers? Rachel considers that it’s all concerning ‘engagement’ and it’s about cutting in through by saying ‘what in it for me’ as a customer. There is now the privilege of technology in business. As a business owner, I can get so much data about my customers to personalize the engagement and that’s where comes gamification by giving people choice on how and what they are going to do. When the customer feels that he is valued by the brand it generates loyalty.

How can I attract my customers following the most marketing strategies? Ferdinand summarizes the core principles behind successful marketing are:

  1. Knowing your customer and it’s more than having a customer persona, it is having initial discussions and engagement. 
  2. Having the right data
  3. Being updated; knowing what/why/how it’s happening 
  4. Using your knowledge of your customer and the right data to test new channels 

How can I create more exciting educational opportunities? Karl stated that the most important thing is having a ‘compelling content’; give the customers items that have meaning to them and go through ‘feedback loops’. 

How can we get the benefits of using non-financial incentives to increase payer’s activities rates? Rachel agreed with Karl on knowing your customers and feedback loops, and also highlighting what she mentioned before on ‘what in it for me’ question. Moreover, she deeply explained the notion of ‘profiling segmentation’. 

More related to the topic, Ferdinand clarified that there’s no difference between’ Growth Hacking’ and marketing, it is just an approach towards marketing. Then clarified the ideologies behind growth hacking are:

  1. Importance of data.
  2. Taking a linear experimental approach.
  3. Taking a full customer journey approach. 

What are the appropriate tools to use in a classroom or corporate training environment to increase engagement? Some exercises were mentioned by Karl, such as Self-Motivation Theory and breakout rooms in zoom. In the end, he gives a couple of advice on starting game-based learning:

  1. ‘Learning by Doing’ technique; start playing different kinds of games, games you like and don’t like, to have the practical experience. For instance, board games and connect games. Then apply it in your situation; applying those concepts to your area or field. 
  2. ‘Resources’ including books, LinkedIn Learning courses, and Growth Engineering courses 

Day 25 ended the Gamification round by “The Power of Gamification”.

Lilian AbouHamdan: HR expert in the banking industry, certified in “Applying Gamification in L&D” from Gamification, and did the first board game as part of the “Youth Leadership Workshop”. Mr. Nicolas Babin: President at Babin Business Consulting as well as co-founder of MirambeauAppCare the publisher of the award-winning Diabilive app (diabetes management) since 2017. Rob Alvarez: The host of Professor Game podcast and teaches at IE Business School. 

Lilian begins by the way technologies taking place in the administrative work, and how the integration of artificial intelligence is clear. In this way, HR should integrate technology using Gamification to make the employees more productive. Followed by Nicolas ensuring that AI augments HR, and like that, HR persons are transforming. Rob adds that it’s necessary to be associated with the results as well. 

Then we find our panelists’ opinions match with each other on the evolution of AI and the various ways to use game-based learning to add value to the learning sessions. Rob illustrates that there is an evolution in AI that takes you to the next level. Everything builds upon each other; there is a lot of materials that we can use as we don’t have to start from scratch. Nicolas and Lilian accord with Rob, although it’s a huge shift for employees and students, it’s considered an opportunity and we shouldn’t go steps back. One of the positive sides, we know have a choice and the strong possibility of hybrid learning.

During transformations, in Gamification, you must put people first, their motives, their mindset, and the consequences on them. It is an element in making education exciting again, making business enhance, and a deconstruction method too. 

Concerning staying positive through the pandemic, Lilian started spreading COVID 19 awareness using gamification. While Rob’s method is taking all in and try to grasp an opportunity is a way to stay positive. As for Nicolas, he praises people becoming more connected and assures rebound eventually.

Stay tuned for the last coverage of the summit and don’t forget to check the SPECIAL panels on the links below!

Day 22:

Day 23:

Day 24:

Day 25:


Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma



Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here:

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021



The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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Interview with Keith F Watson -Online Tutor ICS Learn



“We feature our student success stories in our monthly Student Newsletter, as we know this inspires learners to keep going with their studies, as well as showing them how other students overcame the challenges they faced” Keith F Watson – ICS Learn


The Interviewee: Keith F Watson, LL.M, Chartered FCIPD, FCMI, FLPI, FITOL

Job Title: Owner 360 HR Solutions and Online Tutor ICS Learn

Keith’s qualifications include LL.M (Employment Law and Practice) and CIPD. A tutor since 2007, Keith worked in the financial services sector from 2006 in a variety of senior HR roles before setting up his consultancy in 2016. He’s actively involved with the CIPD in various capacities, including being a past branch chair, member of Council and a voluntary membership assessor. He is currently a member of the Professional Standards Panel (Chair) and a member of the Qualifications Advisory Group, as well as a member of the Employment Tribunal. Keith is also an Equality Act Assessor in the Sheriff Courts.

1-HR Revolution Middle East: The CIPD has become one of the most important certifications in the HR and the L&D field. Would you please explain to our readers the scientific value of the CIPD Certification, as well as its impact on the professional career progression in those fields?

ICS Learn: HR is an art underpinned by science, and the CIPD qualification benefits individuals and organisations by going beyond the technical aspects of people management and development. 

Whilst the qualification requires a robust technical knowledge across a range of topics, the real strength lies in the requirement to adapt that knowledge to the business environment and become a critical thinker who can devise best-fit solutions.

There is no doubt that the increasing requirement by organisations for their HR teams to have CIPD qualifications is due to those already with these qualifications having demonstrated the effective application of their technical knowledge in the workplace, rather than taking answers from a book and trying to make them fit situations where they simply don’t work

2- HR Revolution Middle East: From your experience, what are the most recurring challenges do learners have in completing their CIPD studies? What recommendations would you give them to help facilitate their time management for study?

ICS Learn: One of the most reoccurring challenges is time management. New learners – especially those studying part-time – do sometimes underestimate the time commitment in undertaking a professional qualification. Whilst we generally recognise the time necessary for classroom attendance, be it in-person or virtually, we often forget about the additional time required for self-study, research, and assignments – all of which are critical to our success.

There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and even in lockdown, there are very few people claiming to have a lot of free time. Therefore, we must decide (ideally in advance) what activities we are going to put aside for the duration of our studies.

We all have different approaches to learning, so it’s important to free up the time when we’re going to be most effective, be that early in the morning, lunchtime, evening or later at night. Some people study better in short bursts, whereas others prefer to set aside a specific day at the weekend. There is no right or wrong way to study, it’s simply a question of when works best for you.  

Another reoccurring challenge for students looking to complete their CIPD qualification is understanding the question set. Whilst it is never the intention of an examiner to confuse a student with a question, it does sometimes happen. For example, it’s often said that businesses working in English are divided by a common language and HR practice is no different. An SME, for instance, can be a “small medium enterprise” or a “subject matter expert”. To avoid confusion, the first step is to read the question not once, not twice but at least three times to understand what has been written. If there is the slightest doubt as to what is being asked, seek clarification from your tutor.

3- HR Revolution Middle East:  To what extent do you believe that the body of knowledge of the CIPD Certifications can be applied to practical work in different countries?

ICS Learn: Whilst the legal aspects of the CIPD qualification are based on UK law, most CIPD qualifications are very general so that they can be applied internationally. Being that culture varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the core elements of HR practice remain the same in that we help support organisations in achieving their objectives through good people management and development practices.

The breadth of learning is a distinct advantage in all jurisdictions, as is knowing about practice and regulations in other jurisdictions. Given that laws and regulations vary over time, being able to identify and apply relevant regulations in an assignment is a valuable skill to have regardless of whether the same regulations apply in the countries we support. I have often joked that if I was ever to become an employee again, I would wish my contract to be based on Indonesian law as in that jurisdiction employees must agree to their dismissal!  

4- HR Revolution Middle East: As an Instructor, how did your journey with ICS start? What makes you most passionate about this role?

ICS Learn: I started my journey with ICS Learn more than 20 years ago as a CIPD student at which time, in addition to assignments, each module was tested by exam. Around 14 years ago, I received an email from one of my former ICS Learn tutors asking if I would be interested in attending an Advanced Employment Law workshop she was running as she was looking to retire from these workshops and she had been asked to look for a potential successor. Having literally that weekend just finished my dissertation for my master’s degree in Employment Law, for the first time in years I had a “free” weekend.

As I always enjoyed such workshops I readily agreed to attend. However, on arrival, I received a message that the tutor was unfortunately unable to attend and I was instead asked to run the workshop! Perhaps it was being thrown in at the deep end with no time to worry about anything, but the workshop was a great success with all the attendees passing their Employment Law exam a few months later and my having fully acquired the tutoring bug.

Over the years much has changed, and I have had the pleasure of running training sessions and workshops on a variety of CIPD and non-CIPD topics both virtually and in numerous countries including Singapore, India, Sudan, Nigeria, and of course in the Middle East both in UAE and KSA.

Whilst HR and the world has evolved, facilitating learning in others whilst learning from students and their personal workplace experiences is as inspiring and exciting today as it was 14 years ago.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: As a learner how did the CIPD qualification change your life?

ICS Learn: Without a doubt, gaining a CIPD qualification has been life-changing and has allowed me to have not only a successful career in HR within financial services but to successfully run my consultancy for the last 5 years. I must admit that being able to work internationally in so many different regions has been a distinct bonus and certainly embeds the learning that no matter what we do in HR there is always more than one way of doing it.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: What special tips would you share with professionals unable to choose the appropriate CIPD Certification Level for them? How does ICS Learn help learners in taking this step?

ICS Learn: Our advice would always be to chat to our CIPD Course Advisors, whether that be through our website, email, or on the phone. Their job is to talk through your experience, ambitions, and previous education to make sure that you choose the right CIPD course for you.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: What are the most common challenges CIPD students face? What pieces of advice do you have for them?

ICS Learn: As detailed in question 2, the most common challenge is time. We must be willing to accept that in taking on a new challenge we must set aside some of our current activities. Short term pain for long term gain!

8- HR Revolution Middle East: What should be the “competencies” of a CIPD student in order to excel and accomplish the degree?

ICS Learn: Self-discipline, commitment, curiosity, an open mindset, and of course an ability to understand and write in business English 

9- HR Revolution Middle East: ICS Learn cares to publish students’ success stories with different certifications and how they got opportunities to progress substantially in their careers. How often do you refer to those stories to encourage reluctant learners to finish their studies?

ICS Learn: We feature our student success stories in our monthly Student Newsletter, as we know this inspires learners to keep going with their studies, as well as showing them how other students overcame the challenges they faced. It’s a great way for students to learn from each other!


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