Dr. Claudio Manassero is the Founder and CEO of TecTrain, a Brazilian-based training company that uses tech to improve business learning. He is also a distributor of Marketplace Simulations in Brazil. Before the Covid-19 crisis, Claudio had started a new venture integrating Marketplace’s “Introduction to Marketing” simulation into a fully stand-alone, online business class. It was ready for launch just as the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic. While he had performed a few pilot programs, it had yet to hit the market when the education world changed.
Like millions of other small businesses around the world, TecTrain’s activities were brought to an immediate halt last March. In the chaotic first weeks, it was unclear how business could proceed, or even if it would. However, with his creative and adaptive approach to business and partnerships, Claudio has since found himself back in the game.
The launch of Claudio’s online business class had itself been driven by a need to adapt to a changing education climate, even before COVID. In the face of extreme fluctuation in the value of currency in the country and large-scale private university mergers, many schools were shifting away from comprehensive business simulations like Marketplace. As a marketing professor himself, Claudio understood the value of a comprehensive, deep, learning experience to his students’ success. However, in order to provide these experiences as a distributor, TecTrain would need to adjust its business strategy to adapt to the new climate. Claudio wanted a solution that could help TecTrain continue to offer exceptional business education tools while positioning it to thrive within a dramatically changing landscape. Thus was born Claudio’s “course in a box” idea.
In his new “course in a box” model, Claudio has included a suite of custom online course materials to be tied into the Marketplace experience. In order to offer the simulations within the context of an online course, he developed a new platform which could hold a variety of interconnected content. Integrating a Learning Management System (LMS) with a business management simulation is still a rarity in Brazil, so Dr. Manassero had to create nine lectures and a large number of quizzes and videos to include with Marketplace’s software in order to produce a complete package. The course is nine hours long, and took three months of work to produce all of the material.
In order to expand his market reach, Claudio partnered with the Centro de Integração Empresa Escola, a not-for-profit organization that partners employers with universities to create apprenticeships for students. With COVID-19 drastically inhibiting on-site internships, the organization was seeking virtual options for improving students’ preparation for employment. Claudio’s course-in-a-box, with the Marketplace Simulation included, was the perfect solution. Thus while Claudio has been perfecting the design and delivery of his new product concept, CIEE has taken on the marketing and distribution to their clients. It has really been a win-win partnership.
There have certainly been some logistical issues that arose during the development process. For example, the Marketplace software was developed assuming that the students were engaging with the course on a schedule, something that is not true in a lot of distance learning. This is still in process as Claudio and the Marketplace staff work together to solve the challenge. Another challenge Claudio faces, and one common to those marketing distance learning solutions, is that the client and the students are not the same entity. “It’s a B2B operation” because the purchaser and primary user are companies and institutions who are offering the product to their staff and students. This means the criteria for the product are more stringent, because Dr. Manassero has to appeal to two different groups with different criteria, the students, focused on their personal results, and the professors, focused on both the student’s individual learning and the collective results of everyone who takes the course. Claudio is diligently working to address the needs of both.
Claudio’s primary goal when it comes to distance learning is to “increase the level of learning” and “accelerate … learning”. He feels this is important because the world, especially the business world, is changing at an ever-accelerating pace. This is a phenomenon well-known to science and philosophy called “The Red Queen’s Race”, coined by Lewis Caroll in the second chapter of Through the Looking Glass.
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” 
More information about the TecTrain – CIEE partnership and work can be found at https://tectrain.com.br/tectrain-ciee/.