Learning to build an eLearning platform

The story of Maxcode and Splintt

They say “you live and you learn”, but the way we acquire information has changed so much in the past years. With the revolution of internet and social media, instructional manuals slowly become obsolete and hard to update. Traditional learning strives to keep pace with the increasing desire from users to have visual, interactive trainings at their disposal 24/7. This is where Splintt comes into picture.

How Splintt started

It was 2008 when Natasja Jager, founder and director of Splintt, noticed these changing trends and decided to switch from her classroom training business to eLearning. With the help of a Dutch developer, Splintt was born. In the beginning, she used the system to host online training assessments, videos and stories that she distributed to her client’s user groups.

Then the Internet caught wind and everything changed. Niels van Drimmelen became the business partner of Natasja, and introduced Splintt to Maxcode in order to host the platform and bring it online.

Here we are at the beginning of a beautiful partnership.

Learn the ropes

As the company grew, bugs and technical hiccups revealed the need for a team to bring the application to the next level. Within the company, they divided the roles, with Niels becoming fully involved on the technical side and Natasja on the business side of the company, by discussing with the clients to find out the message they wanted to bring across, as well as understand their learning goals. Maxcode took the third role: since so far they were doing the hosting for Splintt, and since they understood how the application worked, they became the dedicated software developer team for the Splintt application.

The project started with a team of two people, under the supervision of Niels, who brought their clients’ wishes and their own ideas together and discussed it with the team to see how to achieve the most effective functional perspective. As soon as the work started, they realized that the written code was at the point of no return and they trusted the Maxcode team to start fresh with a newly written application.

Two heads are better than one

With the software development needs satisfied, the Splintt team realized that the eLearning platform also needed talented people that could build the didactical modules for the learning platform.

Since it was a new area of expertise, it was difficult to find the right people with the proper skills to conduct this activity. This is where Maxcode jumped in again to help, and, together with Splintt, they built and trained a team of professional eLearning editors that grew into a strong team of their own. In time, the team discovered and learned new skills, from technical abilities to project management, and proved their worth and their qualities to the Splintt team.

This is how a long and beautiful collaboration started, and how the adventure of Splintt took shape, with victories and difficulties, as any adventure goes. A huge test of this partnership came together with one of their milestones, when a Splintt client wanted to personalize the experience of the end-users for the application with functionalities that did not exist at that point.

This was a great opportunity to invest in the features for the platform, as well as plan work for an expanding team to implement all these changes. However, the client decided to cancel the project. The development stopped, the workflow reduced and the teams had to adapt quickly to this new change in setting.

There was no point in wallowing and accepting defeat, but rather in working together to solve the problem. The teams both in the Netherlands and in Iasi became smaller to fit the new needs and Splintt took this curveball and turned it into a homerun together with Maxcode. This openness and their shared experience has cemented the strong connection between the two teams, Splintt and Maxcode, into one big team of dedicated people.

Great minds think alike

The software discussions are open: developers share ideas about the platform constantly, and their input is valuable and treated as such. Both the developers and the QA engineers know the platform like the back of their hands and their responsible spirit will always put the sake of the product ahead of any ego. The development team learned to adapt their technologies and style to the different integration needs of the Splintt clients proving that, beyond knowledge and talent, a flexible spirit will go a long way.

On the technology side, the team uses ASP .NET, Angular JS, HTML/SCSS as well as Azure technologies such as Cloud Services and Application Gateway, yet they are continuously improving the process, their constant goal being to migrate to new technologies as the domain advances and becomes modern, leaving old technologies behind. One of their main concerns is the importance of the quality of the applications they develop, which they assure by using automated tests that run on builds and releases and by using SonarQube by applying custom static code analysis rules. With software being an ever-changing domain, the developers’ duty is to perfect their trade, regardless of the project they are working on.

For the Philpaper platform, the editing team works with multiple eLearning authoring tools, such as Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate and Lectora Publisher. Some client modules also require image editing (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator), video editing (Adobe Premiere), and basic programming skills (HTML5, CSS and JavaScript).

This responsible nature, as well as their hard work, is what recommends Maxcode in the life-long collaboration with Splintt. The team’s enthusiasm, motivation and investment in finding solutions rather than admitting defeat in the face of adversity are values strong embedded both in the Maxcode team as well as in the Dutch Splintt team. It is this involvement and passion to do things right that has created a core of connection. Being the professionals they are, the Splintt team surrounds themselves with people that challenge their ideas, rather than saying yes to everything, even if it might not work. They have found exactly this and more in the Maxcode team, people who recognize merits and accept recognition in their end, who create a family vibe, even miles away, and who use humor and great energy to make the distance seem minutes away.

Knowledge is power

When Splintt chose Maxcode years ago for their development skills, they discovered talented people from a country that proved itself emerging as a competitor in the market of quality software products delivered all around the world. By choosing and maintaining the partnership with the team in Romania, Splintt broke the stereotype and proved that they can beat their competition not only in pricing, but also by providing a high-quality software application, built by passionate Romanian developers.

What better proof for their work than testimonials from clients who adopted the Splintt Philpaper app for their employees, decided to switch to an internal system, and then choosing to return to Splintt because it was the best learning platform they have ever worked with.

The user-friendly experience of the platform is one of the top appreciations of the Splintt clients, and it is the pride of both the Dutch and Maxcode teams that they are building the right thing in the right way. That, together with the great support offered by both teams for the clients implementing the system, is the secret recipe to building the perfect experience from the ground up.

With the help of their clients’ feedback, both Splintt and the development team grew together, they evolved and improved their processes and, by doing so, they created both a great setting to learn and share learning as well as a strong family with a single goal in mind: to deliver the perfect product.