The company now known as Remote-Learner began with its owner's keen interest in education...specifically, on how people learned. While videotape and desktop technologies were beginning to emerge, Bryan Williams was discovering the right tools to help him realize his entrepreneurial goals.
Roughly 20 years would pass before Bryan’s vision got full traction in the eLearning industry, but Bryan’s belief in the power of intention saw his small business holding its own through many seasons of change: “I expected that learning technology would take off; however, free software didn’t enjoy the widespread acceptance in the market it now does.” Another ten years would pass before Remote-Learner’s most prestigious and accomplished partnership allowed the company to come into its own.
“In 1997, I noted the emergence of learning technology. . . [and] in 2003, I determined that online learning technology would likely play a major role in the new century in all learning environments. I had become disillusioned with the commercial model of service delivery and took a close look at open-source, which led me to evaluate Moodle. I began corresponding with the developer of Moodle around October 2003 and we met in New York in February of 2004. During that meeting, basic plans for what is now the Moodle partner program were discussed. Over the next few months, I worked with Martin Dougiamas to refine the Moodle partner’s agreement and business structure of the program.”
Today, Remote-Learner is designated as Moodle partner #1, being the first company admitted to the program.
Serving in an advisory capacity on the original Moodle partner agreement and helping to build brand awareness, Bryan continued to expand the horizons of Remote-Learner to include a notable set of partnerships, each bringing their strengths and passion for high quality products and services. By now, Remote-Learner offers a comprehensive suite of eLearning products and services, including resources from Kaltura, Jasper Soft, Alfresco, Mahara, Red Hat, Adobe, and more. As Remote-Learner’s evolutionary layers grew, so did its expertise and commitment. Having alliances with a number of open- source and commercial vendors that support educational technology in place, Remote-Learner continues to evolve, keeping its eyes on the prize and intention of its founder.
Chairman of Remote-Learner, Bryan Williams can now watch the fruit of his labor of love from a slightly removed perspective, yet he remains focused as his incredible team of leaders fulfill the promises of the company’s ever-evolving strategic plans. When asked where he sees the company going in the next 3-5 years, Bryan’s vision remains unchanged: “Remote-Learner will continue to meet its growth goals and emerge as perhaps the Redhat of on-line learning companies around 2016-17. Most significant is the impact R-L will have on the shape and function of learning technology. R-L will continue to develop a 21st century learning platform that reflects a new understanding of how people learn under different conditions in their lives.”
Many entrepreneurs who began exploring in the technology industry back in the 80s would’ve given up, but Bryan Williams did not. Instead, he maintained the course and even set the pace for others to follow. Some of the biggest obstacles he overcame as Remote-Learner’s founder may have been typical, but his way of addressing those obstacles is just one of the many qualities that make Bryan’s tenacity as a thought-leader and visionary worth remembering. Despite “the vagaries of technology and the difficulty of finding people that can handle the rigor of what we do,” Bryan continues to hold fast to the principle-centered leadership philosophy he embraced from the very beginning: “I try to pay attention to what’s going on in the world and where need exists. I was influenced early in life by Norman Vincent Peale who said (simply), in his classic The Power of Positive Thinking, ‘find a need and fill it’…”. Yet when asked about the single, most important reason for R-L’s success, Bryan responded enthusiastically:
“Passion for the process! Like everything in life, Remote-Learner is a work in progress. As long as there is a good value proposition in place that attracts interest, we will continue to be successful.” Additionally, having excellent and talented employees is key: “Nothing is more important than good team mates.” True to his word, Bryan rewards his employees accordingly. Besides money, his favorite ways to compensate people are travel and educational opportunities. For Bryan Williams, helping people to become all they are capable of, is crucial to their success, and to Remote-Learner’s success. With this combination, market longevity, and continued growth in a sea of change is a given.
At the interview’s closing, Bryan was asked “Based on your years of experience in eLearning and Moodle, what can you say about the future of education and the way the Remote-Learner/Moodle partnership is prepared to address 21st century eLearning challenges ahead?” His answer asks us to look into the future with eagerness and to share in his proven ability to inspire confidence in the adventures ahead: “Fasten your seat belts; the most exciting ride is yet to come.”