Meet the Concordia ISPI Case Study Competition Teams

The ISPI Case Study Competition gives university students the opportunity to apply the theories and models they have learned during their graduate studies in Educational Technology to solve an authentic performance problem in an organization. The competition takes place over 10 weeks and culminates with presentations at the annual ISPI conference, which will be held this year in Montreal from April 28 to May 2. This year, two Concordia University teams will be competing, Boost and Emu Performance.

Boost is a group of three leading women who are both  professionals and graduate students. They believe in combining creativity and proven human performance theories to bring companies to the highest level of excellence. Here’s an introduction to the three Boost team members:

  • Gabriela Kotsova has a background in psychology and graphic design. She is currently working as a graphic designer at McGill and Concordia. She is also delivering design workshops to graduate students and assistant teaching a course in learning theories.
  • Laila Ali is an entrepreneur and international business woman.  For over a decade, Laila has been designing and delivering systems training around the globe. Currently, she is pursuing a graduate degree in Educational Technology, while also running Montreal Networks with her partner. Montreal Networks inc. is a preferred provider of technical training to educational institutions and organizations.
  • Sara Vitale is a Master of Arts in Educational Technology student at Concordia University. She is currently completing an instructional design internship at McGill School of Continuing Studies.
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From left: Laila Ali, Gabriela Kotsova and Sara Vitale.

Following are the team’s answers to our questions about the competition.

How did you hear about the Case Competition?

All: “We first learned about the Case Competition at the beginning of our studies in Educational Technology at Concordia. Several people in the program told us wonderful things about the experience, and we dreamed of participating ever since. This year is our year!”

What made you want to be a part of it?

Gabriela: “I was excited about the opportunity to apply my human performance technology (HPT) knowledge in practice, while receiving guidance from some of the best experts in the field.”

Laila: “I hope to apply what I’ve learned about performance improvement in a practical manner, gain insight, discover out of the box ideas, connect with people from different industries and diverse cultures, and meet the stars of our field in person.”

Sara: “ISPI is a strong and supportive community of professionals and researchers from diverse sectors, so I am very eager to broaden my network by participating in the competition and conference. I am interested in hearing about real world applications of HPT models, industry trends and emerging research, and how to leverage new tools and software for learning.”

What are the benefits of being part of this competition?

Gabriela: “The Case Study Competition is truly an amazing experience. I am learning something new every day—from analyzing the multiple causes of performance problems, to effectively communicating with a client and asking the right questions. A big part of what makes the competition such a valuable learning opportunity is the continuous support from mentors. My team and I are extremely grateful for all the help we are receiving.”

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The team’s logo

What are you looking forward to about the conference? Who would you like to meet? What questions would you ask them?

Sara: “We are very excited to mingle with experts from our field and to attend as many scheduled sessions as we can. We are very interested in hearing Leanne Jensen’s talk on Solving Wicked Performance Problems in 100 Days. We are also excited to hear about ROI from Jack Phillips, whom we’ve spent a lot of time learning about in school.

Some questions for the experts:

  • How has the field of performance improvement changed over the span of your career? Where do you think the profession is heading?
  • Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in performance improvement?”

How is it going so far?

Sara: “The case study is rich and complex. Admittedly, the amount of information to sift through, analyze and interpret feels overwhelming at times, especially in this early stage of the competition. However, because each of us has a unique skillset and point of view, we’ve been able to work at the problem from different angles.”

How can ISPI support your future career following the competition?

Laila: “The case study will be a great support for my future career. Its numerous advantages include expanding our communications network and connecting with performance improvement professionals. It will help me and my team pick the right path and have a better career start.”

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