Interview with Christian Elongue
Grow Learn Connect: Let’s start with the roots. Please tell us about the younger Christian and the milestones that shaped who you are today.
Christian Elongue: I love this question because it helps me revisit the milestones and think about what has been achieved and what still needs to be done. The “younger Christian”, as you said, was [is] someone passionate about reading and a lifelong learner. Even though I was initially trained in sociolinguistics and English-French translation, my curious mind has always been attracted to new things, and after completing over 50 massive open online courses (MOOCs) in various disciplines (economics, innovation management, design thinking, etc.) in one year, I realized the power of the eLearning world. So, I completed my 3rd master’s degree — MSc in Instructional Design and Adult Training from the University of Lille in France and started working as freelance knowledge management and eLearning content developer.
GLC: Tell us about your background in knowledge management (KM). How did you become passionate about that discipline?
CE: As it turns out, I have been regularly using some personal knowledge management practices (seeking, storing, and sharing info) and tools without being conscious of “KM” as a discipline. People close to me know how passionate I am about learning and disseminating knowledge. Whenever I discover something new, be it new software, technique, or best practice, I am always eager to share it on social media or talk about my most recent discovery. But I became a professional in KM after working as a knowledge manager for the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), which later inspired me to complete a certification program in knowledge management and big data in business from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
GLC: How can training professionals benefit from knowledge management?
CE: KM can help training professionals become more:
- Effective by getting the best of their knowledge assets.
- Efficient by leveraging the best practices, hence saving time and resources.
- Competitive. We live in a knowledge economy where access and effective management of data is a strategic advantage.
GLC: What makes you a learning futurist?
CE: I’m a learning futurist not because I can predict the future of learning but because I’m able to use foresight skills to complement insight and hindsight. I love thinking creatively and exploring the direction and meaning of trends, not just within the education field but in connection with social, technological, environmental, cultural, and political factors.
Through blogging and training, I regularly examine and test educational research findings to identify valid learning methods that may develop into technologies and learning strategies. Through Christian Elongue Consulting, I help individuals and institutions recognize the necessity of lifelong learning and game-based solutions. I share what I learn through blogs and LinkedIn, encouraging conversations and idea development about the future of learning.
GLC: Having published 29 articles and delivered keynote speeches on video games for education, you are considered a pioneer in the field of mobile serious games in Africa. What are serious games? Do they have the potential in the SME development sector? Do you have experience successfully implementing such projects in the business sector?
CE: Serious games are video games aimed at problem-solving rather than pure entertainment. They can be directly designed as educational games. Or these could be existing video games that are used for teaching or learning purposes. And while video games involve recreational play, serious games can help learners gain a good understanding of a specific topic and sustain the acquisition of complex competencies. I have written some papers on the need to invest in the development of serious games to improve the quality of education and analyzed selected African games that are coherently combining serious aspects of teaching, learning, communication, or information with the fun aspects of video games. I have also been integrating gamification techniques when designing online training and courses for nonprofits (e.g., WACSI) and businesses in Ghana, Cameroon, and France.
Even though the usefulness of serious games in the military, healthcare, and education sectors has already been proven globally, the level of awareness and adoption of serious gaming among African corporates is still emerging. I observe that some corporates already use technologies related to serious games (e.g., e-learning, collaborative tools, and simulation tools), but we need to invest more in the development and promotion of such games. I particularly help companies integrate serious gaming methods in their hiring and onboarding processes.
GLC: You are the author of the book “Introduction to Children Literature in Cameroon”, which is the first scientific work that takes a holistic approach to the children’s book industry in Cameroon. What prompted you to conduct this research? How did your findings shape the children’s book industry in Cameroon?
CE: I was prompted to write the book on children’s literature because of the scarcity of scientific information. There are many children’s books in Africa, but most are either unknown, invisible, or not accessible. The research findings created more awareness and provided scientific evidence on the cultural and economic potential of the children’s book publishing industry in Africa, using Cameroon – globally known for its writers and illustrators – as a case study. My book inspired many to conduct further research on African children’s literature, and it’s been used as a teaching and learning resource in African and European universities.
GLC: As a development researcher, online facilitator, knowledge management consultant, and social activist working on issues pertaining to social accountability, civil society sustainability, and human rights, you have implemented an impressive list of projects and have a long record of volunteerism. Tell us about some of the projects that you are most proud of.
CE: One of the eLearning projects I’m most proud of is an online course on alternative funding models to build the financial resilience and sustainability of nonprofits in Africa implemented for the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), with support from Wilden Ganzen Foundation. I’m particularly proud of this MOOC because access to funding remains one of the key challenges to civil society sustainability, and the 12 innovative funding alternatives that are presented in the course should prompt civil society leaders from Africa and the world to mobilize financial and non-financial resources more effectively and efficiently.
GLC: You hold three master’s degrees in instructional design (France), development (Egypt), and African studies (Cameroon) and have over 40 professional certificates in knowledge management, public-private partnerships, organizational change management, digital workplace, to name just a few. What professional learning aspirations do you have in mind for yourself for 2022?
CE: In 2022, I aspire to become a certified Google Innovator, an IFC master trainer, an IFC-LPI assessor, a Microsoft Innovative Educator, and Adobe Education Leader to gain more credibility in education and business industry.
GLC: How many languages do you speak?
CE: As most Africans, I’m multilingual, being fluent in a local language (Medumba) and the two official languages of Cameroon (French and English). I also learned Spanish in high school. I can read, write and speak it fluently. I also have a basic understanding of Arabic which I learned when I worked in Egypt for two years.
GLC: You have so many talents, credentials, and work experience. What are three things that most people don’t know about you?
CE: Most people don’t know that:
- I’m also a licensed Evangelist and ordained Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and therefore relatives and Agape House church members in Ghana call me “Pastor”.
- I’m a strong pan African and Afropolitan, unapologetically proud to be black, and meaningfully impacting thousands of lives globally while residing and working in Africa.
- I’m a very funny and joyful person?. I have difficulty spending five minutes in the conversation without cracking a joke. Humor is an inescapable ingredient in my training and facilitation. In a different life, I’ll surely be a humorist or comedian; many say I’m naturally gifted at making people smile.
GLC: What is one thing you would like to change about yourself?
CE: I strongly believe that every person is good and I easily trust people. But I think I need to be more prudent and learn to develop that trust gradually. Life has taught me a few lessons.
GLC: Your three favorite non-fiction books:
- The Holy Bible
- No Easy Road by Dick Eastman
- The School of Obedience by Andrew Murray
GLC: Your three favorite fiction books:
- The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho
- Reunion by Mark Cahill
- The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
GLC: What are your favorite games to play?
- Snooker Stars
- Aurion: Kajuta Gems Fighter
- Aurion: The legacy of the Kori-Odan (for PC)
I discuss other African educational games in this article and this one.