Learning design for a NYC-based cybersecurity startup

Edwin is an interactive training product designed to change human behaviours around cybersecurity.

Using a conversational interface, it provides an easy, practical, and habit-forming way to help organisations change not just what they know about cybersecurity, but what they do. Edwin uses proven learning and behaviour design techniques to help users create habits that will actually keep them and their organisations secure. 

The problem

Most security breaches are caused by human behavior and the average breach costs $3.9M. Most people don’t even know what good habits are, and having them be second nature rarely happens at even the most secure company. Edwin recognised that the traditional approach to cybersecurity training and awareness was inadequate. Online modules and passive video explainers are no more than a box-ticking exercise, and did very little to address the underlying threat to an organization – human behavior. 

The solution

Edwin needed to establish an innovative and effective way to present cybersecurity frameworks, compliance criteria and best practices in a way that actually helped learners form positive and long lasting security behaviours. Working with Edwin’s technology team, we applied our learning design expertise to create a methodology for developing bite-sized interactive modules – what became Edwin’s ‘missions’. 

Tim running an Edwin learning design workshop in NYC

A key innovation in the design of Edwin’s mission structure was how we made it possible for users to actively demonstrate – or ‘prove’ – that they had completed a specific task (like enabling auto updates on their laptop) or were developing security-positive behaviours (like only using secure Wifi networks when out of the office). This included the use of creative mnemonic devices to help users remember and apply simple processes at relevant moments, the deployment of strategic spaced repetition exercises to keep best practices top of mind, and activities that could only be completed if the user was actually using the tools that we advised. 

Each mission is delivered in a conversational interface that allows the user to interact with Edwin. These conversations were designed to include a variety of media (video, audio, animation) to present complex information in simple and accessible ways. We also developed a way for Edwin to have different conversations depending on the user’s experience or familiarity with a particular topic.

To help Edwin develop the breadth of missions they needed to launch, we assembled a team of learning developers and content writers to create missions at scale. We worked closely with Edwin’s in-house cybersecurity expert to ensure that the missions we created were accurate, relevant and were driving the right behaviours.

Key takeaways 

The methodology and content approach that we developed were key to helping Edwin realise their vision of a cybersecurity product that changes human behavior. Edwin has already onboarded paying clients and is in the process of expanding its mission set to cover more areas of security, from developer security to helping university students stay safe online.

For us, the biggest takeaway was the importance of designing learning experiences that actually changed how people behaved. A company is an expression of the behaviours and mindsets of the people within it, so real organisational change starts with the individual. With Edwin, we explored new ways in which creative learning design can have a lasting and positive impact.

Amit Lubling, CEO of Edwin
“LearnJam helped us build a framework, a methodology, a user experience, and now a templatized model for scaling, all around our core business proposition: behavior change in cybersecurity.”

Amit Lubling, Edwin CEO