The ever-evolving times have brought another visible change in almost all sectors and education has been in the prime spotlight. In the conventional education system, learning in a classroom where a teacher educates academic concepts has been a traditional method of instruction used worldwide. But in contemporary times, it is the talk of the past.
Today, teachers are found educating a large pool of students through the medium of the online classroom.
Learning with the aid of technological advancements has enhanced students’ experience. Changes in the form of learning experience and teaching methodology also witnessed a major shift in educational pedagogy.
However, setting up online schooling was difficult due to the sudden shift mediated by the pandemic’s social distancing norm. The malleability and strategic planning of offline to online mode had many challenges, but PIEX made it possible.
Transitioning education from online to offline mode is PIEX Education Limited with the help of its Founder and Executive Director —Liling Ong.
We interviewed Liling to learn more about the institute. Below are the interview highlights.
Please let us know about the saga story of your career since its beginning.
I have always had a passion for the development and learning of children, and I enjoy working with children. As my family is in business, I was guided to pursue Business and Finance as a career. I have a degree in Business (Banking and Finance) from Monash University and a Master in International Business from Grenoble Graduate School of Business. Upon graduation, I worked for several years in the finance industry.
The turning point of my life was in December 2015 when I volunteered in an orphanage in Cambodia. The experience rekindled my love for children and desire to positively impact children’s lives. I left my finance career in February 2016 to pursue my passion for education.
I started to explore STEAM as an educational approach to teaching children and co-founded STEAM Education Australia in 2016 with four co-founders, developing teaching programs. STEAM uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math as a holistic approach to education. Being new to the industry was a tough start, and we could not generate enough income to sustain the business.
In 2017, I founded PIEX Education Limited. Together with my team of coaches, we developed Challenge Based Learning (CBL) and STEAM-based teaching materials using robots and coding. Through the in-school, after-school, holiday, and online programs, we have taught over 3,000 students. We also certified over 200 teachers and 35 coaches through our training programs. To further my interest in Education, I pursued my Master in Education (Leadership and Learning) in 2017 at the University of Technology and graduated in 2020.
When COVID hit in 2020, our business dropped tremendously. We had to move our business from face-to-face group teaching to online teaching. This is a new challenge for us as we need to quickly redevelop or adapt our programs to make them as effective as our group programs. The development cost tripled due to logistics and urgency. Today, we have expanded our program offering which includes 2D animation, 3D modeling as well as 3D game design and animation, both face-to-face and online.
Tell us about the mission, vision, and core values for your future success.
My mission is to revolutionize how education is delivered at schools by creating and developing education programs that focus on holistic child development.
My vision is that our education programs be used by children all over the world, enabling each child to reach their unique potential socially, emotionally, mentally, morally, and intellectually through innovation and modern technologies
My core values are to embrace challenges and drive change, be creative and adventurous, always listen, empathize, and self-reflect.
Being a prominent leader, how do you manage to influence others?
I always approach all my endeavors wholeheartedly and strive for 100% success. In failures, I will reflect as well as read about the failures of other famous people such as Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein to inspire me to keep going. In addition, I also always look for opportunities for self-discoveries through every failure. Every failure in life teaches me the most valuable lessons, and it helps me to live a more engaging and fulfilling life.
I also believe in leading by example by involving myself in every aspect of the business, from teaching, training and developing of coaches, program development to marketing and administration. In areas where I need expert knowledge, I seek guidance and consultations to ensure the best possible outcomes. I value teamwork and seek consensus and feedback from students, teachers, coaches, and parents.
During your journey, what were the challenges you came across, and how did you overcome them?
When I first started in the education industry in 2016, I was a newbie. STEAM is a new program that challenges the traditional teaching approach. I connected with over 1,500 schools in New South Wales, introducing our education programs. I had to learn to do product presentations, improved my communication and negotiation skills as well as drive thousands of kilometers to visit potential schools. I even joined a business group called Business Network Institute (BNI) to improve my business, networking, and presentation skills.
Being a new mum in 2019 while juggling between my studies and business is tough, and I often lacked sleep and even burnt out in the process. The success I have achieved so far was through perseverance, hard work, as well as encouragement from my family and friends and, valuable advice from mentors and advisors. Most importantly, the success of PIEX cannot be achieved without the passion and dedication of all PIEX coaches.
Do you provide any global exposure in your institute?
PIEX Education has recently expanded to Malaysia, and our goal is to continue to expand to the rest of Asia and the world. Through our online courses, we are delighted to have students from countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Cyprus doing our programs. We hope to continue to grow and reach out to children from the rest of the world.
What are the major factors that keep motivating you towards your goal, and how do you inspire students to select an interesting career for their bright future?
My greatest joy is to empower teachers and coaches to deliver our teaching programs to students, transforming traditional teaching and witnessing the benefits to each student.
I always believe that every single one of us is born equal and has a distinct place in this world to carry out our roles, duties, and responsibilities based on our nature. None of us should develop a superiority or inferiority complex regardless of our role in this world, i.e., whether we are doctors, teachers, engineers, electricians, or waiters. My role is to continuously develop coaches and students to achieve their fullest potential, doing what they are passionate about and contributing to society and the world.
Therefore, I strongly encourage every student to choose their career based on their interest, passion, and natural talent. It is important to choose a career that will provide long-term personal fulfillment and happiness.
Which activities do you conduct in your institute to maintain maximum student engagement?
At PIEX Education, we develop children’s social-emotional skills such as creativity, critical thinking, empathy, collaboration, and communication skills using technologies such as coding, robotics, 3D modeling, 3D game design, and animation.
Our programs aim to inspire and foster children to discover their interests, passions, and natural talents. Not only are our programs aligned with the school curriculum, but the contents are also relevant to life beyond school! Being able to apply the skills and knowledge children learn in real life is crucial in ensuring students’ success in their future.
How do you feel when you get to know that others are following in your footsteps and what else do you do so that people keep following you?
Over the years, I have been mentoring coaches and teaching students. Some of our students have even graduated from our programs and joined PIEX as coaches. Our programs resonate with the students that believe in their values and benefits and thus join our company. I am proud to see that we are developing future leaders who use the skills, they gained to make a positive impact on the world.
Being an inspiring leader, what would be your message to students across the world?
Transform all the knowledge, skills and experience we gained into wisdom and help humanity thrive
What is your envision for your institute/organization and you also?
I envision PIEX Education to continue to expand to the rest of the world, providing world-class education programs and training teachers and students. We will strive to develop high quality programs aligned with the school curriculum using technologies as tools to make learning fun, exciting and meaningful.
I will continue to mentor coaches and equip children with essential technical and social-emotional skills they require to succeed in their lives. I also wish to collaborate and share ideas with like-minded people to transform education.