Trainings are not all created equally | Technology with a human face

eLearning Expert Talks
31 July 2023
maurizio zacchi - la formazione non è tutta uguale

Interview with Maurizio Zacchi, Director of Cyber Guru’s Cyber Academy

Maurizio Zacchi holds the position of Director of the Cyber Academy at Cyber Guru, the department that deals with the development of the training content of Cyber Security Awareness platforms.
With a degree in Communication Sciences and a Master's Degree in Instructional Designing, since 2017, he has actively participated in the birth of the Cyber Guru project and, taking advantage of his technological and communication skills, has coordinated the development of all the training content of Cyber Security Awareness platforms.

Developing technology with a human face, exclusively at the service of the people who use it. In a world where everything is increasingly cold and aseptic, and where the human being risks becoming an automaton driven by machines, this is the challenge that Cyber Guru has adopted since its foundation.

The inspiration for this vision was Maurizio Zacchi, a humanist by nature and training, but with a technological background. In his professional career he has also worked in marketing and communication, and dreamed of a company that spoke, yes, of technology, but with a modality and language that could reach everyone and respect the complexity of human thought. Sometimes dreams really do come true.

Thus, Maurizio, who took part in the creation of Cyber Guru, now directs the Academy, the sector that deals with building content and methods to disseminate Cyber Security Awareness.

“It was 2017” – he says – “and Cyber Security Awareness in Italy was making its first waves. We came from the Daman Group which, on the market, scouted innovative solutions for cybersecurity, which came almost exclusively from abroad, because in Italy there is no research and development in the technological field.
The push to look closer to home for new solutions came from a large Italian bank that complained about a constant investment in safety training combined with disappointing results. And so we realised that the challenge was not so much technological, but mainly focused on the human factor. We had to find a way to transmit knowledge that did not stop at learning a theory, but which led to a radical change in user behaviour. Cyber Guru was born as a response to this challenge and this project. We understood that we had to engage people and convey to them the idea that the benefit obtained would be to their advantage and not for the exclusive benefit of the company, as was always thought to be the case. A way that was entirely waiting to be discovered and that no one in Italy was using yet“.

The “extraordinary journey” in multidisciplinarity

The small group that bet on this completely new vision of training was made up of only three people, Gianni Baroni, the current CEO of Cyber Guru, an Israeli researcher, Tzach Horowitz, and Maurizio Zacchi, who was immediately assigned the role of thinking up and organising the contents and structuring a learning method with which to disseminate them.

From that moment” – says Zacchi – “what I call the “extraordinary journey” began, which is the path of knowledge that we offer to users, but also the path that has been taken by Cyber Guru, from its foundation until today, as well as my staff, who have seen a wide-ranging enrichment, having had to deepen their knowledge, in addition to the subject of cybersecurity, which is at the base of everything, also studies in different disciplines: psychology, andragogy, communication and multimedia“.

It is a development path that has also been shared by the Academy team, composed today of professionals from various backgrounds, with a mix of skills that represents one of the main success factors of the Cyber Guru training courses.

Psychology:

Psychology applied to cyber security refers both to the study of the mentality of the attacker, that is, the criminal, and to the knowledge of the vulnerabilities of those who fall victim to attacks. Added to this is the study of human cognitive architecture, which acts as a bridge between psychology and education, and has a decisive impact on the effectiveness of the training itself.

Andragogy:

It’s the science of adult education. In particular, in the Cyber Guru training programmes, reference is made to cognitive load theory relating to the main learning mechanism and, in particular, to the role of working memory and its relationship with long-term memory.

Communication:

As far as the discipline of communication is concerned, of course, it is a fundamental skill that has a great impact on the language used in the courses, and therefore on their effectiveness.

Last but certainly not least, the discipline of Multimedia.

“Since our courses are clearly multimedia” – explains Maurizio Zacchi – “this is a skill that is taken for granted. However, often the use of Multimedia in distance learning is random, inspired by aesthetic criteria, and creates distracting phenomena that do not reconcile with the theory of cognitive load. In fact, working memory is divided into two channels: one for word processing and one for images. Therefore, to make the course more effective, it is necessary to make the most of this dual channel by aligning the content and following a series of technical principles“.

The multidisciplinary approach is therefore a feature on which Cyber Guru has bet a lot and which makes its training proposal very different from that of other platforms.

“This complexity of knowledge” – concludes Maurizio Zacchi – “is necessary to break out of the cages of technicalism and to give a human face to technology. Unfortunately, in recent years the latter has undergone such an acceleration that the human factor has lagged too far behind. But we must not forget that technology must be at the service of man and not the other way around. At Cyber Guru, we have embraced this vision, trying to offer our contribution to the construction of a new digital humanism“.

Cyber Guru's Academy Team
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