Custom eLearning Development

The Most Effective Uses of E-Learning Part 4

This post is the Forth and final in a Series titled The Most Effective Uses of E-Learning.  Readers of this blog know that the focus is on e-learning with an emphasis on business and creating business result through e-learning applications.  We develop e-learning applications for businesses not for academics.    These use cases are presented based on the business result they achieved for our clients.  This final installment of the Best uses of E-Learning  series is directed at using e-learning as a supplemental product enhance your business revenues.

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The ability to effectively engage and deliver educational material in a web based format has opened the doors for businesses to enhance their product and product offering through education.  Education sells in a variety of formats, be it books, traditional classroom or online, education is a lucrative business you can tap into through e-learning solutions wrapped around your existing business model.  Some transitions are more obvious than others, I have two examples to share with you.

The first is a fairly obvious leap to online learning but an interesting case study nonetheless.  Back in 2009 I was introduced to a business owner in the sustainable building industry.  The company’s primary business was LEED and sustainability consulting for commercial building projects.  As respected professionals in the industry there was a market for their knowledge and expertise to be transferred to other professionals in the industry.  As LEED Certification for Commercial Building was gaining momentum in 2010 there was a huge need for LEED Accredited Professionals in the industry.  The company spun off an education arm of their business teaching the basics and more technical aspects of LEED and sustainability.  Their business model was traditional classroom style training held in conference rooms and hotels around the country.  Delivering the message and building revenue became limited by the number of days in a year.  Additionally, the expense required to host a training seminar was starting to eat away at profits.  Enter Resolutions.  We partnered with them to transform their classroom training into a best in class online academy for sustainability professionals.  With higher profit margins, less time dedicated to travel and coordination the business owners have used their intellectual capital to create a passive income stream through online education giving them time to focus on the consulting side of their business.

The second example is an interesting case, and a much less obvious application of e-learning as a product.  A few years ago I worked with a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women in transition.  The core business is run out of a facility in Arizona which offers women access to career counselors, financial advisers and mentors to help them through whatever transition they are faced with in their life.  The goal was to expand the business by opening similar facilities and other markets.  After the financial analysis was complete traditional brick and mortar expansion did not make sense.  However, there was still a need and desire to expand their brand and help more women across the country.  We worked with the foundation to create an online university boasting a one of a kind curriculum of courseware featuring numerous industry experts in the areas a finance, career and personal development.   The online university opened the doors to a national audience and to another demographic of women in transition, which provided additional revenues and a solid position outside the Phoenix market.

E-Learning is a powerful tool.  Education is big business and cam be presented in a number of formats.  I challenge you to look at your business model and look for areas where you can provide value through education.  Your intellectual capital could be the ticket to an untapped source of incremental revenue.

The Most Effective Uses of E-Learning Part 2

Readers of this blog know that the focus is on e-learning with an emphasis on business.  We develop e-learning applications for businesses not for academics.  This post is the Second in a Series titled The most effective uses of E-Learning based on experiences with our clients.  These use cases are presented based on the business result they achieved for our clients.

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Safety and Compliance

Citations, Fines and Lawsuits are often times very expensive reminders to a business that employees must be trained to meet certain safety standards.  There are numerous industries where workplace safety is priority #1,  the government is typically there to let them know in the form of a citation or fine if a company is not is compliance with safety and training standards.  Workplace safety starts with training.  Training can be delivered a number of different ways, but when it comes to safety, E-Learning is a perfect fit because of its ability to simulate dangerous workplace scenarios and automated record keeping.

1.  Hazardous Simulations

If workplace safety is priority #1 for a business chances are there are real safety threats in that work environment.  Employees cannot be thrown to the wolves to “learn on the job.”  E-learning presents an excellent opportunity to expose new and seasoned employees to simulations of potentially hazardous work tasks.  The ability to effectively use video and animation to portray the risk of a particular scenario is highly valuable.  Further, e-learning provides unlimited flexibility allowing  for customization to job and task specific work environments which ultimately lead to higher retention of the material and more likely transfer to on the job skills.   The ability to visually flesh out a worst case scenario for an employee is something that cannot be simulated in real life.  This mixed with decision based training progressions provide the user a life-like experience without the risk of injury.

2.  Automated Record Keeping

Most industries that run high risk of workplace hazards are heavily regulated.  E-learning delivered via a LMS is a perfect tool to help automate tracking and reporting of training records.  In most cases government agencies that oversee the regulation of workplace safety require a certain level of record keeping in order to remain in compliance with the law.  When injuries happen training records are a company’s best defense against a lawsuit and fines from governing agencies.  We have been involved in several cases where training records from our Learning Management Systems have been subpoenaed to be used in court.  Access to complete training records proved to be vital in protecting the company.  Manual record keeping is cumbersome and can leave a company vulnerable to human error.  Automated tracking through an LMS can provide piece of mind that records will be properly tracked and stored should they be needed.

Workplace safety, and compliance with safety regulations are a major concern for companies doing business in industries like mining, construction and aviation  Simple, intuitive E-learning systems can help to not only keep employees safe put protect the company from citations, lawsuits and fines.  Simulations and record keeping are two huge reasons why safety and compliance training  is an extremely effective use of E-Learning.

How have you seen e-learning systems used effectively to promote a safe work environment?

The Most Effective Uses of E-Learning Part 1

Readers of this blog know that the focus is on e-learning with an emphasis on business.  We develop e-learning applications for businesses not for academics.  This post is the First post in a Series titled The most effective uses of E-Learning based on experiences with our clients.  These use cases are presented based on the business result they achieved for our clients.

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Sales and Customer Service

Sales and Customer Service go hand in hand.  A successful business cannot have one without the other.  While these two departments serve somewhat different function, their primary objective should be the same, provide solutions for customers.  With that objective in mind sales and customer service have similar training needs as well that can be served by expertly crafted e-learning solutions.

E-learning is an excellent tool to provide training solutions for sales and customer service teams because of its accessibility, consistency and versatility.

Sales and Customer Service staff are the front line for your business, their job is to provide the best possible experience for your customers. Training them is vitally important, part of its success is its accessibility   I look at accessibility two ways.  The first is simply how it is accessed by the user.  This is a area where the delivery on-demand online training makes sense.  Accessible 24/7 on the terms of the individual.  The second way I look at accessibility in the design methodology.  If you require your team to sit in front of a computer for hours reading through text on a screen just to get through a training it is not only ineffective, but lacks accessibility.  We are firm believers in short tactical training focused around a specific business objective.  15 minutes or less, something that can be taken on a coffee break.  It is more user friendly and accessible!

Consistency is another key when providing training to sales and customer service members of your team.  E-learning can be a tool to help integrate your employees into your company culture, this is especially important for those groups on the front line with your customers.  People will go to a McDonald’s anywhere in the world, is it because it is the best food available?  Hardly, but they know they will get a consistent experience.  Your customers expect a certain experience when they interface with your company, using e-learning as a tool for ongoing training for sales and service reps is sure fire way to make sure the message is always consistent with your brand and company culture.

E-learning is extremely versatile  when strategically developed around your business and it can offer some excellent residual benefits.  One of the best residual uses of online training is the ability to re-purpose training content for use as a job aid.  We all have things that we use everyday to help us do our job.  For sales and service reps it may be as simple as a cheat sheet with product specs they can call up quickly when speaking with a customer.  Many of the assets built for your online training can be reused to create quick, interactive and very visual job aids for employees.  This helps to create more confident interactions with customers and more engaged sales and service reps.  As mobile technology continues to evolve these job aid applications become more a more viable with accessibility across mobile platforms.  The Commitment to E-learning is an investment in time and money, its versatility as a job aid will help generate a greater return.

Sales and Customer Service Reps are on the front line with your customers everyday.  They must have the proper tools to create a first class experience for your customers with every interaction.  Providing training through an E-learning platform will help create an accessible, consistent and versatile training experience with a significant ROI for your business.

How have you used E-learning successfully in your business for Sales and Customer Service Reps?

The Loss of an Arizona Legend

Resolutions is a Phoenix based company, we have been lucky enough to have been in business since 1995.  For a solid 10 years of our existence the Bashas’ Family of Stores was a client.  Yesterday Eddie Basha Jr. died at the age of 75 years.  Eddie is something of a legend in the state of Arizona, one of the state’s most recognized CEOs, politician, advocate for education and community supporter.  Bashas’ is one of the largest privately owned employers in the state, Eddie called each employee a member, as though they are a member of his family.  I serviced the Bashas’ account for a few years, in that time I was lucky enough to have met him on a couple occasions.  He was always smiling, outgoing and treated every person like they were a member of his family.  The business and his members meant everything to him.

When Bashas’ filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2010 Eddie received offers from larger grocery chains to buy his business, pay off his creditors and walk away a rich man, but that was never an option he was willing to accept.  His members meant too much to him for them to become employees of someone else.  Instead Eddie worked his way through bankruptcy and emerged a leaner, stronger Bashas’.  Resolutions lost Bashas’ as a client that year, but we knew that it was nothing personal, rather Eddie’s belief that he needed to focus his company on its core business of providing quality groceries to Arizona communities.

Eddie truly cared about the community as gave back as much as any organization in Phoenix.  In 2007 Bashas’ celebrated it 75th Anniversary, a monumental event that we were lucky enough to participate in through the production of a 75th Anniversary Television program that aired of local Phoenix television.  That program highlighted the Basha Family’s commitment to their members, the communities in Arizona and Eddie’s love for what his family built.

I am sure today is a tough one for Bashas’, they lost a great leader, family member and friend.  On behalf of everyone at Resolutions we send our condolences.

Sex Sells, but so does E-Learning

We have all heard the old adage, sex sells.  While that me be true, sex may not have the ability to generate incremental revenue and solidify customer relationships as well as e-learning.  This may come as a bit of a surprise so let me explain.  Every company selling a product or service has educational material available to their customers, but are they realizing the potential of that material to expand their business model and develop stickier customer relationships?

A fundamentally sound e-learning platform developed around your business and your customers can be a huge differentiator in the marketplace and most importantly could be an unrealized revenue source.  Let’s look at a software business as an example.  Company A is selling an enterprise software solution to mid-sized companies.  There is a certain about of ramp up and training time required to implement their solution, as well as ongoing support calls.  Chances are this is being handled by a small staff initially to handle installation, initial training either in person or via online meeting.  Ongoing support is probably handled by a 800 number help desk, support email system or FAQ database.  On the surface the systems are in place, and by most standards this is an acceptable practice in the software industry, but leveraging that internal knowledge base and transforming it into customer focused e-learning platform could open the floodgates to incremental revenue and better customer relationships!  All of the internal knowledge, manuals, trainers, webinars should be transformed into a tactical, engaging and interactive online training curriculum of courses that is on-demand 24/7 for your customers to have all the answers to their questions with real-time tracking, scoring and possibly even product certifications!  This type of online content delivery could drastically reduce ongoing support and internal manpower, while increasing the image and quality of your training product.  It also opens the door to up sell subscription based access to your world-class customer training system, providing a real return on investment.

If you read my post about the blurred lines between training and marketing, you would know that the training system you built to educate your customers may be the best way to market to and engage prospects searching for your company’s solution.  The needs of your prospects and customers only very by degree not kind.

E-learning is a powerful tool for education in both the academic and professional world.  Why not leverage its power in your business.  It could be the differentiator in your product or service, help generate more revenue and create stickier customer relationships.

E-learning could save mine operators millions!

New MSHA Pattern of Violation law will have a huge financial impact on the mining industry.  Citations handed out by MSHA can add up to a hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars for the larger mine operators.  One of the mitigating circumstances MSHA looks at is the mine operators commitment to training.  Do you think the mining industry can benefit from targeted e-learning to help avoid costly citations?  Check out this video from Mining Expert Kim Redding, who provides some insight into the new Pattern of Violation Law.

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Get down to business

Let’s face it, the majority of the e-learning industry is based upon academics.  I get it, the concept of e-learning was built out of universities offering classes online, it was only a natural progression for corporate and business based learning to follow suit.  It makes too much sense, reduced overall training costs, on-demand, tactical, etc.  Elearningindustry.com explains this far better than I can with this infographic, check it out, it confirms the true benefit of e-learning in a business setting.

My focus here however is on the execution.   Online learning in a business setting should not be academic!  Quite the opposite, the learning should be focused on one thing… achieving a business result, any deviation from that stated result should be left behind.  I am a firm believer that any web based training built for a business application can be accomplished in 15 minutes or less.  Short, tactical and to the point.  For example, one of our industry niche businesses is in the insurance industry.  The objective for any online training we build for our clients is focused around a single business objective, reduce claims in a common area of loss.    Let’s say the the insurance program we are working with has driving risks, chances are they see high frequency claims due to distracted driving.  We have built a simple online training module designed specifically around that area of loss covering the most common driver distractions using simple scenarios the learner can relate to in their daily driving.  This entire course is 12 minutes long and the content does not deviate from it’s objective.  Raise awareness of distracted driving risks with the goal of reducing claims as a result.  Simple, to the point and focused around our clients business objective.

The bottom line is people in every business are busy, anything that does not help them achieve a business result is simply wasting their time.  Short, tactical online training is the best way to get busy people trained and focused on the desired result for your business.

How do you get down to business.  I would love to hear your examples.