When Cypress Semiconductor Corp., a provider of high-performance solutions for personal, network access, enterprise, metro switch and core communication system applications, was faced with widespread company growth, it needed to redesign its training programs and delivery methods for 4,000 employees and 400 sales representatives who were not employees, but needed access to technical product information. Cypress started by establishing a corporate university, Cypress University, and enlisted the help of Technology Solutions Company (TSC), to find a learning management system (LMS) to help blend e-learning with existing instructor-led training and learning events.
“We wanted to beef up our e-learning program and also build a corporate university to integrate all the training departments that sprang up,” said Darryl Carson, director of Cypress University.
The decision to establish Cypress University came in late 1999. Several departments at Cypress were developing training at that time, including manufacturing, new products, IT training and sales and marketing. The overall goal was to bridge the disparate initiatives and establish a single training and e-learning infrastructure for the company, bringing all the training initiatives together under that structure.
In late 1999, the Cypress University team members rolled up their sleeves and began attending e-learning conferences and evaluating LMS alternatives. After a few months, Cypress engaged TSC to implement an e-learning assessment and pilot using an advanced learning management content tool. This gave Cypress a chance to prove that its computer infrastructure could support e-learning. It also revealed how well the Cypress user community would respond to e-learning after so many years of relying on instructor-led training. During the assessment and pilot, Carson and TSC worked together to understand the organization’s needs and lay out a long-term plan for making full-scale e-learning a reality at Cypress.
“As a large organization, we needed to find the best way to leverage e-learning to make our people more effective,” said Carson. “TSC’s assessment approach provided us with the type of recommendations we felt best suited our needs.” The assessment determined that e-learning was a viable option for Cypress University. The challenge was building an appropriate infrastructure.
TSC helped Cypress University select an LMS and supported the company throughout the process. The process involved creating and writing business processes needed to support e-learning, working with Cypress University’s instructional designers as they created their first e-learning courses, helping with announcing e-learning to the organization, developing sample courses and supporting the LMS implementation and providing guidance on business decisions needed to configure the software. In mid-2001, after seven months of on-site guidance from TSC, Cypress University felt ready to go it alone. The LMS program was launched approximately one month later.
Today, Cypress University is rolling along with its e-learning initiatives. Last quarter Cypress University’s staff of three instructional designers and media developers introduced 19 new e-learning offerings. The LMS is up and running, and end-users are taking the courses and providing feedback for improvements.
“With the establishment of e-learning, we broke new ground here at Cypress,” said Carson. “The path was not always smooth, but we had a clear vision of what we needed, and I am very satisfied with the end result. We have a good system for developing and delivering e-learning, and our target audiences are using it. As a result, our employees have a better understanding of our products and our overall business strategy.”