It was essential to implement an easy-to-use e-learning authoring tool to simplify work for the industry experts and managers who produce the course content. But there was a problem. Budget constraints forced ATX to lay off one of its key Java programmers, creating a hole in a key content area. Faced with this lack of creative content support, E-Learning Coordinator Megan Bennett decided to abandon the existing authoring tool, which required Java coding, in favor of a program that chopped creation time considerably and offered a more standardized method for authoring courses, Outstart’s Trainersoft.
“Before, it took me three to four weeks to develop a course in Tool Book,” Bennett said. “I’ve gotten that down to a couple of days in Trainersoft. Subject-matter experts and managers are now able to rapidly develop consistent and dynamic course content, enabling ATX to significantly grow its learning initiatives and increase the productivity of our workforce. Essentially, time translates into dollars. If the employees get the information quickly, that’s more they can sell or support.”
Bennett is responsible for continually providing e-learning to some 1,200 people in 24 offices companywide. Her most recent training endeavor was relaunching ATX’s in-house operating system, Web University, a six-year-old program that relies on LMS technology. At first, the system was geared toward the sales staff, but WebU 2.0 now offers companywide e-learning courses that cover products, processes and other proprietary information for ATX. Database upgrades hold scores, the dates courses were taken and how much time was spent on each course.
“We’ve completely revamped our approach to training,” Bennett said. “Our program is still very new, but it’s important to take the time to figure out what people need based on their job roles. In the past, we’ve rushed to deliver training in order to keep up with product rollouts because the information is necessary to do the job, but we had no way of saying definitively, ‘This is how it’s going to benefit you and your future skills in this position.’ That should change now that we’ve launched the new version of our e-learning system. One of the main things we’ve done is inter-develop all the jobs and skills and tie them directly to workforce development,” Bennett said.
Measuring the success of ATX’s e-learning courses and conducting internal follow-up is easy because product information is crucial to job performance, Bennett said. “For our sales groups, we have multiple reports that go out that show metrics or KPI (key performance indicators) on a monthly basis. Because our KPI are so specific for these particular departments, we can tie it directly to which salesperson actually took the course and which one didn’t, and who’s doing better at sales, as a result of the training they received,” Bennett said.