This guest blog entry was written by Articulate Community Manager Jeanette Brooks
Bill Corwin, a Senior Leadership Development Consultant at Experian, really knows how to attract a crowd! When I met him at DevLearn’s DemoFest in November, he was surrounded by a swarm of other e-learning developers. They were eager to see the new-hire orientation he’d created with Articulate tools.
When I took a look at his project, I could see why! He’d taken a 4.5-hour classroom training and transformed it into a friendly, engaging, user-driven e-learning experience.
I chatted with Bill afterward to hear his story:
Bill, why did Experian switch from an instructor-led orientation to an online version?
We wanted to give new hires the information they need, without overwhelming them. In the classroom version, new hires sometimes felt like they were drinking from a fire hose — there was so much to take in, all at once. Now that the orientation’s online, people can learn what they need, at their own pace, when they need it. And it’s easy for them to revisit things if they want. By design, the training doubles as a reference tool for all 4,500 of our North American employees. In fact, 61% of our trainees use the course after their initial training, to look up information as needed.
How long did it take to develop the course?
The easy part was creating the structure and the basic look of the course with Presenter and PowerPoint. That only took about a day and a half! The time-consuming part was pulling together the content. Since we were shifting to an online format, we wanted to invest some time to reevaluate what we included, and present it in a friendly, accessible way. I formed a cross-functional team of SMEs, and each of them played a key role in creating and owning a section of the course. Total development time was about 12 weeks.
Did you use Articulate Presenter for the whole thing?
Almost. For some portions, Articulate Engage made more sense. Like, when we show our company locations, we use an interactive map that we built with an Engage Labeled Graphic. It makes the content feel interactive and inviting.
Now that you’ve launched the course, how’s it working out?
It’s been great! In Experian’s 90-day new-hire survey, employees now report greater engagement, awareness, and content knowledge than when we used the classroom orientation. The number of learners who are confident they can find the HR info they need has jumped from 59% to 90%! Informal feedback’s been positive too. Trainees have more info at their fingertips, and it takes less time for them to learn it.
What made the course so successful?
Learner-driven navigation. Learners love the convenience of a flexible, self-serve course. They can jump right into whatever section they want, and then go back for more anytime. They aren’t locked into a specific learning sequence. It’s also nice that they don’t have to physically report to a classroom for their orientation — they can learn at their own pace, when it’s convenient.
Ease of maintenance. We were very intentional about using hyperlinks wherever we could. Any time we reference a company document, we hyperlink to the actual file on our intranet. That way, if a document changes, we just update the document itself, so the training stays current.
Leveraging existing company resources. Most of the information that our new hires need already existed in some form. We didn’t have to spend time or money reinventing a lot of content. We just needed an easy-to-navigate place for people to find what they’re looking for. The course has become employees’ go-to source for key documents, policies, and company background info.
Partnership with SMEs. Since SMEs helped develop the course, each of them is committed to the accuracy and completeness of their individual sections.
A personal touch. A friendly tone is really important, since this course is a new hire’s first exposure to Experian’s training. One way we achieved this was by inserting several short “welcome” videos into Presenter. For example, if you visit the benefits section, you see a movie of the benefits manager, welcoming you and explaining what you’re about to learn. The videos really help humanize the training and allow new hires to get acquainted with key people within the company.
What made you choose Articulate tools for this project?
The Articulate suite is really easy to use. It’s become my primary tool set for creating online education. Since there’s hardly a learning curve, it’s easy for both developers and SMEs to create high-quality output, very quickly.
What’s on your 2010 project list?
We’re looking to blend more new delivery methods into our existing instructor-led workshops. This definitely includes using more e-learning when information doesn’t need to be delivered live. I’m also creating more videos and looking into various other Web 2.0 tools.
Congratulations to Bill and the rest of the Experian team for creating a great learning solution for new hires!