Kathleen Moore, Head of Learning & Development at TBC Corporation, a sixty year old private brand tire marketer, takes a new approach in measuring success for online learning.
Instead of looking at course completion rates, she focuses on the number of courses taken and total hours spent learning. It’s not about whether employees took the entire course, but whether they found what they needed to help them do their job at that moment. “People were going into courses, learning, and then applying it right away.” Having an employee centric approach to measuring L&D success contributes to an engaging learning culture at TBC.
Developing an effective L&D program
Before TBC’s current L&D program, “training” had a negative connotation and was primarily for its retail employees. To get to the bottom of this issue, Kathleen went to the source and asked what employees wanted out of learning.
From employee assessment surveys, Kathleen realized that there was a clear need for management training for corporate associates. Excellent technical people were being promoted to become managers without the benefit of any training. The result? Many of these previous high-performers ended up being terrible people managers, leading to high attrition rates. A plan was set in place for a leadership development program to create visible career paths for high performers. However, the instructor-led soft skill courses as part of the leadership development program had low attendance and engagement. Furthermore, there was still a need for professional development for non-managers.
By taking a look at the makeup of their workforce, they realized the TBC employee base was largely made up of Millennials (29%) and Gen X (45%). The workforce, particularly Millennials, preferred a more accessible and on demand solution. Learning was no longer confined to the classroom.
Just-in-time learning solved employee problems
TBC’s L&D team adopted a more accessible and on-demand approach to learning and implemented Udemy for Business across the company. Within 60 days, the company had a 70% adoption rate.
Employees utilized this new way of learning to fill skill gaps which helped them achieve larger professional goals. Andrew Melnick, an employee at TBC, took Excel courses for professional development and build proficiency in his new role. “I began my focus mainly on Excel classes due to my transition into the role of Risk Analyst. Although I had a basic knowledge of Excel, the Udemy for Business courses helped me really increase my knowledge so I could ‘wow’ my new supervisor with my Excel skill set.”
Andrew was not only able to build the right skills for his new role, but also improved his presentation abilities so he could present to the executive staff with confidence.
“These classes helped me gain confidence to have my reports presented at the executive level here at TBC. The need for projects and my own professional development have gone hand in hand with my course selection.”
What also drove engagement was the way courses were broken down into bite-sized lectures on the Udemy for Business platform, enabling people to learn only what they needed to know. One employee attended over 100 courses but only consumed the specific sections that were useful to him and helped solve a problem in his daily workflow. As Kathleen puts it, “It was ‘just in time’ learning.” This self-directed learning empowered TBC employees to optimize what they learned and when they needed to learn.
Blended learning drove high engagement
In addition to successful self-directed learning, the TBC Learning Group also used Udemy for Business as part of a flipped classroom and blended learning approach. For example, as part of their instructor-led Business Writing course, “Business and Technical Writing Immersion Course”, employees were assigned online writing courses as “pre-work” so they compiled drafts before coming to the class. This not only shortened the class length, but also increased the efficiency and effectiveness. Instead of “instructing”, the Udemy for Business courses set a foundation, so the instructor was able to dive directly into the hands on part of her class.
The TBC Learning Group was able to empower employee personal and professional development using Udemy for Business, while also strategically incorporating online courses into instructor-led classes.
An employee centric L&D program
Through just-in-time learning and a blended approach to L&D, Kathleen was able to create a program that saw 71% of employees taking their first course within 30 days. Learning engagement for all users was 84%, while the top 10% of “active users” enjoyed a 98% learning engagement rate in the first 60 days of receiving a Udemy for Business license. Kathleen believes in giving employees “free reign for personal and professional development. Our job is to offer learning opportunities.”