Skillsoft Blog

Do We Have That on Learning Zone?

We are pleased to bring you a guest blog post today from one of our customers, Mary Jane Riccardi, Sr. Learning & Development Manager at Kleinfelder. Mary Jane will be a speaker at SkillSoft’s 2012 Annual Perspectives User Conference. Mary Jane has more than 30 years of experience in providing learning systems and programs. As Sr. Learning & Development Manager at Kleinfelder, Mary Jane creates and leads a systematic approach to learning and development initiatives at all levels of the organization.

By Mary Jane Riccardi, Sr. Learning & Development Manager, Kleinfelder

I’ll take Culture Change for 100 Alex… the answer is e-learning culture.

What do you get when you bring together an LMS, a business need, targeted e-learning courses, and over 1600 talented engineers, scientists, and architects?

I just returned from our 26th Annual Professional Development and Technical Training Seminar. This incredible event brings together over 800 of the companies top talent for 1.5 days of technical and business presentations highlighting new technologies, systems, and projects. I can remember when my team and I would present at this event to help sell people on the idea of e-learning. But last week, what I kept hearing was, “Do we have that on Learning Zone?” Wow… what a difference a few years can make.

When we started this effort back in 2008, the idea of providing training online was completely foreign. I remember putting together a short 10-minute program for our CEO so he could experience the possibility. I did this using only PowerPoint, a free audio recording program, and a topic I found on the intranet. I had no other software, so needless to say it was pretty basic. Did it help? Yes, but the prevalent opinion at the time was that training needed to be done face-to-face.

Four years later, we have over 450 courses available to our employees on our LMS we have branded as Learning Zone. Most of these come from SkillSoft, but we also create our own programs for Kleinfelder specific content.

OK, I agree, it is one thing to make courses available, but do they get used? Do employees find them valuable? Yes and yes.

True, some courses are compliance courses, so that helped us get started. But we have done other things to help spread the word. For example, over 95 percent of our courses are available to all employees 24/7. We utilize some of these courses in our instructor-led programs. For the past two years, we have marketed a featured course every month. Many of these are focused on specific business activities happening at the time or issues that have been identified. Performance planning, performance reviews, delegating, and project management are just a few examples.

Also, as a professional services firm, our employees need to meet their goals of being billable. So having the flexibility to take training when it fits their schedule is important.

We have started providing a short course evaluation after completion of each course. To date, 95.8 percent of those who completed the evaluation said they strongly agree or mostly agree that taking the course was time well spent. 98.3 percent would recommend the course to others. And we have had a 55 percent response rate to the survey. We must be doing something right.

So where do we go from here? As a learning and development group, I think we need to keep evolving, making sure we continue to match our programs to our annual business priorities, and adjusting our offerings and delivery methods to continuously increase our value to the firm. When I got back to the office on Monday, I opened the SkillSoft roadmap that I received while I was at our technical training seminar. I was elated to see four new topics that I know are top-of-mind of our senior leadership going into our new fiscal year which starts in April; difficult conversations, effective succession planning and a solution selling series in the Sales curriculum.

Distance learning will continue to be a priority as we expand across the U.S. and internationally. But most of all, we want to continue to hear, “Do we have that on Learning Zone?”

To register for the 2012 Annual Perspectives User Conference please visit:

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