Brewer Science Increases Training Efficacy with Microlearning Strategy
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In 2018, Amy Skyles was brought in to reorganize the training portfolio for Brewer Science, a global technology leader in materials development and manufacturing. Among the tasks on her plate were revamping employee orientation and creating a better learning experience and learning outcomes for employees.
Amy wanted to implement a strategy to help meet training objectives without requiring long, burdensome, and distracting training for employees. “Employees would often attend a full hour of training to master learning objectives that could be achieved in just a few minutes,” she explained. A dispersed, international workforce often made it difficult to schedule live training sessions that everyone could attend, and frequent technology headaches with a previous provider made learning a struggle for employees. Enter Amy’s solution: Microlearning.
Brewer Science’s previous training provider curated content from HSI and multiple other sources. But Amy found herself going back to HSI’s microlearning training videos. As Amy explained, some vendors create a 20 to 30-minute long course that covers a concept in-depth, “but my learners may only need one small snippet of information from that course, and the superfluous content is distracting and not applicable to their role.”
In her experience, learners were less likely to complete longer training videos. Amy’s goal was to use a microlearning strategy wherever possible. Because of HSI’s targeted training content, Brewer Science was able to create an engaging training curriculum that met their learning goals and avoided irrelevant details that are often included in longer course content.
Shorter, more targeted learning content in the form of microlearning videos allowed employees to meet their learning objectives more quickly and apply those learning points to their day-to-day functions. “It was more meaningful and less time-consuming training for employees.”
Consistent Learning Experience
Among the problems Brewer Science experienced with their previous content provider, a consistent learning experience was one of the biggest challenges. The vendor would not regularly update their content, making many of their training videos outdated. Since the videos in their training library were curated from different content creators, the videos had little consistency from one to the next. Instructional design styles would vary, which hindered a consistent learning experience for Brewer Science’s learners.
With content coming from many different providers, the videos were often packaged in different ways. “Learners would encounter issues with the training because the videos were not packaged consistently,” Amy said. “Some courses would show pass/fail after completion and some would give you a percentage score.” The inconsistencies in quizzes meant if they got a quiz question wrong, they wouldn’t always be able to see which question that was, making learners unsure of which learning points they were missing. Brewer Science needed a solution with consistent technology that their learners could anticipate.
With HSI, “every course is packaged the same way, which creates consistency for the end-user as well as for the L&D team,” Amy described. Frequent content updates and communications from HSI’s team provided a positive experience for Amy and her L&D team. “We had far fewer complaints because every course now behaved in exactly the same way.” Not only was a consistent content packaging process a relief for the L&D team, but it also meant fewer headaches for the learner and less time spent trying to get the training to work. “Employees were receptive to the HSI training content because it was consistent,” said Amy.
Blended Learning During a Pandemic
Some fifty percent of Brewer Science’s workforce is working from home the majority of the time. When employees were all working in an office environment, the L&D team was able to promote training courses with flyers and emails. But now, COVID-19 has changed the way businesses communicate to their employees. Amy had to find a creative solution: “We’ve started sending a monthly training flyer and highlight our HSI courses within it.”
To help facilitate renewed interest in training, the L&D team created blended-learning programs on becoming a great leader, diversity and inclusion, and managerial courage for employees to participate in. As Amy explained, “Employees could watch an HSI course, and then come together virtually to discuss question prompts.” She says employees then break out into small virtual groups to discuss and reinforce the content and how it applies to their current work situation. During leader-led training, employees come to the session with varying degrees of knowledge, some are novices, and some are more experienced. Watching a course before the discussion level-sets the knowledge so breakout sessions like these are more meaningful.
“I don’t think we would have created this blended-learning opportunity if we hadn’t transitioned to working from home,” she said. While using this blended-learning approach helps increase their return on investment, another added benefit is simply the face-to-face interaction that employees get during these conversations, a rare occurrence during the pandemic.
Now that Brewer Science has fully implemented their portfolio of workplace compliance and business skills training from HSI, Amy and her team can spend more time developing training programs and expand their offering of blended-learning programs. Working together with their benefits manager quadrupled their training engagement numbers during Mental Health Awareness Week by offering incentives to employees for training, and employees are more efficiently meeting their learning objectives.
Summary of Success
- Employees more efficiently learn due to highly targeted, short-form microlearning videos
- L&D team has fewer technological challenges due to consistent learning experience and course packaging
- A blended-learning approach to training has brought together dispersed employees for thoughtful conversation during the pandemic