What are companies doing today to move away from traditional training?

I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to review so many great programs that companies have implemented within their organization, and have submitted to Brandon Hall Excellence Awards Program. We have 25 categories not including our Excellence in Technology Awards. I will be sharing some thoughts weekly on these incredible programs to offer our viewers a chance to have a sneak peak of the amazing work done by different organizations. Full reports of these case studies are available for members through Brandon Hall Group’s Online Research Center: http://www.brandon-hall.com/membership/trial-membership.html. List of winners can be found here: http://www.brandon-hall.com/awards/excellence-in-learning.html

The following three companies are from different industries with unique business challenges.  However, all three aim to improve performance for their employees, partners, retail shops, and subsidiaries. They desire to engage, impact and install new ways of learning that are more adaptable by the learner, and flexible in delivery, in order to drive a greater level of application and results, while reducing costs and time.   Midas International Corporation (Gold), Owens-Illinois Inc. (O-I) (Bronze), and Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA (WW)  (Bronze), were winners of the Brandon Hall Group Awards Program within the Best Results for Blended Learning.   Here a full list of winners within the Brandon Hall Excellence Learning Awards Program: http://www.brandon-hall.com/awards/excellence-in-learning/132.html

1) Midas International Corporation consists of 7,500 employees, with over 700 car repair shops. They provide training for franchise owners, shop managers, service advisors, technicians, franchise business managers, and shop operations managers.

Their business challenges included a decrease in the market share of brakes by nearly 20% from 2005 to 2008 and each shop operating and acting differently. The company decided their learning needs should focus on core technical training and customer service.

The program emphasized four key areas to drive sales, including:

  • Awareness
  • Call/Visit
  • Conversation/Execution
  • Retention

Midas needed to decide how to offer training: in person, elearning modules, web conferences, or mobile and other various delivery methods? Midas decided to emphasize telephone skills, customer experience, and technical process.

The training included individual learning plans based on the stores and locations. Some of the training was offered face-to-face in a small group setting, followed by post work and coaching provided through teleconference, and short e-learning modules and assessments offered through their Learning Management System.

To measure the learning results a survey was given to franchisees, shop managers, and service advisors who had participated in the pilot of the program in 2010. Results are in Figure 1 below:


Survey Question Results
Do you feel the Training has increased your shop’s knowledge pertaining to effective shop process execution?  90% agreed the training increased shop employee knowledge of effective shop processes
Have you noticed your shop staff implementing best practices learned from the Training?  92% noticed implementation of best practices
Have you noticed a significant improvement in your shop’s overall performance since taking the Training?  62% reported significant improvement in overall shop performance 

Source: Midas, 2011.

2) Owens-Illinois Inc. (O-I) is a Fortune 500 company with over 24,000 employees in 21 countries that specialize in glass container products. It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of packaging products.

O-I realized the importance for its employees to have a level of proficiency in the English language to improve communication across the enterprise and with its clients. O-I, with the help of goFluent, which offers distance business English training solutions combining eLearning and live trainers, developed a rich, flexible, and comprehensive Blended Learning Program to teach English to its employee’s in eleven countries.

The training was tailored based on individual needs, and included a combination of articles, videos, quizzes, and webinars. Learners login into a customized learning portal that includes an assortment of courses and delivery methods. The materials reflect news articles and content applicable to its industry. Coaching is offered through telephone meetings or webinars, and written via chat within the learning portal. Learners receive feedback to help improve grammar, syntax, and communication.

Key factors to success include:

  • Blended approach, various methods of delivery to maintain engagement while continuing to reinforce the training
  • Individual customized learning plans, these help to facilitate training based on the learner’s needs and levels of proficiency,
  • Coaching, by a live trainer, so the learner can reflect and apply knowledge immediately
  • Reinforced training, the videos and follow up sessions promote continuous learning after the sessions, which led to a greater level of proficiency in learning and satisfaction across the learners, HR, and managers

Figure 2











Source: O-I, 2011.

3) Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA (WW) is a leading global maritime industry group, which offers logistics solutions and maritime services through a worldwide network. The WW group has 6,000 employees (wholly-owned subsidiaries) with 400 offices in 73 countries, this increases to 10,300 employees and more than 500 offices in 78 countries when partly owned companies are included.

Based on the globalization and dispersed workforce, WW recognized the necessity to ensure its managers had a unified approach to training, coaching, and communicating the company’s vision and values.

WW, like I-O, offers a blended approach for its Onboarding program. This program is called “Survival kit’ and was created for first time managers. The program included:

  • Film, with an introduction by the CEO
  • Reflection book, where learners capture their lessons and experiences
  • Nano eLearnings, a series of leadership courses, 2-5 minutes each, on time management, delegation, coaching, giving feedback, and listening skills
  • Dilemma/value workshop, involving 3 – 5 new managers brought together and facilitated by a local trainer, covering live situations and role plays

The emphasis of these various offerings was on providing short excerpts of learning to allow the managers to capture the information so it can be quickly and easily adopted into their environments. Training courses that don’t offer an array of delivery methods result in information overload and inevitably the learner only absorbs about 10% of the material.

WW was able to reach its first time managers and offer a multi-rich blended learning program that was more cost effective and, according to management, even fun.

Owens-Illinois Inc. (O-I), Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA (WW), and Midas were all very successful in implementing Blended Learning Models to drive greater performance, adoption and reduce costs. Although challenges exist when developing programs to ensure the learners are engaged and are retaining the information. Even though a blended approach can reduce costs, there is still a significant investment in time and budget, so organizations must have a comprehensive understanding of their audience, economic and business circumstances, and business objectives, to align programs to fit business needs.

For more information please contact, Rachel Ashkin at [email protected].



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Mike Cooke

Chief Executive Officer of Brandon Hall Group Mike Cooke Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Mike Cooke was the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of AC Growth. Mike held leadership and executive positions for the majority of his career, at which he was responsible for steering sales and marketing teams to drive results and profitability. His background includes more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, management, and operations in the research, consulting, software and technology industries. Mike has extensive experience in sales, marketing and management having worked for several early high-growth emerging businesses and has implemented technology systems to support various critical sales, finance, marketing and client service functions. He is especially skilled in organizing the sales and service strategy to fully support a company’s growth strategy. The concept of growth was an absolute to Mike and a motivator in starting AC Growth, in order to help organizations achieve research driven results. Most recently, Mike was the VP and General Manager of Field Operations at Bersin & Associates, a global analyst and consulting services firm focused on all areas of enterprise learning, talent management and talent acquisition. Tasked with leading the company’s global expansion, Mike led all sales operations worldwide. During Mike’s tenure, the company has grown into a multi-national firm, conducting business in over 45 countries with over 4,500 multi-national organizations. Mike started his career at MicroVideo Learning Systems in 1992, eventually holding a senior management position and leading all corporate sales before founding Dynamic Minds. Mike was CEO and Co-Founder of Dynamic Minds, a custom developer of software programs, working with clients like Goldman Sachs, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill and Merrill Lynch. Also, Mike worked for Oddcast, a leading provider of customer experience and marketing solutions, where he held a senior management position leading the company into new markets across various industries. Mike also serves on the Advisory Board for Carbon Solutions America, an independent sustainability consulting and carbon management firm that specializes in the design and implementation of greenhouse reduction and sustainability plans as well as managing the generation of carbon and renewal energy and energy efficiency credits. Mike attended University of Phoenix, studying Business Administration and Finance. He has also completed executive training at the Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL.