BLOG: Can Micro-Learning Environments Lead To More Relevant Training?
In his latest blog on last month's NextGenLMS Conference, Unicorn's Stuart Jones, is intrigued by MillerCoors' top down approach to learning. Steve Buchman at MillerCoors discussed micro-learning environments and how MillerCoors are using some really innovative approaches to create a total blended learning environment across their own organisation right through to vendors selling their products. The MillerCoors focus here was clearly on learning rather than technology, though technology is at the heart of much of how the learning is delivered. MillerCoors approach learning and development from the top down with one of their guiding principles that Leaders Teach. This means cascading training from the 100 or so top leaders in the organisation to their teams and so forth – they are the ultimate subject matter experts for the company. The second guiding principle is to use real work in the learning – make it relevant and meaningful to the learner. The subject matter expertise coming from within the organisation helps make this possible. The third guiding principle is to measure results. The L&D team need to demonstrate the learning is effective in order to get more budget, hence coming up with ways of showing the success related to learning is really important. It is not easy, but in a large organisation there are ways of doing this. MillerCoors, for example, successfully do A/B style testing, for example, rolling out a new training initiative to one group of people and see if performance changes compared to a group who didn’t receive the training. Where budgets are tight you might need to think about different ways of achieving what you need. Video hosting was an issue for the MillerCoors learning management system as it simply couldn’t accommodate the requirement at the time, only discovered just as they were rolling out the training. Instead they’ve used YouTube for hosting the videos in a private channel. There is still some control over who sees it as YouTube does not make private channels discoverable. MillerCoors have done some really innovative things around mobile in terms of product training and also encouraging vendors (e.g. bars) who stock their products to do so instead of switching for new up and coming micro-breweries. As part of this they’ve experimented successfully with SMS messaging testing product knowledge, those which reply successfully are entitled to discounts and other rewards. This is a really great example of simple gamification to encourage participation and engagement. Another impressive initiative was the use of a financial simulation built into an iPad app that vendors could use to calculate the amount of profit they would make by stocking the MillerCoors drinks rather than the alternative micro-breweries’. It was an interesting use of simulation, mobile and gamification in a single focussed app that also encompassed product knowledge and information accessible offline. Overall it was a really good talk from Steve and left us feeling a thirsty for some beer! VIDEO: Preparing For the Future of the LMS - Steve Buchman, Director of Learning Operations, MillerCoors http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WuSo_zptcQ