Driving Operational Excellence Through Your Frontline With Microlearning

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Adrienne Selko:

Good afternoon and welcome to today’s Industry Week Webcast, Driving Operational Excellence through Your Front line with Micro Learning, sponsored by Axonify. My name is Adrienne Selko and I’m a senior editor with Industry Week.

Before we begin, let me explain how you can participate in today’s presentation. First, at any time, if you’re having audio difficulties or slides are not advancing, simply hit the F5 key to refresh your webcast console. If you have any technical difficulties during today’s session, please press the help button to receive assistance in solving common issues. This webinar technology allows you to resize the presentation by clicking the maximize icon, or by dragging the lower right corner to enlarge the window. We welcome your questions during today’s event. To submit your questions, type it into the Q and A window on the left side of your screen and hit the submit button. We’ll be answering as many questions as possible during the Q and A session that will follow the main presentation. However, feel free to send in your questions at any time. Also, be aware that today’s session is being recorded and will be available on the Industry Week website within the next week for you to review. You will be notified by email when the archive is available. On your console, the Axonify logo is linked if you want to visit the website during the webcast, you can click on the logo and a new window will open. It will not take you out of the webinar.

And now I’d like to introduce today’s speaker. Carol Leaman is an award winning thought leader with an impressive track record of successfully leading tech companies. Not only is she a disruptor in the corporate learning space, but she’s also the brains behind the Axonify Microlearning Platform. Prior to Axonify, Carol was a CEO of Post Rank, a social engagement analytics platform she sold the Google. She was also the CEO of several other technology firms, including RSS Solutions and Fake Space Systems. She is a celebrated entrepreneur and trail blazer, and won the Sarah Kirk Award in 2010, the Waterloo Region Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Intrepid Award in 2011, and many others. We’d like to welcome Carol.


Carol Leaman:
Thank you very much, Adrienne. I really appreciate being here and welcome to all of you on today’s webinar. Hopefully, you’re able to take away some really good gold nuggets back to your businesses and think about how you might be able to employ some of the things we’re going to talk about today in your day-to-day operation.

So, I’m going to start by saying that what we’re going to focus on today are these three things and really, I’m going to start that by saying that new technologies like the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT is often referred to now, machine-to-machine communications, 3D printing, automation, artificial intelligence and robotics are really revolutionizing the manufacturing industry, making it more connected, intelligent, automated and fast paced than ever before. These technologies have not only changed the face of manufacturing, but they’ve also changed the knowledge and skills demanded from your front line employees.

And even though we’re still in the early stages of digital transformation, we can already see the effect that it’s having on employees. That’s why having the tools upskill and optimize your workforce is more critical than it’s ever been before. And it’s so that your front line can keep up with the business and you can get ahead of the competition in what is a very globally competitive world today.

So over the next 45 minutes, we will be exploring first, a few of the challenges facing the manufacturing industry, and how microlearning specifically can help you address or overcome them. Secondly, I’m going to talk about what microlearning is and explain that to everybody, because while it’s been a term that’s been around for a little bit, it is not well understood. And so I’m going to talk about what it is, how it works and how it can help you future proof your frontline.

Then we’re going to get into some real world examples of how some industry leaders are using microlearning to really drive operational excellence while dealing with an industry that’s constantly evolving and changing. Because everything is changing from the technologies and devices that you’re using now, to the processes and procedures to follow, the regulations that you have to comply with that are also constantly changing, the market dynamics, that global competitiveness, I could go on and on. But in the midst of all of this change, one thing remains constant: you all have business goals that you need to achieve, and in fact, your success depends on your ability to do just that.

So whether it’s reducing waste, improving quality, driving continuous improvement or increasing your frontline performance or some other goal that isn’t listed here, how do you move the needle to achieve results in the midst of all of this change and the pace of change? And the answer is fairly simple. It’s through your frontline, and those individuals are going to play a really critical role in whether or not you succeed and outpace the competition or fail and fall behind.

So we’re going to move into our first poll and take a quick pause here. So what I’d like you all to do
is to answer this question: of the four business subject objectives that you see here on the screen, what is the highest priority for your organization, is it A. Reducing waste like scrap or rework. Is it improving quality of your products, your processes? Is it driving continuous improvement generally, or is it increasing frontline performance? As you think about what is top of mind for you today, what is the thing that is really keeping you awake at night and the area of focus for your business.

So I think everybody probably has had time to answer the poll. So let’s see what the results are. Okay, well, it looks like, interestingly, that a large number of you, the majority of you, more than 50% selected C. Driving continuous improvement. And as I think you probably discerned in just answering the poll, driving continuous improvement, in fact, does under..or overlay onto things like improving quality and reducing waste. So continuous improvement, as many of you know, I’m quite sure, is one of those areas that a lot of being written about today, and there’s a lot of focus on that idea, that overarching idea of continuous improvement.

So with that, I am going to turn to the next slide, which really is talking about three key challenges regardless of what your answer was on the previous slide. Because these three challenges really are related to any of those things, irrespective of your answer. So what are they? Well, first we have the widening skills gap again, something that has been written about and is being talked about quite frequently, and we’re going to delve into. Secondly, the disengagement dilemma. And again, I’ve got a little bit of data and some commentary to talk about with respect to that, and then finally, the increasingly diverse workforce that is out there today.

So first, dealing with the widening skills gap. We’re going to dig into this here, and I’ll just explain at the top level what you’re seeing here by way of this data. So, as far as the widening skills gap goes, the challenges of this are enormous, especially in manufacturing today and for those of you who do read some of the data out there, about labor statistics, report after report stresses the magnitude and the growing magnitude of this issue. But I think the recent report by Deloitte, which really from which this data was taken, does a fantastic job of illustrating the potential risk that the skill shortage poses in manufacturing. Using a baseline economic projection, this particular study revealed that there is a potential risk of US $454,000,000,000 in additional manufacturing GDP by 2028 if the industry is unable to fill the anticipated open jobs. That means that over the next decade, this persistent skill shortage, I could put a staggering 2.5 trillion in economic output at risk. That is absolutely massive.

But addressing this skill shortage is going to be no small task just because of the sheer magnitude of it, and here’s some more data to illustrate why. So again, many of you may have seen these statistics, but by 2025 it’s estimated that more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs are going to be needed. And if you break this number down further, an estimated 700,000 jobs are going to be created as a result of economic expansion, and just natural growth, and the remaining 2.7 million of that 3.4 million are going to open up because millions of baby boomers are exiting the job market.

And despite there being more than enough people to fill these jobs, it’s anticipated—I’m just going to go back—here that more than 2 million manufacturing jobs are going to go unfulfilled. So, according to a recent Deloitte study, there are three main reasons why those jobs are going to be unfulfilled. And here’s what they are. First retiring boomers. So as I mentioned a moment ago, baby boomers are going to be exiting the workplace on mass, and they still today make up the largest demographic in manufacturing. Currently, more than 1/4 of manufacturing workers are over the age of 55. That’s a pretty substantial statistic. And as the seasoned workers retire at a rate of more than—get this—10,000 day in the US alone, so 10,000 boomer’s a day are leaving the manufacturing sector. They’re taking with them their decades of knowledge and skills, and they are leaving positions behind. And while there are more than enough millennials out there to fill those roles, manufacturers are actually struggling to find replacements. And this is prompting them toe look elsewhere for new talent, with interestingly, up to 16% of new hires coming from non manufacturing sectors.

Even with recruiting efforts reaching into these new sectors, though, manufacturers aren’t having much luck attracting this younger demographic. Which leads me to the second reason so many jobs are going unfulfilled. And that is because of the misperception of manufacturing and what those jobs really are about. The manufacturing industry is suffering from an image problem. It’s really history that hasn’t quite been let go yet and millennials and in many cases, their parents in fact, view manufacturing as dangerous, it’s dirty, it’s manual, it’s old fashioned and low paying.

But the reality, as we all know, is that it couldn’t be further from the truth. Manufacturing has, in fact, never been more safe. Many facilities look like sterile labs and automation, artificial intelligence and other new cutting edge technologies are ushering in a new age of digital manufacturing.

The third factor here is really the shifting skill set. As new technologies emerge, they changed the nature of work, and analysts predict that 47% of today’s job might be gone in the next 10 years—another scary statistic. And that includes 20% of assembly jobs in manufacturing.

But overall headcount, interestingly, is expected to increase. Many of the new jobs will be new positions that don’t yet exist, and without knowing what these new jobs will look like and the skills that they will require, it’s really hard to plan ahead and prepare your workforce for them. So the ability to adapt quickly and re-skill the workforce on the fly will be critical to your continued success.

Now, the second thing that was on the slide a few ago, in terms of those three factors, is the the idea of the disengagement of the workforce today. Engaging employees is notoriously difficult at the best of times, in any industry, and in fact, employees in the manufacturing sector are the least engaged. Kind of, ah, bit of a downer. And that’s just bad for business. You know, it goes without saying it’s bad for business. Research shows us that disengaged employees really drag profits down and, in fact, cost the U. S up to $550 billion in lost productivity each year. Another staggering statistic.

Fortunately, mobile and social technology can help employers reach the front line in real time, enabling them to communicate organization and operational changes as they happen and support on the job training without taking employees away from where they need to perform.

In recent years, even gamification, as an example—many of you will have heard about that—has emerged as an effective and proven method of motivating employees to engage voluntarily with training content. I’m going to talk a little bit more about that in a few minutes.

So manufacturers really need to find ways to consistently engage their hyper diverse workforces with continuous training that they need to onboard, retrain and upskill frontline employees, so they can keep pace with operations and changing knowledge and skills demands.

Now the third challenge that I mentioned a few moments ago is the work force itself. And today’s workforce look something like this: first, it’s way more diverse. As I mentioned a moment ago, employees today speak multiple languages. In fact, I was just speaking to a manufacturing leader, who told me that he has seven languages that are being spoken in his plant. And so a big challenge there to be able to deal with that type of diversity. Everybody brings varying levels of education. Sometimes they’re geographically dispersed. Some people are full time, some people are part time or temporary. The diversity of the workplace is more than it’s ever been.

The second thing is multi-generational. There are currently five generations in the workforce today, and new generations entering the workforce bring their different skills, experience and expectations, as we all know.

The other factor that’s really emerged over the last 10 years is this idea of interruptions. Day-to-day interruptions. Not only is technology introduced—mass disruption and interruption into our lives every day— but employees have more skills to learn than ever before. And that means planned downtime with employees off the floor training, which are additional interruptions to that workflow and getting the job done.

The next item: you’re operating with leaner resources and staff, again something that we’ve been living for a number of years. The colollary, though, or the rub of that, is that production demands are higher than ever, and we’re all being challenged to do a lot more with less. And part of that is an employees are operating under reduced supervision, so there’s just more opportunity for them to make critical errors.

And then finally, as business models and processes and your supply chain become way more complex and the pace of change accelerates, employees are constantly inundated with new information, and they have to continuously stay top of those new things in order to stay safe and productive. So the challenge is to make sure that your diverse workforce have the knowledge and skills they need to operate at peak levels. And if your employees can’t reach their full potential, you’re not going to see the return on investment that you’ve made to modernize your organization and really stay ahead of the competition.

So now we’re going to go into our second poll, and I’ll ask you to select one of the options for this question. Which of these key challenges does your organization find is the most difficult to deal with today? Is it A. the widening skills gap, B. the disengagement of your workforce, or, C, a hyper diverse workforce? All of the things that I just walked through with some of the key challenges. So take a quick little look at that, and we will turn to your answers and see what most people are dealing with.

Oh, very interesting. So again, just over half of you chose B., the disengagement dilemma. A good number of you, though it shows A. the widening skills gap and very few of you the hyper diverse workforce. And and I look at that as good news because it tells me that we’ve made some great progress in integrating all of those different aspects of the people that work in the in the workplace. But the disengagement dilemma is a real one, and I think what you know, the data I spoke about earlier, where manufacturing had the most disengaged workforce is really coming through in this particular poll.

So with that, we’re now going to turn to this idea of modern times calling for modern training, and we’re going to actually talk a little bit about how you can overcome both the challenges of the skills gap and also engagement, interestingly, with your workforce in this next section.

So, just to recap, you have business goals you need to achieve and those frontline challenges to overcome and all of this happening in a world where your business is moving at the speed of digital, it’s it’s light speed. And when you consider that more than half of 54% of your workforce is going to require significant reskilling, by 2020, the need for an agile, scaleable, technology driven approach to training is becoming increasingly critical. And as the slide says, modern times call for modern training, and that’s where microlearning comes in.

There’s a lot of buzz as a said the outset of this webinar, a lot of buzz about microlearning. It’s a term that’s been out there now for a little bit, but it is also causing a lot of confusion. A lot of people think microlearning is simply short little videos that you show people. And in fact, a real microlearning approach goes much more deeper than that.

So here’s a clear definition. Microlearning is really a modern approach to training that leverages all forms of technology, really, in the moment and what’s accessible to the employees, and combines it with cutting edge data and analytics that have things like machine learning and AI applied to that data to deliver training in short, focused bites that are personalized and adaptive to every individual in a way that makes business critical behaviors stick.

So that’s a real mouthful, and we’re going to delve into the different aspects of that now to really decompose what I just said and try to make sense of what that means.

So in order to be effective as possible, it really does take a powerful mix of techniques to identify and fill people’s knowledge gap individually with the right information at the right time, and so. Micro learning is really essential to creating a habit of daily learning, to help employees focus on their developmental needs while also enabling priorities for the business. And it does this, interestingly, in the most effective way, by blending brain science, artificial intelligence, gamification and the measurement of our ROI. And when you combine those factors together, you can actually make learning stick in a really, really provable way. So let’s look at how this all comes together with brain science.

Sorry, didn’t mean to click that.

So let me tell you a little bit about how the brain science works. There’s been a ton of research done over the last, I’m going to say 15 years, in cognitive psychology research, and we now know more about how the brain works to learn and retain information than ever before. And the reality is this: our brains are just not built to remember a ton of information at once. But what we do and have done historically to our teams is fire hose them, in long sessions that we often refer to as “one and done”, with tons of information, that is “boil the ocean” and give them all the things we think they need to know up front in one long session. And unfortunately for the brain, it’s just not geared to remembering all of that, in fact, even most of it. In fact, there was a scientist over 100 years ago named Herman Ebbinghouse who, through a period of study over a number of years, was able to demonstrate improve that the average human being will forget 90% of what they learned 30 days earlier in one session of study.

So again, if we trained people in classroom or with long online videos, the average human being 30 days later is going to remember 10 or less percent of what they got trained on. We can’t afford to let people be out on the floor in the field with less than 10% of the knowledge they need to know in order to perform in the ways that we expect them to. So with all of that in mind, and to keep the critical information they need to have top of mind, there have now been these proven methods brought to bear that we now know make information stick long term. And this really goes to mapping how we train people to how the brain works to remember information best. And the concepts that you see here on this slide, space repetition, retrieval practice and confidence based assessments, are now proven to be the most effective ways to get a human being to remember anything long term. Spaced repetition, some of you may have heard about this, is really the concept that learning is more effective when it is spaced out over time. So when we practice a new topic, or acquire a new piece of knowledge repeatedly, over increasing periods of time, it deepened memory so that the information sticks.

The second technique, retrieval practice, is also, combined with spacing, a super effective way to create memory, and in fact the best way. So it’s really simple. It is the act of asking your employees, or the learner the person that you’re trying to convey information to, you’re asking them a question about something they need to know and getting that individual to retrieve the correct answer from their memory banks and convey that information to you. By having an individual answer a question, and they could be simple questions to very difficult questions, and getting them to retrieve repeatedly the right information from their brains, you home the neural pathways, making it faster, simpler and easier for the individual to be able to have that piece of knowledge in the moment of need as they’re doing their jobs, versus guessing or not doing at all.

The third concept, confident based assessment, is another really effective technique to actually enhance knowledge, knowledge acquisition and get people to use it. So it turns out that when an employee is asked a question, if you also asked them how confident they are in their answer, you can acquire all kinds of really interesting data around how they might apply knowledge, or act in the face of lack of knowledge, on the job. So let’s just say, for example, you’ve trained and employees on forklift driving, and there are many aspects to how to drive a forklift effectively and safely. And so you ask an individual about various aspects forklift driving, and then you ask them how confident they are in whether or not they did those things correctly, or know those pieces of information. And let’s say they get all those questions wrong, but they tell you that they’re highly confident in their answers. You can discern from that individual that without the correct knowledge but a high degree of confidence, they may not take the right action on the job and exhibit unsafe behaviors. So by pairing questioning, with the question around confidence as well, you get people to, in fact, pay more attention to the information and drive what we call mastery. Those that are highly confident that lack knowledge begin to understand that they in fact don’t know the answers, and they start to pay more attention. On the other side of that coin, those have high degrees of knowledge, but lack confidence tend not to act in the workplace. They hang back, they’re a little bit afraid, so they don’t do. But when they see that they know a lot of things, they answer the questions correctly, their confidence grows, and then they act as they’re on the job.

I’m going to switch gears for a minute, to explain this concept of mastery. And mastery is—I just went through—is the idea that you have high degrees of confidence and also high degrees of knowledge, and you really do need to pay attention to both of these considerations. So, you can see here on this grid that if you were able to measure person by person, question by question, how they answered individual pieces of knowledge related to forklift driving or something else, you can actually visually map people on a grid like this and immediately be able to identify both the topic areas and the employees who had issues. They were in that “Misinformed Mistakes” box with high degrees of confidence, very little knowledge, or in the “Doubt Hesitation” box where they’re not going to act but they actually have high degrees of knowledge. But again, by employing these techniques in a modern learning strategy, you can really effectively move employees to the top right quadrant, where they have both high degrees of knowledge and high degrees of confidence. And that’s going to ensure smart action for mastery.

So, the second thing that we’re going to talk about is this idea of kind of a baseline of knowledge. And as I mentioned a moment ago, where you can measure what individuals know, question by question, topic area by topic area, and measure that person by person, you end up in a place where, if you leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, against all of that data, you can then adapt the training and learning to each employee’s daily learning experience based on their past behaviors or current behaviors, and the goals that are most important to your business. That then makes sure that the solution is is actively working to close knowledge gap person by person. It also makes sure that employees are applying what they learned on the front lines. And so you get this very robust data set that is helping each individual with their learning path and no matter how big your front line gets, your training is able to keep pace with that. And this type of adaptive, continuous learning that evolves with your organisation allows you to future-proof your workforce.

The next element that I want to talk about is this idea of engagement that we spoke about earlier. No technology, no technique that you’re going to use is really going to change anybody’s behavior if they don’t like using it and they don’t want to keep coming back. And that’s why gamification is so important. It has really been a strong emerging trend over the last, I’m going to say five years, and the reason is that it taps directly into the innate desire we all have for self-challenge, to meet goals, to win, to be competitive, all of those things. And it really hooks your employees to return again and again and again for more training. Gamification incorporates gameplay, leaderboards, news feeds, prizes, rewards, a whole series of things. If you really delve into the different techniques we can employ, and giving employees the option to play games at work, um is really something we often get told feels very counterintuitive. But the fact is, it really, really works—and it doesn’t need to be long, heavy, you know what I would call quest style or scenario based games—casual gaming that lasts for 30 seconds or three minutes is highly effective. In fact, is so effective that allowing employees to play a casual game drives participation through the roof with daily engagement in terms of learning. And when people are on learning, their knowledge levels increase 27% more than if gaming is not part of that experience. When you add in other things, other game mechanics like points, rewards, leaderboards, other competitive things, and really get that competitive spirit going among co-workers, you really can drive participation, again that leads to learning. And what also happens is making learning fun shifts the mind set from, “I don’t have time for this”, or “I’m being told to do this,” to that irresistible feeling they have and that you want them to have, which is, “I can’t wait to do this.” And so that’s why gamification, as an engagement tool, can be so critical to upskilling and knowledge acquisition.

The next thing is, this idea of if you utilize technology and microlearning techniques effectively, you can measure what you’re frontline learns day in and day out, that ties to business results and is really driving those results and the performance of your people, right down to that specific employees, in real time every single day. And since you can clearly see which programs make the biggest difference to your business results, how knowledge and participation are influencing those results, and even where targets are at risk, you can automatically adjust your learning strategies and skills acquisition on the fly to focus on making the changes that will make the biggest difference to your business. And all of this is really because of the power of big data, which was not possible even a few short years ago.

So to illustrate how all of this data and how all of these things pulled together to work in a high level. We are going to uh oh, sorry, I just mixed up my slide here.

I’m going to talk a little bit more about big data. And give you an idea of the amount of data on volume of data that that you gather using these techniques.

So artificial intelligence, what is often referred to his machine learning in some respects today, can only really be applied when the right data is available to you. And that goes way, way beyond simple test scores or completions, when somebody sits in a classroom, or watches a video and completes a course. When it comes to frontline training, the right kind of data really does refer to microlearning data from each employee’s daily training session. And it starts with that baseline measurement of knowledge. So, you know, as I described earlier when an individual answers a question, there are critical pieces of information that are captured, and it gives you that baseline level of knowledge that then get added to as the answer questions with, what is the subject? Did they answer correctly or incorrectly? How are they progressing through topics? How many times they answered a question? What was the spacing in between? What’s the confidence they have? How difficult was that question? And there’s a whole theory around question level difficulty, as many of you may be familiar with. And this data, all of that is then rolled into a continuous knowledge view that shows in real time what somebody knows, when a piece of information forgotten, and finally, that data is further augmented with on the job behavior so you can actually observe and record whether the individual is applying that knowledge on the job. Which ties back to, in fact, do they know or not know that critical piece of information? And this is where alerts, this is where identification of skills gap, identification of a whole host of things become possible for you is an organization that allows you to optimize the business outcome that you’re looking to achieve from the knowledge of your population.

So we’re gonna look at Peter and Alice, and really illustrate for you how this works in practice. So let’s just say that Peter and Alice, are employees for the same company. So in this particular business, the business has determined that safety knowledge is critical for assembly line workers to perform their job, followed by knowledge pertaining to quality, processes and culture. And the figure you see here shows the baseline knowledge for Peter and Alice that’s been acquired because Peter and Alice have each answered questions in each of these topic areas at least one time. So the first time through all of those questions, this is what they know in each of those areas. Now, Peter started with the company a year ago in the warehouse, and he’s changing roles to work on the assembly line. So he has a decent baseline on the company’s culture, quality standards, and safety policies and procedures. But he’s been in the warehouse—because he’s been in the warehouse, his knowledge is limited when it comes to assembly line processes. Alice, on the other hand, she’s brand new to the company, and will also be starting on the assembly line. She’s a seasoned assembly line worker, bringing with her a solid base of safety and process knowledge. Given that she’s new to the company, however, she isn’t familiar with the company’s culture or quality standards. So that’s what you see based on their baseline. Now, based on each of their individual strengths and weaknesses, along with how the business has prioritized the training topics, the adaptive learning engine immediately tailors the daily learning experience to each of Peter and Alice. In other words, it starts to adapt learning for each user based on their unique knowledge gaps, their strengths and weaknesses. And from day one Peter’s daily learning experience is going to be different from Alison. But they will all end up in the same place with each of them sustaining high knowledge across all topics.

And that’s where the microlearning is going to fill their individual knowledge gaps in the most effective and efficient manner possible so that it helps you achieve your business results. So this gives you that sense of how, on an individual basis, both Peter and Alice have their individual knowledge gaps addressed most effectively, which is not what that “one and done”, one-size-fits-all experience, really happens when we do training traditionally.

And, uh, market leaders, so those that are really, really forward thinking in this area are using micro learning to achieve their business goals. And that includes everything from optimizing bottom line performance, to building proactive culture of safety, and reducing time to competency of frontline employees. Whatever your business challenge, micro learning is proven to work.

So what a microlearning session might look like in a manufacturing supply chain environment is something like this. I’m gonna walk you through the experience. First, an employee starts their shift by logging into the platform, and this could be done from a work station of the shop floor, shared computer in the break room or from a mobile device. It really doesn’t matter what the point of access is, and the first thing that they’re going to see is a customized broadcast message. So this is a communication that anybody who has authorization can create really, really easily and target individuals or teams or the entire organization. So if, for example, there’s an improvement to a safety process that workers in a specific facility need to know about, leaders in that area can inform that particular group of employees of the update and point them to a central repository, where a revised resource and additional information can be accessed on demand, for example. And leaders also have the ability to see who has or who hasn’t viewed messages. So those things tend to be very quick, you know, short but highly impactful ways to reach a frontline workforce that isn’t necessarily sitting at a desk and looking at a desktop every day.

The second thing is the platform delivering these personalized questions we’ve been speaking about, that each employee needs to fill their specific knowledge gap so they can remember the things they need to know to be productive on the job. And that’s where all of their confidence scores, their questions success are monitored, measured and analyzed, whether it’s reinforcing existing procedures or training on new ones. Daily training leads to that continual improvement and confidence.

Then, to help engage employees, training is gameified. While again it’s recommended for the reasons I mentioned just a short time ago, it isn’t required, so if an employee’s short on time or doesn’t really want to play a game or engage in the game mechanics, they can simply get to their training and answer a quick series of questions. Built in game mechanics allow employees to earn points, and you can use these for rewards. Leaderboards also, interestingly engage really healthy competitive spirit, more than you might think. And just each of those things, or either one keeps them coming back for more. And because it’s short and it’s fun and it’s fast and it’s highly targeted to each of the individuals, they don’t feel like they’re wasting their time. They feel like they’ve got a little break, they’re having some fun, it’s competitive, it’s collaborative. And they are getting the things that they personally need to be better employees and develop those knowledge skills and habits over time. And all of those things enable your organization to move in the right direction towards operational excellence.

Again, it all happens, this entire experience in just a few minutes per shift in the employees work environment, whether it’s on the floor or on the line, etcetera. So how does that translate into the real world? Well, now we’re going to turn to, in closing, just a few examples of how organizations are using micro learning and the kind of results that they’re getting. This particular company, Precision Resource, was really able to streamline and increase training without impacting productivity at all. And their challenge was to improve frontline performance and drive operational excellence, really without sacrificing productivity.

That was a key, key thing for them. So what they did was they employed and implemented the Axonify microlearning platform across the entire company for engineering, finance, all other office staff with a primary focus on the press shop. And they were able to improve operational excellence and realized $150,000 of training value while decreasing the number of press operator errors and scrap. And in their particular case, employees are on 2 to 3 times a week continuously. They average a 92% participation rate, in fact, which has led to a 12% increase in their knowledge in jobs specific training and health and safety topics. So a really, really good result for Precision Resource.

Second example is WalMart. WalMart, as you all know, is just a global, massive organization and a large organization that has tens of thousands of people in their distribution centers. And WalMart has a very high focus on a culture of safety. And were looking for an incremental way to reduce risk, accidents and injuries, and the associated costs of those, as well as improve employee engagement with safety training across their tens of thousands of people. So they employed the Axonify micro learning solution in 150 distribution centers across the U.S. And since the implementation have been able to dramatically reduce the number of recordable safety incidents and really create a best in class culture of safety. They also found that the solution improved communications between frontline employees and management. So a huge participation, huge ability to really correlate the safety and knowledge of the population to those decrease safety incidents. So again, a great result there.

Finally, we have a Merck—actually we’ve two more mark in Bloomingdale’s, which I’ll get through quickly. Merck, again global brand that many of you would know, and high levels of employee engagement led to both a decrease in recordable incidents and lost time injury frequency rate, another big issue in manufacturers. So they were trying to drive a really proactive culture safety awareness across their global manufacturing division. And this was employed in 52 global manufacturing sites with 24,000 people. And again, you see very high degrees of participation, reduction of recordable incidents and lost time, injury frequency rate, a super result for Merck.

And then finally a little bit of a different example. Bloomingdale’s, a high end retailer, who also had a strong focus on safety and their extremely high engagement rates have helped Bloomingdale’s reduce claims by 41% and that has resulted in a really impressive $10,000,000 in savings to date.

So with that, I’m going to close. Thank you all for joining and ask Adrienne if there any questions that I can answer for the audience.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, great, thank you very much. And we do have some questions. The first question is, how long
does it take to see the results after implementing microlearning?


Carol Leaman:
Great question. So it is typically a 3 to 6 month time horizon over which you can actually measure and prove the difference that micro learning is making to the business outcome. So we typically need—to be safe—six months of data to be able to statistically correlate knowledge growth in topic areas with the business outcome you’re targeting. The reality is behavior changes very, very quickly in the population. It’s quite interesting how employees very quickly learn that they know or don’t know granular things about some critical topic that they should know in order to perform in the job. And those gaps start to close immediately. If the statistical correlation, the improvement of the business ROI, that takes typically that 3 to 6 months to statistically prove the outcome.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, thank you. Another question: our organization has an older workforce that is not computer savvy. Will this present challenges in using the microlearning approach?


Carol Leaman:
Another great question and one that we have been asked many times. The reality is that the experience have been designed to be as simple and approachable as possible. Where there, you know, single sign on with other solutions, you’re immediately—as soon as you sign on, you are greeted and told what to do. And quite literally, the experienced lasts 3 to 4 minutes, um, and is a very—you walk through, you’re lead through the process and you know exactly what to do next. So, you know, we’ve often said internally, a five year old could actually figure out without any instruction how to do this, because the experience has been designed that way for all ages, all skills, all sorts of demographics, so that we’re not leaving anybody behind.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, thank you. The next question is, we don’t allow cell phones in our plant. How do workers complete microlearning? Can they access on a desktop computer within the plant?


Carol Leaman:
Yes. In fact, any device that has a web link is an access point. So we we have many customers who have the same policy, no cell phones in the plant, and so they’ve got kiosks that are placed in central locations. We have a customer who has a battery charging station where employees have to charge batteries on their belt devices for three minutes a shift. And what they’ve done is they place a kiosk beside each of the battery charging stations so that, instead of just standing around the employees does it there. It can also be, if you’ve got intelligence machines with screens that have web links, you can do it on that. Very accessible anywhere, and any time the employee has, that does not need to involve a mobile device.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, Thank you. I want to remind our audience to please fill out the feedback form, which is located in the lower left toolbar. The next question we have is, we have a multicultural workforce. Can safety training content be deployed with microlearning in multiple languages?


Carol Leaman:
Yes. In fact, we have. We serve customers in over 100 countries and over 50 languages today. So language is a complete non issue for us.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, The next question is, how much does it cost?


Carol Leaman:
Uh, well the cost scales by size of organization, size of learner population and several other factors. So is it a single use topic? Are you going to use it across many topics? So the price scales and you know, if you’re talking tens of thousands of people, the reality is you’re probably going to pay somewhere in the, you know, dollar to $3 per month per employee. If you have in the low hundreds, you know, you could be in the $7-8 a month. So it’s you know, there’s a range and there are several dependencies around that. But you know, you’re not talking, you know, $1000 a year to train somebody. This is, this is designed to be very cost effective for training.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, we’re just gonna answer this one last question. Is it possible to see a demo to see what the employees experience look like?


Carol Leaman:
Absolutely. So anybody who would like to see a demo, please follow up. We’d be happy to schedule that with you and and, you know, target the demo and the content to whatever topic areas are of most interest to you.


Adrienne Selko:
Okay, great. Thank you very much. I’d like to thank our speaker, Carol Leaman, and our sponsor, Axonify. As a reminder, if you’re registered as a group, please enter all the names and the emails of all the attendees in their exit survey. And on behalf of Industry Week, have a productive remainder of the day. Thank you.