September 10, 2012 Leave a comment
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Takes Learning to a Whole New Level
By Kathleen Waid, Senior Director, Client Services, Expertus
We’ve all seen sobering statistics about legacy learning management systems. While those platforms once promised to facilitate organizational learning, now they seem to stand in its way. For example:
- 33% of learning professionals think legacy systems actually impede learning
(The eLearning Guild)
- 45% of learning professionals assign a grade of C, D or F to their LMS
- 30% of large companies are replacing or upgrading their learning platform
(Bersin & Associates)
So – what should you do if you’re one of the many organizations that are heavily invested in a legacy LMS? What steps will move you in the right direction? Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS) recently faced this very issue.
LMS Lessons from Big Brothers Big Sisters
BBBS is the nation’s premiere youth mentoring organization. Effective learning is essential to its mission, as president and CEO, Charles Pierson, explains:
“Our ultimate goal is helping our ‘Littles’ (at-risk youth) find their talent spark and develop it into a rewarding career. Providing dynamic, best-in-class training is the number one way we can accomplish this.”
A Big Challenge
BBBS had already invested heavily to enhance its legacy learning platform for delivery of employee online and distance training programs. Yet the system still only reached a fraction of the organization’s 630,000 internal and external audiences (employees, volunteers and mentees).
Two options were on the table:
- Continue pouring time and money into an antiquated system – creating custom modifications and workarounds, and adding social learning tools to extend the platform’s useful life – with no guaranteed outcome.
- Replace the existing software with a cloud LMS that integrates formal and informal learning with social and collaborative capabilities – and is designed to scale and adapt as organizations grow and evolve.
After carefully weighing pros and cons, BBBS decided to switch to a cloud-based platform. Next, an extensive vendor search led to the ExpertusONE™ SaaS-driven LMS.
To minimize risks, the new system was first tested in a highly successful pilot program – and then rolled-out nationwide to all constituents.
The Expertus implementation team worked in tandem with BBBS throughout the migration to ensure that existing LMS data and content were properly integrated into the new environment, for a seamless learning experience and error-free training administration.
The new BBBS learning portal (branded “Impact U”) engages learners in a rich, personalized user experience – all driven by a single, robust underlying LMS engine and a catalog of 300+ courses. Highlights include:
- Instant “anytime, anywhere” access to relevant courses, resources, transcripts and status information – all within a unified, coherent web environment.
- Intuitive navigation and simple-yet-sophisticated search capabilities, so learners find what they need quickly and easily.
- Social learning and collaboration tools that reinforce continuous learning, support problem solving and foster relationships across internal and external communities.
At the same time, the new implementation addresses the operational requirements of BBBS’ decentralized, nationwide learning organization. For example, fluctuations in demand are no longer a factor in system responsiveness, because the cloud infrastructure scales as needed for uninterrupted, real-time training delivery. (For more details, download the full BBBS case study.)
Only 6 months after full deployment, BBBS has declared its LMS replacement an “incredible success,” citing three key metrics:
- 84% improvement in overall performance readiness – for both internal and external audiences.
- 80% of learners say that they now know how to work better with BBBS.
- Significant costs (time, money and resources) to customize and update the old LMS have essentially been eliminated.
Already, the learning community is recognizing the value of BBBS’ approach. CLO Magazine recently selected John Kulikowski, BBBS Director of Learning & Development, as a 2012 Learning in Practice GOLD Award winner for his Learning Technology leadership.
While risk is part of any technology implementation, the rewards can be immediate and profound. With a cloud LMS, learning operations can become more efficient and effective. But most importantly, moving to the cloud can have a meaningful, measurable impact on learners. And that translates into business value.
At BBBS, where it’s all about guiding our country’s youth toward productive futures, a better learning experience for all could make a genuine difference in someone’s life. Learning doesn’t get more valuable than that.
Note fom Kathleen: To learn more about the “Impact U” story, download the full case study or watch BBBS’ brief promotional video about the LMS rollout and response. To learn how your organization can apply cloud learning – or to see a personalized demo of ExpertusONE in action – contact me anytime at email@example.com.