First Federal Bank of California wanted a learning solution that sped up the creation of training, tailored training to the way employees learned, tracked learning and reused vital parts of courses for new initiatives.
“One of our business principles is superior training leads to superior performance,” said Wendy Krieger, vice president and training manager for First Federal Bank of California.
Helping 600 employees spread across 38 branches understand the ever-changing financial industry and meet customer needs is no small feat, however.
“When you spend the time to create training, you want to make people aware that it’s available, ensure they take it and guarantee they get credit for completing it,” said Krieger. “You also want to extend the life of that training for as long as you can to keep costs down.”
For First Federal Bank of California, the answer to training challenges evolved over many years. In 2001, the bank adopted Trainer, software from Outstart for authoring courses. Trainer enabled instructional designers to share and reuse training content and also gave them the flexibility to create training in a variety of formats.
After automating the training creation, Krieger said the bank added a learning management system (LMS) to computerize the record keeping linked to training.
“The authoring tool, which we still use today, gives more training for less cost,” said Richard Williamson an instructional technology specialist at First Federal Bank of California. “The software has evolved with successive versions, but what’s always been there is the ability to reuse content in a creative way. That saves an incredible amount of time.”
The tool does this by allowing a training team to recreate the same course in multiple formats, such as an online seminar, a handbook or a CD-ROM. And the authoring tool can enhance the quality. For instance, with online courses, the bank’s authoring tool can embed assessments that automatically point an employee to specific content based on how the test-taker responds to questions in the course.
Williamson added that the authoring tool also plays a critical role in modifying courses to reflect the latest legislation and tailoring instruction for different departments.
“If we didn’t have an authoring tool, it might take weeks, or months, to get a vendor to customize one of our computer-based training modules,” Williamson said.
An additional benefit to tapping Trainer has been its environmental benefits. By creating 50 computer-based training modules and reusing content as needed, the bank has put a dent in its printing costs.
Krieger noted that prior to launching its LMS, the bank’s training staff was spending “hours and hours updating records and tracking who completed courses” in anticipation of audits. According to Krieger, the LMS has reduced her training department’s administrative time by 50 percent.
Williamson would spend at least one day a week simply transferring scores from employees’ tests to the training department’s spreadsheet. The automated tracking capabilities of the LMS now save Williamson that work, so he can focus on performing his role at a higher level.
By investing in learning technologies, the bank’s training department has been able to focus on delivering training when needed. And employees have delivered service that has led the bank to build new branches and see an increase in retail deposits by as much as 15 percent.
The bank’s investment in the development of each employee has, in many ways, been underwritten by the net benefit of learning technologies.
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