Brent O’Bryan, vice president of learning and development at security personnel provider AlliedBarton, and its learning team are in the process of rolling out a set of pull learning modules in the first and second quarters of this year. In the first quarter, AlliedBarton unveiled a mobile learning app. A few times a week, members of the sales team receive questions that attempt to reinforce the e-learning and classroom training conducted in 2012. If the employee gets the answer wrong, he or she will receive a slightly different question a few days later.
After the questions are sent out there’s a process of racking and stacking, and all sales employees get a list of the top performers who responded correctly to the most reinforcement questions.
“It is all tied back to the question: Did we just invest a lot of money in 2012 in sales enablement training without ensuring that we have some reinforcement?” O’Bryan said.
This year AlliedBarton will release a series of videos on-demand for employees at all levels. They will include quick instructions on company-wide measures on topics such as safety, and will be available for access remotely via the company’s online training program, The EDGE.
The learning organization at AlliedBarton has spent the last year developing these types of pull learning options, and O’Bryan said it began with strategy and questions such as: What is your overall strategy going to be for touching employees with this type of learning? Where does this strategy fit within the larger strategy of the company?
Once the strategy has been established, a learning team should meet with individual leaders in departments where pull learning will be used to flesh out what major business challenges they have and the methods they can use to address those issues — whether in a virtual setting or via audio or video. Because the technology tied to pull learning is still relatively new, O’Bryan said it’s important to take baby steps when introducing these new learning methods to employees to make sure they really work for their purposes and meet the company’s needs.
Critics of just-in-time learning question how employees can be incentivized to pull learning. Unlike classroom and e-learning settings where employees have no choice but to sit through a learning tutorial, pull learning requires immediate buy-in from employees to be effective.
AlliedBarton has instituted a number of measures, such as the list of top performers on the sales team mobile app, to encourage employees to pull learning. For instance, the number and level of pull learning opportunities accessed is used as one of a series of criteria when leaders are considering promotional opportunities. However, the biggest incentive for employees is having good content, O’Bryan said.