Turning Challenges into Opportunities

The need to condense content presented an opportunity to introduce asynchronous online learning modules to one unit of large a professional development program.

Not only did the unit remain the top-ranked section of the program, it contributed to a complete redesign of the entire professional development program.

The new format debuted the second year I supported this program—and we were still the highest ranked section. The series expanded from five to eight job shadow videos, providing about two-and-a-half hours of content. After completing the self-paced work, participants meet virtually to ask questions and discuss what they’ve learned.  

Note: The videos for that program are proprietary and cannot be shared here. Instead, I have included some details about redeveloping the unit.


Situation

Each year, the company offers an internal professional development program to select associates. It’s designed to provide information about all lines of business within a division. However, the time allotment for the program was cut by about 30 percent. The original format used virtual, synchronous, facilitator-led instruction delivered via Adobe Connect.  A few weeks before the scheduled sessions, the facilitator for the final meeting cancelled and an asynchronous option had to be created for participants.

Task

By the end of the unit, participants were expected to state and describe the various roles within Operations, be able to name key performance indicators (KPI) for each role, and explain the financial impact of each KPI. I had seven specific departments, with numerous associated functions in each, to cover. 

Actions

Interstate Labels Template
The series of videos followed a road trip theme, taking learners to various locations.

I created job shadow videos for four of  seven functions, using existing PowerPoint presentations as a starting point. I interviewed subject matter experts in each role, and used Skype screen sharing with SnagIt screen capture tools to record video with associates all over the country. These videos used real customer phone calls, claims processing and sample audits to show what a day in operations was truly like. Each video focused on a specific department and took participants on a virtual road trip to various operations locations as they completed the series. Scripted narration and vector graphics provided context and illustrated key concepts.

Results

The Operations module was the highest-ranked section that year, and influenced a permanent format change to the entire professional development program. After the Operations job shadow videos released, the program was reimagined so all modules followed our “A Day In the Life” format.

Additionally, the asynchronous session went so well, the program moved to being more self-paced with less frequent meetings. All groups participating in the program were asked to change their presentations to provide more work examples that displayed how deliverables were created, instead of just providing PowerPoint presentations.