Chief Learning Officer - May 2006 - (Page 56)

CO0506.qxd 4/18/06 2:38 PM Page 56 tactics in practice: ent business areas, the learning leader not only Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida: benefits from a shared budget but also will strengthen the justification that there are several R a p i d Learning On Demand company-wide benefits to one technology. With growing support within a company for learning, As one of the largest providers of health care insurance in Florida, Blue Cross and Blue Shield the access to tools for on-demand information of Florida serves more than 8.3 million people. With approximately 300 internal employees expands. The key is to become much more delib- and 5,000 external employees distributed across the state, the company finds that providing erate around the application of technology for continuous education can be a challenge. However, educating a distributed workforce is not learning, beyond the formal models that are rou- the company's only ongoing challenge. The complex nature of the insurance industry is just as, if not more, challenging. tinely deployed today. We're heavily regulated both at the state and national level due to the complexity of health care, I n n o v a t i v e On-Demand Tools which involves finance, insurance and clinical content, said Jep Larkin, director of sales com- From Commonplace Technologies munications, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. So when we are doing communications and training, it requires a bit more than other industries that don't have content complexity. For example, a company using a sales portal can implement a learning component by using that In fact, when regulatory or compliance issues arise, insurance companies such as Blue Cross portal to give users real-time access to informa- and Blue Shield of Florida are under strict time constraints to develop and deploy the neces- sar y product solutions and the corresponding training initiatives. For example, when the feder- tion relevant to the task at hand. While working al government introduced Medicare Part D, a new prescription drug plan, into the marketplace with a CRM application, the system can offer the in January 2006, the company had merely 30 days to educate both its internal and external user learning content that is relevant to that par- employees on the ins-and-outs of Medicare Part D, and it had another 30 days to educate its ticular client and the specific part of the sales workforce on the corresponding Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida-specific product. cycle. The portal interface also lays out the sales We could only communicate generic, high-level information about Medicare Part D to our process in a to-do list, prompts the user to prepare employees, and we couldn't talk to employees about specific products in the marketplace until for a sales call and suggests experts to collaborate. a specific date. So we could only initially educate on what Medicare Part D was from a gov- And, when users have insights or helpful tips er nment perspective, said Scott Bryant, director of sales training, Blue Cross and Blue Shield based on this experience, they can be shared with of Florida. As a result, we had a limited window of 30 days to educate both our internal and others by entering them directly into the work- exter nal employees on the Medicare Part D product in order to stay within compliance and place portal. For a company-wide learning imple- another 30-day window to train the entire sales workforce on our Blue Cross and Blue Shield mentation to succeed it not only needs to reach of Florida-specific product. different business lines, but it also needs to extend In order to address these inherent challenges, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida realized the business applications they already use. that it needed a unique deployment tool to suit the needs of its internal and external workforce for continuous learning. As a result, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida implemented a rapid In a formal setting, an LMS is used to manage e-lear ning system. Rapid e-learning tools add value for us because they are able to get just- and report on learning activities relevant to in-time communications, messages or more robust training programs put together and distrib- one's job roles and interests. Many offer a per- uted to a dispersed audience in a quicker fashion, Br yant said. For example with Medicare sonalized learning path that shows both your Part D, we were able to reach the audience we needed under those time constraints because goals and progress against those goals. The LMS of our rapid e-learning distribution strategy. also can store the individual's personal learning But Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida's rapid e-learning system not only improves its time history, which could be used in combination to market, it also improves the consistency of its training messages and the ability for employ- with other artifacts to establish a persona or ees to train on demand. Another point is that e-learning forces us to digitize the content early active resume of the employee. If both the learn- and that means that we can push it out to the Web easier for follow-up and reinforcement, ing content from the LMS and expertise infor- Larkin said. When you are dealing with the old style of training, you are dealing with all these mation can be surfaced in new ways, such as to materials, cards and things. And getting those materials on the Web can become a little more facilitate informal learning, the investments in perplexing sometimes. the formal learning systems show increased ben- The company's rapid e-learning system also allows Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida to efits to the organization. monitor and track employee participation as well as each employee's viewing duration. The rapid e-learning system gives us the capability to set parameters of what constitutes completion For example, any application can take advan- of a course. So, I can set that they have to listen to every bit of the audio that is tied to that tage of presence. Presence is familiar in applica- class, I can put that they have to look at every slide to gain completion status, etc., Br yant tions such as instant messaging to inform the explained. So, if employees don't meet the set criteria, they don't get a completed status for user when another user is present, away or that class. signed off. With presence enabled, learners can May 2006 B o t h Bryant and Larkin agree that the company has seen substantial results in terms of see which experts are present relevant to the e m p l o y e e performance, i n c r e a s e d productivity and cost savings as well. I t has increased task or business process at hand. When a ques- b o t h our internal and external employees' productivity, a n d this is a sheer numbers game. I I I Chief Learning Officer tion arises, an instant messenger IM applica- W h e n you bring someone into a classroom environment, t h e travel time to the classroom, tion is used to contact the expert. Following t h e interactivity and then the travel time back into the market often equals lost opportunity, that interaction, the expert can then add that B r y a n t explained. B u t if it is a 15-minute e-learning module or a 30-minute e-learning associate's question to a FAQ database, so the m o d u l e, e m p l o y e e s are back on the phone making calls to agents or brokers instanta- next time a user has the same question, an n e o u s l y. A l s o, e m p l o y e e s are able to pause the module to take important business calls or I answer will be available even if the expert is not t o perform other business tasks and go back to the module when the time is right. S o basi- c a l l y you cut out many of the logistical costs that are associated with traditional training and present. This interaction shows how technolo- d e v e l o p m e n t programs. gy allows the user to sift through loads of infor- mation quickly and easily to access valuable

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Chief Learning Officer - May 2006

Editor's Note
Table of Contents
Letters to the Editor
Take Five
Selling Up, Selling Down
Guest Editorial
Learning Solutions
Robbins-Gioia University
Deloitte & Touche USA
CLO Profile
Washington Gas
Case Study
Human Capital
Health Care Service Corp.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida
Business Intelligence
In Conclusion
Advertiser's Index
Editorial Resources

Chief Learning Officer - May 2006