Cloud LMS at insurer Admiral Group makes e-learning easy

Janine Milne Profile picture for user jmilne January 22, 2018
After rolling out a new learning management system, UK-based car insurer Admiral Group finds the cloud LMS has made e-learning easy and accessible

Learning management system (LMS) team concept © adiruch na chiangmai -
Car insurer Admiral Group wanted to make learning something its 8,500 employees wanted to sign up for, rather than a chore that managers had to nudge them to do.

To achieve this, the UK-based company – founded 25 years ago this month – realized its existing learning management system (LMS) wasn’t up to the job. The system was showing its age and no longer met business requirements. Quite simple requests were often difficult to fulfil and it was struggling to keep up with the organization’s expansion. Mark Andrews, e-learning co-ordinator at Admiral Group, explains:

As well as using it for compliance, we also wanted something that people would want to log into for learning. So we did surveys, we did focus groups and spent a lot of time getting to grips with what our employees wanted.

Their investigations revealed that employees wanted something that was as easy to use and intuitive as Netflix, Facebook or Amazon. From a management perspective, Admiral wanted a cloud-based solution with in-depth reporting tools that would make employees want to take charge of their own learning.

After an extensive hunt, putting 18 different vendors through their paces, Admiral settled on Cornerstone OnDemand Learning for learning and development, as well as Cornerstone Connect for workplace collaboration.

Cloud LMS makes it easy

It’s early days – when diginomica caught up with Admiral in October, it had been just a year since the company had implemented Cornerstone. Yet Admiral has already begun to see some big improvements in the way employees approach learning, as well as the information it provides trainers and managers.

One key benefit of the cloud LMS is that it’s ticked the reporting box for managers and they are now able to check employees’ training records through an easy-to-use dashboard.

With the previous LMS, managers could only see whether an employee had passed or failed a compliance assessment. Now, managers and trainers can identify the particular questions where people are making mistakes and pinpoint areas where employees need additional training to plug a gap in their skills.

Put simply, the new system just makes things easier, according to Andrews:

What’s great is people don’t have to email us and wait for us to respond – they just have to go click, click and there’s the information. And we don’t have to spend time getting that information. Everyone’s a winner.

Employees take to e-learning

The quality of the dashboard or information would be worthless, however, if employees didn’t use the system, but Admiral has already seen course completions rise from 3,000 to 4,000 courses a month to nearer 10,000. Alongside this uptick in course completion, employees are also rating them more highly.  This is entirely down to the new cloud LMS system, believes Andrews:

What’s interesting is that even though it’s often the same courses, the scores for those courses have increased, which suggests that people like how they are finding them.

Admiral has found that employees prefer short e-learning courses of 5 to 10 sessions rather than fewer, longer sessions – and they want training to be very targeted and specific. Andrews explains:

In the past, we had three Excel courses – basic, intermediate and advanced – all very long. But, actually, what most people want is know is how to do a certain thing in Excel and a short course of 5 or 10 minutes rather than find the information in a long course.

Admiral currently has around 300 e-learning courses, most created in-house, and about 70 videos.

Collaboration and community

Increasing collaboration between employees was another key aim of the move to Cornerstone. The 150 so global learning and development employees have their own community where they can share courses and best practice. It’s still “work in progress”, says Andrews, but the groundwork has been laid.

There are currently communities for sales and other departments, but the aim is to encourage more cross-departmental communities to share ideas.

While the whole project appears to have gone down well with all stakeholders, there have been challenges, particularly collecting employee data. The key challenge for Andrews, however, has been to curb his enthusiasm:

It’s easy to get distracted. You get started on a project and then you come across the something you didn’t know the system could do and you have to reign yourself back in.

Before, with our old LMS, the challenge was very much, how do we fit a square peg in a round hole to get it to do something that it doesn’t want to do? Whereas now the challenge is how do we keep ourselves focused and not get carried away.

Towards personalized learning

There’s still much to be done. So far, Cornerstone has rolled out in the UK, Canada, US and India and there are plans for France, Italy and Spain to join the ranks by mid-year.

Increasing personalization is another aim. Previously, there were 13 or 14 different homepages based on country or department, which were very static because they were difficult to update. Now, the idea is that “every time you log in you’ll see something different,” says Andrews.

The goal by the end of 2017 is for each employee to have their own personalized homepage, providing an instant overview of their learning and development to date, with recommendations for other courses they might like – just as Amazon will recommend books based on someone’s previous choices.

Admiral also hopes to make greater use of the analytics capabilities. Andrews says:

This is just the start. There’s a lot we want to do, but to start, the emphasis has very much been on e-learning.

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