Enterprise Communications

The Training Revolution: How the Cloud, the Distributed Workforce & Video Are Impacting Learning

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  November 02, 2016

There’s a lot of talk these days about how companies with engaged employees deliver the best customer service and are otherwise more productive than their less excited peers. So some businesses are working to figure out what it takes to keep their teams engaged. That’s a growing challenge, however, particularly in light of the growing incidence of distributed workers. But new tools and solutions are coming available to help businesses keep their people informed about and involved in what they’re working to accomplish.

The trend of the distributed workforce and growing prevalence of contract workers have set off a revolution in training in the last couple of years, said

Donna Wells, CEO of Mindflash, whose more than 1,000 customers include such giants as Apple (News - Alert), Dyson, John & Johnson, McDonalds, PBS, and Uber. Now, instead of traditional in-person training, businesses are increasingly using cloud platforms that workers can access from their mobile devices to do the job.

Indeed, Uber today trains 30,000 drivers a week using the Mindflash cloud-based platform, Wells said. When it first launched its business, Uber was gathering drivers to hotel rooms for training, she said. But that wasn’t a viable or scalable strategy because it took drivers off the road, and took months to get everyone trained. Now, with Mindflash, companies like Uber can achieve phenomenal scale because it can train enormous numbers of people around the world via the cloud.

Mindflash creates a unique portal for every trainee, so the trainee can go to a website to get all the courses he or she is invited to and can access his or her certificates. It provides the trainer with access to all courses, recordkeeping, and the history of how many times trainees viewed the materials and took the tests and their scores.

The company is also working to deliver solutions that make the connection between training and business metrics so C-suite leaders can better understand those correlations, Wells said. For example, it has an integration with Salesforce CRM, so managers can see who in sales has taken training and how their results map to that training.

Elsewhere on the training revolution frontier, a company called Vidku, which provides its Flipgrid video platform to the education market, has recently been working with businesses to pilot an enterprise version of its solution.

Flipgrid was created by University of Minnesota professor Charlie Miller and his team a few years ago to allow students to weigh in on class discussions – but to do so via recorded video. This enables more students to provide more, and potentially more thoughtful, input, and lets teachers consume that input as time allows.

On the business front, a Twin (News - Alert) Cities-based medical technology company has been employing Flipgrid to educate its sales team and new employees on its technology. Instead of requiring these employees to read reams of data in the company knowledgebase, said Jim Leslie, Vidku co-founder, they can use Flipgrid and their knowledgebase.

Engaging businesses during the pilot process – which involved 62 users –turned up many aha moments for the company, Leslie said. That included interest in using Flipgrid as a human resources department tool for new employee onboarding, for safety micro-training in industries such as construction, and to enable managers to share ideas. Pilot customers also expressed interest in using Flipgrid for coaching and mentoring. For example, a business might elect to assign new hires to a senior leader to ensure their success, and leverage Flipgrid both to allow new hires to ask questions and to provide feedback and ideas to managers.

Flipgrid can be used by businesses to communicate to their sales teams not only about the product itself, but also about how it wants them to represent it in the market place. And the platform provides companies with the tools to see how the sales force responds to that direction. Those sales teams may be internal to the companies or external; in fact, Leslie said 40 percent of the pilot users on the platform wanted to involve their customers, which might be channel sales teams or resellers.

Edited by Alicia Young