What is the quickest and most effective way to train office computer users in the context of a software migration? The answer for Howmet Ciral (Alcoa group) was to choose the MEDIAplus eLearning solution from ENI to train their staff to use the new applications, and to opt for ENI's distance tutoring service.
Howmet Ciral, subsidiary of the American group ALCOA, world leader in aluminium production (a staff of 87 000 located in 35 countries), took advantage of an upgrade of their office applications to look again at their training offer. "We needed to train large numbers of our people in Microsoft Office 2007 and we realised that our classroom-based training provision was not at all adequate. We could not send dozens of people off on training courses," explains Douglas ALLEN, IT manager at Howmet Ciral, "so this was the right time to replace our case-by-case approach to training with a coherent system, applicable to the whole company", he adds.
Having looked closely at the different methods of training available, and the different training providers, Howmet Ciral adopted self-training as the pillar of their strategy, with ENI's MEDIAplus eLearning solution. "The unique feature of MEDIAplus eLearning, the one that won us over, is that learners actually work in the software they are learning," remarks Douglas ALLEN. "This is not just a video or CD to watch passively. The user has a task to carry out in the software itself. That is a real strongpoint. It does away with differences between what you learn in training and the situations you come up against in reality. Another advantage is the flexibility of MEDIAplus eLearning, the ease with which you can set up training programmes to meet your own needs," he adds.
Before the choice of MEDIAplus eLearning became definitive, Howmet Ciral assessed users' requirements and expectations by running a pilot group with the help of a tutor from ENI. "This pilot study allowed us to adapt the training solution to our imperatives," explains Douglas ALLEN.
The e-learning scheme is open to all the company's computer users, both administrative and shop floor personnel. "We have a growing number of requests for software training from people in our production teams, because their work these days tends to include an element of data processing and, for example, recording data for statistics," explains the head of IT.
A room has been set aside for training so that the learners can work in the best possible conditions. Sessions of 1½ hours are programmed over a 3-month period, with distance tutoring and support provided by ENI tutors, who previously ran an initiation day in the company's offices so that the programme was assured the best possible start. The tutor monitors the learners' progress, and they can contact him or her at any time by e-mail. "We took up ENI's distance tutoring offer, for one thing because learner support is an essential factor in the success of an e-learning programme, and for another, who better than ENI can explain their approach to learning and ensure the efficacy of their training?" reflects Douglas ALLEN. "E-learning was a new concept for us, and learner support is important to reassure people and give them confidence," he adds.
The results are positive, the users are very satisfied with their MEDIAplus eLearning programmes and with the distance tutoring scheme. "We have left our users a certain amount of freedom so that they can work at their own rhythm, respecting their own priorities, but at the same time they are not left entirely to their own devices. It is important to strike a balance so that users feel that they are in control of their training and remain motivated," concludes Douglas ALLEN.