New training drill bodes well for staff
The process of replacing on-premises desk-mounted systems with cloud-based counterparts has percolated through virtually every area of business: for Sydney-based software company Yarno, the area of incumbency that it saw as ripe for disruption was training and learning.
Gone are the days of compulsory training classes and lectures, delivered as if employees are back in university or school, or set training hours on an internal system.
Yarno’s cloud-based micro-learning and training platform is aimed squarely at transforming training through a smartphone-based system that actually engages people and encourages them to learn.
The platform enables users to take in small parcels of information, using whatever device they prefer, whenever they want to do it, and in a “gamified” training structure based on quizzes.
"Most companies have a learning management system (LMS) which specifies the learning times, and people have to set aside an hour to sit at their work computer, log on to the internal system and do their learning and training,” says Yarno co-founder and head of sales, Mark Eggers.
“But it doesn’t work, because that’s not how people consume information anymore”.
“People want everything in bite-sized chunks – I won’t buy a newspaper, but I’ll read a couple of snippets of the paper online, across the day in five-minute intervals – and that’s how we want to impart information. Learners don’t want to be dictated to as to when they do their learning – they want to learn on the fly, they want to be able to access information at their fingertips. That’s the cultural and mindset change that we’re trying to lead in corporate training,” Eggers says. “It’s all about better and more efficient training processes.”
“The same principles drive Yarno’s gamification of the on-the-job training process.
“Gamified training incentivises and sustains engagement by promoting friendly competition and rewarding learners for performance, participation and improvement,” says Eggers.
“We use quizzes and one-off questions, taken from a customer’s existing knowledge and learning materials: we extract the key takeaways, then deliver the need-to-know information through questions that quiz the why, quiz the process and quiz the consequence. The process prompts employees to employ active recall, reinforces knowledge and results in learning that lasts beyond training and into practice.”
Yarno applies AI and machine learning tools to understand a learner’s weak spots and feed them questions based on those.
“If the learner is weak on tax, for example, based on the questions they’ve done with Yarno, the system will understand that the learner is most likely to be weak in these areas as well. So, the system will feed the learner questions on the areas where they need the most help, in a bid to help lift that capability,” says Eggers.
“Or it could be sales: if a person’s sales numbers are down, that triggers a sales course in Yarno to embed and refresh knowledge that they’re not applying; or possibly, they don’t understand the process. Yarno automatically updates the organisation’s LMS that the training refreshment was required, and then completed.”
That identification, and redress, of knowledge or compliance gaps is designed to “take the heavy lifting off” the learning and development (L&D) staff within HR, he says. “Usually, someone in L&D has to sit down and crunch those numbers, and review the data, which is quite complex and time-consuming. But our system constantly updates that information.”
Ultimately, the aim is to get learners to self-direct their learning, and help L&D become “more focused on strategy,” says Eggers. "L&D adds more value to a business as a strategic player - setting up the workflows, co-ordinating systems and monitoring the results. That extra visibility and the time to focus on these strategic elements is what Yarno gives them.”
Yarno is an example of a business that “could not exist without the cloud”, Eggers says. “Not only is our product cloud-based, we hook-in to already existing underlying software systems, through API (application programming interface), which essentially allows us to keep a really lean development process. In the past, that would have been impossible – even three or four years ago, some of the products that we rely on for our product didn’t exist,” says Eggers.
RSM assists Yarno with its R&D claim process and governance – and has introduced the product to some of its own clients – but it was so impressed with Yarno, it actually put some of its own firm-wide internal training onto the platform.