2013 Excellence in Blended Technology

GOLD: Seertech Solutions

When the Red Robin restaurant chain was looking for a way to quickly train a large number of new employees across the country, learning management firm Seertech proposed using iPads.

Restaurant employees were already using the devices to manage customer orders, and adapting them to deploy training information would be an easy and low-cost solution. While using the iPads is simple, the technology behind the learning program is a sophisticated system used by major corporations such as General Electric Co. and IBM.

Called iLearning Plus, it offers tools that allow employees to tailor learning to their specific jobs and track their progress through assessments. Bartenders, servers, cooks and others follow a different path using videos, slides and quizzes.

The system notifies employees via email of course reminders, classroom changes, non-attendance notices, certification renewals and automatic wait listing, among other things.

So far, more than 3,000 employees have undergone training. Early results show an increase in customer satisfaction and a 7 percent reduction in turnover in the past year, saving Red Robin more than $6.8 million.

Employees have undergone 6,000 hours of training, saving the company about 18,000 hours of training through traditional means. According to Seertech, that translates to $1.62 million saved in training costs.

SILVER: InfoPro Learning Inc.

Teaching nontechnical employees about the inner workings of a nuclear power plant was a costly enterprise for Exelon Nuclear, requiring thousands of workers to take a week off for training. To minimize costs and bring employees quickly up to speed, InfoPro Learning developed a training program that can be used on desktops, laptops and tablets. The program uses high-end graphics and 3-D animation that allows employees to “walk through” the power plant from their desks.

Since the program was launched, Exelon has seen cost savings. The program also allows employees to adjust training schedules around their work needs, which is important in a company with a workforce operating on rotating schedules.

BRONZE: Origin Learning Inc.

Language barriers, technical obstacles and a dearth of qualified instructors were big challenges for GE Transportation as it looked for ways to train its growing global workforce. The learning materials were complicated and became outdated quickly as roles changed constantly.

The company found a solution in a program that was easily accessible on the manufacturing floor via smartphones and tablets. Participation shot up 100 percent in 18 months and travel costs for instructors declined significantly.