Learning in Practice 2014: Excellence in Blended Technology

From left: Gregg Trosper of Bridgestone Tires and Jo Coulson of SweetRush Inc., Jonathan Stevens, Yvon Dalat, Christophe Peron



SweetRush Inc.

At Bridgestone Tires, a sale comes down to a “moment of truth.” It’s about capturing customer loyalty through a well-executed first interaction between sales associate and customer. If done correctly, it can mean attracting a customer for life.

While the industry used to be controlled by a handful of companies, the market is now saturated with bands sold everywhere from big-box stores to family-owned shops. To compete, Bridgestone had to engage its employees to promote the brand as well as effectively market themselves.

The company previously relied on instructor-led training and a limited online learning delivery system. Bridgestone needed to provide easy access to the training and information employees needed to make a sale.

San Francisco-based learning company SweetRush partnered with Bridgestone to develop a strategic, blended learning technology program. Through the Consumer Tire Education, strategy and online university, employees advance from basic tire specialist through the ranks of professional, expert and master.

Participants acquire knowledge and skills through e-learning, nano-learning and mobile learning courses. For instance, employees learn product knowledge via five- to seven-minute courses accessible on desktops and mobile devices.

SweetRush also overhauled Bridgestone’s learning management system by adding gamification to the experience to include badges, ranks and leaderboards. New learning portal and e-learning courses were launched in March. To date, more than 4,700 users have accessed the portal to complete more than 63,000 courses, meaning each participant has taken 13 nonmandatory courses.

Reaction to the new Bridgestone education efforts has been positive. Overall satisfaction with the new system has averaged 4.8 on a 5-point scale. 

Silver (Tie)

Impact International

When Johnson & Johnson needed to launch two new enterprise leadership development programs, the company turned to leadership development firm Impact  International to help build software using both in-classroom and virtual learning elements.

Johnson & Johnson selected Impact because it could develop a flexible, cost-effective program that could be scaled based on growing needs befitting a globally expanding company. With 130,000 employeesglobally, the company needed to be able to develop leaders quickly and develop collaborative efforts across the company.

The result is diverse, encompassing everything from one-on-one coaching, short videos, shared documents and a networking café. These efforts allow Johnson & Johnson to develop leaders who can learn through multiple platforms and can give and receive constructive, weekly feedback.

Silver (Tie)

Raytheon Professional Services

As a technology and innovation leader, Raytheon Professional Services specializes in providing learning support and business solutions to companies globally. Starting in mid-2012, Raytheon and the NCR Global Leadership team collaborated to address business challenges for NCR employee onboarding training.

NCR struggled with the cost of getting new hires to sites, and the training itself took 20 weeks to complete. The solution to this problem focused on four areas: a need for a strong collaborative governance process, curriculum analysis and redesign, performance analytics and implementing blended learning technology.

The technique is working. Consumers rated the learning transfer at 4.3 out of 5, which is a testament to the fact that the solution was developed for NCR’s unique learning needs. 



As a full-range financial services company with independent local branches serving 10 million customers in 47 countries, Rabobank Group is subject to regulations from Dutch, European and global financial authorities. To meet these requirements, it partnered with CrossKnowledge to develop effective blended learning programs.

The solution developed is threefold: learn through practice, learn through one another and formal learning. Learners test their performance on five levels: resilience, result orientation, entrepreneurship, initiative and pervasiveness. From there, they set goals and meet with advisers to set goals for future development. 

So far 90 percent of enrolled learners have taken the initial questionnaire and started a blending training course.