Learning in Practice 2014: Excellence Vendor Partnerships

From left: Mark Ward, Sebastian Bailey, Ben Nayak, Mike Flentje



Rockwell Collins Inc. was between a rock and a hard place when it came to tuition reimbursement: It wanted to do right by its employees, but it had to work for the company, too.

The aerospace and defense contractor also saw significant costs associated with employees’ tuition reimbursementrequests to the tune of almost $10 million in 2008. The next year the company opened Rockwell Collins University to streamline learning and development, but the company was siloed with 18,000 workers in 60locations, so it sought help from EdAssist.

Now all employees are required to have an advisement session with EdAssist, a tuition assistance managementservice, before enrolling in an education program. This helps workers with the decision-making process and helps to ensure they stay on track to get their degrees on time, which helps save the company money. The company also uses its education network of 200 accredited schools and academic partners to offer Rockwell employees lower rates, saving the company almost $240,000 in that area.

EdAssist also helps Rockwell cut costs through a pilot cohort program set up with the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Now, professors come to Rockwell to teach courses, and participating employees can receive 12 college credits upon course completion.

Employees get more, too. Under EdAssist’s guidance, Rockwell raised its tuition assistance caps to $7,500 for undergraduates and $15,000 for graduates, which is reportedly more than what competitors offer.

The company reported a savings of $4.4 million after revamping its tuition reimbursement program. It also has seen a low attrition rate of 4.4 percent, and the retention rate for e-MBA candidates is 95 percent. 

Silver (Tie)

Mind Gym (USA) Inc.

Acquiring the company can be the easy part; the hard part is creating one culture. That was the case when MetLife Inc. acquired American Life Insurance Co. from AIG in 2010 in a $15.5 billion deal.

To make the deal work, MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian sought to transform the company through talent management. At the time, less than 30 percent of workers had goals recorded, and middle-of-the-road performers were being promoted while top talent was being “sandbagged.” So MetLife brought in Mind Gym (USA) Inc.

Mind Gym created two programs in nine languages. The Navigating for Success program is a face-to-face, virtual four-hour session where employees learn how to deliver meaningful feedback and coach for performance. In the Finishing Strong program, participants learn how to implement an objective, fair evidence-based performance appraisal system.

Mind Gym trained 150 MetLife workers how to successfully implement the program. MetLife managers’ competency scores went to 83 from 60 percent for giving feedback, to 83 from 66 percent for career conversations and to 84 from 67 percent for performance conversations. 

Silver (Tie)

InfoPro Learning Inc.

There’s an intangible energy that emanates at live events that cannot always be found online. FranklinCovey Co. ran into this problem with its training courses.

So the training company turned to InfoPro Learning Inc. to come up with a plan to add excitement to FranklinCovey’s on-demand e-learning courses. The company also wanted its electronic courses to have a robust shelf life so they wouldn’t get stale.

InfoPro took a holistic approach to the problem, which entailed four different components. The first part added features allowing users to view courses and enable automatic/manual course assignment. The second part added audio books to the on-demand platform. In part three, the certification website was repurposed and designed to offer courses in multiple languages. Finally, some of the learning programs were switched to interactive tech labs using techniques such as animation to help teach concepts along with voice-over narration to walk learners through the steps.

InfoPro also designed a system that was mobile-friendly by creating a responsive player for audio books with an HTML5 player.  



The upcoming mass exodus of baby boomers from the workforce doesn’t just affect the private sector. Some 25 percent of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs workforce is set to retire over the next five years. Worse, most of the potential in-house candidates to become project managers have gone years with little or no training. So the agency gave consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers marching orders to come up with a new strategy.

To help get the VA’s workforce prepared for the upcoming talent-deficiency battle, Pricewaterhouse implemented the Project Management Fellows Program, an initiative to help develop workers into future leaders through six major components: formal lectures, skill-building workshops, on-the-job training and job rotations, developmental support, self-paced learning, and mission-service events.