Background and Business Need
Headquartered in Brainerd, MN, CJK Group, Inc. is an international portfolio of print and publishing service companies, with a wide array of solutions from full-service book, magazine, journal, catalog, and commercial print to content services such as composition, editorial, and online hosting. The company operates 11 US facilities spread throughout the Midwest and Northeast run and supported by a diverse group of plant and functional supervisors with varying levels of management experience.
CJK Group sought to update and reimagine its corporate learning environment, starting with a comprehensive leadership training program on skills development, company policies and employment regulations. KnowledgeWorks Global Learning (KGL) was appointed to develop a Learning Management System (LMS) and design an engaging, six-module digital course for upskilling the company’s supervisors.
The initiative would require a cultural shift in CJK Group’s approach to learning. The company wanted to enhance its existing classroom training methods and adopt more effective blended learning strategies. The goals for the training were for supervisors to develop current skills to be more productive and effective leaders, learn new skills and practice them in a safe environment through group exercises, and have fun during the learning process. CJK Group also wanted the ability to measure and evaluate each supervisor’s progress and performance. It required an effective online training course to help them familiarize with the company’s vision and goals, while developing the skills they need to be effective.
Another key requirement was a user-friendly online interface with intuitive design for a multigenerational workplace. The course needed to be easy to navigate for the supervisors experiencing differing comfort levels with technology and online training. The course also had to be engaging and interesting enough to hold their attention while aiding in information retention.
During the learning needs analysis, the importance of including a mix of online and offline activities in the course emerged. This combination would ensure that supervisors receive adequate practice and feedback on the topics covered in the course. The client also wanted to include a module to educate supervisors on preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at the workplace in order to promote a healthy and positive environment and for compliance with employment regulations.
Based on the discussions and need analysis, the following program objectives were identified:
- Create a consistent curriculum for CJK supervisors with direct reports
- Standardize training and provide supervisors access to online information at any time
- Provide greater insights into performance improvement of supervisors
- Generate reports for compliance and audits
- Address learning needs identified in the employee survey
- Ensure continual development for supervisors to support company goals
The scope of this project came to include the following:
- Analyze the limited raw content shared by the client to identify the most important topics and information to be included in the course
- Create in-depth content on various topics to be included in the course in line with the identified learning objectives
- Recommend strategies, activities, and interactions for optimal learner engagement and retention that meet all the learning goals and requirements
- Create the course to ensure a scalable, responsive design with a single online version, using Articulate Storyline 360
- Design and develop the Learning Management System (LMS)
- Deploy the online course on the LMS
- Design an inclusive Train-The-Trainer program focusing on the online and offline course and activities and the LMS navigation and functionality
- Create instructor and learner guides
The main objective was to create a course that would engage learners ranging from 30 to 65 years old. Many of the supervisors work in manufacturing and are not as comfortable in digital environments. The course needed to keep learners interested and engaged without overwhelming them with information or complex steps while still covering all the essential content. It was also critical to incorporate a well-balanced mix of online and offline activities tailored to the main tasks, roles, and responsibilities of the supervisors, accompanied by sufficient guidance to complete the course and helpful feedback on their responses.
After consulting with the client’s team, KGL decided to keep the course navigation restricted the first time it is accessed to ensure that learners complete all sections of each module. After completing a section, the navigation opens and learners are able to revisit any section to refresh what they’ve learned. It was also decided to make the course audio-driven with a strategic mix of slideshow videos and animations interspersed with knowledge checks and activities.
The LMS was customized to adhere to the client’s branding guidelines and designed to facilitate smooth navigation. For instructors, it provides easy access and grading options for various activities, allowing them to provide additional feedback and send messages to supervisors. The instructors can generate a wide range of course reports to track progress and performance, determine which sections of the course are most visited, and view overall course participation.
Considering the relative inexperience of the workforce with online learning, a supporting guide with information on how to access and navigate the LMS was provided. KGL also included informational and navigational help sections to further support supervisors.
The course includes six modules that cover the proficiencies essential for effective supervisors, such as leadership, communication, and interview skills, conflict resolution, coaching, mentoring, and the importance of preventing workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
The development process included creating outlines detailing the learning objectives of each module, content that would be covered, presentation strategies, and the interactions and activities for each topic, before turning them into storyboards.
The main components of the course are listed below.
The course includes slideshow videos with engaging images to present the main content. The videos feature closed captions and also downloadable transcripts to give learners quick access to the content.
KGL used scenario-based animations with diverse characters simulating real-life interactions. The characters playing the roles of supervisors and employees represented varied backgrounds, body types, and abilities in order to promote and highlight inclusivity in the workplace.
Each module is interspersed with interactive knowledge checks to provide instant feedback on learner progress, helping to improve information retention.
The course includes various online and offline activities, which are either instructor-led, instructor-graded, or self-graded. Self-graded activities include sample answers for learners to compare their responses and answer keys for them to interpret their responses. The instructor-graded and instructor-led activities include rubrics with guidance on how to evaluate answers. A comprehensive Instructor Guide, with key information about the course modules and detailed notes on how to facilitate the offline activities, is also available.
Each module also includes a comprehensive online or offline end-of-module activity based on one or more key topics covered in the module.
The end-of-module quiz comprises 10 multiple choice questions that cover the learning objectives of the module.
Each module includes discussion topics to encourage supervisors to share their thoughts, reinforce their understanding, and gain new ideas and perspectives from each other. Ideas for topics have been included and instructors can also add their own discussion topics.
Also, each module features initial help screens with tips for navigation.
Global Navigation and Features
User Acceptance Testing
Before launching the course and LMS, KGL conducted User Acceptance Testing (UAT) with a pilot group of supervisors from different locations within CJK Group. After the UAT was successfully completed, their feedback was incorporated.
A comprehensive Train-The-Trainer program was designed and delivered to educate HR instructors who would be involved in facilitating the offline classroom activities, grading activities, and assisting supervisors to complete the course.
KGL developed a comprehensive solution for CJK Group to enable the company to make a smooth transition to online learning. The LMS design, development, and implementation set the foundation to fulfill the client’s objective of supporting employee career development and facilitating continuous learning. Meanwhile, the introductory course curriculum covers the critical skills required to be an effective supervisor. The course was designed keeping CJK Group’s workforce in mind and includes the following components:
- Slideshow videos and scenario-based animations to engage learners and to develop their problem-solving and critical thinking abilities
- Intermittent knowledge checks to motivate learners to apply and test what they learn in every module
- Online and offline activities that are either self-graded or instructor-graded
- Instructor-led offline activities to enhance the learning experience by simulating real-life scenarios
- Online and offline end-of-module activities and assessments to evaluate and apply what is taught in each module
- Discussion topics at the end of each module for the supervisors to interact, exchange views, and gain new perspectives
The client was extremely happy with the comprehensive training solution provided on a relatively short turnaround. The Train-the-Trainer program and the supporting material helped to introduce and excite supervisors about the online course. The participation reports are encouraging and indicate a positive cultural shift in the organization’s learning approach.
Dale Tepp, Chief Human Resources Officer at CJK Group commented, “Working with the KGLearning team was a great experience. Everyone on the team brought innovative ideas and expertise to the project and no challenge was too big. They were easily able to interpret our needs for a comprehensive leadership training program and designed an LMS that exceeded our expectations in both features and delivery time.”