Student Loans Company Digital Learning Academy eLearning homepage

In September 2015, the Student Loans Company (SLC) issued a tender through the Civil Service Wider Public Sector Framework to find the right eLearning solutions that would help deliver its Learning & Development Strategy to over 3000 staff at its sites in Glasgow, Darlington and Llandudno Junction. Following a competitive tender exercise, the contract was awarded to Learning Nexus.

Lynn Rodgers, SLC’s L&D Manager explained: “Our learning strategy sets out our aim to deliver creative and innovative eLearning solutions via an accessible platform. Inspired by our company vision, we are committed to driving self-led eLearning through digital platforms, communities of practice and social media.”

The new platform had to meet very specific needs including:

  • A single platform for all eLearning content, to be hosted on a secure external server.
  • Ability to incorporate a variety of learning solutions
  • Ready-made eLearning content covering a number of standard business and management skills
  • Self-service learning, with self-registration and ‘help’ function including password resets
  • Easy to use administration functions and reporting suite
  • Account management and help desk support from the supplier

The SLC recognised that the user experience would be critical to the success of this platform and learner engagement.  The aim was to replicate – as much as possible – the social learning or just-in-time-learning we all experience every day through our interactions on social media and the wider web. They also wanted a platform that could grow with the business, allowing L&D to initially deliver a robust, core solution and expand on that as they enhanced services for employees.

The product and services offered by Learning Nexus fitted extremely well with the needs of the business. Lynn said: “From our first meeting their passion about the learner experience and the positive impact eLearning can have was evident”.

Learning Nexus established a team and a project plan to support implementation, whilst tracking all activity and communication.  James Marshall from MediaCorp and Bev Hares from Learning Nexus advised on how the platform could meet SLC’s needs, the best way to implement plans and also shared good practice from previous projects.  Efforts were focused on the most effective solution for employees and how SLC could optimise return on investment. Lynn states: “It was a real team effort and this helped as we worked together to overcome any challenges we experienced.”

“We successfully launched our Digital Learning Academy in May 2016 with internet cafes giving employees hands on experience of the platform and our solution.

The many features of the new Totara LMS based Learning Academy includes:

  • Self-registration – providing access to new employees on their first day
  • Access anywhere, anytime –  including via tablets and smart phones
  • Introduction of certificates for mandatory training with clear status reports allowing managers and employees to see progress
  • Introduction of blended programmes
  • Re-launch of SLC’s Management Development Programme, incorporating a range of learning solutions
  • Suite of videos covering a number of business skills, providing quick ‘how to…’ education to employees
  • Suite of Welsh language courses, supporting colleagues in Wales to live their language at work and at home.

The feedback from SLC employees has been positive:

“Amazing! Really easy to follow. It’s great that there is the functionality to track my team’s progress.”

“The system looks great and very user friendly. Looking forward to using some courses for my personal development – thanks!”

“Great new site, easy to use. And love the new layout!”

The initial focus for the digital learning academy was to get employees onto the site and exploring the new learning available to them. Within the first four weeks, 40% of SLC employees have logged on – a great result for the business.

The next focus for the SLC is to launch online communities for key roles, explore automatic reporting, review course evaluations and incorporate their own videos into the content. One of the real benefits of the Learning Nexus LMS solution is that the services can be enhanced step by step, releasing new features to our employees over time. Lynn says: “Too often large technical solutions turn learners off, not on. I’m very pleased with the Digital Learning Academy and am excited about its potential.”