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Learning management platform helps keep Unisys employees up to date

The vast majority of employees at Unisys said they were more effective at their jobs after completing training on the cloud-based Skillsoft learning management system.

Unisys Corp. is finding that employees are improving their skills by returning to the Skillsoft learning management system at rates significantly exceeding industry averages and that the vast majority find the training helps them be more effective at work.

Unisys, a global information technology company based in Blue Bell, Pa., with about 21,000 employees, is a longtime user of Skillsoft and just upgraded to the vendor's Skillport 8i platform, which is branded UniVirtual Learning.

John Heyman, director of content development and delivery for Unisys University, said Skillsoft analytics is yielding important information about how many people are using the learning management platform, how much they are using it, and what courses, books and videos they are consuming.

Heyman said 55% of the company's employees last year were classified as "repeat learners" on the cloud-based Skillsoft system -- well more than the industry benchmark of 30% to 35%.

Rapid change demands learning

If you don't train and you don't prepare yourself for changes that are occurring, you get left behind.
John Heymandirector of content development and delivery, Unisys

Heyman said the key to learning is keeping up with rapid change. The world is changing constantly, particularly in the technology industry, and so are the skills that workers need to properly do their job and compete in the marketplace, he said.

"That is why people turn to training," said Heyman, who will be presenting on "Engaging Leaders Through the Use of Dashboards" at the Skillsoft Perspectives conference in Las Vegas next month.

"It is not something you learn on the job. If you don't train and you don't prepare yourself for changes that are occurring, you get left behind."

Repeat learners are defined as employees who complete content more than one time beyond an assignment. An employee would be considered a repeat learner, for example, if required to take three courses but returned to the learning management platform to use five, or the three assignments plus a return a second time.

Ten hours per learner

More than 362,000 courses, videos and other content was consumed on the learning management platform last year -- an average of more than 14 per person and more than 260,000 hours spent on the platform, or an average of more than 10 hours per person, Heyman said. The analysis covered more than 24,000 employees.

Unisys also requires employees to answer evaluation questions to get completion credit for a course. Last year, for example, 88% of employees agreed or strongly agreed that they would be more effective in their jobs after completing training.

For more than a decade, Unisys has been using all of the business, leadership, technology and desktop content from Skillsoft online learning software, Heyman said, noting that the platform is not an entry to a broader collection of content from other sources. For example, employees do not access the internet from the platform to search for learning on YouTube.

Skillsoft provides most content

About 90% of the content on the learning management platform is created by Skillsoft and about 10% is custom content from Unisys, Heyman said.

Most Skillsoft videos are about five to seven minutes long on a specific topic and employees use them for "just in time" learning, he said, adding that a course is usually a series of modules and will typically have a test at the end to assess learning.

John Heyman of UnisysJohn Heyman

Heyman said the platform, available via single sign-on, can be accessed 24/7 from any device with an internet connection. A mobile device can be used to tap into books and videos, but most courses are available only through a home or business computer.

Employees can search for courses on the platform by entering a course name or part of a name, according to frequently asked questions for employees at Unisys. Also, both Unisys and Skillsoft courses are grouped by category and available in a library.

Content used for IT certifications

Learning tracks, found on the homepage, are groups of courses or other content that are compiled based on programs, learning topics or certain audiences. The tracks make it easier to find courses or other content without searching the entire portal.

The Skillsoft content is widely used to obtain IT certifications. Learning programs, which are collections of content to support a certification or program, can be found in a search field on the platform.

Heyman said that each month he provides business leaders and HR a monthly dashboard, or one-page executive summary, to report certain numbers on the use of the learning management platform. Each quarter, a second page is added to allow quarterly comparisons.

He finalized the design of the dashboard in late 2015. Before that, his first summary was about six pages and included a lot of numbers and text. It appeared to be a good representation of what business leaders were seeking, but it contained too many numbers, facts and figures, he said.

Reports presented as infographics

About 20 reports, or one-page infographics, are produced including a global summary and a summary specific to each business unit, service line and region.

Each month, the data is updated and the current data can be compared to the prior year to show trends.

The dashboards, for example, track participation in a couple of leadership programs so that each of the business leaders knows exactly the percent of their employees who are participating and completing the programs they are supposed to be finishing, Heyman said.

The summary also tracks participation in training overview courses for Unisys products. For example, the courses are aimed at providing a common level of knowledge about the products for an employee in sales or engineering.

A third item that is tracked involves workers' use of implementation, sales and other courses for developing expertise in Unisys Stealth, which is software to provide security and prevent threats.

Kieran King, vice president for global enablement, customer insight and field marketing at Skillsoft, said Skillsoft and Unisys have been collaborating to exceed industry learning standards for years and the results are a testament to what can be achieved with a true enterprise partnership. "Unisys has always broken through any boundaries to take the learner experience to the next level," King said.

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