worldsteel is one of the largest industry associations in the world with 170 members representing a $900bn global industry. The organization set up steeluniversity to deliver education and training to the current and future employees of steel companies and related businesses. steeluniversity has 30,000+ users, but worldsteel saw the potential to reach millions if it could make steeluniversity.org the ‘go-to’ online resource for steel students, engineers and enthusiasts worldwide.
An evolution in e-learning content creation
The first step in this transformation was the evolution of steeluniversity’s content, which comprises 60 e-learning modules covering everything from metallurgy and steelmaking to environment and safety, as well as a range of advanced simulations to test learners’ skills. “Our courses were starting to show their age,” says Scott Chubbs, Director of steeluniversity. “So, we chose Mohive, CrossKnowledge e-learning publishing system, to revamp ten years’ worth of content in 18 months. Mohive meant we could create everything in HTML5, so it works on mobile devices. But it also allowed us to rethink the learning design and to add in more interactivity, and our e-learning courses are more engaging as a result.”
Delivering a streamlined learning experience
worldsteel wanted steeluniversity.org to be a clean and easy-to-use digital learning platform. Powered by CrossKnowledge Learning Suite, worldsteel.org is an entirely redesigned learner experience, with an interface that incorporates widgets and social media tools, and enables seamless transition between systems. “Moving from the steeluniversity website to the new platform is transparent to our users,” explains Scott Chubbs. “People can register a new account, search for courses, and then they can log into the LMS to launch courses, or join a learning community. It all happens within a clearly-branded ecosystem with an uncluttered, modern look and feel, which makes for a streamlined but diverse learning experience.”
The portal will also host the annual steelChallenge, an online competition for university students worldwide. steeluniversity sees a surge in uptake of its training courses after every steelChallenge, so the fact that the CrossKnowledge platform can easily scale to meet changes in demand was a real benefit. The portal also allows the steeluniversity team to perform back-office operations, so they can manage courses, modules, user registration and reporting for themselves. “On the reporting side, the CrossKnowledge LMS tells us more about our users that we’ve ever known before,” says Scott Chubbs. “We can see how people are interacting with our courses, and which are the most popular. We just didn’t have access to that information until now.”
Towards a new business model
Although worldsteel is a non-profit organization, it must find ways to generate funds to subsidize its investment in steeluniversity. So, in addition to the free training it provides for students, worldsteel is working on a range of new paid-for products and services. worldsteel is using content from the CrossKnowledge Library to create blended training programs for steel companies. “We’re piloting with one company and 200 participants right now, with more in the pipeline,” says Scott Chubbs. “The CrossKnowledge Library gives us a portfolio of non-technical training to offer to our members, for example on leadership skills, financial management, personal development and so on. Reselling CrossKnowledge content doesn’t just give us a new revenue stream – although that is increasingly important – it also allows us to run more impactful classroom courses by assigning targeted pre-reading and preparatory activities to participants. The flexibility of the solution also means we can customize things to meet the needs of different users.”
Partnership with CrossKnowledge has opened up opportunities for worldsteel to evolve its business model for learning, and is supporting the future growth of steeluniversity. “Adding subscription services for paying members greatly expands the scope of what we can offer,” says Scott Chubbs. steeluniversity can work with members to deliver bespoke training because of a great portfolio of leaning content that it can break down, or put together, to deliver more pieces of the training puzzle. “Thanks to the CrossKnowledge solutions, we’ve got more than just a flexible and dynamic online resource – but one that we’re confident will sustain steeluniversity into an exciting second decade of development” concludes the Director of steeluniversity.