The American Management Association (AMA) is a world leader in professional development, with over 90 years of experience advancing the skills of individuals, teams, organizations and government agencies. It offers customers a comprehensive range of learning solutions including business seminars, blended learning, webcasts and podcasts, conferences, books, whitepapers and more. Faced with an increasingly price-competitive market, AMA sought cost savings it could pass on to customers, and ways to develop its offering to meet their changing requirements. “Our background is in face-to-face training and publishing,” says Nicholas Igneri, VP of Education at AMA. “But more and more of our clients are asking for virtual classrooms and on-demand content. Price is constantly getting squeezed, so we needed to find efficiencies to protect our margins. But we also wanted to innovate and improve our service so it would continue to appeal to customers.” With the support of CrossKnowledge, AMA has achieved both of those goals.
Expanding AMA’s offering to include Online Learning Certificates
After a first positive experience , AMA decided to extend the relationship by using CrossKnowledge’s content and technology to power a brand new offering: Online Learning Certificates. Together, the companies developed 44 mentored training courses, with 26 manager-oriented subjects (from finance to team management) and 18 targeting employees (from communication to personal effectiveness). Each course comprises individualized e-learning, practical exercises to apply principles to real-life situations, and feedback from a professional coach. There are pre- and post-assessments and the courses are available in English, Spanish and French. “Online Learning Certificates are premium online training resources and a major addition to the AMA offering,” says Nicholas Igneri. “Each is an iterative, evaluated learning process that takes three months to complete, and that really helps people to acquire new skills and implement behavior change. CrossKnowledge had the programs and the platform to deliver something we just didn’t have before. That meant we could offer a new modality of learning for much less than it would cost to make on our own, giving our customers another choice and giving AMA a valuable new revenue stream.”
LMS development delivers a seamless virtual classroom experience
AMA was already leveraging its face-to-face training expertise by offering online seminars, but was struggling with a complex and inflexible Learning Management System. “Virtual classrooms are a growth area for AMA,” says Nicholas Igneri. “Employers want training that is team-focused and tailored to their needs, but they also need to reduce time away from work and cut travel costs. We were offering Live Online Seminars as Adobe Classroom sessions over our previous LMS, but the interface was difficult to navigate and expensive to support. Our learners don’t interact with the AMA Portal every day; they need to get in, find what they need fast, and then get out. Their experience with content on the portal also needs to be seamless, but users were regularly having problems with Connect sessions, and the process of ‘readiness checking’ learners’ computer systems was cumbersome and expensive.” AMA had found a platform that worked for the organization, but needed help to structure, develop and deliver it effectively. CrossKnowledge was able to provide that support, by customizing, developing and designing a learning portal that is intuitive for users, more tightly integrated with Adobe Connect, and easier to scale and administer. The system is also cheaper to maintain. “Support costs are about 75% lower,” says Nicholas Igneri. “We’ve saved $250k per year simply by automating system readiness checks.”
Working together in partnership
“CrossKnowledge is a business partner, not just a vendor,” says Nicholas Igneri. “When we have an enterprise client who wants a program of on-demand content, we work very closely with CrossKnowledge both pre- and post- sale. Clients often need support in creating a curriculum and learning paths that suit the learning levels, roles and language capabilities of their organization. We collaborate with CrossKnowledge to deliver that service, and to implement the end solution. You need a tight relationship to be able to do that cohesively, and for the client not to feel like they’re dealing with two companies with separate agendas.”
“I’m really pleased that we’re now a true one-stop shop for ours learner, because our training suite embraces all of the learning modalities,” concludes Nicholas Ignneri. “Customers have given us great feedback on both the Online Learning Certificates and the Live Online Seminars, while the usability of the new AMA Portal has helped to drive significantly higher customer satisfaction scores.”