The aim of ArcelorMittal in creating its e-Academy within the framework of ArcelorMittal University was to offer all of its staff members a shared knowledge base. Operating in 26 countries, the group opted for distance training in 2006 to free itself from logistical and geographical constraints. “Some of our production units, in particular those in Bosnia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and South Africa, are closer to industrial areas or mines than large cities where training organizations can be found. We chose distance learning to allow all our staff to acquire new skills and achieve their professional goals, wherever they may be working,” says Vincent Maurin, manager of the e-Academy. More traditional classroom sessions have not, however, been dropped altogether. They are supplemented by e-learning content, which now allows the group to train people on a massive scale, to optimize training costs, and to deploy training initiatives more quickly.
Getting people on board thanks to attractive learning paths
In 2012, in order to rationalize its training offer, ArcelorMittal decided to enter into a long-term partnership with CrossKnowledge, with a view to setting up an LMS platform within its on-line university. “Between 2006 and 2012, we moved from five different training platforms to a single platform. This not only gave us a single portal, but also provided much more widespread access thanks to a training catalogue featuring modules on management, leadership, self-development, selling, HR, and communication”, says Vincent Maurin. The steel and mining specialist is now able to offer free-access training to all categories of personnel, both managers and nonmanagers. “We now offer 48 distance learning paths. To encourage our staff to be more independent in the way they acquire knowledge and to complete the training they undertake, we provide guidance via weekly reminder e-mails. We’ve divided the paths into eight key skills areas, for example team work, results-driven initiatives, and effective communication, so that learners can identify which modules they can sign up for if they need to improve on these particular points”.
Attractive tools contributing to an innovative approach
For the ArcelorMittal teams, having access to attractive, enjoyable and innovative training approaches was a necessary condition for implementing our new training solution. “As soon as a synchronous training initiative is organized, our teams in South Africa are now interconnected via a videoconferencing tool. Training videos, learning communities and virtual classrooms put learners at the heart of the learning process. Instead of being shut away in a classroom all day, they can now train little by little, as and when their work schedule permits, using attractive, collaborative training media”, explains Vincent Maurin. As well as offering new training modalities, the CrossKnowledge LMS platform has been able to host modules supplied by other providers. “CrossKnowledge acted as an integrator, as we have been able to add third party e-learning content for foreign language learning to its platform. We also aim to add our own video content because we have an in-house multimedia team able to film high-definition mini-episodes”, he adds.
Helping people cope with change
Fully aware that the successful implementation of a training platform depends on effective change management, ArcelorMittal has deployed an appropriate initiative to get its dedicated teams on board. “As soon as we launched the e-academy, we decided to delegate enrolment, training monitoring and, in the near future, portal configuration to local branches. This means we have a network of around 200 administrators. To help them get to grips with the platform and keep their knowledge up to date when things evolve or when new material is integrated, we organize a number of meetings where people can share best practices, as well as webinars”, explains Vincent Maurin. Early results show that the strategy has paid off: “Since 2006, 25.000 staff members have signed up at least once for an e-learning module, and about 750.000 training hours have been spent. Now that, thanks to CrossKnowledge’s experience, we have a robust and well-designed technological platform, we are looking at the possibility of developing our training offer to include health and safety, which are key concerns for ArcelorMittal”, he concludes.