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ntl launches new online induction programme
When broadband company, ntl, wanted to update its online induction programme it selected TATA Interactive Systems (TIS).
Dave Perring, ntl's blended learning manager, explained: "We wanted to re-vamp our existing, three year old induction programme to reflect ntl's values and culture in the light of its development in terms of the delivery of its products and services as well as increasing customer expectations. Moreover, our own expectations of 'the learning experience' - especially when that learning was delivered online - has increased and we wanted e-learning materials that reflected these high expectations."
All of ntl's operations had to be incorporated into this new induction programme - named 'The world of ntl'. Moreover, the new programme had to be able to be launched from ntl's SumTotal learning management system.
"We began the tender process for the new induction programme in October 2003," said Perring. "We gave each vendor the same briefing and documentation and asked for their proposals in November - and the following month, we awarded the contract to TATA Interactive Systems.
"TIS had come up with the most interesting designs. For one thing, the 'look and feel' of the programme was modern to the point of being futuristic. It was also crisp and 'clean', reflecting ntl's impact on the environment.
"The induction programme went 'live' in May with a launch to the human resources and learning and development communities within ntl. After some very positive feedback, it was released throughout the business."
The TIS-built induction programme provides the structured, formal part of every new ntl employee's introduction to the company. It is also available at any time as an online aide memoir to any member of staff.
"In pure 'learning' terms, the induction programme is highly 'polished', with a stunning, user interface," Perring commented. "It certainly complements ntl's image as a professional and progressive organisation for our new recruits.
"Moreover, at the end of the programme, the users receive an online test - so that we can measure their new level of knowledge objectively."
The TIS-produced programme - described by Perring as a 'quantum leap' in terms of the user interface - encourages 'learning by exploration'. As such, the user interface is intuitive rather taking the more 'traditional' text-driven approach.
However, if users need some on-screen prompting or help, they can get it from an avatar-type character, known as 'Nathaniel' ('ntl').
Users are initially confronted by a virtual world, which sets out a series of ntl 'zones' - each one representing an aspect of the company's operations. Once in each zone there are a number of screens with which they can interact.
Typically, these screens will provide information under headings such as 'who we are', 'what we provide' and 'what's in it for me?' These screens then guide new starters through interactive exercises which explain how the company operates, what it services it provides and how associates can make a positive impact while they work for ntl.
"However, there is a diagrammatic plan of the programme as well as the intuitive interface," Perring said. "In producing this programme we have tried to cater for a range of individuals' preferred learning styles so that it is effective at generating learning for a wide range of people from different backgrounds and with different interests and aptitudes.
"Moreover, since the users are responsible for finding their way through the programme - and finding all the information they need from it - it gives the users a sense of adventure, which empowers them to succeed and that really orientates them into the values, culture, and business of ntl,"
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