We wanted to convert Rockwell Collins's classroom-based approach to a largely technology-based model, with goals to convert 30 percent of courses to alternative forms the first year, 50 percent the second year, and 70 percent the third year. This would allow us to achieve our goal to provide 400 percent more learning with 24/7 global accessibility at 40 percent less cost to the company.
With those goals set, we explored the hardware and software required to update the existing system so that it could deliver robust technology-based training. We evaluated the existing infrastructure with the help of Steve Junion, our training-technology expert, and made a plan to update technology where gaps existed. For instance, in our research we discovered that half of the end- user computers at Rockwell Collins didn't have sound cards ”not because they didn't come with sound cards but because management had them removed. They didn't want certain employee groups to have access to computer-based sound because it would be easier for them to waste time playing games ”another telling element of the Rockwell Collins culture.
Along with installing sound cards in every computer, we planned to buy hundreds of headsets, complete with microphones. The employees would need the headsets if they were going to take online courses at work, and they would need the microphones if they were going to participate in any of the virtual-classroom technology that we knew we'd be acquiring.
Once we had dealt with the infrastructure, we were ready to examine the technology-based training tools available on the market. The existing learning and development staff had spent the previous months researching the latest technology trends in the training industry. So, by the time we reached this phase of the process, not only was our team educated on the vendors and tools available, but they had compiled materials about the most effective hardware and software on the market.
Using the information and knowledge they collected, we made a list of the types of tools that our team would need to deliver and maintain computer-based training, including virtual-classroom software, self-paced e-learning courses, tracking tools, learning-management software, authoring tools, and Webcasting materials.