Effective e-learning

Doyle, employee development manager at Xerox Europe, talks about how e-learning
is helping the company maintain high customer relations management standards

training to large numbers of employees is no mean feat. We have 1,700 staff based
in Dublin at the Xerox European Business Services Centre (EBSC). Within EBSC is
a multilingual call centre and customer support function, which employs more
than 1,200 customer service representatives. They handle in excess of 50,000
calls per day, covering 20 countries across Europe.

adopted e-learning so that we could bring the classroom to our employees rather
than the other way around, and to achieve this we established the Xerox Virtual
Learning Environment – an Internet portal that all our call centre
representatives can access.

policy is to have 50 per cent of its training on-line by 2002. Having already
implemented web-based IT training we wanted to extend this to cover critical
business skills. We looked at a number of technology-based training providers
and chose SkillSoft because of its specific Web offering.

quality, breadth and depth of the course material was perfectly suited to our
needs – allowing us to equip our customer service staff with the necessary
skills to deliver first-class support and ensure a consistent level of
professionalism across the operation.

training portfolio is growing at a rate of four courses per week and currently
stands at around 385 courses, so there were lots to choose from.

we selected modules across five curricula – communication, customer service,
human resources, personal development and teambuilding. We then broke these
down into specific subject areas that had particular relevance to our needs –
interpersonal communication skills; how to excel at customer service;
communicating to develop relationships; professional telephone skills; powerful
presentation skills; managing diversity; taking control of your work day; how
to lead a team and managing a customer service orientated culture.


learn best by doing and, by its very nature, soft skills training needs to
involve people rather than stick insects or pipe cleaner figures.

was impressive to see how SkillSoft had managed to replicate personal
interaction within an e-learning environment. The content has one of the
highest interactive designs I have seen. Expressive photography and audio is
effectively utilised within role-play situations to simulate personal

interesting too that something is happening every few seconds – so that
learners have to read, listen, observe, respond and react. Having reviewed the
content, prior to putting the SkillSoft training in place, we wanted to see how
easy it was to implement and navigate the courses. We also wanted to check
their inter-operability – ie how they performed on an open platform with
courses from other e-learning providers. We held an open day, during which more
than 700 employees from various departments tried them out. As well as finding
the training stimulating, everyone was able to log on and train simultaneously
without any problems whatsoever.


Mathiesen has a background in customer service, tele-marketing and sales and is
a mentor at Xerox Europe. The first SkillSoft course he took was Management
Skills for the Diverse Workforce. He reported, “Although sceptical about
on-line training, I found that this course was easy to use and really caught my
interest. It has a good structure, useful explanations and gives practical

also liked the idea of receiving a certificate of completion at the end.

and learn

since taken many more SkillSoft courses. I can usually complete one module per
day. I think they have good content, engaging graphics and a high level of
interactivity. But my favourite feature is the sound. I don’t have to read the
whole screen – I can just plug in my headset, relax, listen and learn. An added
bonus is that both the text and the audio is in English rather than American,
which seems to be unusual with e-learning.

far I’ve found the courses on professional telephone skills, interpersonal
communication skills and how to excel at customer service the most beneficial
to my job, although the theory in the course turning difficult customers into
delighted customers has been very useful when dealing with angry calls from
customers in Denmark. I’ve learned something from each one.

also started to use the Search and Learn facility. If I have something specific
I need speedy training on I can type in the subject and within about five
seconds a list of five to 10-minute instructions on that topic comes up. I can
then complete the training and get straight back on the job.


had good idea of our needs

it’s still early days, the results for the usage of SkillSoft courses are very

the first four months, among a sample of around 100 users, 440 training hours
were completed and almost 400 SkillSoft courses were accessed (an average of
four per user). The average improvement in scores between pre-assessment (taken
at the beginning of a lesson/course) and mastery (taken at the end of a lesson
or course) was 66 per cent.

well as being happy with the level of knowledge transfer, Deborah is pleased
with the standard of customer after-sales care provided by SkillSoft –
describing it as “second to none”.

dedicated account consultants have a good understanding and have worked with
her team to ensure that everything runs smoothly – even to the extent of
providing marketing support such as executive briefings, presentations and
talks to staff.

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