2020 has tested the ingenuity and resilience of trainers like never before. Credit union training teams have adapted quickly to digital platforms at break-neck speed. Advantis CU of Portland, OR, shares how they planned and implemented training amid the COVID-19 pandemic with a clear framework and the help of CUNA training tools for remote learning.
Establishing a clear learning framework and strategy
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the U.S., Advantis was focused on continuous improvement of their training program that included a well-defined learning framework and guiding principles. This preparation helped them with smoother transition to the new virtual training reality. Four of the guiding principles of learning development that Advantis uses were particularly important: just-in-time, consistency, repeatability and scalability.
The learning framework of Advantis groups development into the following training areas:
Whenever Advantis considers a change to their learning program, whether creating internal learning or purchasing outside training, they refer to their guiding principles for their training areas to ensure the changes support those principles.
Prior to the pandemic, the Advantis training team had chosen CUNA Professional Development Online as the learning management system (LMS) and the foundation for their learning framework, including leadership, new supervisor, role-based and annual required training.
Shifting quickly to virtual training
In the first days and weeks of COVID-19, the entire team at Advantis was focused on immediate needs of staff and members. Flexible policies and IT were put in place for 60% of staff to work from home. Emergency call-out procedures and staffing in pods kept everyone safe. They spent time creating regular updates for all staff via email and intranet, and video messages in place of in-person meetings.
Advantis maintained their original training schedule for new hire orientation, while training for new member-facing staff and lending training pivoted to live, online trainings. More breaks and redesigning the activities and interactions made it easier for staff to train at home while juggling family obligations.
Training for sales, customer service and coaching training were initially postponed, then redesigned and then also delivered as live, in-person, synchronous webinars. Synchronous, or the same learning happening for all learners at the same time, enables more interactions across all participants and a unique experience. Advantis has been optimizing these webinars to keep them highly interactive, securing webcams and training their staff on how to use them.
Staying organized and up-to-speed with online training tools
To adapt their training to suit Advantis learning principles in new environment, the overall training strategy and shift to virtual training was coupled with the existing use of CPD Online, an LMS customizable for each learner.
“Because we had previously partnered with CUNA for online learning delivery, we did not need to pivot very much with COVID 19. We already had the technology and resources available to deal with remote learning. … CPD Online modules provide asynchronous online learning opportunities that fit the learner’s schedule and are repeatable across the organization.” said Jerry Hooton, director of training & development at Advantis. “In that sense, CPD Online has prevented major disruptions brought on by COVID-19.” In addition to eLearning, Advantis also uses CPD Online to schedule and track all of their live online webinar sessions to streamline all training in one place.
Staying focused on supporting their strategic plan through organizational learning and development during the pandemic also led Advantis to add CUNA Training Bundle in June of this year.
“This has been a great compliment to the CPD Online content. We selected this resource as part of a professional development program we are piloting this year. With the first three staff, we justified the cost of the bundle, and have had a total of 15 staff sign up for an eSchool in just the first two months. It has generated a lot of excitement about professional development among our staff. And, with multiple staff earning their [Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor, or CCUFC designation,] our members will benefit for years to come,” says Brian Fassett, senior training specialist at Advantis.
While Advantis continues to learn and innovate in the current environment, having a strategic plan and a structured approach to training helped them maximize the learning systems they had in place and quickly adapt to new ones.
Credit union-specific learning and professional development tools designed by industry experts, CPD Online and CUNA Training Bundle can save significant resources and provide timely training that’s accessible anytime, anywhere.