12 November 2012
QA has been recognised as the gold standard in social learning.
In recognition of its expertise in social and virtual learning, QA has been awarded gold at the eLearning awards for the best use of social media for learning. The award recognises QA's own use of social media to supplement its sales teams' learning and development - Illustrating that the company really does practice what it preaches when it comes to implementing successful collaborative learning platforms.
Why use social media for learning?
The development of Sales365 - QA's internal social learning platform - was a strategic move to help QA to deliver on challenging business objectives. "We set ourselves tough business targets" explains Stuart Martin, Group Sales Director at QA, "QA has been very successful in recent years. We deliver real value for our customers by ensuring that we really understand their goals and objectives. By putting ourselves in our client shoes we were able to hit over £100 million in revenue and see our customer quality scores improve year on year. However, we did not want to rest on our laurels and were keen to continue on this path of growth. That is why - just as we advise our clients to do - we made sure that our learning strategy was aligned to business objectives and we enlisted the help of the best learning experts out there (who just happen to be on our staff!) to help us deliver what we needed".
The award's judging panel were specifically looking for businesses which had used social media to supplement existing learning architecture. Sales365 does just this, enabling the QA sales team to share knowledge internally and ask questions of each other, whilst at the same time allowing the management team to be able to communicate key messages, improve service quality and remove the barriers of managing a geographically dispersed sales team.
How did QA use social media for learning?
Social learning is a term often used by the learning industry but there is much confusion around what it means and how to successfully use it as part of a wider L&D strategy. QA's Head of Virtual Learning, Ron Edwards was the man tasked with delivering the internal project at QA. Describing some of the challenges he explains "I've been building online communities since 1997 and have learned a lot along the way in terms of how to successfully design, launch, support and continuously evolve them. We knew we had one chance to get it right, to get it to take off and to add value. It had to deliver valuable content and encourage knowledge sharing and I think we've accomplished that. It has made learning fun, engaging and easy to contribute to whilst maintaining an informal tone."
Part of the reason why Sales365 won the eLearning award can be attributed to the huge impact it is having internally. To date, QA reports the following results:
- Overall group sales increased by 14% last year
- 90% of Sales team members access Sales365 every week
- 557 documents have been uploaded onto the portal
- 50 videos have been uploaded
- 72 blogs created
- The new eLearning sales training courses have been viewed by 240 people
- 66 client demos have been completed using the new Sales365 resources
Ron Edwards notes that, "Sales365 provides an ideal example of how successful social learning can be when it is aligned to business needs and when it supplements existing learning architecture. Working with internal stakeholders in the sales team we were able to identify learning and collaboration needs, prescribe the most appropriate solution and then measure the results on business performance. A true example of practising what you preach!"