You are on page 1of 6

Lewis Learning Maturity Model Benchmark Evaluation

Demographics Lewis Learning is part of a mid-sized insurance company located in the mid-west. It is a dedicated training facility within the home office location, serving the major insurance functions and support staff. At this time the staff demographics are 1 director, 5 functionally aligned managers, 14 trainers, and 9 assistants. The managers, trainers and staff are generally aligned functionally within five areas; Marketing, Underwriting, Loss Control, Claims, and General Business Skills. In 2011 Lewis Learning facilitated classes of different size and duration for 3,648 participants for a total of 118,177 training hours. There are three main categories of training consisting of a longer term development program, a seminar based career hire program, and individual classes for all employees. There are also continuing insurance education classes and tests that are facilitated through Lewis Learning but not included in the statistics above. The director and five manager of Lewis Learning function as the administration. They make the decisions related to all needs, technology or otherwise. There is an additional hierarchy with other departments and upper level executives to consider. These parties are kept informed of the needs and outcomes of Lewis Learning. Technology use within Lewis Learning is greatly controlled by policies and procedures set at different levels and departments within the organization. At all points possible in this report, the learning area has been separated to analyze the benchmarks as they apply only to Lewis Learning.

Administrative Filter
Policy Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated Policy is set at the Information Services Department level and by executive leadership. Appropriate use of technology is espoused by the Lewis Learning management group but on many occasions their hands are tied and may lead to less than optimal trainer usage of technology. There is a formal process for requesting changes and new technology that is complex and intimidating to front line employees. This process can appear to be slow and unlikely to create change so many suggestions are not made. Management does sit on committees that work to prioritize projects which allows Lewis Learning to have some influence over technology and implementation. Planning Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Islands As much of the technology planning is done within a separate department, there is not always a direct connection to learning outcomes when new technology or changes are made. It has been seen that much of the technology that is chosen is the current hot item with little thought to implementation of the technology. For example, Lewis Learning has one SMART Board that can move from classroom to classroom but it is not used, as trainers are not comfortable or confident with the technology. There was little training and no plan for implementation when the SMART Board was purchased. While technologies are present there does not appear to be a

comprehensive vision of what things should look like in the coming 3-5 years and this does not lead to a strong plan. Budget Behavioral: Islands Resource/Infrastructure: Islands Lewis Learning does not have a budget in the traditional sense. Expenses are watched closely but there is not a budgeting process each year There are informal budgets in place and the process for analyzing the technology needs and related costs falls to the Information Services department. When projects are begun there is a process for considering the costs and the needs. When the project is technology related, as with the LMS upgrade completed in 2011, there is much consideration to the technology budget. When the project is not primarily technology related, like the Installation Program projects, there is little consideration for a technology budget. With non-technology related projects, technology is generally a last minute consideration or is not considered until after an issue has occurred. Administrative Information Behavioral: Islands Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated There is an administrative system built into the LMS utilized by Lewis Learning. This LMS is utilized by some staff members but is not truly integrated. The current set up has selected administrative staff routinely using the system but the trainers are generally not well versed. Trainers do not individually use the LMS with the capabilities that it has. This is viewed to be more of a nuisance than a help. The system was recently upgraded and the management team created a set of policies and documentation intended to support usage. To date, there has been no increase in utilization, but the potential is there. Summary The administrative filter is split between the Islands and Integrated levels. Overall it seems that Lewis Learning sits in a bit of limbo trying to move toward a more Integrated level. There are some things in the administrative category that Lewis does not have control over and that seems to trickle down to other things as well. The management level seems to want to incorporate more technology into policies and planning but it appears that right now there is not a clear idea of how to do that.

Curricular Filter
Electronic Information Behavioral: Intelligent Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated Lewis Learning and the entire organization rely heavily on electronic information in the shape of intranet documentation and shared content. This content is accessible to all employees and categorized by functional area. The learning staff and learners rely heavily on this information daily. The resources are fairly comprehensive but this system does not create both depth and diversity. In some areas there is great depth and in some great diversity. There is an attitude among some long term employees that the learner should be forced to do their own research and reinvent the wheel as they had to. This leads to a duplicative effort that has not been overcome. There is currently no way to gather and house the knowledge and paper documents from these long term employees either, further creating a challenge. Assessment Behavioral: Emergent Resource/Infrastructure: Islands Assessment is one area where Lewis Learning has not integrated technology at all. Assessment overall is not a strong suit of the learning function, with basic level one evaluations and written multiple choice quizzes. There is not a widespread thought that anything other than

a standard test can assess learning. There are assessment tools available through the LMS but these are only being used by 1-2 trainers. A project is currently taking place to streamline the main development program content and serious discussion is happening around using the LMS capabilities. The technology most normally used for assessment are scantron sheets. There are also occasions where these are used but they are graded by hand, negating the benefit entirely. Curricular Integration Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The basic curricula are dependent on technology but in fairly basic ways. Documentation is all online and the learners are required to use technology to complete the basic functions of the job. There is appropriate technology available for all areas of the curricula. Currently there are many places where technology that is present could be used to enhance the curriculum but is not. It seems with some encouragement from management and additional time for material creation and update, this would be easy to increase to a fully Intelligent level. Teacher Use Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The trainers at Lewis Learning are using technology everyday. There is a requirement for using technology in the classroom but this is limited to PowerPoint and the intranet documentation. This has become much more sophisticated over the years and most trainers are thinking about how to utilize this technology more efficiently. There is a large amount of technology available in every classroom. The behavior that does not allow the use to be fully Intelligent is that there is a lot of available technology that is not being use by the majority of trainers. There is a SMART Board, Elmo units, video recording carts, online resources, and other technology that are not being fully utilized. It is difficult for trainers to find the time to learn the technology and create meaningful ways to integrate it into classes. The general sentiment is that they would like to add more technology but dont know how. Student Use Behavioral: Intelligent Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The learners that come through Lewis Learning are extremely technologically savvy. They are using technology at every turn. Each learner is given a laptop and other appropriate technologies. They bring with them smart phones and an ability to use the technology seamlessly. Whether asked directly in the lesson or not, learners are not able to meet outcomes without technology. Most lessons have some kind of technology needs built in and when they dont, the learner inherently builds in technology. Summary The curricular filter sits between the Integrated and Intelligent. Technology is readily available but not always used as well as it could be. This seems to be tied to the Administrative and Support filters. Bolstering each of these areas should increase the use of technology and the way in which staff thinks about technology. There seems to be a disconnect with the ability of the learner and the ability of the trainers and management to utilize technology for learning. Overcoming this gap is critical to the future of Lewis Learning.

Support Filter
Stakeholder Involvement Behavioral: Islands Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated The stakeholders in Lewis Learning are represented within discussions but few are truly engaged in the process. The alignment has Lewis Learning connect to the functional areas but

not fully integrated. There is a lack of open communication and trust between Lewis and the functional areas that require training. From a technology standpoint, there is almost no discussion with the overall stakeholders unless they will be required to use the technologies. This is an area where Lewis has opportunity to grow the influence that learning can have on the overall business conversations. Administrative Support Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent There is deep spoken support from the management staff but not always a follow through. Significant time is spent on the planning and implementation of technologies but the follow up and ability for staff to experiment with new technologies is limited. With the LMS upgrade many staff were involved including manager, administrative personnel, and outside parties, but only one trainer was included. The discussion was to have the trainers trained on portions of the system but 6 months after implementation that still has not occurred. There is an overall perception that management is willing to engage in discussion but rarely willing to purchase and fully implement new technologies. This leads to a staff that does not always push themselves or their learners to try new things. Training Behavioral: Islands Resource/Infrastructure: Islands The staff of Lewis Learning participate in technology training on an infrequent basis and this is normally at the direction of the management staff. There is little perceived desire of the staff to learn about new technologies or try to implement them into training as this is not openly encouraged by management with little time allocated to this kind of growth. The staff does not have the opportunity to attend technology training either given on site or off site. Any ongoing training is being done informally or is being sought out as webinars. Technical/Infrastructure Support Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Islands It is difficult to separate the technical support at Lewis Learning into its own area. Most of the formal technological support is coming from Information Services. Currently there are not any personnel dedicated to support within Lewis Learning. There are some business experts on software products, but they too rely on Information Services for technical issues. There is an informal support structure that has organically grown amongst the staff. There is a trainer well versed at the use of PowerPoint and a staff member who is known for Excel proficiency. When help is needed most of the staff utilizes both the formal and informal means of support. Summary Lewis Learning falls between Islands and Integrated in the support filter. In reviewing this overall, it appears that a large reason that this is not more fully mature is the restrictive nature of the Information Services policies and how Lewis Learning is staffed. If there was more autonomy the stakeholders could be more involved and it is likely that more time and administrative support could be given to technology. At this time there is not a budget or other resources to look more deeply into technology so the maturity is likely to remain where it is.

Connectivity Filter
Local Area Networking (LAN) Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The LAN within Lewis Learning is strong and high-speed. There are multiple connection in each room and every workspace has a dedicated connection. The network is comprehensive and can handle data, voice and video, but the behavior is restricted by policies. Staff are using data capabilities in a comprehensive way but other options are not leveraged. The only means for

transferring voice and video are through WebEx, web conferencing software. This is used by approximately 40% of the staff at this time. It is required of some field level employees, who are taking classes through Lewis Learning, but they are simply recipients and not active participants. Policy prohibits use of many of the technologies unless approved in order to save costs. District Area Networking (WAN) Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent There is no difference between the LAN and the WAN at Lewis Learning. This is one integrated system with the regional offices fully integrated and seamless with the network. Data is used in sophisticated ways but the use of voice and video has not reached full potential. Internet Access Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The internet is somewhat a source of contention within Lewis Learning. The Internet resources is Intelligent as there is direct high-speed Internet access to all staff and learners at all times. Each learner receives a laptop computer with wired and wireless Internet access. Though there is a high level of availability, Internet use policies and firewalls severely limit the amount that can be done using Internet resources. For security reasons there are a limited number of Internet sites that are allowed for use, RSS feeds are disabled and Internet time is strictly monitored and managed. There are staff members that utilize the Internet more than others and more than policy allows, but this is in the face of possible reprimand or termination. Overall the behavior would be Integrated and could easily move to Intelligent with a few policy shifts. Communication Systems Behavioral: Intelligent Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent E-mail is prevalent within Lewis Learning and is used daily by all staff and learners. This technology feature has been built into the fabric of daily life. It is impossible to do work of any kind without it. E-mail has gotten to the point that discussion and class sessions are given on how to manage the amount of mail and how to best respond. Where there is additional need is not with using the technology, but with using it in an appropriate and professional manner. Summary Overall the connectivity of Lewis Learning is Intelligent. Where the connectivity fails is in how the staff uses things, not in the capabilities that are present. With an increased push toward technology I can envision this area being Intelligent in all behavioral areas as well. It will take time to integrate the curriculum and innovation filters but when that takes place the connectivity will already be there.

Innovation Filter
New Technologies Behavioral: Islands Resource/Infrastructure: Islands New technologies to Lewis Learning are accepted by many staff members but there is little to no implementation. The opportunities to experiment are limited in that staff is currently responsible for both material development and training in a classroom setting. This leaves little time to update material in a way that incorporates new or different technologies. There are several technologies at Lewis that are utilized by 1 or 2 trainers and not by the group overall including LMS capabilities, Unison eLearning development tool, the SMART Board, and video carts. There is a large gap to overcome to move this area to even an Integrated level. Comprehensive Technologies Behavioral: Integrated Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated

The technologies available are not comprehensive. The current technologies allow very limited use of voice and video and those present have not been utilized to the full. As mentioned with planning there is not always a forward thinking mentality. Software is a main issue that causes the technologies to be under utilized. Lewis uses versions of several software products are 3-4 versions behind current. This is not an area that Lewis has control over as the software policy comes from Information Services. Summary Under the current system, Lewis will not be able to move to an Intelligent level in the area of Innovation. The lack of ability to add software and technologies without approval from Information Services is the main driver of this inability. The need to have some flexibility in order to innovate is hampered due to existing policies. By the time that a new technology is approved it may be too late to make a full impact. There is potential to grow in the utilization of existing technologies but only up to the capabilities of the staff to think creatively. Lewis Learning Summary In reviewing all filters for Lewis Learning it appears that overall the benchmark is Integrated. It was difficult to make the decision as there was a fairly even distribution between Islands, Integrated and Intelligent. Overall, the Integrated level appeared to be the most accurate description of Lewis Learning benchmarks. There are some areas where the learning function excels but many places where hurdles make it impossible to become fully Intelligent. The accessibility of technology is apparent as an area where Lewis excels. Computers and high-speed Internet access are given to each staff member and learner, with many technology based requirements for learning. There is formalized support but it comes from outside Lewis Learning. This can lead to discouragement when needs are realized but cannot be addressed within the current structure. Trainers use traditional means of teaching, such as lecture, because there is not the time and support needed to investigate the addition of technology. The integration of new technologies is where Lewis seems to have more issues. With the policies created by Information Services there is less ability to innovate. That does not allow trainers to fully utilize their creativity and integrate technology into all levels of the curriculum. There are places where the technology does get used heavily but this is not widespread. Over time with continued focus growth is possible but general technology policy will have to be addressed and management commitment to innovation and development time will need to be increased.