Vaillant is an international organisation, which started in Germany in the 1800s and is still owned by its founding family today. The UK is one of its largest markets.
The company’s culture focuses on innovation and always thinking ahead to support its enviable reputation for performance, quality and reliability. (Its products can even be found in Royal homes). The boilers are installed by independent engineers who often work for themselves but who must be certified in order to install heating and hot water solutions.
To encourage brand loyalty towards Vaillant, the company operates a well-established training and loyalty programme to support installers in their quest to keep up-to-date on the latest installation techniques and products, as well as them benefitting from being part of Vaillant’s recommended installer network.
However, persuading people who work for themselves to attend training that effectively costs them money in potential earnings lost - as well as time - presents a real challenge. So Vaillant wanted to take a new approach. The aim was to minimise disruption and costs to the individuals, whilst still covering all the relevant material and maintaining high standards of learning.
The training team was aware of the potential of e-learning. But having experienced poorly produced content in the past, they were reluctant to create the online equivalent of ‘death by PowerPoint’.
The answer lay in combining the strengths of its effective hands-on training, with the benefits e-learning has to offer, in a blended programme.
We were looking for a partner, not just a supplier. Vaillant works with lots of external agencies, but this was a strategically important project and very dear to our hearts. We needed to work with someone we could trust to get it right and quickly realised that Learning Pool** was a great fit. They have helped us take a creative approach to the e-learning and deliver a solution that our learners have really engaged with.
- Steve Keeton, Technologies Director
To support the existing training programme, Learning Pool created a series of e-learning modules, online assessments, standalone activities and instructional videos to walk learners through some of the key learning points. These online resources can be accessed prior to attending any classroom-based learning so that time at the training centres is focused on hands-on training, as well as providing learning for users who can’t physically attend and acting as on-the-job support following classroom sessions.
Many of the online resources are designed to actively support classroom training, such as the interactive circuit boards simulation, which allows installers to practise wiring up a heating system without having to go anywhere near live electricity. iPads are also used in the workshops to administer pre-and post-session assessments, so that attendees can see how much they’ve improved over the course of the day.
Single Sign-On Access to Totara LMS
At the heart of the solution is a custom Totara Learning Management System (LMS). The system has been integrated with a single sign-on to the Vaillant Advance platform, which is where their 7000 installers go online to access the benefits of their loyalty scheme. This cleverly positions the e-learning as a bonus – they can even earn points for accessing the content which actually turns into money.
Totara LMS provides instant mobile access to everything that users need, wherever they’re based. What’s more, the LMS has been designed with a unique parallax scrolling 3D interface to echo the physical reception of a Vaillant training centre. The system also lets the installers set up different roles and enable members of their team to access the e-learning. They can then manage their online activity, effectively taking advantage of a free tool that benefits their whole business.
The impact has been dramatic. Vaillant’s installers can now learn in their own time, which means they no longer have to spend time off the road if they do not wish to. And despite the anticipated challenges around engaging their installers, the feedback has been excellent.
The e-learning is really easy to use. And it isn’t just about the training itself but the reference material that I can call up on my phone if I need to when I am out on a job. Invaluable.
– Vaillant installer.
The e-learning has already been recognised for its excellence with the Graham Plumbers Merchant Supplier Award for Contribution to Knowledge, where the judges praised its bite sized approach and engaging design. Keeton continues
There is a real wow factor that demonstrates our investment in our installers’ skills and the impact of that has been particularly motivating for them as learners.We were new to e-learning and the Learning Pool team have been fantastic in guiding us through the process. The blend of the different resources seamlessly links into our face-to-face workshops. It has worked so well that we are already extending our online learning offering into new areas.
- Steve Keeton, Technologies Director
With Vailliant leading the way in its industry, the training team now has exciting plans to convert its other courses into blended programmes. There is also an ongoing programme of communications and marketing to maintain engagement with the content and the Totara LMS platform.
**This work was undertaken by Mind Click prior to its acquisition by Learning Pool.