A holistic learning management experience for Australia’s national rugby league
Reinvigorating the learning centre of Australia’s second largest professional sporting association
The National Rugby League (NRL) is the world’s premier rugby league competition run by the Australian Rugby League Commission. It is the second biggest professional sporting association in Australia and is the dominant sport in the states of New South Wales and Queensland.
With sixteen teams in Australia and New Zealand, the NRL is synonymous with Australia’s sports culture and is the best-attended rugby league in the world. It was founded in 1998 as a merger of two competing leagues, but its roots reach right back to 1908.
A learning management solution with limited functionality
The NRL needed to reinvigorate its NRL Learning Centre, which provided training for coaches, referees, trainers and volunteers.
The Learning Centre also offered accreditation programmes for aspiring NRL referees, and
LeagueSafe: an online safety awareness course for parents and volunteers at children’s games, which was designed to help create a healthy and safe rugby league environment for young players.
At the heart of the LMS was an outdated Content Management System (CMS) which at the back end did not give users much autonomy over their content or integrate effectively with the league’s membership database.
Modernising the Learning Centre System
There were several challenges for the NRL with their current suite of technology, and they were using multiple systems for differing purposes, many of which were not performing well.
The LMS included a coach reaccreditation programme which was poorly organised and did not effectively address many different skill levels. It also included a referee training programme that had a high dropout rate, which indicated a poor user experience.
In addition to the LMS they were using for the NRL Learning Centre, the league also needed to use a third party system to manage all of their certifications, and it was proving very difficult to track and report on these internally.
A fully-integrated NRL Learning Centre portal
Our solution was the implementation of a new LMS to combine the functions of the two previous systems it was using. The new system enables users by giving them greater control over content, certification management, and syncing with the membership database
The system consists of an interactive e-learning programme using imc’s Chatbot framework, with options for all experience levels. The programme contains scenario-based learning modules that account for different personality types and the challenges they present at games.
The Coach Reaccreditation and Referee Training programmes are now also using imc technology to provide an entertaining and informative journey to users. The new system provides students with the opportunity to learn through a variety of real-world scenarios that best fit their interests (for example, age-appropriate training for children or teenagers). Each learner has access to video examples of real-life, correct and incorrect performances.
As part of the redevelopment, we reinvigorated the referee-accreditation programme with real game footage and used an authoritative subject matter expert (SME), Kasey Badger, to attract referees from all walks of life.
A rejuvenated approach
This project successfully helped to rejuvenate the learning approach for our client, and the LMS solution was delivered both on time and within budget.
Not only did NRL meet its original objectives, but post-implementation, there was an uplift of the participation rates for online learning and positive feedback from users of the upgraded NRL LeagueSafe courses.
Remember when you last joined a company? How did you feel? What did you care about?
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) plays a critical role in the health system of the state of Victoria in Australia and is responsible for meeting the health needs of Victorian locals.
They deliver policies, programs and services that support and enhance the health and wellbeing of all of Victoria, Australia, and represent a large and complex state department showcasing leading service and innovation across the health sector.
With over 11,000 employees across four operational divisions, they oversee and coordinate the delivery and funding of services and initiatives across 17 areas of the state.
Creating one unified onboarding experience
When the department first approached imc with their needs for orientation, it became clear that policy, compliance and general information had become their core focus.
The department was in need of a digital orientation experience for all new and existing employees. A unique and innovative solution that actively began to establish and recognise a greater vision of their employee experience lifecycle and culture as a whole. But the department is a large and complex organisation that has the challenge of hosting a very dynamic and diverse audience that works across multiple sectors.
A core challenge imc had to achieve was to bring these diverse users together through one unified onboarding experience.
What an employee experiences as they should be joining a new organisation should be personalised, compelling, and memorable. Onboardings, orientations and inductions represent three of the most significant opportunities to provide a human-centred approach to an employee’s experience.
When done well, they get new hires up and running smoothly and can empower your people to think, act and see your company as one which delivers exceptional service.
At imc, we have felt privileged to have the opportunity of co-designing with over 50 employees across the department to deliver something meaningful: a core staple of their employee experience.
Co-designing to bring people together
By co-designing directly with the people imc was designing for, the team at imc could address a lot of the needs and challenges the department was experiencing more directly.
When taking the time to communicate with them, the team could quickly unlock insights that lead to success. They asked people to develop several personas of what “great” looked for them. They then used these insights to define the common factors and principles of success through their eyes.
imc discovered that they could align department employees more effectively by providing an experience that enabled them to explore the culture openly. The key to success was to empower their ability to guide themselves to find information and support when needed.
From the insights imc gathered from workshops, applied a co-designed content strategy to deliver a meaningful experience for employees.
A fully-realised digital experience for employees
The result of this was a 20-minute mobile-first orientation experience for the department. Using a chatbot style interactions, the learner is greeted and guided by characters of the department in a conversational format and narrative. They are asked questions and provided with micro-sized content as they progress through their learning experience.
imc included multiple elements of personalisation, such as stories from the people we were designed for. That way, it felt like an experienced they owned.
The project won the Platinum award in the category Best Design Thinking Talent Strategy in the 2020 LearnX awards. The international award program honours innovative and creative projects in the fields of learning and design every year.
Working side by side with end-users
By co-designing directly with the people we were designing for, we could address a lot of the needs and challenges the department was experiencing more directly.
When we take the time to communicate with the people we are designing for, we can quickly unlock insights that lead to success. We asked people to develop several personas of what “great” looked for them. We then used these insights to define the common factors and principles of success through their eyes.
We discovered that we could align department employees more effectively by providing an experience that enabled them to explore the culture openly. The key to success was to empower their ability to guide themselves to find information and support when needed.
From the insights we gathered from our workshops we applied a co-designed content strategy to deliver a meaningful experience for employees.
Helping to create a scaffold for what “good performance” looks like
In June 2020, 3% of people at the NSW Department of Communities and Justice had completed a Performance Development Plan.
These plans are important because they reflect conversations between managers and the individuals in their team. The conversations are an opportunity to talk about goals, trade feedback, and create clarity on what ‘good performance’ looks like.
The need for more frequent conversations
In 2019, the NSW Government brought together the departments of Family and Community Services and Justice to form the Department of Communities and Justice.
The Department partnered with imc Australia, seeking to embed a program that supports managers to have more frequent performance conversations that are not tethered to formal reviews.
Ten DCJ employees and two imc consultants worked together to co-design a solution that focused on gaining the audience's trust, attention, and motivation and delivered them the information and supports to manage for performance confidently.
Three workshops, one for discovery, the second for analysis and the third for conceptualisation and service mapping, were conducted. They focused on aligning the team to the vision and potential to design more than an eLearning module and still stay within scope.
By considering the managers, their challenges, but also the opportunity to make a more significant impact across the organisation, the design process put the managers' needs and the organisation's requirements at the heart of the solution.
A newly merged government department
The bringing together of people, processes and technology created a unique circumstance where over twenty thousand geographically dispersed people needed to collaborate in service of the taxpaying people of NSW.
Nationally, labour market data says that social assistance industries and organisations like the NSW Department of Communities and Justice are expected to grow by 14.2% before 2025.
With more employees, the Department recognised that a performance culture that aligned their people would be business-critical.
Formal and informal learning
Launched from the DCJ LMS and intended to respond to any screen available to geographically diverse learners, this solution used three fundamental approaches:
- Acknowledge the preconceived idea that performance conversations are difficult, uncomfortable, and unnecessary.
- Include a hero who finds the confidence to have performance conversations and unintentional villains who detract from the hero’s journey.
- Simplify the call to action.
To summarise the eLearning and focus on the ‘why’, a short animation was developed to act as a lightning rod to attract managers and employees' trust, attention, and motivation.
Understanding that talking about performance can be complex; the 3-minute animation demonstrates that performance conversations are an opportunity for managers and employees to work together and discuss opportunities. The target audience for the animation is wider and designed to create interest in the broader program.
Building on Success
To be precise, 6,960 people have been given a genuine opportunity to discuss their career aspirations and goals.
The increase in Performance Development Plans proves that the performance support project that scaffolded the existing performance management responsibilities has worked to:
- impart skills needed to have performance conversations in a compelling and productive way.
- instilled managers with the confidence and motivation to engage in a performance conversation.
There are approximately 3,900 managers at DCJ, 1,035 of whom have completed the program.
This means that 4.8% of DCJ employees have created an impact on 1 in 3 of their colleagues.
imc and the Department of Communities and Justice were recognised as Gold winners in the 2021 LearnX awards. The international award program honours innovative and creative projects in the fields of learning and design every year.
The new digital brand training at imc Learning: Understanding through experiencing
Using gamified brand training to reach and lastingly inspire a highly diverse target audience
In business it’s generally a good idea to stick with what you do best. And that’s precisely our approach to internal brand training here at imc Learning. We have taken our expertise in learning, something we normally offer other companies, and used it to help our own employees.
At imc, we’ve been working with digital learning for about 25 years. We strive to make learning better by redefining how learning happens. Experts in technology, e-learning content and strategy work hand in hand to offer holistic and tailored e-learning solutions – worldwide.
Having started out as a spin-off from Saarland University in Germany, we now work with more than 1,300 companies and public and educational institutions from all sectors and of all sizes, providing them with holistic support in the planning and implementation of digital training strategies.
Enabling employees worldwide to understand and engage with our values and purpose amid the demands of hybrid work and new onboarding methods
imc has changed a lot over the years, both in terms of our brand image and the core values on which it is built. This change in culture is reflected in all areas of our company and therefore needs to be understood and actively supported by all employees – including new hires, who need to be able to connect with and internalize our values.
Achieving this outcome requires learning in the following main areas:
- Company history: What defines us as a company? Where do we come from?
- What are imc’s goals and vision?
- What are the values that shape us, and how do we communicate those values?
- What is our business purpose, and what can each and every employee do to further that purpose?
- What does the imc brand feel like?
We needed a learning solution that could both impart this knowledge to all new hires right from day one and make it available to all existing imc employees on an ongoing basis. The obvious approach was to create an interactive, digital training course that was fun while still getting the imc brand and culture across.
The challenge in designing the course was not just to find a way of disseminating the informational aspects of the training content. The main challenge, in fact, was to give the content emotional power and authenticity, but without overdoing it, so that the very diverse target audience here at imc could identify with it.
A brand experience that invites engagement using a dedicated mascot
No sooner said than done. Kerstin Steffen, Director Brand Strategy at imc, initiated the training course and helped with its implementation. Teaming up with experts from our Content department – people who normally create digital learning content of this type for external clients – she set her sights on developing a training course that inspires all imc employees.
“It was extremely important to develop something that did more than merely disseminate information,” she recalls. “People need to be able to understand and ‘feel’ the brand. New employees should be able to instantly understand what drives us here at imc, what our values are, and what kind of cooperation and collaboration we practise and expect of others.”
Oliver Steinhilber is an instructional designer at imc and provided support for the conceptual design of the training course. “We’re currently seeing strong demand for training courses of this type among our clients,” he says. “Onboarding, change, new work and the like are a big deal at the moment, and managers in HR, marketing and internal communication are looking for ways of communicating these messages with authenticity and emotional power.”
So, it was immediately obvious what we needed to do. But we had to make a number of key decisions before we could start with the conceptual design and creation work.
Excitement and engagement among newcomers and old hands alike
The first step was to select a suitable tool for creating the training course. We chose Articulate Rise, and the team undertook two in-house workshops on how to use it.
Next, the team agreed to use storytelling as the course’s definitive stylistic device and to adopt a mascot as the narrator and companion for learners on their learning journey. Max – that’s the mascot’s name – looks a little like a ghost and emerges from the dot on the “i” of imc. He starts out very pale but gradually takes on more colour as the learner progresses through the course and learns more about the imc brand.
Max features in all elements of the training course. For example, in the history section, he reads from a book telling the story of the company’s founder, Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer. As the training course progresses, Max draws the learner deeper and deeper into the imc brand experience. The course also includes quizzes at regular intervals to gauge comprehension of the learning content.
The result is an entertaining and explorative 25-minute training course, split into four chapters, that teaches the learner everything they need to know about imc.
“We’re really pleased with the result, and the initial feedback from users is extremely positive,” says Kerstin Steffen. “The newcomers are engaging enthusiastically, plus it has sparked the interest of the old hands, who feel inspired to do the course right away. The time invested – it took about three months from initial idea to implementation – has well and truly paid off!”
Creating a Better Employee Experience
The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) is an independent statutory body that promotes improvement in policies and practices affecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in the state of Victoria, Australia.
Using a human-centred design approach
The CCYP desired to create a better orientation and overall employee experience for their people.
To do this, we implemented a human-centred design approach in the new hire program across its organisation.
The solution of human-centred design enables us to consider the people that we’re designing for.
So putting people at the centre is the core of everything we do.
Creating a huge disruption to the current approach
CCYP strived to make the new starter and employee experience enjoyable, nevertheless, the reality was that new starters were handed 60 pdf documents when joining and sent on their way, leaving everything to chance. Our intervention was focused on disrupting this in a big way.
For CCYP, 'experience' was defined as “an event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone” or a “feeling and emotion”. Employee experience, much like customer experience, is the deliberate and intentional design of systems and processes that create better human outcomes.
In the context of CCYP, Employee experience is the way new starters feel and the impression that’s made on them when they join the organisation.
Considering the people we are designing for
This project was developed with a Human-Centred Design approach.
Human-Centred Design is a way of working and being that exists beyond a project or methodology. The world around us is changing rapidly, and the human-centric approach prepares us to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity.
Using Human-Centred Design methods helps us to understand human values and latent needs, so we are able to create people experiences that are meaningful and resilient.
Through this approach, we were able to shape a workplace experience where people want to be, one that responds understands, and values the perspectives and needs of those we aim to empower.
Delivered on time and on budget
This project delivered on what it set out to do on both time and budget.
Not only did we meet our original objectives, but imc successfully managed to implement the majority of strategic findings throughout the organisation.
After we delivered the initial concept, imc developed a 20-minute orientation module, implemented our innovative Trello solution as induction hubs, and further refined the organisations perspective on learning-centred employee experience for the future.
imc and CCYP were recognised as Gold winners at the 2021 LearnX awards, in the category Best Talent Strategy: Employee Experience. The international award program honours innovative and creative projects in the fields of learning and design every year.
Upscaling an organisation’s LMS in the time of crisis
The Department of Health plays a critical role in the health system of the state of Victoria in Australia and is responsible for meeting the health needs of Victorian locals.
Capability-building a new response unit in record time
With the rise of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia in March 2020, the Department had a sudden, urgent need to upscale their learning management system (LMS) to accelerate the transfer of knowledge to a COVID-19 task force.
The speedy nature of the national emergency created many major challenges, which included recruiting new staff, implementing various new systems, the rapid development of new learning content, training an influx of newly recruited staff members, and the ongoing challenge of developing processes for combatting an unknown and quickly evolving virus that was threatening the health of Victoria.
Dealing with many unknowns
The major challenge facing the implementation of new training content was the scale of which COVID-19 was evolving throughout Victoria in 2020. This then lead to the up-scaling of the Department’s COVID-19 response group, who also had to pivot away from face-to-face training to consuming their mandatory compliance training and other important information via a largely online environment.
Building the COVID19LMS in several days
The Department’s solution was to work with their existing LMS vendor imc to develop an additional system (referred to as the “COVID19LMS.”)
The LMS was set up and ready to use in several days to assist with the rapid response to COVID-19. It was set up to accommodate a rapidly expanding workforce who were in need of individualised training through a role-based learning pathway.
A successful system that is still in use today
The successful delivery of COVID19LMS enabled the Department staff to access and complete their compliance training, in rapid response to the unfolding pandemic.
After onboarding the initial COVID-19 response team onto the system in March 2020, the Department has continued using the LMS for compliance training and it continues to provide a critical service for the Department to this very day!
imc and the Department of Health Victoria were recognised as Gold winners in the 2021 LearnX awards, in the category Best pandemic response: Compliance Training. The international award program honours innovative and creative projects in the fields of learning and design every year.
Delivering an impactful driving experience
The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is a Victorian Government-owned organisation whose role is to promote road safety, support those who have been injured on Victorian roads and help them get their lives back on track.
An ageing program that was failing to engage its audience
In the 1990’s, the TAC launched DriveSmart, a computer-based simulation training tool designed to support learner drivers develop skills for safe driving.
The program was originally delivered on CD-ROM, and then transitioned to an online resource in 2014. However, as the program aged, so too did its effectiveness in engaging an audience that had grown up in the age of gaming.
Even though the research within the program withstood the test of time, the tool was now outdated for a Gen Z audience who have come to expect a good user experience, interactivity, and mobile accessibility, which are necessary factors to deliver an impactful learning experience for this up-and-coming generation.
Rebuilding content from the ground-up
The major challenge of the project was to build a new system that was primarily aimed at a Gen Z audience. Therefore, the platform had to be fully mobile-optimised, with intuitive UI, a custom interface, and be accessible to all participants.
To effectively connect with the intended audience, the development of new content had to include realistic learning scenarios, gamification elements, interactivity and feedback and had to be embedded in research.
A portal with media-rich content
Our solution was the implementation of the imc Learning Suite, as the front end portal (website) for the TAC.
This portal was combined with a mobile-first interactive video format which was designed in a way that was easy-to-use, playful and mobile-optimised.
There were gamification elements included within the development of content such as badges, storytelling and driving games which enabled the learner drivers to build up their driving knowledge. They also had the ability to share badges on social media to share the safe driving message with their peers.
New video footage of driving conditions and risks were filmed for the scenarios. The videos were to be adapted into interactive scenarios by imc. These scenarios were designed to resonate with real-world examples that a young driver might experience whilst driving and be exposed to common dangers on the road.
A successful transition to mobile-first
The project was delivered on time, on budget and in its initial launch phase in March 2019, where over 8,000 users had been onboarded.
The successful redesign of the DriveSmart program has resulted in management who are very satisfied with the modernisation of the website and the mobile-first platform.
There has been a lot of positive word of mouth from the program’s users. The consensus within the community is that the bright colours and design of the website are very engaging, and it seems that users are more open to absorbing the information because of the way that the scenarios have been designed.
Unifying an Organisation Under One Learning Management System
KiwiRail is New Zealand’s national rail network operator and one of the largest transport employers in New Zealand. They have over 4,200 permanent staff and more than 6,500 contractors.
Their employees are split over five distinct business units: KiwiRail Freight, Interislander, KiwiRail Passenger, KiwiRail Infrastructure & Engineering and KiwiRail Corporate.
Replacing ageing systems
KiwiRail required a single Learning Management System (LMS) for its five business units and over 5,000 users.
They had been using ageing and inflexible systems which were inefficient for the business because they did not communicate with one another.
Ensuring that the LMS met compliance
imc needed to ensure that the new platform, based on their Learning Management System imc Learning Suite, met critical safety business processes, skill competencies and compliance with legislation.
Another challenge was ensuring the system reduced administrative efforts and costs whilst also improving KiwiRail’s data quality and availability.
One source of truth for all business functions
imc built one system which helped KiwiRail to undertake a variety of business functions. These included:
- A way for employees and contractors where they can find and register for training
- The ability for employees to track their progress and manage their career training goals
- A method for the business to manage skills, certificates and competencies
- Enhancing managers’ ability to monitor and report on what their staff are completing
This system also helped to reduce costs across the business through the synchronisation of the HR system within the LMS.
Another highlight of implementing this new system was the topic of compliance. The system tracks safety, regulatory and legislative compliance training requirements. It helped to ensure that all of these are met with the ability to deliver company-wide reporting.
Efficient management of all rail personnel
The integration of all old systems into one new LMS helped to ensure the efficient management of all certifications and career developments across all business units. In addition, it gave KiwiRail the opportunity to further enhance their training access within their organisation.
This meets the individual requirements of the five different business units by providing one complete view across the enterprise. The new system is still being flexible enough to allow creativity and innovation across business units.
(State of Victoria)
Building teachers’ capability through e-learning
The Department of Education and Training (the Department) offers learning and development support and services for anyone living in the state of Victoria, Australia. The Department is responsible for the state’s education system.
Enabling teachers to build the numeracy skills of their students
With this in mind, imc Australia partnered with the Department for the development of e-learning to build the confidence and capability of Victorian teachers to support students with learning difficulties in numeracy.
E-learning modules were developed to cover an introduction to learning difficulties in numeracy. These modules acknowledged the signs of numeracy learning difficulties, assessed mathematical skills and knowledge using the curriculum and supported students with numeracy learning difficulties in the classroom.
Difficulty in numeracy and mathematics
Students in the classroom may be experiencing difficulty with numeracy for a variety of reasons. It could be because of the presence of one more learning disability, absenteeism, sensory impairment or delayed language acquisition. Other factors include: social-emotional difficulties, issues with working memory, limited early language and literacy exposure, lower socio-economic status and disrupted learning.
Building comprehensive E-Learning modules to support Victorian teachers
imc built four online training modules using an industry standard commercial authoring tool. This tool follows a simple, linear structure and utilises a mixture of custom graphics, stock images and text on screen, with the inclusion of multimedia assets developed and provided in support by the Department.
imc provided guidance and recommendations to the Department. We also provided extensive support within the customer's Learning Management System (LMS), including survey design, data capture, reporting and coaching on how to maintain modules effectively.
Ultimately imc's final recommendation was integrating and embedding a web object by Google Forms within the solution. Survey data and reports are extracted outside the modules and shared with the Department.
Helping to build the capability of Victorian teachers
The success of the four e-learning modules was determined by the teachers’ awareness-building, knowledge transfer, and mindset shifts.
imc was measured through a variety of e-learning engagement tools to enhance the learning experience. Through elements such as videos, simulations, meaningful quiz questions and a variety of other tools that formed part of the e-learning design solution, imc was able to create a bespoke suite of modules to aid the Department’s teachers.
The Department conducted a survey of 800 teachers and principals before and after the implementation of the course. The results of the survey showed that the courses had a high acceptance rate, meaning that they were highly successful in increasing teachers’ capabilities of assessing learning difficulties in numeracy among their students.
Moreover, developing the courses helped the teachers to improve their strategies for teaching students with learning difficulties.
imc and the Department were recognised as the Gold Award winners in the 2021 LearnX awards, in the category Best eLearning Initiative: Widespread Adopter. The international award program honours innovative and creative projects in the fields of learning and design every year.