Companies must use the latest digital tools to build better staff training processes if they want to stay ahead of their competition. Colombian airline Avianca S.A. is proof of this. They have built a digital learning ecosystem based on Open LMS while integrating other technologies such as Blackboard Collaborate and IntelliBoard to meet their asynchronous and synchronous training needs.
Avianca S.A. is the second-longest operating airline globally and the world’s oldest airline with uninterrupted operations. It continues to transform its internal processes to offer outstanding customer service, understanding that all employees expect to find exceptional labor practices at an employer. To meet these high expectations, Avianca is focused on creating a corporate culture that constantly improves its processes.
We talked to Arturo Eliseo Deras Amaya, Learning Systems and Software Engineer, to learn how Avianca set up a virtual training campus called e-Academy through Open LMS. He shared how the company has adapted to the market and the new corporate training processes while ensuring agility and security.
Getting the eLearning Management System with Open LMS
Initially, Avianca needed a virtual training support tool to complement its classroom flight personnel training sessions. Given the virtual training software requirement, one of the main challenges was obtaining approval for the platform from the different civil aviation authorities where the company operates. After making adjustments to the platform, Avianca received the permissions it needed, and the system was launched.
However, once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they changed their entire methodology. The platform went from being a support tool to becoming their primary means of delivering training.
Avianca had used other virtual training platforms before creating its e-Academy. However, these were only for pilots and flight attendants. Avianca did not have any way of correcting or customizing the content provided without first going to their content supplier—a lengthy process.
Arturo explains: “With e-Academy, our scope of courses increased. Now, flight crew, cargo, security, airport, administrative personnel, and others, have access to these courses.” Several different roles were required, covering user management, course assignment, and reporting. Open LMS allowed the necessary tools to be easily assigned to responsible team members.
Avianca currently offers two types of training. The first of these are asynchronous support courses. These courses are designed to help students complete their training by adjusting course scheduling and pacing as they see fit.
The second type is, synchronous training. This is where an instructor performs a video class with the students in real-time. Synchronous training has become the primary training tool for Avianca’s personnel.
Lessons Learned: Understanding How Staff and Customers Find Benefits in Digital Processes
According to Arturo Amaya, “Comments in our satisfaction surveys regarding e-Academy are primarily favorable. This indicates that the platform has been well received among Avianca’s employees. Multi-platform adaptability is the main draw. We do not have a standard for learning devices in the company. Students use computers, tablets, laptops, and for that matter, their cell phones to connect and access the training.” Courses for modern technologies or procedures, designed and published on the platform, are delivered faster. Hence, these training schemes result in trained personnel assisting customers promptly.
As of mid-2021, Avianca has successfully trained around 24,000 users. In 2021 alone, the total number of users in the system increased by 25%. It went from approximately 35,000 users to 45,000 by the end of the year.
Between 1,500 and over 2,500 courses were active during this same period.
Improved Processes Through Integrated Technologies
This is the primary source of reports within Avianca’s Open LMS platform. IntelliBoard operates in two ways. First, it generates automatic reports for training leaders on the training courses taught within the system. The reports are generated weekly and contain the students’ progress in the different classes they are enrolled in. Leaders use these reports to verify that all staff are keeping up with their training. It also helps to identify what aspects of the training can be improved.
Second, training leaders use these reports to feed the corporate information dashboards, which show general statistics on all training, such as time spent learning, objective achievement, and team member engagement.
Blackboard Collaborate is the primary tool for synchronous training. All Avianca classes are taught by instructors to students in real-time using this system. It is the go-to tool with all the options necessary to provide quality learning and satisfactory performance. Each airline instructor has quickly adapted to this virtual model.
Increased Competitiveness Through eLearning Platforms
Arturo says that one of the most significant benefits of eLearning platforms are their flexibility. They can quickly deploy a course to many users while also reducing training times. Another plus is that the content offered on the platform is interactive. This means that it significantly enhances the student’s self-study process. Concepts are better assimilated, and the experience is far more enriching for students
“Due to its great adaptability and because of the consistent update schedule through the years, we feel confident with the platform. We think we can face any new methodology or requirement arising in the industry. This is in contrast to more outdated tools, which fail to adapt content to the reality of current technology use”, says Arturo.
Companies must renew their services and processes constantly in order to benefit from new business models. Over the years, Avianca has maintained its position in the market by searching for modern technologies that improve its teaching methodologies. By using Open LMS, they have been able to build new digital environments for all their resources, while reducing costs and time spent, creating greater ease of access, and increasing overall content relevance.