Filed under: Intranets
When in Melbourne this last week, we ended up in a crowded restaurant, sitting next to a pair of pilots. From one of the major international airlines, they were enjoying a 48-hour layover in Australia, between long-haul trips.
Inevitably, the discussion touched upon intranets, whereopon they exclaimed: “Ours is awful! We need to get you over to fix it!”. That aside, they also told a very interesting story about their training systems.
Apparently a new “home study” program has been recently put in place. A fairly typical e-learning system, the pilots read through a number of screens of information, and then answer a short quiz at the end to verify their comprehension. All pretty standard stuff, and expected for a globally dispersed workplace.
What was very interesting was how the pilots had reacted to this. First off, they didn’t like it, and thought it was pointless.
So some got their kids to click through the pages, rewarding them with sweets. The two pilots we were talking to used a tool called “auto click”, which they’d downloaded off the net. This automatically fed clicks through to the web application, allowing them to go off and do something else while the e-learning system paged through.
They also talked about getting to the quiz at the end, and then deliberately dropping their internet connection. This would reset the application, allowing them to go back through the information screens knowing exactly what questions were going to be asked.
This highlights the huge gap that exists between corporate hopes and frontline realities. (I’m sure the e-learning program isn’t cheap to run.) It also demonstrates the value of conducting “needs analysis” to understand the true issues and environment of staff.
As ever, I’m also amazed at how willingly people will volunteer their actual practices when asked, despite clearly being in breach of corporate policies. This story came out in the first 15 minutes of chatting, and all it really takes is someone showing a genuine interest…