McDonald's - Rapid E-learning in Action
Helping teams to run more profitable, safe, efficient and customer friendly restaurants through a blended approach using rapid e-learning – and saving over £5 million on the way
eLearning Age Silver Award Winner 2011 for Best use of rapid e-learning content, and winner of an Articulate Guru award in 2010, this updated case study shares how McDonald’s UK and Kineo have partnered to develop e-learning solutions that:
This revised case study updates the original case study and sample module we produced back in 2010. You can see a sample module in action, and download and read the original case study here (PDF 3Mb).
“Can you run a McDonald’s Restaurant profitably? Can e-learning help?”
It is a complex task balancing staff and material costs, sales, quality and customer service whilst still ensuring you're making a profit. You need a deep understanding of the various components and how they interact in order to deliver quality and profitability.
This is something McDonald’s have excelled at for many years and developing these skills in their Business Managers is a critical task.
McDonald’s UK traditionally delivered training as face-to-face workshops and/or shoulder-to-shoulder (coaching) training to over 1,000 staff across 1,250 restaurants each year. This is an expensive way to train, both in terms of opportunity cost and hard cost of training delivery. McDonald’s UK wanted to explore an alternative blended approach that would enable managers to receive the training when they needed it, to be able to use the learning for performance support, to be able to provide update training and to reduce the costs of delivery.
Kineo collaborated with McDonald’s to design and develop engaging rapid e-learning, as one component of the blended strategy that delivered on these objectives.
Making rapid e-learning work
Once the case was made for rapid e-learning, we set about the task of making it happen. The first set of requirements was to look at three crucial aspects of business controls:
The e-learning needed to be delivered in an attractive and engaging manner which fully supported McDonald’s brand and standards for quality and style. For McDonald’s and Kineo, taking a rapid approach didn’t mean compromising on look and feel or quality of learning design.
Here are the steps we’ve followed in collaboration to develop a sustainable model, and to deliver rapid e-learning (you can read more in the original case study):
1. Getting a prototype model working
One of the key benefits of rapid e-learning, in our view, is the ability to develop rapid prototypes as test cases. This was important on two fronts in our work with McDonald’s:
2. Using Articulate to develop quality – rapidly
The prototype was developed in a matter of days and the result convinced McDonald’s that Articulate fully met their requirements for an easy-to-use tool that would allow us to develop content quickly, while also delivering engaging e-learning and meeting strict branding requirements. Because it's easy to use, many staff can develop skills quickly to be able to create and maintain the content.
3. Building the module – and the team’s capabilities: getting the best from everyone
The project was very much a collaborative venture – with Kineo designing the initial prototype based on content and scripts developed by the McDonald’s team.
The result in this case was a great collaboration and an excellent final product that we and McDonald’s consider a showcase piece in the use of Articulate to develop engaging, branded e-learning that’s easy to maintain and update by the client.
Paul Westlake, a member of the McDonald’s UK team who worked at Kineo’s offices for a period said of this experience:
“Working hand in hand with Kineo not only gave me the opportunity to learn how the Articulate tool worked in a real world environment, but also gave me a good insight into e-learning instructional design too. I felt confident to build my own modules during my time with the developers, which, I have no doubt, was helped by having a wealth of experience, knowledge and advice on hand if and when I needed it. The Kineo team were a really useful ‘safety net’ to have, giving me the confidence to try out different approaches and ideas.
It was very refreshing to work with a company who positively encouraged us to take ownership of the e-learning content, so that we could amend and update as and when required.”
4. Mature model – Joint development, McDonald’s in control
As McDonald’s rapid e-learning in-house capability and skill has grown, further modules have been designed and developed: some by McDonald’s on their own and some in partnership with Kineo. This gives the McDonald’s team the flexibility they need, calling on Kineo when they need additional capacity, or have a specific development need that can’t be addressed in house, for example a higher-end piece of Flash animation. In this way Kineo provides an extension to the McDonald’s in-house team to provide support and guidance with the use of rapid tools as well as the design and build of more complex Flash animations.
Results and benefits
The results have been exceptional, and we summarise them here.
Over 1,000 people have completed the e-learning and the feedback has been very positive. Internal McDonald’s surveys have shown the following feedback:
Overall the savings estimates provided by McDonald’s for all of our e-learning work in the first 12months was in excess of £1m, and has since risen to in excess of £5m (within 24 months), which reflects a huge return on investment.
The purpose of the Business Controls e-learning was to deliver business results. While there were other contributing factors, in the first year of rollout, the business has seen the following results for the business controls modules:
McDonald’s and Kineo continue to work in partnership to develop further rapid e-learning modules to support different learning needs including Food and Restaurant Safety, Crew Trainer and Shift Manager training modules.
Food and Restaurant Safety, in particular, has been a great success enabling McDonald’s to make significant cost savings; £4 million since the introduction of the programme partly because a third party training provider is no longer required and also due to savings in transport and accommodation associated with face to face training.
McDonald’s has also seen an increase in the standard of hygiene across restaurants which is felt is attributable to the fact that the programme is now specifically about McDonald’s restaurants rather than generic materials.
The key to a rapid development project is flexibility. In this case some modules are started by McDonald’s and finished by Kineo, others worked in reverse. The usual client/vendor lines are blurred as we work together as a development team to deliver to deadlines and requirements. We prefer to work in this way because you get the best from everyone.
The result in this case was great collaboration and an excellent final product that we and McDonald’s consider a showcase piece in the use of Articulate to develop engaging, branded e-learning that’s easy to maintain and update.
Mark Reilly, Corporate Training Manager at McDonald’s explains the benefits of this approach: "We will often make tweaks and changes to some of our process and procedures. Rapid e-learning means we can make these changes and deploy them immediately to the restaurants. Gone are the days of old manuals and printed material with out of date information left hanging around."
The design and model has evolved as we’ve worked together. For the Crew Trainer and Shift Manager modules, McDonald’s provided the scripts for Kineo to develop from. As part of this process, Kineo provided feedback and guidance on the McDonald’s scripts to support the development of the McDonald’s designer. These recent modules have also required new Articulate templates and skins to align with the McDonald’s ‘People’ brand:
McDonald’s view of the project is summarised in this quote by Mark Reilly, Head of Corporate Training: "This e-learning and blended approach to development has genuinely improved the learning outcome for our participants. Our internal staff satisfaction survey has shown increases in all the training categories, improving employee engagement and increasing the ability of participants to transfer learning back into the workplace. The programme has brought about significant cost saving in the delivery of training and has improved learning outcomes. It has also led to an improvement in the key financial metrics of the restaurants."
If you’re interested in how Kineo can help you accelerate your learning through rapid and custom approaches, contact us – we’d be happy to help.