InterContinental Hotels Group
Delivering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to 3,000 of IHG’s first-level leaders across the globe using Learning Pool Platform
InterContinental Hotels Group is a multinational hospitality company headquartered in Buckinghamshire, England. It operates a family of 17 trusted hotel brands, including Holiday Inn® and the luxury InterContinental® resorts and provides more than 884,000 rooms globally to over 150 million guests each year.
In 2018, IHG carried out a strategic review that highlighted the need for its workforce to have more productive conversations within the workplace. To meet its ambitious growth goals, it was clear that IHG needed its entire leadership base to embark upon a program of training in the art of holding a ‘brilliant conversation’.
Partnering with Learning Pool, Learning Pool Platform was selected to deliver a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to 3,000 of IHG’s first-level leaders across the globe. Learning Pool Platform was used as the central delivery tool for the MOOC, with IHG curating content to create a central hub of activity around which a global ‘brilliant conversation’ would take place. Each week, participants would log onto Stream to find a new set of content alongside various conversation challenges. The MOOC was built by IHG’s L&D team using integrated videos and curated content from internal and external sources, for example, TED talks.
Throughout the MOOC, leaders viewed content and contributed back via Learning Pool Platform to earn XP points in order to complete that week’s level. Every week, IHG also created a live webinar event (integrated directly into Learning Pool Platform) using WebEx. This demanded scaling to cope with all 3,000 participants logging onto the platform simultaneously; something the platform coped with comfortably. These recordings were then made available via the platform for participants to watch again on-demand.
Lastly, IHG created contribution challenges that required participants to add their own user-generated content to the platform and reflect on what they had learned. Using Learning Pool Platform’s built-in video capture technology, leaders uploaded short videos of themselves answering questions and demonstrating how they would adopt the conversation principles discussed during the MOOC.
The response from leaders was phenomenal; more than 30,000 were generated throughout the MOOC and more than 1,500 videos were added to the platform. These contributions came from colleagues in 42 different countries.
Videos added to the platform
Different countries contributed content
Responses generated throughout the MOOC
More in-depth analysis has indicated a clear progression of thought throughout the MOOC with increasing numbers of learners committing to implementing changes in their behavior and providing evidence of how they have tested new techniques in the workplace. In complete contrast to most MOOCs, leaders on IHG’s ‘brilliant conversations’ actually increased the amount of time they spent on the platform week-on-week.
Measuring the Value of Social with xAPI
Following the MOOC, IHG was keen to measure the actual impact the learning had had on behavior. Throughout the MOOC, learning data was collected and stored in Learning Pool Learning Record Store. Retrospectively, Learning Pool’s data scientists were able to analyze the conversations to see how many people were actually doing something in the workplace by the end of the five-week experience.
Using an approach to measure the quality of online conversation in a learning environment (Cognitive Presence), Learning Pool was able to map the submissions to assess the quality of the reflective conversations on a 3-point scale.
Learning Pool LRS had provided a remarkable insight into the impact a social learning experience had had on individuals as well as the organization as a whole.
Within 4 weeks of the social experience starting, IHG could show:
of participants had seen how they could change
of participants had actually tried a new behavior
“The whole experience has allowed us to collate important data to inform several of our strategic initiatives to better support the business moving forward.”Lianne Coriette Global Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Wellbeing, Future of Work
“Around 400 colleagues took part in the hackathon and we were really pleased with the really high level of quality conversations and the rich dialogue that took place. Participants were thoughtful and intentional when sharing their experiences. Using instant content authoring really allowed us to add extra value to the experience, as previously we could only have one piece of content with comments alongside, but Learning Pool Platform has allowed us to have a much more immersive and interactive experience, combining many different sorts of learning elements into one piece of content and allowing users to engage around it.
Following the upheaval brought on by the pandemic to working practices, IHG was keen to understand what was happening within the business from a leadership and cultural perspective, particularly around wellbeing and the future of work. They looked to design a program that would give them this insight.
1,000 IHG colleagues from its corporate offices were invited to a ‘Next Thinking’ hackathon; a 3-day event where insight was gathered and used to inform future strategies around topics such as Culture and Leadership, the Future of Flexible Working, and Wellbeing.
Using Learning Pool Platform to host the hackathon, the company looked to engage staff in an immersive environment, regularly surveying them to gain qualitative and quantitative data to inform the business. Using instant content authoring within the platform, the team was able to create a range of content types, such as multiple-choice questions and videos and publish these alongside open comments.
The multiple sources of data were then validated, combined, and fed into Learning Pool LRS. Dashboards were created with visual outputs to make analysis simple and transparent. As the LRS was the vehicle for capturing the comments and text responses it allowed IHG to delve more deeply into the personal experience of their staff, enabling them to make informed decisions around their unique scenario.
The aim of the hackathon was to help IHG understand what the business would need to do in order to develop the culture is aspired to. It also addressed its recently launched global approach to flexible working and what else they needed to do to make it a success. The final piece of the puzzle was around well-being and understanding exactly what employees are facing. What needed to improve from a culture, policy and practice perspective? How could the business help upskill managers to enact the well-being commitments the organization had made?
These sessions were supported by a number of e-coaches; members of HR staff from all around the world, who were put in place to investigate and probe and to make sure the root causes of any issues were uncovered and that practical solutions were addressed.
The hackathon resulted in over 4,500 comments being collected in Learning Pool Platform and these were mapped across key themes so the results and relevant action could be interpreted.
The hackathon informed several areas moving forward including:
- Informing IHG corporate leadership development programs & strategy by knowing how their leaders were perceived and the skills needed for the future.
- Informing process & behavioral changes across the organization by understanding what slows down their growth ambitions, helping them to get to the root cause of issues.
- Informing leadership conversations, education & training materials, as well as office engagement activities by hearing colleagues’ concerns and opportunities relating to returning to the office & adopting hybrid working.
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