National Express is the UK’s largest coach network, transporting 20 million passengers a year and servicing around 900 different locations across the nation.
The organisation’s learners are dispersed across the country, as most of which are coach drivers. They are often remote and very time-poor so the challenge is to train them consistently, to a first class standard.
Historically the organisation delivered all their training face-to-face. Delivery was complex, often with a variety of content dispersed in different locations and displayed in different formats, both digital and paper-based. With the aim to introduce a more blended approach, National Express defined the need for a powerful digital solution to keep track of training and host content such as e-learning, resources and performance development reviews. Their solution had to be easily accessible and available for learners to log in anywhere and anytime necessary. James Rutter, Head of Learning and Development at National Express, comments on their requirements:
“We needed an LMS to bring all our resources together, kind of like a one stop shop for learning! We liked Totara because we wanted a system that we could put our own identity on and still have the ability to change things. We’re transitioning all the time and we needed a platform that could evolve with us as we go through our journey.”
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Choosing their first LMS was a streamlined and pain-free process for National Express; they chose Totara Learn due to the highly customisable user interface, powerful functionality and flexible delivery. They then just had to choose a partner. James Rutter explains what National Express looks for in a Learning Technologies supplier:
“We wanted a supplier that we could really partner, and build a relationship with, and we instantly got along with the team.”
National Express customised their bespoke LMS, tailoring the look and feel to suit their organisations branding and renamed the platform: ‘iLearn – Switch onto learning’. Totara Learn completely eliminated the challenge of multiple resources scattered across different areas. Learners are now able to log onto ‘iLearn’ and access the quick links they need on their homepage, saving time searching the catalogue to find their allocated training and offering a more seamless learning experience.
As this was National Express’ first LMS, the organisation needed an effective way of blending the new digital method to training delivery with their current L&D offering. A rich-media induction solution was chosen to educate staff on the use of Totara Learn and how it would work with their current training approach. They created an introductory video which is played the first time any learner accesses the platform, using screencast tutorials and rich visuals to demonstrate how the platform works and how they can leverage its powerful functionality.
Due to the dispersed nature of National Express’ coach drivers, the organisation was finding it difficult to train learners consistently, as they were having to take them away from daily operations to carry out face-to-face training. With their multi-device Totara Learn, remotely managed staff are now able to complete e-learning courses, access resources and self-assessments online and in their own time using their smartphones.
“A key benefit for us is that our learners can access the system on multiple devices; our drivers out on the road can actually now complete training and development reviews in their own time and on their own mobile devices, which has been really positive for us.”
Totara Learn has contributed to transforming the learning culture at National Express, which utilises digital technology to focus on engaging and supporting their learners. Additionally there has been a shift in behavioural change as staff have become more open to learning in their own time and realising the benefits of using their own devices too.
The feedback generated from the new platform has been extremely positive: the platform has saved employees time by streamlining resources in one place and organised their approach to training as a whole. The L&D team now have plans in place to increase user reach to 100% and get all coach drivers on board using the LMS for mandatory training this year.
Going forward National Express has plans to continue blending their approach to L&D, introducing more digital solutions and moving forward with learning technology and new innovations to fulfil the expectations of their learners.
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