Deutsche Telekom: The digitalisation of learning

Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s leading TelCom company with over 211,000 employees operating in over 50 countries worldwide.

Global Telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom AG is headquartered in Bonn, Germany, and has 184 million mobile customers, 27.5 million fixed-network lines and 21 million broadband lines. As a pioneering provider for network and communication solutions, for both consumers and businesses, Deutsche Telekom is known for connecting people.

Learnlight – global provider to Deutsche Telekom

Learnlight partnered up with Deutsche Telekom in 2016 and shortly after, in 2017, Learnlight launched the English Language Program. After a successful project start, Learnlight then proceeded with the contract amendment for the German Language Program.

Malte Kreusel, Team Lead of Vendor Management in the Global Competence Centre HRD in Bonn, explains:

“We have made significant progress over the last years in terms of learning, moving some of our traditional face-to-face classroom training into digital training. However, the product we launched with Learnlight was the first product to offer purely digital and virtual training to Deutsche Telekom employees worldwide.”

Thanks to Learnlight’s agile learning platforms, employees at Deutsche Telekom can now learn whenever, wherever, and however they want. The digital programs give users access to a multitude of episodic content and exercises, as well as instructor-led virtual sessions for either groups or individuals.

Language learning at Deutsche Telekom

Language skills allow employees to collaborate more effectively. As Deutsche Telekom is a global company, embedded in a digital arena, it is essential for their employees to have sufficient language skills to be able to connect, evolve and grow.

Stephan Kasulke, Chief Learning Officer at Deutsche Telekom, explains:

“As a European company, we need to have a common language, which is English. However, we are based in Germany and half of our employees, speak German. Therefore, we need to support the skills development for both languages.”

Challenges

Learners were used to their face-to-face training sessions, which were location-specific.  To switch to digital training we had to encourage a mindshift for our employees.

Stephan Kasulke, explains: The biggest challenge about four years ago was, that our on-premise training was the most common learning method, and people were used to it.  We had to empower people with digital learning possibilities, to help them boost their learning journey and experience

The challenges were as follows:

  1. Change of scope from operating locally to more internationally
  2. Ensuring that data security and privacy were fully upheld
  3. Shift from face-to-face to virtual learning for learners used to seeing their trainers in person
  4. Adapting to digital virtualized formats – employees had to embrace working in online groups or independently with trainers online

HR Project Manager Björn Hengst explains:

Our aim was to bring learning to the whole group worldwide, which was the first time we did something like that, and Learnlight really was our use case.”

Solutions

Learners at Deutsche Telekom were pleasantly surprised by Learnlight’s virtual instructor-led sessions provided by world class trainers and gave a lot of positive feedback about the ease of use of the training programs.

Learnlight provided eight different training programs for learners who wanted to improve their English or German language skills, as well as build on their intercultural skills.

Björn Hengst explains:

“Learnlight does a nice job with this platform to have very seamless usability on different types of devices, like mobiles or desktops.  also guides the user very well, so you don’t have to fight with the platform – it just assists you. That is what we are aiming for with all our systems in the end and yeah, it works.”

All participants have access to the Learnlight platform 24/7, meaning they can log in whenever they want to check their progress, complete activities, or even browse through Learnlight Magazine, which is filled with exciting articles on a wide range of topics.

Advantages of Learnlight’s platform

All of Learnlight’s blended programs incorporate a cutting-edge flipped classroom approach. This method equips learners with key knowledge before each session, to optimize the time to put this knowledge into practice with their trainer.

Activities that don’t require trainer input, can be completed online before the session, and then the newly acquired knowledge and skills are consolidated during the live session. Learners can adjust how quickly they work through the activities, depending on their availability  and how urgently they need to develop specific language skills.

The on-demand learning content means, that it seamlessly becomes part of their day-to-day life, giving them access to a variety of resources, such as email templates, culture guides, and even an accents and dialect centre to help them prepare for meetings in specific regions.

The platform also offers bite-sized micro-learning activities that are easy to digest. This is a significant improvement from the dense information that traditional classroom-based courses usually present. All English users have access to the customized Deutsche Telekom magazine with industry-focused content. Each month four new articles are published.

Results

Deutsche Telekom and Learnlight have collaborated to create an innovative and engaging language training solution centred around the learners, irrespective of their location.

Since January 2017, Deutsche Telekom employees from over 30 different countries have taken part in over 100,000 sessions, dedicating over 90,000 training hours. The overall user satisfaction rating for the training programs historically has been high, which is an excellent indication that the implementation, usability and content have been successful.

Lisa-Marie Deckers, a learner using the Learnlight platform, shares:

“I enjoyed the conversations with my colleagues and new people, and also with the trainer. During these weekly calls, we got to know each other a little bit on a personal base, and we learned a lot from each other. Not only for linguistic things, but also cultural topics since everybody was from a different country.”

Learnlight’s training content is easy to scale: the trainer assigns preparation work for the week via the Learnlight platform, including videos, listening activities, reading texts and comprehension exercises.  If learners want to do more, they can explore Learnlight’s enormous resource library, which is filtered to help them find the most relevant activities to  improve in specific areas.

The intuitive navigation built into the Learnlight platform gives learners the freedom to take control of their learning. Each employee follows a personalized learning path that helps them track their progress as materials build on their achievements and support their weaker areas.

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