With a mission to improve business productivity and enhance youth employability through its 360-degree technology-enabled learning solutions, Centum Learning is carving a niche as a leader in providing skill development and corporate training programs. In an interaction with Voice&Data, Sanjay Bahl, CEO, Centum Learning, talks about the company’s new offerings and its role in the telecom sector.
Voice&Data. What kind of technology are you using for training and skill development?
Sanjay Bahl: Skill development is a complete cycle that begins with sourcing to pre-counseling assessments leading to training, certification, placement, monitoring, and tracking.
Centum Learning through Technology Enabled Blended Learning (TeBL) approach has championed the art of its skill development and corporate training programs. Centum delivers an experience of over 450+ corporate trainers and 1500+ vocational skills trainers through a blended learning approach—traditional classroom training methods coupled with technology-based continuous learning. It has a unique smart learning platform–Centum LearnPro.
Centum LearnPro is an end-to-end training and learning platform that delivers on-demand, anytime, anywhere access to comprehensive learning and development modules. These modules can be customized and gamified after providing traditional training, which ensures a high level of engagement thereby leading to higher retention. This smart learning platform allows real-time analytics to L&D and business teams on employee’s overall learning progress as the platform is also integrated with the classroom training. For the training need assessment as well as the competency evaluation the online competency assessment tools are used. To manage overall training happening at various locations through different trainers, Centum uses a Smart Training Management System where the team at the regional offices or at the corporate office can with a click of a button know about the state wise training schedules with attendance and the training photographs. For the vocational skills, Centum uses a video interview tool to prepare the candidates for the interview. Centum strongly believes that technology-enabled learning is the right methodology for scalable and quality training & skill development.
Voice&Data: What sorts of challenges do you normally face while training and how do you plan to deal with them?
Sanjay Bahl: It is very important to leverage technology for skill development. Numerous innovations in the training technology space are beginning to show their potential to improve training outcome and help address the skills gaps. A solid blended learning design makes sense both instructionally and economically. However, there are various challenges that can sabotage the learning process such as:
- Inadequate tech skills
Inadequate tech skills derail the blended learning approach. The trainers need to have a decent level of competence and know how to implement the same. Lack of technical efficiency poses a bigger challenge to the new model.
- Traditional Mindset
Many learners often have the preconceived notion that traditional classrooms are more effective because they believe they can be more successful in a familiar environment. It takes efforts to make a self-directed learning program successful; Learning and Development professionals, managers, and facilitators should have the confidence to fully support the program.
With adequate planning, technology-enabled blended learning and training solutions can be successfully implemented for organizational training. With all aspects -technical, organizational, and instructional-taken into account, the benefits of blended learning can truly be enjoyed by learners and the organizations.
Voice&Data. Since there is a rapid change in demand of industries, what new technological offerings are you planning to adopt for your L&D initiatives?
Sanjay Bahl: The digitization happening across industries necessitates a smart learning platform. Centum LearnPro provides a reliable, secure, flexible, and scalable solution for the continuous corporate training needs. Be it new hire induction training, product or process training, new product launch, continuous training assessments, audits, surveys, feedback, continuous employee engagement, live virtual training, Centum LearnPro is organization’s smart learning management system (LMS).
With a customizable platform which allows the creation of courses, assessments, certification, gamification, and detailed analytics of trainings at the learner level, this smart learning platform helps organizations in maximizing their training effectiveness. Its AI based recommendation engine recommends the right courses to the learner for moving to the next level. Centum LearnPro delivers personalized learning experience across multiple devices both through online and offline modes.
Voice&Data: What is the scenario of corporate training in the telecom sector? How well is Centum Learning functioning here?
With the worldwide expansion of companies and changing technologies, Indian organizations have realized the importance of comprehensive corporate training. While training is considered as more of a retention tool than a cost, the training system in Indian industry has been changed to create a smarter workforce and yield the best results with the ever-increasing competition. While every sector requires training, the telecom sector specifically requires more attention as the industry continues to evolve with each consumer’s needs and habits and stiff competition requiring a smarter and more skilled workforce.
Telecom has grown as one of the country’s largest service industry. And with every customer need, it has altered itself accordingly. Centum Learning has been training the workforce of a large telecom organization for past more than 10 years. It’s not only telecom operators but also tower companies where we train their field staff; in addition to the on-roll employees. The training happens across the spectrum—from field sales staff to tower technicians to maintenance staff to on roll employees on both technical and behavioral skills.
Voice&Data: Telecom industry is rapidly changing. What skills do you think would be most required in this sector?
While the telecom sector requires constant training and upgradation because of the ever-growing demands and needs of the clients, some of the skills required at a different hierarchy of an organization are Customer Centricity, business risk management, data science, team management to name a few. Not only do the clients, but also the team and the organization look up to the leaders, hence its necessary for them to be flexible and at the same time adaptable to customer and employee demands. They need to have an approach that differentiates their organization and the team on parameters such as cost, quality, delivery, etc.
With technology transforming at a fast pace and telecom running parallel, employees need to upskill themselves in these skills.
Voice&Data: What role has technology played in your success?
India seems to be in a space where technology is a big favorite. Digital Transformation is the key for all organizations as they know that if they don’t transform digitally they will perish sooner than later.
We, at Centum, have made much headway to keep up with the times. New technologies like Cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and similar such innovations are constantly changing and evolving in the workplace environment. Leveraging this technology is the appropriate approach to enable flexibility in learning and that is what we are exactly doing. Corporate training need not be delivered entirely based on traditional methods of classroom training. We have merged it with e-learning methods to make a great L&D (learning and development) tool.
Technology-enabled Blended Learning (TeBL) is an appropriate solution through which we are offering customized training programmes that save time. When blended with instructor-led training programmes, the e-training solutions that we offer produce remarkable results in terms of training retention, overall productivity enhancement and a better training ROI (return on investment). Corporates are quickly realizing that if they want to stay competitive in business, it’s time to get serious about customized training solutions.
Customized smart solutions are also lithe because they have the added benefit of learners being able to access content anytime, anywhere and even specify the extent to which they need it. This also allows facilitators to impart training basis the pre-session skill assessments.
We have also gone the extra mile to ensure that corporate training sessions can be attended through a smart live interactive virtual classroom on all devices. We have introduced several features to facilitate communication with groups and individuals through the same learning platform. The pre-workshop online material is also shared with the learners even before the training session using the same smart learning platform making it a comprehensive and integrated platform for learning.
The option of observing one’s learning through performance assessments make these sessions more fruitful. AI-enabled recommendation engine makes the learning at an individual level more relevant to ensuring the best learning outcome. At Centum, we just don’t use the technology for blended learning but also make the best use of the same—be it a smart training management System to keep track of various training happening across India or having a smart video resume platform from where we train vocational skills candidates on how to prepare for interviews.
Voice&Data: What is the impact of technology-enabled learning in the telecom sector?
Sanjay Bahl: Technology Enabled Blended Learning (TeBL) is an appropriate solution for imparting customized training programs which save time.
The training solutions this industry requires can be categorized into Product and technical knowledge, sales support, compliance, and leadership and management. Through technology blended learning approach customized smart solutions can easily be provided because they have the added benefit of learners being able to access content anytime, anywhere and even specify the extent of how they need it. For example, sales personnel who spend most of their day outside have limited time to attend a training conference can easily have the learning materials on their mobile phones, which increases their engagement and enhances the skills.
The training becomes engaging as both the parties contribute equally to the session. With the use of technology, the training is also converted into micro learnings where learning nuggets are used for a better retention.
Voice&Data: What are your plans for 2018?
Sanjay Bahl: Centum is on a continuous journey to improvise and evolve in the training space where it is moving beyond the current traditional model of training to providing 360-degree learning solutions through technology-enabled blended learning approach.
We are aggressively working with corporate companies and implementing our Technology enabled blended learning (TeBL) tool, Centum LearnPro. We are closely working with these companies and provide executive coaching, mentoring, behavioral training for the people at the leadership levels.
The future of talent development & management will depend to a large extent on the effective use of technology-enabled learning tools like Centum LearnPro which will bring better training outcome, a higher level of engaged employees leading to a higher employee outcome. We will keep strengthening our endeavor of providing world class talent management & development solutions to the corporates in all the territories where we operate.