Axonify aims to shake up employee training with micro learning & gamification

Employee training is usually a profoundly unhelpful whirlwind. It’s a day or two stuffed full of information, most of which gets partially (if not completely) forgotten by the second or third week of the #grind.

It’s not that employers don’t try. I’m sure they do their level-best to make training helpful. After all, training and on-boarding employees is expensive, and high turnover rates and under-utilized employees are bad for business. But employee training is still begging for disruption. That’s exactly what Axonify aims to do.

More than just an employee training platform, clould-based software Axonify aims to be an employee knowledge system that’s available for teaching, reference tracking and improvement every day that an employee’s on the job. Using adaptive and micro learning principles, paired with ramification and on-demand knowledge centers, Axonify’s employee knowledge platform is a serious departure from the training systems that are in place at most companies today.

Axonify’s approach was born of the simple realization that human beings aren’t capable of effectively acquiring large volumes of knowledge in one long event,” says Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify. “Attention spans are short and getting shorter.  We’re stressed and distracted.  We also have very individual and specific  information needs.”

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that we’re not great a focusing. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a hundred other sources of #content demand our attention hourly. And it doesn’t help that we check our email on average 77 times per day. We’re bombarded by information constantly, and when it’s more than a few sentences, we’re not great at filing it away for future use.

Our brains are really good at digesting 4 to 5 new pieces of information at a time and moving them from short to long-term memory,” says Leaman. “It turns out we’re easily overwhelmed, and too much content literally goes ‘in one ear and out the other’. It also turns out that in order to hone that knowledge, we need to actively recall the information periodically over 30 – 45 days.”

That’s where the micro learning aspect of Axonify comes in. Information specific to an employees position within a company is doled out in small, digestible segments. Sessions don’t last hours, but minutes, and gamifies the learning process with points and leader boards.

“Employees spend about 3 to 5 minutes per day on the platform receiving content in a micro learning format,” says Leaman. “Through understanding leading edge brain-based research in the areas of memory and retention, we designed the experience to create the most optimal scenario for knowledge acquisition that delivers targeted information, person by person, based on what they know, or don’t know, every single day. The proprietary algorithm we’ve developed allows us to personalize learning according to individual needs, strengths and weaknesses.”

Employees voluntarily engaging with content that makes them better at their jobs is a powerful thing. But what kind of knowledge and content are we talking about?

Right now, Axonify’s being used by companies like Walmart, Toyota, Bloomingdale’s and John Hancock. All wildly different companies in vastly different industries. Customer service, sales and product knowledge are obvious bets for the Axonify platform, but a vital piece of the employee knowledge is one that companies can’t afford to overlook: safety.

“Walmart is using Axonify across its more than 75,000 distribution centre associates to keep them safe on the job,” says Leaman. “OSHA reportable incidents dropped by 54% in the first six months. The amount of money saved was incredible.”

Axonify goes a bit further than just training, though. Understanding that question don’t always crop up at convenient times and aren’t always answered by bite-sized morsels of information, Axonify is rolling out Discovery Zone, which provides easily-accessible reference material.

“It’s a place where employees can easily find whatever they need to do their jobs in 2 clicks and 10 seconds,” says Leaman. “With so much information in most corporate archives, employees can’t find anything quickly. They need to have information at their fingertips, on-demand, instantly.”

Shaking up the way that employers and employees interact as they circle around important on-the-job information is a tall order, to be sure. Companies, particularly large ones, are notoriously slow to adopt new technology. That said, with large companies already on board, there’s an obvious benefit to shirking the old training system and plugging into the next generation of delivering employee knowledge.

“Employees feel the intrinsic benefit of being smarter, and they appreciate being given the opportunity to learn constantly, quickly, specifically and when they have a few spare minutes,” says Leaman. “All this translates into higher employee engagement that benefits the business as a whole.”