Star Alliance – Using a Blended Approach
The Business Case
The 28-member airlines of Star Alliance, the world’s longest-serving international airline alliance, handle customers all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people work for these diverse member airlines. With this kind of audience, providing training can be a challenging task.
At the Star Alliance Services GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany, 70 full-time staffers develop and implement new products and services together with the member carriers. They develop training for the member carriers’ employees to ensure proper and consistent delivery of these products and services to the end customer. Although many of the airlines had their own training, Star Alliance needed to communicate a universal message. With standardized training, everyone could be trained consistently. This training is offered to member carriers so all employees can understand the entire picture and see that they are an important part of a much bigger entity.
Star Alliance needed material that was consistent, less complex, and a good value for the money. Training needed to target a broad audience, from the CEO to baggage handlers. Since Star Alliance carriers serve multiple cultures, training needed to be easy to understand and translatable.
While an electronic solution would allow the information to get to all locations in the most economical way, more was needed. Star worked with Root to create a set of eLearning modules combined with human interaction that includes an overview, basic knowledge modules, and functional training to help member carriers enhance employees’ knowledge about products and services. In bringing knowledge to the employees, people would experience the learning together. Employees would take the e-courses when their schedules allowed, and then share learnings with their peers. This was an added advantage to the learning – a beneficial “side effect.”
The overview course was divided into seven modules to offer both convenience and relevance. These included an introduction, history, vision/mission/purpose, the customer, products and services, and Star Alliance team roles and responsibilities. The last module offered learners a chance to apply their knowledge in a scenario or branching simulation.
Courses were delivered through email messages to airline representatives in the training area. Modules were deployed on CDs, on a Root-hosted website, and on Star Alliance member carriers’ own Learning Management Systems. The training was provided in English, with carriers having the option to translate as required.
The courses received excellent feedback on all fronts regarding quality, deployment, content, and job aids. Carina Roennfeld-Peters, Director of Training, says, “Whenever I introduce the modules, people love what they first see, and they like it even better when they try it themselves! We have found that combining electronic learning and face-to-face training works well for us. Our new learning curriculum will be a mix of traditional, blended, and eLearning.”
Star Alliance is also adding links to its website to connect people with each other using social media.