Staff from financial services organisation Suncorp are reaping the benefits from deploying a social learning platform called Cognita.
Suncorp engaged with Microsoft partner Janison in the creation of the platform, which went live in July 2018, after three months of development with about 500 users involved in the process.
The aim was to encourage flexible self-guided learning and since its deployment, it has attracted a 95 per cent adoption level. The platform, based on Microsoft Azure, integrates with its current conventional learning management system, but also opens up to subject matter experts to share their knowledge through its ‘Add and Share’ features.
Cognita encourages users to self-serve and provides guidance on what users might find interesting or useful through a ‘recommendations engine’.
“Essentially, we’re utilising Microsoft machine learning technology to create a recommendations engine that we serve via a chatbot,” Janison CEO Tom Richardson said.
“When someone completes a learning module the chatbot pops up and asks for a rating. The system then interprets the data around the ratings that you give to content, and creates a profile for each user. You’ve rated all these things highly, and these other people have also rated these things highly, so it’s then breaking down and giving you some recommendations.”
Besides using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Janison is further exploring how to use the full functionality of Azure Search to support users looking for content. Data from search could also be fed back into the recommendation engine to get the results.
Down the line, the chatbot can also adopt a ‘concierge’ type role where it can alert staff to new or required learning, and set aside some time for professional development.
“We’ve taken a very bold move by opening up learning for any employee to be able to share what they think is valuable to 14,000 other learners. Building the capability of our people is not only good for our people but a great way to support our customers,” Suncorp head of learning Charmian Fry said.
In one particular instance, an employee was able to engage with Cognita to help retrain for a different role after being diagnosed with a degenerative disease, meaning they will have the right skills when they need to transition to their new role.
Blackmore says that the majority of content in Cognita today has been user-generated.
“We were really focused on the platform being as self-service as possible, it had to have gamification elements incorporated to keep the learning interesting and interactive. We also knew that it had to be simple and intuitive for users to continue to engage with the platform,” Suncorp learning technology stream lead, Jennifer Blackmore, said.