1X5A3548The Kuwait Institute of Banking Studies has enriched its training offering by implementing a CrossKnowledge solution that drives demand for blended learning, helps to motivate completion and reduces technical support overheads.

The Kuwait Institute of Banking Studies (KIBS) is part of the Central Bank of Kuwait, and offers a variety of training and consultancy services to the country’s banking and finance sector. KIBS is also the only organization authorized to provide certification programs to Kuwait’s banks, and has decided to integrate e-learning programs as a supplement to its formal classroom training since 2003.

Developing a more effective blend

Working with IQUAD Learning Solutions, a CrossKnowledge partner and leading learning integrator in the Middle East, KIBS set out to create a more consistent and effective blended learning offering. Its first step was to launch My Management TV, a video service using CrossKnowledge content that has proved very popular with senior executives. KIBS then piloted a blended program targeting branch managers and presenting learners with e-learning carefully selected to address a range of skills gaps including leadership, customer relationships, marketing or management. The effectiveness of this approach means that a growing number of KIBS’s certification programs now build on face-to-face sessions with a choice of related soft skills e-learning bundles, all delivered using the CrossKnowledge Learning Suite.

New e-learning courses are in high demand

Depending on the length of their learning track, learners must complete between two and five bundles of soft skills e-learning, and then pass an assessment, in order to qualify for a certificate. But KIBS’s reporting system showed that many were completing between 10 and 15 bundles. “We thought it was a tracking problem at first, but it turned out that people simply wanted to do more of the e-learning, says Hassan Backeer, IT Manager and Senior Trainer at KIBS. That level of engagement is partly due to the quality of the new e-learning modules. In the past we had complaints about dull e-learning that involves too much clicking through text files, but the CrossKnowledge content is different. It has excellent interactivity, it’s interesting and it talks to the business environment of our audience. We have to submit all of our course bundles for internal review to verify that they meet our training objectives, but we’ve had no trouble getting a green light from our Subject Matter Experts for the CrossKnowledge content. We also used to have a significant number of learners failing to finish their online courses on time, but we’re now up to around 98% completion, which is a great success.”

Technologies that deliver

The CrossKnowledge solutions implemented by IQUAD locally offer a suite of technologies that support KIBS in delivering its new blended learning strategy. Firstly, pre- and post-assessments identify learning tracks to address areas where learners need to improve their skills, ensuring that training is always aligned to the learner’s actual requirements. Secondly, a single KIBS-branded portal allows the organization to present its new soft skills e-learning to appear seamlessly alongside its existing banking and finance e-learning courses. The cloud-based CrossKnowledge platform integrates content from multiple sources, and was also customized so that learners are presented with the prestigious KIBS brand whenever they access training online.

Hassan Backeer is pleased by the reduction in technical issues that his IT team has to field, something he attributes in part to the design and functionality of the CrossKnowledge Learning Suite. “The internet in Kuwait doesn’t have very high bandwidth, he explains. But the CrossKnowledge content is very light, so it’s quick to load, or to preload if the learner needs to save it to a device. We’ve seen a significant increase in the uptake of e-learning courses over the CrossKnowledge platform, compared with our old solution. At the same time, I’ve been able to reduce my support team from three to one because we get so few enquiries about how to use the e-learning. And we’ve had no enquiries at all about how to access the courses, which is a welcome change.”

Future plans

KIBS will work towards a fully blended solution over the next few years, so all of its certification programs have supporting soft skills e-learning. In addition, the organization plans to offer soft skills training outside of its certification program. KIBS’s vision is to create a single portal for the whole Gulf region offering training to the public on subjects such as communication, sales and marketing. Hassan Backeer believes that the quality of CrossKnowledge content will help them realize these goals. “I’ve been involved in e-learning for years, he says. If you compare what we’re doing now with what we were doing five years ago, there’s been a huge jump forwards in terms of instructional design, interactivity and, ultimately, in how effectively we can deliver the training solutions that our customers need.”


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