Case Study: A New Learning Service Concept for Thales Netherlands

Pieter de Vries is senior researcher at the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and partner of Afora-learning, a learning-solutions company. He has been working in the field of technology-enhanced education and training since 1990 with a focus on communication technology. He was involved in national and international research and development activities, including several projects for the educational sector, the Dutch Ministry of Education, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Currently his main field of work is on knowledge and learning-management in the corporate sector. At present he is involved in knowledge and learning-management projects in different industries (service, steel, glassware, food, transport and defence). His main topics are: management of (e-)learning development, (mobile) workplace learning, formal and informal learning, quality and return on investment, learning technology.


By Pieter de Vries, Delft University of Technology


Where to begin, when you are confronted with increasingly changing learning- and training-demands of your customers and internal organisational transformations? The International Training Centre of Thales Netherlands decided to develop a new learning-service concept to be better able to deal with these challenges.


Thales Netherlands is a global supplier of a wide range of equipment for above-water warfare and a naval combat system integrator. It is a high-tech company developing integrated systems for command and control, sensor and communication purposes, including life-cycle support services.


Customer training at Thales is done by the international department for Training & Technology Transfer (T&TT). Selling this equipment means that people have to be trained to operate and maintain these valuable pieces of technology. For the initial training, they come to the site in the Netherlands for a period of six or more weeks. Sometimes additional technology-transfer or retraining is needed to keep up with changes and new insights.


The T&TT unit has developed this new Learning Service Concept in close collaboration with the Delft University of Technology. The two most important objectives were: improved organisational flexibility while increasing the learner activities, and a standardisation of procedures concerning the organisation, the teaching and learning processes and the use of content. The Corporate Learning Strategy model (CLS model) was used to handle this transformation process. The model has been developed as a management tool for (e-)learning innovation that requires a redesign of the existing training programme.


This redesign comprised the transfer from a traditional classroom-based situation to a more flexible learning setting. This involved the development of an innovation strategy, a new educational model, a new instructional model and the adjacent workflow for the instructors. Of major importance was the involvement of the instructors, as a group of non interchangeable experts. Not only did they participate in the development, they were also expected to continue working on further development and integration of the new approach after this initial project. To be able to create the right context for further development, the project was reviewed and evaluated with an ongoing evaluation scheme for process and product evaluation as part of the CLS model.


The products that have been developed in the course of the project comprise a new educational and instructional model, a tested and accepted new workflow, a teacher guide, a student guide and a developers’ guide (procedures and models). There is a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) in place, formatted in line with the new learning-concept approach.


At Online Educa Berlin we will discuss the ins and outs of the development strategy, the most important elements of the educational model, elaborate on the instructional model and discuss the outcomes of the project by showing some results, including the outcome of the evaluation and recent experiences of the new approach in daily practice.


Pieter de Vries speaks in session COR67, “E-Learning in the Company and Corporate Context”, on Friday, November 30, 2007, 16:30 – 18:00.


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