e-Learning in multiple languages developed by employees


The Japanese company Bridgestone, the biggest tyre manufacturer in the world, had a highly decentralised organizational culture until 2014. However, Japan wanted to give autonomy back to the regions. ‘As a result, we were able to think about how we would tackle payroll, recruitment and performance,’ says Evelyne Van Vosselen, responsible for talent & performance management, leadership development, culture & engagement and learning & development at Bridgestone EMIA. ‘In 2017, talent management was also centralised at EMIA level and we implemented a learning management system.’

The Challenge

‘But of course, with a learning management system you have not yet tackled the actual learning itself,’ she continues. ‘I drew up a business case with my team and it showed that training courses taught in classrooms were too static, too complex and too expensive to set up. What’s more, in a decentralised context, it is very difficult to align the content so that we convey the same message with the same mission in every ‘class’,’ Evelyne Van Vosselen says.

She therefore had a fair amount of challenges to deal with – and not just budgetary ones. EMIA is a large geographical region with huge cultural diversity and many different languages. In the 17 factories in that region, employees do not walk around with a tablet or a PC to follow a training course. The adoption of new tools and systems therefore takes place at different speeds. ‘e-Learning looked like a good solution. We were looking for partners who could build a module for us, but that soon turned out to be too expensive as well. What’s more, we ourselves had to invest a lot of time in writing scenarios and delivering and checking content, and remained dependent on an external partner.’

FLOWSPARKS does what it promises

The business case resulted in Evelyne Van Vosselen and her team being able to purchase an online catalogue in 2019. ‘It was within budget, but had standard content that remained very generic. The need to get started by ourselves continued to exist,’ she says. ‘So we explored the market and discovered FLOWSPARKS,’ Evelyne Van Vosselen continues. ‘It looks great, it’s personalised, it’s fast, it’s easy to use, and we were also able to offer it on our own learning platform.’

FLOWSPARKS does what it promises. You have complete control, there is full flexibility to give it our own house style, and we can easily create our own content without having to call on technical talent. Another thing that is very important to us: it’s very easy to launch translated versions of your e-Learning modules.’

‘Our team is very enthusiastic about FLOWSPARKS. We started out small and then started expanding gradually to cover needs as they appeared,’ Evelyne Van Vosselen explains. At the end of 2019, Bridgestone developed the first training courses for strategic and practical onboarding in order to explain the philosophy behind their remuneration system and in support of functional needs, such as launching a new tool, as well as to replace the roadshows organised by procurement and the train-the-trainer courses.

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Anyone can create e-Learning

Sharing knowledge in a large organisation with multiple locations is a given in today’s digital world. But in many cases, well-known learning solutions are often developed only for specialist employees in L&D. With FLOWSPARKS, things work differently. You don’t need to be an instructional designer to create or adapt e-Learning solutions. This means that at Bridgestone, we can focus on what really counts – the content.

Window of opportunity

‘From HR, FLOWSPARKS is now gradually finding its way throughout the organisation. The ‘consumption’ of our training courses, also at employees’ own initiative, continues to increase.’ The versatility of FLOWSPARKS is turning out to be an important asset for Bridgestone. ‘Before we started, we very often worked with material and slides from Japan, and it was noticeable that they didn’t meet our expectations for an attractive workshop. Now we can easily embed our own videos, add questions, and so on. It’s a very low-threshold way of reaching your people from Finland to Botswana.’

One thorny issue at Bridgestone was how to involve the blue collar workers more in the FLOWSPARKS story and how they could access the learning system. Here, corona appears to be an ideal window of opportunity for getting them on board as well. ‘We have given two factories access to our learning system so that they can create training courses themselves. At the factories in Bilbao in Spain and Tatabanya in Hungary, employees are now making their own short modules in FLOWSPARKS to support their colleagues with specific rules that apply to working safely after corona,’ says Evelyne Van Vosselen. ‘As newcomers to the system, we sometimes need to search for the most suitable templates to display certain content, but we are very well supported in this by the FLOWSPARKS team.’