Training & Learning

How Appen saved $240K with Collaborative Learning

Company overview

Appen’s mission is to enable their clients to launch world-class AI by providing them with reliable training data and giving them the confidence to deploy. A publicly-traded company headquartered in Sydney, Appen has over 1,000 employees across four continents and works with a “crowd” of one million remote workers. 

As AI spend increases by 30% every year, the Appen team navigates a market where technologies, competition, and go-to-markets are constantly changing. Furthermore, the company’s headcount has increased exponentially as a result of several acquisitions. Most recently, Appen acquired Figure Eight, adding over 150 new employees.

The challenge

The Learning & Development (L&D) team at Appen, led by Kristin Trujeque, must constantly adapt training programs to new products, processes, and business priorities. Keeping up with the speed of business proved especially challenging in three core L&D scopes:

  • Onboarding: Every year, Appen hires 100+ employees, and must onboard them in a highly distributed and global environment.
  • Client training: The Professional Services team was spending 12 hours onboarding each new client through face-to-face training. The team needed a scalable solution.
  • Post-integration training: 150+ new team members joined Appen as a result of the Figure Eight acquisition. Training them on Appen’s culture and solutions was critical to ensuring a smooth transition.

Like many high-growth companies, the Appen team moved quickly to meet their teams’ training needs. However, in meeting these training needs, a new challenge emerged: an increasingly complex learning tool stack. Just to complete data privacy training, employees had five different places to go. 

When Kristin, Appen’s Director of L&D, began building the L&D function, she knew she wanted to streamline their learning tool stack and adopt a system that would give the entire company the agility they needed.

Kristin knew the authoring tools included with legacy learning platforms wouldn’t enable her team to move quickly or develop courses that would keep modern learners engaged. For a small team, managing multiple niche solutions would mean spending valuable resources on repetitive tasks. It was time to look elsewhere.

Kristin Trujeque

The solution

The versatility of the 360Learning Suite and the ability to collaborate with subject-matter experts was a perfect match for Appen’s fast, complex environment.

Thanks to 360Learning’s easy-to-use Authoring Tool, Kristin’s team has been empowering and coaching subject-matter experts to create training materials within days instead of weeks. With decentralized content creation, Appen now trains employees and customers on new releases and processes faster, using guidance from the experts who know them best.

Supercharging L&D productivity

Collaborative feedback loops enable the L&D team to focus on high-impact projects. For instance, every training module has a forum where learners surface questions. Experts answer them once for everyone, sparing the L&D team from repetitive questions.

The consolidation of learning use cases under one roof streamlines L&D operations. Powerful HRIS integrations automate previously manual tasks like user provisioning or reporting.

Unprecedented learning engagement

One year into the project, Appen has shipped 230 courses to 1,200 learners. 20% of Appen’s courses include blended learning sessions. Each month, over 2,000 social reactions are shared on the platform, tribal knowledge is unleashed, and course completion rates average 80%.

The flexibility of the 360Learning Suite enables the Appen L&D team to address learning needs in real-time. For example, the new Video Pitch Assessment feature empowers the team to practice pitches, demos, and receive coaching remotely–all in a single platform.

The impact

New hire onboarding is more efficient, saving money and time across the organization and decreasing ramp-up time. By digitizing training and scaling the content creation process, Appen’s Professional Services team also reduced the time spent onboarding new clients by 50%.

These savings included:

  • 102 days of training saved in three months due to streamlining employee onboarding.
  • 10% decrease in internal IT tickets thanks to the improved employee onboarding.
  • $240K annual cost savings by optimizing client training.

The future

The transition from a complex and fragmented tool stack to the 360Learning Suite enables Appen to deliver a streamlined, integrated learning experience to every one of its teams. Now, learning can be asynchronous, in the flow of work, and decentralized. 

With 360Learning in place, Appen can continue to cut down onboarding delivery times and boost completion rates. In a dynamic market that requires continuous learning, these improvements leave the company well-placed to respond to learner needs with the right resources, information, and expertise.

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