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Kobe City Hall: Diverse content for employee voluntary learning

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To improve the environment for human resource development, Kobe City implemented a learning management system (LMS) and developed a training platform using Cornerstone Learning for its employees.

Utilised by approximately 14,000 employees, the Kobe City LMS is a comprehensive system that bolsters the city’s human resource development strategy and aids the further transformation of its organisational culture. By centrally managing group training and e-learning, as well as gathering and leveraging history data, the system fosters a workforce ready to proactively advance their skills and careers amidst social environmental changes.

  • Main challenges: Managing the course participation history for each employee, centralising group training and e-learning, and easilycreating specialised content for every department/section pose significant challenges.
  • Solution implemented: We implemented Cornerstone Learning as the solution.
  • Results: The implementation resulted in a new training platform that provides diverse opportunities for learning and promotes voluntary learning among employees.

Building a training platform to foster staff development

Since its founding in 1889, Kobe, an international city, has fostered a progressive spirit, evident in projects like the pedestrian friendly Sannomiya redevelopment and the Hydrogen Smart City Kobe concept for a decarbonised city. These initiatives reflect the city’s Basic Plan for Human Resource Development, which emphasises a spirit of challenge, leadership and creativity.

Mr. Takeshi Hideshima, Chief of the Human Resource Development Section, discusses the city’s training challenges.

"Kobe City has always treated human resource development as a priority item and is promoting various initiatives. As the cornerstone of human resource development, the Staff Training Office has been planning and implementing training programs and improving the learning environment according to the attributes of each employee, using a combination of group training and eLearning. However, due to the recent changes in working styles and the Covid pandemic, there has been an urgent need to expand the staff training program to meet more diverse needs, promote learning management that encourages employees to learn on their own initiative, and utilise learning data for human resource development," said Mr. Takeshi Hideshima.

To address these challenges, Kobe City revamped its training platform using an LMS, adding features for individual course history management, centralised training, and specialised content creation.

"As the department in charge of training, we decided to implement an LMS with the spirit of challenge to move forward when we should. The cost and scale of the system would be unprecedented, so we selected a system that encourages our staff to use it first and foremost," said Mr. Hideshima.

Establishing an “exciting to open, fun to learn” LMS with Cornerstone Learning

After evaluating multiple services, we deployed Cornerstone Learning as the foundation for a new staff training platform. This centralised management of training has enhanced administrative efficiency. From a participant’s viewpoint, the platform facilitates self-guided learning, while for administrators, it provides tools to identify, notify and monitor the course history of prospective attendees. Additionally, by making individual course histories and the department’s most attended training courses visible, the system aims to foster self-initiated learning among employees, thereby bolstering human resource development. 

Ms. Mayumi Aso, the Chief of the Staff Training Office of the Administrative and Financial Affairs Bureau, revealed her choice of Cornerstone Learning was driven by its intuitive user interface and comprehensive learning management functions.

"We actually tried several services, but Cornerstone stood out for its ease of use. To realise an LMS that staff will use, it is very important to have elements that make it exciting to open and fun to learn. The design was one of the most important points for us in order to make the LMS comfortable to use, so that staff members would not only use it when they have assigned training sessions, but also want to use it to learn on their own,” said Ms. Aso.

Another deciding factor in our choice was Cornerstone Learning’s various functions for promoting communication. One such feature is the community function, which allows users to form groups with fellow trainees and other staff members who share similar interests to deepen mutual understanding.

"We have been using chat tools for some time and understood from our experience that an environment that enables us to consult with each other about issues that transcended organisational boundaries would quickly lead to better business results and revitalise the organisation. I find that the functionality that enables communication that transcends organisational boundaries is beneficial," said Ms. Aso.

Other highly valued features include a playlist function that allows users to collect and share training content of interest to them, and a badge function that allows users to provide appreciative feedback to those who have helped them with their work.

Boosting department-created training content: Establishing an LMS that fosters autonomous learning

Kobe City's LMS, powered by Cornerstone Learning, now boasts over 700 uniquely developed training modules. These resources primarily cater to new hires, alongside level-specific and theme-specific training. Notably, managers from various departments outside the Staff Training Centre have contributed to more than 240 of these specialised training modules.

"The ability to easily create specialised contents by department/section was a requirement that we focused on from the beginning, and as we had hoped, the necessary contents are now being created when they are needed. For example, we would like to increase the content in specialised fields such as firefighting, architecture and civil engineering, and develop an environment where training directly applicable to the work of employees is provided in real time," said Ms. Aso.

Mr. Yoshinori Sugimurawho who is in charge of supporting Kobe City LMS at the Staff Training Centre, added, "We are receiving an increasing number of inquiries from managers of various departments who want to create their own training content. In fact, we have received specific questions from the Fire Department and the Planning and Coordination Bureau regarding configurations for creating and registering content. The LMS is definitely becoming more widespread within the agency," he said, and they are seeing an increase in proactive efforts by each department/section.

Moreover, they’re observing an increasing trend of employees voluntarily participating in non-mandatory courses. For instance, a staff member, after being temporarily assigned to a private company for training, shared his experience publicly. Despite the course only being accessible outside work hours, approximately 300 people engaged with it within a month. Equipped with a comprehensive content search and an AI-driven recommendation engine, Cornerstone Learning tailors educational content suggestions based on job responsibilities interest areas, and past course history. This functionality is anticipated to stimulate further autonomous learning among employees.

Creating an LMS that “intrinsically engages staff” through communication-boosting features

Kobe City is ramping up its human resource development with a focus on innovation, leadership and creativity, fostering flexible thinking for a swift municipal administration that meets the growing diverse, intricate, and complex demands of its citizens. The city has also revealed its intent to diversify its workforce by expanding the recruitment of seasoned professionals, shifting away from its current new-graduate-centric hiring practice. The Kobe LMS is poised to assume an even more significant role as the backbone of staff training, reinforcing this evolving human resource strategy.

Kobe City intends to leverage features like community interaction, playlist curation, badge rewarding, among others, to enhance employee communication.

"For example, if a badge is given as a token of appreciation to a staff member for helping to solve a problem by providing information or advice, the badge becomes the achievement of the staff member to whom it is given. The ‘playlist’ will be used to check content that has been viewed by respected seniors and noteworthy colleagues, as well as content of interest to them, as reference for their own studies. We would like to add functions to vitalise this kind of communication in order to make the LMS a "natural place for staff," said Ms. Aso.

Embodying a spirit of challenge, Kobe City has harnessed the power of the learning management system to cultivate a workforce that can swiftly adapt to our ever-evolving times. The Kobe City LMS empowers staff to take the initiative, fully leveraging the user experience and functions offered by Cornerstone Learning CSX. Continually evolving, the Kobe City LMS stands as a training platform that fosters proactive learning among staff.

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Con el fin de mejorar el entorno de desarrollo de los recursos humanos, la ciudad de Kobe implementó un learning management system (LMS) y desarrolló una plataforma de capacitación utilizando Cornerstone Learning para sus empleados.

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