Café Coffee Day creates ‘On the go learning app’ for its frontline staff

The web app allows the employees to learn anytime and anywhere


Café Coffee Day employees are all over the place. They are there across the street, in the neighbourhood, inside the nearby shopping complex, at the airport, or at the central shopping market. Café Coffee Day frontline employees work in small groups and clusters at the outlets which are spread across the country.

Irrespective of the covid-19 situation, the company always had logistical challenges in getting all of them or even some of them under one roof for a training session.

Now it has found a solution to overcome this challenge. It has launched an inhouse digital web app, called ‘On the go learning’, which can be accessed by all its frontline employees.

Rolled out two months ago, the ‘On the go learning’ app, it was created by the IT team of Café Coffee Day consisting of people who have experience in building and developing apps.

The web app is primarily meant to address the learning needs of the 2,500 employees of Café Coffee Day, who work at the retail shops of the firm. The employees can start learning any time from their homes by just registering themselves on the app. Once registered, the employees are given an ID and password using which they can access the learning content, which includes a mix of videos and PDF files. This is a great way to ensure that all frontline employees at the company get an opportunity to learn and develop themselves. Just a click on the link from a mobile or desktop is all it takes to access the web app.

The learning content is custom built for each employee. As per the KRA of the employees, the learning content focuses on imparting functional and behavioural skills. Apart from fulfilling the learning needs of the organisation, the web app also acts as a communication channel between the frontline workers and the organisation.

“The front-line employees do not have an official mail ID, and therefore, sometimes it gets difficult to communicate with them. This app allows us to convey important official announcements to our frontline employees,” says Divaker Pulkuri, head L&OD, Café Coffee Day.

“If we go out into the market to outsource such programmes, it would cost us a lot of money. Instead, building the web app internally turned out to be really cost efficient. Also, when one goes for an e-learning platform, one has to use their services permanently, which is on their server.”

Divaker Pulkuri, head L&OD, Café Coffee Day

The framework was designed by Pulkuri and his team, from a learning point of view. The L&D team at Café Coffee Day also designed the learning path of the employees by giving them calendars for every week.

It took the Company six months to build this web app on the ADDIE model, a process used by training developers. It has the following five phases:

Analysis – This is the phase where instructional problems are clarified, instructional goals and objectives are established and the current skills and knowledge of the learners are identified.

Design – This phase involves learning objectives, assessment instruments, exercises, content, subject matter analysis, lesson planning and media selection.

Development – In this phase, the developers assemble the content assets created in the design phase. The programmers integrate technologies, while the testers perform debugging procedures.

Implementation – In this phase, the procedure for training the facilitators and learners is developed. While the course curriculum, learning outcomes, method of delivery, and testing procedures are covered in the facilitators training, the new tools and software are covered in the learners’ training.

Evaluation – This phase includes taking feedback from the users.

The Company has made sure that real learning happens through this initiative. At the end of every week, employees take an online assessment test to see whether they have grasped the concepts learnt within the week. To ensure that all employees take their learning seriously, the Company has linked this to their KRAs.

With an internal mechanism, the firm can track how many hours of learning a person has gone through. “In fact, we can also track the number of minutes spent on each and every video by an employee,” says Pulkuri. Every employee has been given a mandate to complete at least 24 hours of learning through ‘On the Go Learning’ app. If any employee fails to do so, the organisation takes the effort to follow up with the person and try to understand the difficulty the individual is facing in fulfilling his/her learning goals.

According to Pulkuri, the employees have completed 3000 hours of learning through the web app.

The firm also trained the frontline employees on how to use the web app.

Pulkuri says, it is the right time for the organisation to adapt to digital learning as part of its learning DNA for the frontline employees, who are otherwise accustomed to physical trainings. This initiative will allow the organisation to shift to a digital learning culture.

While such services / activities can also be outsourced to an external vendor, the organisation decided against it.

Pulkuri explains that the major reason to do so was the cost associated with such services. “If we go out into the market to outsource such programmes, it would cost us a lot of money. Instead, building the web app internally turned out to be really cost efficient. Also, when one goes for an e-learning platform, one has to use their services permanently, which is on their server,” shares Pulkuri.

Pulkuri goes on to point out that if organisations can build such technology by using their internal resources, they would not have to go to an external vendor.

It is all about fighting the odds. As Café Coffee Day was facing a problem with the training of its employees in these difficult times, when people had a fear to come out and attend physical sessions, it decided to fight back and come up with an alternative. It took this opportunity to think differently and come up with a unique solution. The app by CCD can inspire other companies facing similar issues to implement such initiatives.

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