If you live and die by those little bars showing signal strength on your cell phone, you likely have SOLiD to thank. It’s responsible for installing the Distributed Antenna System (DAS) throughout high-demand locations (think universities, airports, hospitals, and transportation systems). Installing DAS requires knowledge of radio frequencies and other technical concepts that are vital in the wireless industry. The problem at SOLiD was that newly-minted graduates from engineering programs–while steeped in general construction engineering concepts–came to SOLiD lacking the specific knowledge required to successfully set up DAS systems. In short, there was a gap that kept new graduates from SOLiD success, so SOLiD’s learning team partnered with ELM to create a Radio Frequency 101 course for both new hires and customers working with the company.
Know what “noise ratio” is? Neither did we. Here’s the thing: ELM is not made up of technical engineers. That’s why it was important for the entire ELM team to understand key technical concepts before designing training for new hires. Taking the time to educate themselves resulted in the ability to design stories, animations, sound effects, games, challenges, and quizzes in 15-minute increments. By dividing the course into six micro-lessons, ELM was able to use metaphors to explain tricky concepts and illustrate ideas in a way that made sense to both seasoned vets and new hires. One lesson used a restaurant scene to illustrate the concept of signal to noise ratio. During Happy Hour, the narrator explained, the signal to noise ratio is high; near closing time, the signal to noise ratio is low. New hires and customers were able to experience the course on their own, with follow-up from an instructor to answer questions and continue the discussion.
SOLiD has received direct feedback from customers and students who have taken the course, and the overwhelming response is enthusiastic. By distilling ideas to a common denominator and making them easy for anyone to understand, the SOLiD team has seen an increase in performance in those who took the online course prior to attending the instructor-led training. This has led to a marked difference in the readiness of new hires to take on one of SOLiD’s most vital services–completely gap-free.