A change of pace - digital learning at the University of Bristol

Providing a first-class education in L&D for one of the world’s top universities.

Industry sector Our Education Clients
Solution Mind Tools
University of Bristol
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The challenge

With the University of Bristol’s prestige as one of the world’s top universities, its 6,000-plus employees needed a successful learning model.

The university launched a new strategy in 2016. It wanted to nurture individual success, develop leaders and managers and harness the full potential of employees.

With busy workloads, formal learning wasn't always suitable for university staff. People wanted a flexible L&D solution they could access at a time that suited them.

Ros Hitchen, Leadership and Management Development Manager, University of Bristol says:

“We wanted an L&D solution that would support and extend upon our face-to-face delivery and offer more scope for people to develop themselves.”

The solution

KnowHow is a custom-made, branded version of our toolkit. It allows leaders of academic teams, senior leaders and their people to access relevant, useful content when they need it most.

There is a wealth of online resources on topics such as change management, collaborative working and mentoring. And learners can access content at any time, from any device.

With a mix of media and wide-ranging topics, KnowHow appeals to staff at all job grades and seniority levels. The toolkit complements the university’s workshops, face-to-face learning and peer network activity. There's also the opportunity for people to explore areas beyond their job remit and learn skills that formal training can't budget for.

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Why it works

The KnowHow toolkit offers just-in-time online learning that users can access at their own pace. We also work with the university to create bespoke content.

To encourage staff to open up about mental health, we curated a playlist of top tips articles, how-to guides and infographics. The campaign got 3,700 views in a single month.

The Toolkit:

  • Provides flexible training opportunities for learning and development
  • Increases user engagement, therefore creating a more engaged and informed workforce
  • Changes the outlook on learning and development, making it something accessible and more engaging for users

Because we're all time poor, it's great to have a learning platform staff can use for quick top tips at the time they need, such as before a tricky meeting. The added benefit, particularly in a university setting, is for those that wish to delve deeper, they can follow the links for deeper research on topics.

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The results

In its first year, KnowHow outperformed projections. Today, nearly one-third of the university's 6,000 employees use the platform. (That's 31% vs the 12.5% target.)

In an average month:

  • 486 unique learners visit KnowHow vs 275 target

  • Users access 1,945 resources vs 450 target

The tool is evolving too. Each month, we share user data with the university to show which topics and media appeal most to users. That way, we work together to get the right mix of resources for continuous learning.