While others might only see disruption in a crisis, Verizon’s Global Learning and Development (GL&D) team take it as an opportunity to redefine what’s possible.
Responsible for Verizon’s in-house learning requirements, the team has been a pioneer in virtual instructor-led training (VILT) for a long time. Its practices and tools have become industry standards, and by early 2020, it was running about 20% of its classes virtually.
“Everything was going great,” says Jamie Freeman, Senior Manager, Learning Platforms at Verizon.
But as the pandemic forced the team to move all their instructor-led training classes to VILT, the massive load proved too much for their virtual learning platform and meeting spaces.
“All our training classes were being delivered virtually, but everything started to fail, with virtual rooms crashing and people getting kicked out of these rooms,” says Freeman.
Redefining BlueJeans as a Learning Tool
It was around this time that Verizon acquired BlueJeans. The video conferencing service provider’s addition to Verizon meant the team could use BlueJeans Meetings as a learning platform.
But there were gaps. BlueJeans Meetings was a platform for virtual meetings, while the team’s previous learning tool was a dedicated solution for remote training and presentation — with many advanced features for trainers and instructional designers alike.
The GL&D team needed those capabilities, particularly controls for trainers. But at the same time, they knew BlueJeans Meetings had a lot of potential. They just had to collaborate with the teams behind it to develop new capabilities and explore possibilities.
“We wanted to help define what BlueJeans could look like for an enterprise learning and development organization that values high levels of engagement and learners’ experience,” says Freeman.
This collaboration led to the launch of BlueJeans for Remote Learning, which comprises enhancements to BlueJeans Meetings. The pack includes features and classroom management tools that support hybrid and virtual learning, and lets instructors build custom teaching experiences.
A Dedicated Platform for Corporate Training
After rolling out Remote Learning mostly to education industry clients, BlueJeans is now launching similar enhancements for enterprises, called BlueJeans Corporate Learning and Training. This new pack features a large Teacher Dashboard to give a full view of the training session and quick access to classroom management tools.
“Honestly, we were dancing when we first saw the dashboard,” says Freeman.
The GL&D team has recently transitioned to BlueJeans Meetings — and trainers and instructional designers are loving the platform.
“Once trainers saw that BlueJeans is capable of giving them that control of their classroom so that they can view things the way they need and interact with all their participants, the feedback was great,” notes Freeman.
Seamless Audio and Video Experiences
The team is particularly happy about the fact that BlueJeans Meetings includes fully integrated audio. This means that whether participants use Voice over Internet Protocol or a mobile device, they can join a classroom or breakout room and get the same seamless audio experience.
“It’s one of those few things that made us stand up and clap because nobody else does that as well as BlueJeans,” says Freeman.
According to Trevor Maher, GL&D Associate Director at Verizon, other platforms don’t blend audio and video as well as BlueJeans.
“In our previous platform, all participants had to use the same form of audio to speak with each other during breakout sessions,” says Maher. “From a cost perspective, BlueJeans saves us money because we don’t need a second audio provider on top of our VILT platform. That’s savings of $350,000 or more a year.”
In terms of video capabilities, BlueJeans Meetings has addressed a common complaint about the previous platform, which only allowed up to three participants on screen at the same time.
“The biggest thing about BlueJeans that people here absolutely love is I can have 30, 40, 50 people in my class, and they can all be on camera,” says Jennifer Janish, VILT Consultant at Verizon.
More Cutting-Edge Features to Come
As BlueJeans prepares to roll out new features such as downloadable Q&As, “weather person” mode, and poll display, the GL&D team is looking forward to creating more possibilities for virtual training.
“This is just the beginning of the remote learning capabilities,” says Lou Tedrick, Verizon’s Vice President for GL&D.
“Together with BlueJeans, we have brought the structure for how we want things to be set up for learning and development professionals. Now, BlueJeans is going to keep adding features and make the platform better and better.”