Summary

  • Creative studio and global leaders in visual effects are established in 9 locations around the world.
  • The company has over 2,500 employees.
  • The organisation previously delivered its training in person or in written/video tutorials via the company intranet.
  • MPC had some crucial training requirements for their new starters and current employees that their current training method could not provide.
  • Following extensive LMS research, the organisation selected the Totara LMS platform to most suitability meet their requirements.
  • MPC carried out a series of testing, honing and fine-tuning of the system over a soft roll-out period prior to its plans to launch the platform globally.

Background

Moving Picture Company (MPC) are a global leader in visual effects (VFX), with facilities in 9 locations including London, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Paris and Montreal. MPC adds creative expertise to advertising, film and entertainment industries for projects including The Jungle Book, X-Men, the Harry Potter franchise and Godzilla, as well as famous advertising campaigns for brands including Samsung, Coca Cola, and Channel 4.

Prior to the implementation of its new Learning Management System (LMS), MPC delivered its training either in person, or in the form of written and video tutorials on the company’s intranet. While the organisation had several hundred pages of documentation and training, it was not well organised.

 

As a large global company, MPC had a crucial requirement for training in technical topics, much of which is proprietary. Substantial goals are set for the training – firstly to deliver high-quality, consistent training for new starters, but also the provision of a set of training to enable all current employees to advance in their craft. The company recognised that their current delivery method did not meet the requirements of a robust, scalable tool to continue to deliver training globally in an efficient and cost-effective way.

 

Objectives

In June 2015, MPC carried out thorough research for a suitable LMS in order to define a clear requirements list for their new system, which included the following:

System interface

  • Dark theme for those working in darker environments;
  • Username to verify you are logged in and uses intranet authentication for validation;
  • A slideshow displaying the newest content available (courses, tutorials, lectures);
  • A calendar of upcoming courses or lectures (general admission) with registration links;
  • A “Learning” section with different categories (e.g. VFX, Production Tools, Editorial Tools, FX Tools) – all content to be accessible here;
  • A comment section on courses, documentation and glossary entries.

Editing

  • Easy to create and edit information, including font, size and alignment options;
  • Ability to drag and drop images;
  • Ability to host full HD videos;
  • Easy to upload videos;
  • Timed assignments.

Assessments

  • Assessments as part of each module;
  • Allows for uploading images or other files to be assessed;
  • Exam setup – e.g. multiple choice, true/false, match Q&A.

Analytics

  • Easily pull reports on individuals, departments and levels;
  • Include information on when the training was carried out, whether it was completed plus a rating of the learner’s assessments.

Features

  • Universal glossary, accessible and editable by all;
  • Automatic enrolment of new hires;
  • Modular – modules or courses to be assembled into multiple curricula;
  • Must be a local installation, cannot be connected to the internet.

Implementation

The LMS research was completed in August 2015 with their selection taking place in September. Totara LMS met the key requirements for the implementation and was chosen as the preferred platform. Importantly, Totara allowed the scalability that was necessary to meet key requirements that are prerequisites for a global company. In particular, the reporting capabilities and the option to import user data and organisational hierarchies directly from an HR system were fundamental. Additionally, the ability to automate course enrolment based on roles, etc, and to create “programs” of courses played a big part in the decision.

MPC appointed HowToMoodle, Totara UK partners, in September due to its offering of design and support requirements that the company needed, plus “when speaking with them they engaged us and seemed supportive and were well reviewed.” (Andrew Schlussel, Global Head of Training and Development at MPC).

HowToMoodle assisted MPC with the development of Totara LMS within the company, which included the design of a custom theme using HowToMoodle’s Design it! service and 5 days of detailed onsite Totara training (Totara Course Creator Essential, Totara Administrator and Totara Course Administration).

Over the course of the following few months HowToMoodle worked closely with MPC to create their theme in accordance with their requirements.

Many of MPC’s employees work in low lit editing suites so a dark theme that complemented this environment was required. HowToMoodle also incorporated a light theme into the design that could be used in offices with standard lighting.

Onsite Totara training was delivered at MPC’s London offices to key staff involved with the new LMS system. This enabled the MPC team to understand Totara functionality, administration and management of the extended options that the system provides, ultimately giving them the knowledge and confidence in the platform to take full advantage of the key features that Totara offers.

Commenting on the training, Andrew Schlussel said;

“[It was] very professional, our trainer was well prepared and his materials were good… This was essential for us to see the potential of Moodle and Totara and prepare us to use it. If you are serious about implementing this for your organisation it is necessary.”

From January to June 2016, MPC performed a soft roll-out, in which selected groups in different locations began using it in a limited capacity. This pilot phase allowed the organisation time for testing, feedback, additional honing and fine-tuning the system to meet their requirements perfectly.

“[HowToMoodle training was] very professional, our trainer was well prepared and his materials were good… This was essential for us to see the potential of Moodle and Totara and prepare us to use it. If you are serious about implementing this for your organisation it is necessary.”

Challenges

A main challenge with MPC’s Totara LMS project was that the theme took longer than initially expected. For this discerning audience the standard way in which Totara deals with resizing of images on various devices wasn’t adequate. HowToMoodle’s theme developer worked through a number of options to align the theme behaviour with their specific needs. The design also needed to look up-to-date whilst remaining functional. HowToMoodle conducted several iterations in order to come to a suitable solution for this challenge.

As there are so many settings to adjust to make it right for your organisation, leave a lot of time for testing and tweaking.

Benefits

A significant benefit identified for a large, global organisation like MPC is the ability to create “audiences”, which enables the company to make the allocation of learning dynamic based on roles, completions, etc.

The potential to use HR import to synchronise employee data was a key benefit sought by the parent corporation. The “programs” mentioned previously, plus the extended reporting capabilities are a must-have in this context. MPC had initially identified Moodle as a potential system, but with these key features being absent it didn’t fully meet the brief.

 

Now and the future

So far, the system has had a great amount of positive feedback, and is now much better organised than the existing intranet that was being used.

MPC plans a global-wide release for the Totara LMS platform in June 2016, which will include a compelling set of training that is customised, built and assigned to key departments.

Future plans for the organisation are to add ‘new hire’ training across all departments. This will be a large project due to the extensity of the departments (with over 20 departments and 4 main sites running globally), however the company anticipates achieving a significant ROI by getting its staff up and running quicker and in a much more efficient way.

Top Tips when starting out with Totara LMS:

Andrew offers the following ‘top tips’ for organisations beginning their Totara LMS journey:

  • “As there are so many settings to adjust to make it right for your organisation, leave a lot of time for testing and tweaking;
  • Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to make compelling training material;
  • You need dedicated support for it; the system is not just going to run itself;
  • Break-up training days so you have time to implement some of what you learn before learning more.”

Visit MPC’s website

Features of Totara LMS compared with Moodle

Totara LMS is a fully featured Learning Management System (LMS) for the enterprise. Its roots are in the leading open source LMS – Moodle, but Totara LMS provides these additional features:

  • Create organisational roles, hierarchies and competency frameworks;
  • Inbuilt user roles for manager, regional manager and assessor;
  • View progress through a learning plan;
  • Group and sequence sets of courses and create recurring courses;
  • Sophisticated and flexible site-wide report builder, with the ability to build custom reports.

To discuss your LMS requirements get in touch with our team on 0330 660 1111 or contact us here.