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The evolution of an LMS at Bucks Fire & Rescue

The team at Bucks Fire and Rescue have come on in leaps and bounds after working with Learning Pool to create a more personalised learning experience - allowing the users to have their say on what works and what doesn't when it comes to their LMS and making their overall learning experience much more tailored to suit them. 

About Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service

Bucks Fire & Rescue Service first introduced their LMS 'The Learning Zone' to the organisation in 2013. It was a platform they could use to train their staff and track any training online at the same time.

However, they made the mistake of trying to cram every available function in all at once and over complicated their LMS design. Pages full of eye-catching pictures and buttons that had no real functionality caused confusion throughout the team, leading to less time spent completing courses and more time filling out support queries.

Training Design & Assurance Officer, Paul Whidborne explains 'I want our users to know exactly what they need to do - get there in as little clicks as possible and have fun doing it.'

Bucks Fire LMS Heat Academy Totara

Time for a change

At the beginning of 2015 the team realised that something needed to change and with the help of Learning Pool and Totara Learn they began to develop a rebrand of their LMS. They gave it a new name - Hub of Education And Training (HEAT) Online and, learning from their mistakes the first time around, they simplified the design. Making better use of the space they had available - removing a lot of unused blocks, introducing image based icons and combining buttons that were basically doing the same thing - helped to simplify the design. 

Heat LMS Totara Learn

From small seeds

They soon learned that even the smallest changes can have a dramatic impact on the user experience and that it's worth looking at all options before making a decision. 

For example - administrators had been inundated with several password reset requests each month, and upon reviewing these requests they soon identified that there was some confusion with learners using their computer username as their login instead of their email address. After looking at all of their options, they realised the solution was to change the login screen so that it requests an email address rather than a username. They haven't had one single issue since making this simple change. 

Also, adding buttons like 'My Path' and 'My Courses' to the menu bar allows the more popular pages to be accessed from anywhere on the site, not just the home page. 

Bucks Fire LMS Totara Learn course

Great results

Since making these changes, the team have noticed a 75% reduction of support cases. 

‘We have continually assessed the usability of our LMS and looked for ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our products, services and processes.  This highly successful approach has not only seen a reduction in support cases but has also increased the popularity of Heat Online. A big part of this process has been engaging with our users.  We value user feedback and welcome it at every opportunity.  Last year we logged 420 individual feedback requests.  This feedback came in the form of emails, focus groups, actively talking to our users and providing training at every opportunity.’ – Paul Whidborne, Training Design & Assurance Officer

They've also had some great feedback from their users across the organisation: 

‘Having used the new activity logs over the last few days, I’d like to feedback that all the changes the team have made are positive. I have used the edit function loads!!! Keep up the good work.’ – Ricky Smith, Crew Commander

‘You’ve hit the nail on the head with the changes that have been made.’ – Andy Gillett, Watch Commander

Bucks Fire have put great effort into continually improving their training program, taking into account any user feedback.

They found making the right changes at the right time has really paid off and feel it is important to always gauge user opinion as they are the ones who are actively using the system, this also adds some ownership for the users, which in turn helps with the buy-in of the product.