MiR Robotics announced the launch of its MiR Academy on September 6, 2019. MiR Academy is their new online learning platform that seeks to provide education for both channel partners and customers. Within MiR Academy, students are presented with learning tracks that enable them to quickly launch into a learning path specific to their needs.
What is MiR Academy?
The MiR Academy is the creation of MiR Digital Learning Developer Louise Loehndorff. I had the chance to sit down with Loehndorff recently to get a better understanding of her vision for the academy and how she pulled it all together.
Loehndorff joined MiR in early 2019 and began working on new educational courses to help educate customers. She worked closely with the tech support team at MiR to better understand where the most common issues were. Together, they identified some of the most common issues and set out to develop training that would help customers to learn and self-support, before having to call the tech support team.
It was during this time period that MiR saw huge growth in its channel partners worldwide. The next big hurdle was to figure out how to easily onboard new partners and provide those partners not only with operational information but sales and marketing training as well.
MiR Academy Learning Goals
The first phase of the project was to create a basic training package. The course needed to be publicly available with the goal of taking a new (partner) user from zero knowledge about MiR to the point at which they were comfortable setting up a new robot. This content would fill the time between when a new partner signed a contract and ordered their first demo unit, up until that unit arrived at their facility.
It was at this point that the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.
According to Loehndorff, “We realized that we had a lot of our partners and end-users reaching out to our support team saying that they had consumed all of the educational content that was online. They were stuck at home and wanted something else to play with or consume so that they could further their understanding of the MiR system while they had some downtime.”
Loehndorff jumped in and started to build an online community for the users while she encouraged all of the MiR Tech Supporters to start creating videos that explained some common troubleshooting situations. Her vision was to get the tech supporters to create short 1-2 minute “bite-sized” videos, leveraging their knowledge about the system. She didn’t want to have a huge production overhead and wanted to get the content out quickly. What Loehndorff and her team realized was that the more micro-content that they created, the more often that visitors returned for more. They immediately found that customers and partners were anxious to watch everything that they put online.
From there, Loehndorff realized that they needed a more efficient solution to manage the influx of both content and end-users. Louise also had the design goal to better structure learning paths for different types of users.
After some research, the MiR team settled on using Articulate 360 as their educational development platform. For cloud-based content management, MiR uses Docebo which is a complete content management solution for all of the videos and other educational resources. Articulate 360 delivers a cloud-based solution that is scalable and fully responsive to the user’s platform of choice (mobile, tablet, or desktop).
What I find refreshing about my MiR Academy experience is the simplicity and usability of the content. The content is not “word heavy”, which makes it easy to follow and learning happens quickly.
Each learning track is self-paced and can be completed in 5-30 minutes, which provides immediate feedback to the user and some satisfaction of progress through the courses. For busy professionals who might be interrupted while learning, the system tracks exactly where you are and enables you to quickly return and finish a course at a later date.
The content also includes many interactive elements that help to communicate difficult topics (like robot navigation). Figure 2 shows an example of an interactive learning element in the navigation course.
Each course ends with a recap and then an (optional) knowledge check. This helps the learner to gauge their level of understanding without the intimidation of “taking a test”.
Overall, I was impressed by the ease of use of the system, the quality of the MiR academy content, and by what Loehndorff and the MiR support team have produced and delivered with the new MiR Academy. In my experience, it’s currently one of the best online educational experiences for a new user.
The MiR Academy amplifies the MiR brand and further serves to solidify MiR as a market leader. MiR differentiated themselves through the development of its channel partner program and MiR Academy is one of the ways that MiR continues to assert their leadership.
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