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LearningZen Supports the Best Franchises in the Nation

LearningZen Supports the Best Franchises in the Nation

LearningZen Works with the Best Franchises in the Nation

The ability to build and maintain consistency across a brand can make or break a franchise. Franchises that learn how to do it right grow exponentially and dominate their segment of the market. Unfortunately, when franchises are spread out across the country and operated by franchisees with varying leadership styles and personalities, maintaining that brand consistency can become a major challenge. 

Doug Mark, president of LearningZen, has worked with more than 100 franchises over the years, and he has found that there is one thing that helps determine the success of a franchise — their training program. 

In an article published by Forbes last summer, it laid out the best franchises to buy in the U.S. The top franchises, Freddy’s Frozen Custards & Steakburgers (No. 1) and Christian Brothers Automotive (No. 2), have both developed and implemented comprehensive training programs across their franchise locations. Their powerful training programs were both developed with the help of LearningZen. The top franchise list was based off of the franchises that provide the best opportunities for investors. 

Freddy’s has more than 340 locations, and the franchisor generated $474.7 million in system-wide sales in 2018. It has partnered with LearningZen for seven years. Likewise, Christian Brothers Automotive has worked with LearningZen for eight years before recently parting ways,as its current inventory management system now includes the automotive-specific training they need.

Mr. Mark said that a robust training program was critical for franchises because it helped maintain brand consistency, brand awareness and brand protection across all units. Franchisors own the brand and needed to protect it, and consistent training helped ensure the same concepts, procedures, and brand values were taught at all locations. 

“A learning management system gives you the ability to duplicate your training efforts across a dispersed community,” Doug said. 

LearningZen has partnered with franchises for the last decade to help them “duplicate their training efforts.” 


The Impact of Training on a Franchise

Doug Mark said one of the reasons consumers choose to visit franchises over other businesses is because of the franchise’s reputation. Consumers have expectations for that franchise, and they trust that those expectations will be met. When one franchise location is not in line with the entire brand, Mr. Mark said the effects can be damaging. 

“If there is a unit you have that is not performing up to your brand standards, that unfortunately reflects poorly on the entire brand,” Doug said. 

With the proliferation of social media, franchisees that aren’t performing well can truly tarnish a franchisor’s overall brand. A single negative Tweet about one franchise location can be shared thousands of times in minutes, spreading a negative, harmful perception of the entire brand and all other franchise locations. Negative reviews on Google and Yelp can also cast a negative light on the brand, dissuading consumers from purchasing from the brand. 

Negative reviews also impact the selling potential of the franchise brand. Small businesses who are looking to purchase a new franchise pay attention to negative reviews. Mr. Mark said franchises can either get “hammered” or “praised” on social media. 

Doug Mark said that in order to combat the threat of a negative reputation, franchises need to put work into training their frontline staff. A strong training program that is clear and easy to understand can improve the quality of service, the customer experience, and the entire franchisor’s brand. 

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers has placed a large emphasis on training its employees, and Doug Mark believes that there is a correlation between its strong training program and the success of its franchises. 

One of the LearningZen recommended strategies that brands like Freddy’s has implemented is to create short explainer videos that show and tell employees exactly what they need to know. After the video concludes, employees are quizzed to test their knowledge. 

When franchisees or their employees have questions, they don’t have to call corporate and wait for a response. They can simply open the learning management system and find the answer. They can rewatch a video and see things being done the right way in minutes, problem solved. 

“Any franchisee that opens up with Freddy’s has got a world-class training program that can answer almost any of their questions. I do think this highly contributes to their success,” Mr. Mark said. 

For that reason, Doug Mark said that he wasn’t surprised to see Freddy’s and Christian Brothers Automotive at the top of the list. 

“Both Freddy’s and Christian Brothers Automotive put a very high price tag on the value of training,” Doug said. “There is no doubt in my mind that the reason why these brands are successful is because of the training they provide their franchisees.”

He said these companies’ messages and missions are clear to all employees, and they enforce that their franchisees to go through all of the online courses. 

Other franchise brands that Doug Mark said are doing a good job at training are Aroma Joe’s Coffee, Hokulia Shave Ice, and the Global Franchise Group (owner of Round Table Pizza, Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream, and Hot Dog on a Stick, among other brands). He said these brands pay attention to detail, and they provide all the support franchisees need to succeed. 

What he finds in common with all of these brands is that they understand the value of the customer experience, and that leads to a greater emphasis on training. 

Mr. Mark said he has noticed that franchisees often want to follow a set of rules, but they don’t have the tools they need. Brands that give proper support to their franchisees are truly able to grow their brand effectively. 


Benefits of a Learning Management System for Franchisees

Franchises are attractive to those hoping to start a business because there is less of a risk in opening a franchise location. Franchisees invest in a proven system and recognizable brand that is already in place, rather than starting from scratch.

Franchisors with a strong support system are particularly attractive to franchisees, and a training program should be included in that support system. The franchisee is more comfortable with the purchase if they know that a comprehensive, well-developed training material is part of the support they will receive. 

A full training program includes training for the franchisees themselves. Many franchises invite franchisees to visit the corporate office for a few weeks, and then the franchisee never sees the franchisors again, Mr. Mark said. Instead, he recommends bringing franchisees to an in-person training and then following up with an online program that they can watch to review information. 

Those looking to purchase a franchise also want a fully built-out training program for their employees. They don’t want to spend the time wondering how to onboard new employees or having to create their own training program. 

“The notion of online training allows you to put your unique training message into every franchisee. That way, you are going to get greater consistency across the board,” Doug said.

A learning management system is also beneficial because it allows franchisees to produce training courses quickly. This comes in handy when franchises want to promote limited time offers. 

A traditional training course takes between 200 and 400 hours to develop. With a LMS, franchises can create an online training course in a couple of days. Limited-time offers are inherently time-sensitive, and therefore require time-sensitive training. Training courses within an LMS can be made and distributed with ease, so that employees at all franchise locations can be uniform in promoting the limited time offers. 


What Franchises Can Do to Improve Their Training

When creating a training program, there are some steps businesses can follow. The steps are: 

    First, perform an analysis on the current training.

Businesses should take stock of the type of training that is currently in place and identify which strategies have been effective and those that are ineffective. 

    Second, reflect on their employee audience.

Research your employees’ average age, education level, and other demographic information. Use this information to craft training programs for your unique audience.  “When you deliver training material, you need to think about the audience more than the actual course itself. Who is going to be absorbing this, how do they learn, and how can I best prepare them?” Mr. Mark said.

Franchisees usually hire a younger audience, between ages 16 to 25. Doug Mark said that the Gen. Z and young Millennials expect training to be available online and in bite-sized chunks, and franchises should take that into account when creating training materials. 

    Third, start filming.

Many businesses are paralyzed because they believe that the filming quality has to be perfect in order for training videos to be effective, Doug Mark said. But many people — particularly teenagers and young adults — are used to learning from selfie videos on YouTube with poor production values.  “Businesses should not get hung up on being perfect,” Mr. Mark said. 

He suggests that businesses should take risks and just get started. All they need is a smart phone, a tripod, and a set of lights in order to create a top-quality training video. Watching videos, he said, has a 65% higher retention rate compared to reading text. Videos are effective  and not difficult to make. 

With that said, Doug advises franchises to not ditch the in-person training. The back-and-forth benefits of face-to-face training cannot be completely recreated by online training. A learning management system should augment in-person training rather than replace it. 

    Fourth, measure the information.

If retention is not measured, you will not know for sure how effective your training is. Mr. Mark advises franchises to utilize a quiz or other method to determine whether or not employees are retaining the information properly. Franchises can also measure the sales and training numbers of different locations, then compare them to see which training methods are most effective. Franchisors can then adjust the training to ensure employees are learning. 

Businesses should also keep this in mind when establishing a training program. The cost of a franchisor’s learning management system can be passed onto the franchisee. Then, the franchisor can use its funds to create great content, and the franchisee can pay for access to the LMS. Since franchisors renew their Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) each year, it can include the costs of the training program in Line Item 6. 


LearningZen’s Focus on Franchises 

Doug Mark said that LearningZen has focused on serving franchises for the past decade. In order to build up its industry knowledge in franchising, it started hiring people who have worked in the franchise industry. 

The industry knowledge includes legal requirements and policies built into the LMS, such as the joint employer law. This law restricts the reach that a franchisor has on its franchisee’s hires, essentially stating that franchisors are not allowed to directly interact with the employees of a franchisee.

LearningZen’s learning management systems takes this and other laws into account in its product, which means training is always compliant with current regulations in place. 

LearningZen also provides knowledge and expertise about learning trends. It offers innovative training products, such as video game learning, and consults brands on which training styles they should be using. Over the last decade, LearningZen has helped older franchise brands stay relevant, and new franchise brands grow sustainably. Contact one of the training experts at LearningZen today to learn more about how they can help your franchise training programs.

Training Methods that Maximize Employee Productivity

Training Methods that Maximize Employee Productivity

Training Methods to Boost Employee Performance and Morale

Professional development opportunities matter to employees. One study found that 91% of high-performing workers said it is important that their employer offers learning and development opportunities. By training employees on techniques in the workplace, companies can easily improve their workers’ performance, motivation, and morale.

Plenty of companies know the importance of employee training and professional development, but they don’t know how to implement them. There are several different training methods that businesses can use with their staff, and each one has its pros and cons. Businesses should choose one that fits with their available resources and their employees’ learning styles.

Effective Employee Training Methods

E-Learning Training

The e-Learning training approach consists of online training programs that can be accessed from any device. The trainee has full control over when they access courses and how fast they move through them. With learning management systems, businesses can easily create courses and track employee progress. E-Learning is a blend of several different types of training programs, including instructor-led, active training and videos. Video training is quickly becoming the most widely used and most effective way to train employees. 

Many businesses use e-Learning methods because of their flexibility and convenience. Employees who live in different geographical regions or time zones can participate in the same course together. Trainees can learn at their own pace, and they usually have better knowledge retention because they are guiding their own learning. E-Learning is also very easy to scale, and does not require a lot of resources to get off the ground. 

Trainees who participate in e-Learning methods miss out on the face-to-face interactions of more traditional teaching methods, but they can still interact with the trainer and fellow trainees through webinars and online discussion boards. With some programs, it can also be hard to know if trainees are engaged with the material. 

Instructor-Led Training 

Instructor-led training is what typically pops into people’s heads when they imagine a traditional training style. In this method, a trainer guides a lecture or discussion at a venue. That venue could be an office or a conference room, but typically all trainees must be present in order to learn. 

This type of training is appealing to businesses that want trainers and trainees to build relationships with each other. Instructor-led training, or classroom-based training, is very personal. Trainees can interact with the trainer and fellow trainees, and can discuss topics and ask questions in person. The trainees receive first-hand information from the mouth of the expert. Seminars and conferences also fall under the instructor-led training umbrella. 

Although instructor-led training is a more personal training method, it can be hard to scale that level of personalization. When there are too many people in the class, the trainer usually struggles to help everyone individually. Plus, trainees who have different learning styles or different learning paces might find it difficult to keep up or remain interested. Video is a great way to combat this. Seeing a task done correctly, and then doing that task and teaching it back to a mentor or manager, is highly effective. 

Experiential Training 

Experiential training uses hands-on teaching methods to educate and train people. The trainee dives right into the work and learns by doing. The training can take place in real life or in a simulation. Either way, the trainee learns relevant information that helps them specifically with their role. Examples of experiential training include on-the-job training, job shadowing, mentoring, role playing, and equipment simulations. 

People participating in experiential training programs usually master the material quicker than those who are going through other forms of training. Trainees also tend to be better at information retention because they are actively focused during the entirety of the training session. Some people prefer experiential training because they learn better through hands-on experiences.

But experiential training is not for everyone. Some people find it challenging to jump into the work without having a full understanding of the task. Experiential training can also be difficult for businesses to employ. It can require a lot of manpower, especially for job shadowing and mentoring, which are typically one-on-one in nature. 

Active Training 

Active training is all about putting learning in the hands of the trainee. An instructor acts more as a mediator than as a teacher. The lessons are open to interpretation, which supports critical thinking among participants. Trainees are encouraged to participate in the discussion and take action in order to learn. Workshops, group discussions, case studies, and learning by teaching are common learning approaches for active training. 

Because trainees are in charge of their own learning, active employee training can be very empowering. Employees tend to be more motivated in active training because they can focus on their own personal development goals. Trainees also improve their interpersonal and collaborative skills during active training exercises. 

Group discussions and interactions can be great for some employees, but not for all. The active training approach can be difficult for introverted individuals who are nervous to make their voice heard in a crowd. Active training is also more difficult to manage, because every single person is having their own experience with the information. Lessons are based on the current trainees’ needs, which makes it difficult to plan or stick to a set schedule.  

Businesses should invest in training to improve employee experience, because ongoing education helps workers learn new skills and take on new projects. E-learning is the easiest training method to employ and to scale, and it is a highly effective technique. LearningZen is a learning management system that allows businesses to easily create company trainings. Learn more at 

Planning an Effective Performance Evaluation for Your Employees

Planning an Effective Performance Evaluation for Your Employees

Planning an Effective Performance Evaluation for Your Employees

The workplace dynamic has changed significantly in the last decade. Today, employees expect their employers to be equally as in-tune with their needs as the employee is expected to be with the company’s needs. Modern workers crave direction, feedback, and opportunities for growth. 

In fact, the LinkedIn Talent Blog reports that 69% of employees would make more of an effort at work if they felt recognized and appreciated. To further underscore the need for feedback, consider that 24% of employees consider leaving jobs that do not provide helpful feedback on their performance. Evidence shows that companies offering and implementing regular and constructive performance evaluations experience 14.9% less turnover than companies who don’t.

So, how can your company improve its employee performance review process and make it more beneficial for employees? These tips can ensure that your employees are aware of their own performance as you discover company-wide LMS training needs. 


Prepare Sufficiently for Each Interview

The most productive and successful performance appraisal will come after thoughtful preparation. Failing to prepare for an evaluation meeting may create the impression that you don’t value your employees. Before meeting with an employee, write down a list of talking points. Think of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, recent successes, and areas for improvement. Back them up with examples and numbers to illustrate your points. This will provide your employees with useful feedback to act upon throughout the coming months. 

Addressing these points and taking notes throughout the meeting establishes a clear direction for improvement and a measuring yardstick for the next employee evaluation.


Give Your Feedback in Plain English

Most employees see through hollow sentiments and don’t find vague, generalized feedback to be helpful, so speak to your employees conversationally. In order to build trust, provide your feedback in a specific, actionable way so the person feels empowered rather than demotivated or defensive. Think of some highly unique praise (rather than generic comments of encouragement) to deliver along with your constructive feedback so the individual feels noticed and appreciated. 


Have an Open Discussion About Goals 

Regardless of how you prefer to hold a performance appraisal, it should always be structured around goals. Setting expectations is critical to helping your workers know what you expect of them, and shared goals will help them know whether or not they’re hitting the mark. 

During your one-on-one meetings, ask your employees what they would like to accomplish during their time with the company. Then, work with the individual to turn these desires into measurable goals that you can assess over the next quarter or year. (This will also provide LMS training opportunities.) 

When it’s time to revisit these goals in the next evaluation, allow the individual to self-assess. They will likely be more critical of themselves than you will, so you can discuss the extent to which you agree with their assessment and offer praises. You can use this assessment to determine eligibility for raises, bonuses, growth opportunities, and determine which LMS courses would be helpful to them in the future.


Thank the Employee for Their Contributions

One of the most important aspects of an employee performance evaluation is gratitude. Employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention skyrockets when your workers feel appreciated, according to a study by Harvard Medical School. Not all employee evaluation comments are positive, but it’s important to express your thanks at the end of a meeting to not only leave the individual feeling positive and hopeful but also to:

  • Establish a relationship of mutual trust
  • Boost the employee’s self-confidence
  • Build a work culture of respect and support
  • Motivate employees to continue doing good work


Implement These Tips to Drive Employee Performance

As you implement these tips in your employee reviews, you will be able to easily identify the kinds of LMS courses your employees need, based on the strengths and weaknesses discovered during evaluations. Discover how LearningZen’s clients have benefited from our software and find out how your business can empower employees in a similar way.

Using Technology So We Can Put Down Technology

Using Technology So We Can Put Down Technology

Technology and all the ways we use it has made us all impatient and left suffering from technology deficit disorder, TDD. Is that even a thing? Technology allows us to no longer have idle time. You see it at stop lights, waiting in line to order lunch, before a movie starts, waiting for the bus…it’s everywhere. It’s also while people are driving, walking, riding a bike, on a skateboard and I’m sure soon when you’re surfing. I guess doing one thing just isn’t enough. Sometimes I am watching TV while sending texts, checking my Instagram feed, checking my email and playing a brain game. At the same time. We need to let our brains rest and recharge. People are on their devices everywhere and all the time. I hope this doesn’t come off like old school curmudgeon, technophobe Luddite but seriously, we need to look up and see the world, because it’s amazing and most people are missing it.

Today, why not try taking 5 minutes to put down your phone and just watch the world go by? I bet it’s harder than it sounds and feels a lot longer than 5 minutes.

Using technology while you are on the move is dangerous. Using it all the time is likely not only bad for your health, but it allows us to be brain lazy. You never have to strain your brain to think up the answer to anything you just google it. I do it too. Heck I run a software company. Please try and understand the irony in writing a blog post about using more technology to use less technology. I try to see the humor in everything.

The average American Spends 5 hours per day on their mobile devices. Shouldn’t we at least try to maximize that time? Let’s talk about using technology to get away from it. One of the main reasons we built LearningZen was to improve consistency but also to greatly improve efficiency. We wanted customer to be able to train but in a way that your audience wants and expects it to be delivered. Electronically and utilizing video.  I love technology and for online training and lot’s of other things I think it’s brilliant. If you’re between 18 and 30 years old, chances are, if you don’t know how to do something you are going to go to YouTube and watch a video and learn how to do it, then try to do it. I just did this 3 weeks ago because I bought a new bike rack. I took one look at the directions then went to YouTube and brought up a video of someone installing the exact same bike rack. After I watched the video I installed the bike rack in all of 5 minutes. The best part is I knew I did it right the first time because I saw someone do it correct the first time and they gave me tips and tricks in the video. It gave me peace of mind when I headed on a 500 mile journey with my daughters bike and mine both brand new. I was confident the bike rack would do its job because I didn’t have the self-doubt that maybe I interpreted the instructions wrong. Anyone whose put together a piece of IKEA furniture recently is likely nodding.

Back to my point, let’s use technology to put down technology and see the world and get engaged in all of life’s beauty. Yeah I get it, it’s a weird scary political climate right now, but thankfully this isn’t a political blog and I don’t have the kind of time to attempt to explain the kind of batshit crazy town going on today. I’m talking about seeing the world because of the incredible access we have to it.  We no longer are limited to just reading about other countries and cultures, we can submerse ourselves in them. All because of the power of technology and the internet. Let’s be the people that go out into the world and truly experience it firsthand. We need to look up to experience it. Your neck and back will thank you.

Generations before ours did not have the luxury of being able to book their own travel. Think about this for a second. We have access to some incredible travel sites. Everything you’ve ever read in a book or magazine, anything you’ve seen on television or in a movie you can visit in person and you can book it yourself using crazy cool technology. If you need a flight to anywhere in the world, on any day, from and to any city in the world, you can find in seconds.  And get this. You can also do it from your phone. I could be bone fishing in Belize tomorrow. I could go see the Taj Mahal next weekend. I could play golf on St Andrews next month. Yikes, technology is amazing. If you want to visit something the world is literally at your fingertips. BOOM! My parents didn’t have this and neither did their parents and neither did yours.

This brings up something we talk about at work a lot. Smart money. Spending smart money on smarter technology buys us time to look up from that technology and see firsthand what our parents and their parents couldn’t see, the world and all its beauty.

Our philosophy at LearningZen is that spending smart money on smart technology purchases helps you simplify your life and other people’s lives. We all can learn from watching videos. Think of something right now that you don’t already know how to do. Then think to yourself, do you suppose there’s a video out there that could show me how to do this? I’m guessing almost anyone who just actually tried that little exercise would agree with this. A video that can teach you how to do almost anything is out there and you can pull it up from your phone. In minutes. Let’s just try to use technology for good.

The reason I love using my phone for travel is it’s super easy to launch an app rather than pulling out my laptop. I think everyone should have a travel reservation service installed on your phone. I personally love Sky Scanner. It’s an aggregate site like Orbitz that I find has more airlines and a more enjoyable interface. It’s still the easiest game in town. Find a flight from and to anywhere on almost any airline and sort it however you want. By number of stops, price, non-stop only, by time, by carrier…it’s free and easy to use. Even their car rental service just recently bailed me out of jam when I landed and had forgot to rent a car. All of my other services including the rental companies direct sites showed no availability but sky scanner came to me rescue. I’ve also had some good experience using Hopper. With hopper you can plan a future flight and they’ll tell you using some algorithms likely acquired with some advanced degrees that I can’t even pretend to explain. The site can tell you whether it’s a good time to buy now, or wait, to purchase your tickets later. Math is fun.

This year alone I went to Iceland and saw where Game of Thrones does some filming while I hunted the northern lights. I was reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame and then went to Paris and proceeded to eat the most wonderful food you can imagine. I walked down the same streets that George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were walking in Oceans 12 in Amsterdam. Reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar? Go to New England.

The world is amazing, but you need to take some time to look up and experience it. Technology has made travel to almost anywhere attainable. I don’t need another laptop, gaming system, a fancy car or a nicer house. What I want to do is see the world and experience it. Let’s use technology to use less technology so we can visit and immerse ourselves in the world. It’s gorgeous and ugly, its pungent yet fragrant, like this blog post its many things to many people but seeing it in person is so much better than watching it on TV, in a movie or reading about it. We live in a time where it’s all at our fingertips. Let’s use technology so we can put down technology and see the world, talk to people in person, eat what the locals eat, float down a river like Huck and Finn And Jim. Bring on the adventures!

Traditional eLearning is Dead

Traditional eLearning is Dead

I’m here to talk to you about a serious topic. It’s a passing, a final resting, the long sleep…But it’s not a day for mourning, it’s a day for celebration! Let’s take a minute to think about how we learn and then a moment to reflect on how the people we are struggling to train also absorb training information.  I bet it’s very different. What are you to do when you realize your method of training isn’t getting through to your audience? I’m here to talk about the death of traditional e-learning.

Let’s be frank, the days of 4-hour training modules has long been over.  eLearning moved to 2-hour courses, then came an hour, a half an hour, 15 minutes and it’s landed on micro courses. Micro courses are courses you can typically complete in 5 minutes or less. Roughly the same amount of time Neymar rolls around after he dives is “tackled”.

The internet world that we live in moves at tremendous speeds and young minds absorb materials faster than previous generations ever could because they have instant access to seeing exactly how almost anything in the world is done. They have instant video access and gratification. I have no idea what the average age is of the person who is watching this video or reading this blog but for a just a second think back how hard it would have been 30 year ago to instantly learn how to change your own oil in your car. Was this part of the car manual? Maybe you had a handy mom or dad that taught you, but this is something literally almost anyone in the world can now learn to do in the span of 5 minutes. By watching a video. How cool is that?

I watched that video and now I feel like I know how to change my own oil. I didn’t before I watched it. Actually, I didn’t have a clue. I have no idea who recorded this video and if I didn’t like it, there were lots of other oil change videos to choose from. I have zero affiliation with that video but it more than proved my point. With just a little bit of on demand training, almost anyone can change their own oil.

Time is money. We make choices on what is more important every day and we often choose time over money. Time may very well be the most valuable currency in the world. Have fun mining for crypto I’m moving full speed ahead with a time machine, Doc Brown was right.

Now that I’ve seen the changing your own oil video I know in a pinch I could learn how and re-watch it, reviewing the information every step of the way. Pause when I want, confirm that step then continue. Micro learning and videos work. In today’s rapid paced world where time is money it’s just a lot easier and more convenient to stop into your local lube-o-rama and move on with your life.

The younger generation absorbs material at such a rapid pace. This generation will have endless access to information and it’s just keeps getter faster and easier to see how to do anything. They are watching the “how” while hearing the “why” and they hunger to learn both. We must show and explain, not order and expect. In minutes they’ve mastered what took other generations weeks and hours to comprehend. We need to be teaching our young hires using methods they want and expect. We put those teaching methods like video’s into a Learning Management System (LMS) so we can track and validate learning has taken place.

If you take one thing away from this try and remember we are not training ourselves. Don’t forget who your audience is. No one has the time, desire and willingness to go through a 60-minute course that tells you how to greet a customer. Show them in minutes. Traditional e-learning is dead, RIP old fella.