Five reasons generic learning tech doesn’t work
By Duncan Campbell
Oct 23rd, 2019
Technology is meant to simplify our lives in the workplace. But here’s why a generic solution (the “LMS”) to a bespoke problem (training a hospitality team) doesn’t cut the mustard.

Over the past three years, I’ve met countless hospitality groups across the world. One thing that most have in common (aside from being in the same industry) is that they have tried, and often failed, to implement a digital training solution.

Why? The common answer is that the Learning Management System (LMS) they were sold didn’t do what it said in the brochure.

For me, that’s good and bad news. The good: many hospitality businesses have been willing to adapt the “way they’ve always done things”, and let technology help them train their teams. The bad: the distrust that creeps up around all online solutions because the first attempt to implement one failed. Some managers I’ve spoken to are now sceptical and unwilling to try again.

Specialisation, specialisation, specialisation – I can’t stress this enough. You don’t visit your doctor for legal advice, so what makes you think implementing an LMS that was built for desk workers will suffice for training a team that spends their entire working day on their feet?

With that in mind, I’ve highlighted five areas hospitality managers need to consider when deciding what digital training solution is right for you.


While outdated (hey, TinCanAPI!), SCORM rightfully has a place in eLearning… but in my opinion, not in online hospitality training. SCORM, put simply, is a technical standard that enables a piece of content to be read by multiple Learning Management Systems.

It involves creating a piece of content in one application (an authoring program), “wrapping” it, and then uploading it in another (the platform that delivers the training).

The benefits are limited, particularly if you’re using a single LMS for your digital training needs. And let’s be real – why would you attempt to manage more than one LMS for your business?

The main weakness is inflexibility – for you to make one small change in the training content, you’d be required to go back to the source file (in the authoring tool), edit as required, re-wrap, re-upload to the training platform, and then re-issue the entire piece of content to your team. Prior learning (of the same content except the small edit) is not recognised, and your team would need to re-do the entire piece of content.

SCORM lacks respect for your time, and your team’s time, and in a dynamic industry like hospitality, it’s a nightmare to manage. How often do you make a small change to your SOPs? Now imagine repeating that process over and over…

The majority of our clients who have built SCORM compliant content in the past are happy to have seen the last of it. Instead, our native content author allows you to customise content with ease, and you choose whether to re-issue edited learning items to your team.

2. Product training

We’re not shy about telling the world how important product training is, and for good reason. Through significant testing, we’ve identified a clear correlation between product training and sales.

But the internet is a fragmented place, and that disorganisation of information makes it near impossible to gather effective product training for all the SKUs your staff need to know from a multitude of different websites, and then put it all in one learning resource.

Enter the Virtual Menu, by Small Batch Learning. With one patent, and one patent-pending, it is truly a unique and innovative way to train staff on the products they need to know about. Our editorial team work with brands to ensure messaging respects the learners’ time, is relevant to their role, and disassociates the training from end-consumer marketing messages.

Without specific technology to train on product knowledge – another disadvantage of a generic LMS – you’re short-changing your team and leaving revenue-generating opportunities to chance.

3. Customisation

Unlike compliance, where there is a linear approach to training, service-orientated training needs to be malleable to the needs of your business. Every business has their own operating procedures and policies, so don’t settle for a solution that doesn’t put your needs first.

Inflexible content tools (you again, SCORM!) and ready-made content that doesn’t align with your service expectations will undermine what you’re trying to achieve through training: consistent guest experiences.

We love our content, but to show you how serious we are about helping, we’ve made it completely editable and customisable to ensure your staff are trained on the exact service expectations in your business. (To find out more about our customisable recipe library in the Virtual Menu, click here.)

4. Micro-learning and mobile-first

The Learning Management System was designed for universities and corporates. Given your team spend their entire working life on their feet, make sure you choose a solution that is truly mobile-first for the learner.

Mobile-first doesn’t just mean that the user interface (UI) works well on a phone. It requires an immersive experience through the phone, of which, micro-lessons are a non-negotiable.

Micro-learning, as the name suggests, focuses of key messages in small learning units that are taught to meet a specific learning outcome. Successful micro-lessons respect the learner’s time, are engaging and empowering, and deliver real results.

If your training provider expects your staff to sit behind a desk for half an hour to complete a module, they don’t understand the requirements of your business and the nature of your staff.

5. White label platform / Blueprint / Framework / Infrastructure

If you hear any of these buzzwords, run. Seriously. A ready-made solution that takes several months (or even years) to implement is not a ready-made solution at all.

Bonus round…

I’m glad you made it this far. At Small Batch Learning, we believe the “your business, my solution” mentality is dead, and I suggest that you don’t settle for a product that makes you mould your operations around an (inflexible) solution. Do your research, understand your training goals and define your non-negotiables.

In saying that, be ready to listen and learn. There is some method to the madness. I’ve sat through numerous meetings where the client’s non-negotiable is “long written answers to quiz questions”. It’s a wildly common request, but one that always goes by the wayside when I respond, “Great, we can have it built by next month. Quick question though – written answers need to be marked manually. With 2,200 staff, who from your team will be assigned the task of marking the questions?”

To sign off, there are hundreds of Learning Management Systems available today, but none offer a “miracle pill” that will deliver on your training goals without effort and engagement from you.

I can’t guarantee Small Batch Learning will meet your every training need, but I will guarantee that if you are ready to let technology help you train your team, we’ll give you the tools you need to succeed (click here for a quick read on how to get the most out of Small Batch Learning).

Click here to register your group or outlet for your free training platform. 

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