iManageEDUCATION: It’s not training – It’s learning

technology by adam billings - cross-platform LMS and Apple

It’s no secret that engaging content is the most important component of hospitality education, and nothing impacts this more than the delivery method. The education vehicle should enhance the student’s interaction with the content in a way that provides value and entertainment. Since not all servers and bartenders learn in the same way, it’s important to provide a multifaceted solution. The challenge becomes clear when we try to manage the consistency and reach of this education.

Typical wait staff education in bars and restaurants consists of training guides and pre-shift meetings. This continues to be an effective way to teach service and provide knowledge; however, it relies heavily on the managing partner to not only execute the training, but also to keep it current and engaging.

Learning management systems have been used in the hospitality industry for about 5 years and are quickly becoming standard protocol among large companies across multiple departments. An LMS provides the platform (and the two missing components, consistency and reach) for managing staff education. The real advancement in LMSs over the past few years has been their infiltration into mobile devices.

iMi has partnered with a cross-platform LMS and Apple to provide the most flexible hospitality education in the industry. Apple sold 300,000 iPads before its release date in April 2010 and topped off 2011 with 40.5 million units. The iPad owes a large part of its success to the App Store, where newly-developed apps are posted at an astonishing rate. Our multi-platform solution utilizes the popularity of the iPad by managing the content on the device.

Our dedicated Apple servers maintain each device’s security settings, web clips, preferences and apps through the Profile Manager. This was a game-changer for Apple when the Profile Manager was released with Lion server because it closes the gap between an open tablet and a true education device. With over-the-air enrollment and remote locking, the iPad becomes as easy to setup and maintain as it is to use.

The education lies within the app on the iPad, but the content is maintained through a secure web portal. This allows for convenient and timely updates of education modules or classes in the form of text, images and videos. The engaging content is complemented by multiple-choice quizzes that track the progress of trainees and report completion rates and scores.

While iPads might be the ultimate education device, they represent a significant investment to the restaurant group and only provide access for in-store use. Therefore, we also provide a solution that works on the top smartphones (iPhone, Blackberry and Android) as well as on any personal computer. The features of our app bridge the gap between traditional education and a modern workforce by utilizing the engaging devices we carry with us everyday.