Serving more than 12,000 stores, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute is one of the largest educational organizations in the world. Their blended training programs include more than 180 industry-specific online courses, which makes them accessible to busy employees whenever they have an opportunity to learn.
That accessibility is at the forefront of the IGA Coca-Cola Institute's innovative approach to learning as they are implementing microlearning, or shorter-duration lessons, which decrease the mental fatigue caused by longer courses, according to Dr. Paulo Goelzer, president and CEO of the IGA Coca-Cola Institute and Retail Learning Institute.
Microlearning Improves Retention
"Microlearning enables students to focus on a more manageable amount of content at any given time because it breaks up longer courses into shorter ones," Goelzer says. "The Institute is developing interesting, engaging bursts over predetermined time periods by repeatedly revisiting lessons through questions. These question bursts will help our students recall the information they are learning in their courses."
For example, after a student completes the Customer Service course, they will receive a new question every day for about a week that will help them apply what they learned in the course. The questions are scenario-based, presenting a real-life situation to apply one of the skills or knowledge they learned in the course.
Depending on the course, students may receive a total of five to 15 learning bursts or questions. And with people forgetting 75% of what they learn after just six days it's not reinforced, those bursts and questions go a long way with retaining the knowledge gained in the classes.
If you or someone from you store is interested in participating in the microlearning pilot, please contact the Institute directly.
An example of a microlearning scenario.
International Supermarket Management Class (ISMC) Returns
Save the date for the popular 2023 ISMC: May 1-5, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. After going virtual during the pandemic, this five-day immersive program returns to in-person learning to energize current and aspiring managers.
Industry experts will blend group activities, online courses, and pre- and post-class webinars to teach students to foster a culture that delivers efficiency, great service, and innovation.
The Institute is now accepting reservations for owners, managers, and supervisors. Preview the agenda and get the full program details here.
Subject Matter Experts Needed
As the Institute works to develop new programs and courses and improve learning outcomes, they need subject matter experts (SMEs): retailers or store managers with knowledge and experience in different departments and areas of expertise.
"This is an opportunity to shape the content that will be used to train your team," Goelzer says. "Our SMEs are instrumental in the development of the courses."
Current and former SMEs have made recommendations on the Forklift, Produce, Meat and Finance series and provided suggestions to improve existing courses, Goelzer says.
Any retailers or store managers interested in becoming a SME can contact the Institute directly and they will share their course outlines.
Find Just-Launched Courses & Important Safety Training
In the last four months, the IGA Coca-Cola Institute has launched eight new courses in English. Those include:
- Forklift Safety - 9 Operation Tips (14 minutes)
- Forklift Safety - Parts of a Forklift (6 minutes)
- Seafood – Basics (12 minutes)
- Produce - The Science of Fresh Produce (6 minutes)
- Produce - Cleaning, Sanitation and Food Safety (13 minutes)
- Produce - Receiving/Storage and Handling (9 minutes)
- Finance - Basic Retail Math (15 minutes)
- Finance – 10 Basic Retail Math Formulas (12 minutes)
In addition to these new courses, there are a myriad of others in topics of:
- Departments & positions
- Managers & supervisors
- Specialized series
Many courses are designed for entry level and new hires so they have adequate training on Day 1. IGA Coca-Cola Institute Learning Solutions Director Ana Velázquez urges retailers to encourage employees to participate in the compliance and safety courses.
"We have put a lot of effort in our compliance library, and it serves as a liability protection," she says. "You get the sexual harassment classes, the diversity and inclusion classes. I have had two occasions on ladder accidents where lawyers called me for access to the course after an accident in store. We can prove in court that we properly trained people. In both cases those lawsuits were dismissed."
It can also save money. Velázquez adds that some insurance companies will provide a discount in premiums based on the level of training retailers and employees complete.
Beyond liability benefits, many employees want to ensure their own safety at work. Velázquez says the Institute's number one courses is Active Shooter Awareness.
"Think of it how you protect and keep your stores safe," she says.
While many courses are designed for newcomers to the industry, there are also plenty of intermediate level courses for veterans and those looking to learn something new.
The Institute soon will be launching a new learning plan in partnership with Fresh Vine Wines, a Red Oval partner on wine marketing and merchandising in the better-for-you wine category. Theses courses feature video interviews between IGA CEO John Ross and Fresh Vine Wines Winemaker Jamey Whetstone, directly from the vineyard and tasting room at Whetstone Vineyards.
Final Days For Survey
Finally, the Institute is requesting feedback to improve their 2023 offerings. Please complete the 9-minute survey by Oct. 31 for a chance to win $50-100 USD.