Exploring SCTE ISBE’s VirtuLearn Ax4

By Reni Gorman

Evidence-Based VirtuLearn Framework

A Powerful toolkit for improving cognitive ability and creating expert high performers!

We have completely re-imagined and re-invented how we design learning for our clients. SCTE’s new learning experiences have evolved based on 360 feedback from:

  1. The SCTE Learning and Development Committee: Consisting of leaders across cable operators to include field operations leaders, net operations leaders, and learning and development leaders.
  2. SCTE Chapter Leaders: We can learn a lot from listening to our chapters, and SCTE’s learning team always takes the time to visit the chapters and get feedback from the boots on the ground!
  3. SCTE’s Learner Community: SCTE’s learner community is made up of both members and non-members, operators and vendors.

The feedback was unanimous… or was it?

  • Reduce the amount of training — just teach them what they need to know to do the job, but make sure they can troubleshoot in the most complex situations
  • Whatever you do keep the richness and depth — SCTE training really covers all aspects about the topic at hand!
  • Make sure it’s easy to use and learn from, make it interactive and engaging!
  • Make sure the learning is practical — immediately applicable on the job
  • And most importantly, make sure the learning is effective and improves on the job performance:
  1. Helps increase the quality and reliability of their work
  2. Helps decrease the time it takes to (install, repair, complete, etc…)

1 and 2 above would be leading indicators that would increase technician productivity, decrease churn, and ultimately have a positive impact on ROI.

With this feedback in mind we took a critical look at our learning programs. They really were very rich and thorough — should we cut away at the depth that explains the hows and whys? If we do keep the depth we have to make it easier to learn from by making it engaging and interactive, and we have to make sure we also teach how to apply what they’ve learned on the job, and keep from forgetting important technical details that often cause problems downstream.  Ultimately, our new mission statement became to help our learners develop into industry experts who are top performers.

In my graduate studies at Columbia I focused on cognition and studied the process of learning that takes place in the brain so that we could design and deliver learning in a way that is easiest for the brain to process, store and recall. This was the inspiration behind creating SCTE•ISBE’s new Ax4 VirtuLearn™ Framework.

The VirtuLearn™ Ax4 Framework offers:


VirtuLearn Aware1 LightningMods™ that are fun, engaging, interactive, animated and narrated by SCTE•ISBE’s new training mascot: Millie Volt (depicted in the screenshot) They are 10 minutes or less — because before you decide to become a rocket scientist, or a DOCSIS 3.1 engineer, your brain needs to understand the basics: what is the technology, how does it function (on a high level) and what will it do for our industry, how will it help our customers? Think of these as cliff notes or book abstracts and if someone needs an overview, either because they don’t need to know the details or because these LightningMods™ help set context before taking a deep dive, they set the tone for what’s to come — lay the foundation. From a neuroscience perspective they prepare the brain for learning by pre-activating the neurons that house any related information. Pre-activated neurons mean you are now actively learning, with your brain turned on, you can actually see it on an MRI, and the result creates a level of AWARENESS with regards to the topic at hand.


VirtuLearn Absorb2 Interactive eBooks™ then give learners the deep dive into the rich material that they need in order to become experts. Think of these eBooks™ like storybooks come to life with interactivity practically on each page in the form of knowledge checks that make sure learners are getting the key points as they ABSORB all the details. From a neuroscience perspective, the LightningMods™ create a nice simple organizational structure that paves the way for the details. It makes learning easier because it allows the brain to focus on understanding, instead of spending time trying to figure out where to store the incoming information. These eBooks™ allow learners to bookmark, take notes, highlight, answer questions and interact with rich media such as video. That’s why I like to describe it as a storybook come to life.


VirtuLearn Apply3 The ability for learners to APPLY what they learned online is our latest most innovative offering called NetworkSim™. Imagine a 3D world where you can interact with and install 3D equipment, and a virtual computer lab where learners can set up virtual networks, test, break, and fix. From a neuroscience perspective applying what you have learned in a NetworkSim™ environment adds many strong additional neurological connections because the more senses we use to learn something the better, stronger, more precise that memory becomes. Isn’t that what we want in our industry — a workforce who knows exactly what to do because they’ve essentially “done it” successfully in a NetworkSim™? That’s a workforce that’s ready for the trials and tribulations of the job and will take it on like a welcome challenge and execute with precision knowledge and skills.


VirtuLearn Deep 4 And finally, some of us know from experience that we tend to remember broad strokes in terms of conceptual information but the devil is in the details, as they say. Key technical details, such as the steps in a procedure or the CMTS command details, are critically important to remember. From a neuroscience perspective it’s important to keep reminding ourselves those important key details in order to execute flawlessly. New neural connections really do fade away if unused so we’ve solved for the need to repeat critical points AGAIN by developing an arsenal of mobile VirtuGames™. My favorite is the troubleshooting VirtuGame™ where learners get a scenario to solve and have options of what to investigate, but if they take too much time to investigate unrelated things they will lose points even if they solve it in the end. That’s because we’re instilling not just accurate work but efficient and effective means we reduce the time it takes to fill in the blank. VirtuGames™ allow people to be reminded of key learnings in a fun creative way. These VirtuGames™ will eventually allow learners to build up points for their teams to use towards Cable Games.

Come visit the Learning & Development team at SCTE•ISBE’s booth at Cable-Tec Expo and explore the new VirtuLearn™ experiences brought to you by SCTE•ISBE to help YOU become an EXPERT!


Reni GormanReni Gorman

VP, Learning & Development, SCTE•ISBE

Reni Gorman is responsible for the creation and execution of SCTE•ISBE training programs, including new brain-based solutions that provide needs assessment, customized, individualized learning plans and on-the-job reinforcement, as well as measurement of impact and ROI. Prior to joining SCTE, Gorman was an award-winning educational innovator who designed Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith’s first online university and served as VP of Global e-Learning and Talent Management for Investment Banking with Morgan Stanley. She also has been a consultant to many Fortune 500 companies.