what are the criteria for determining who gets a free ipod?
Learners must be enrolled in a Capital One University (COU) course that features an audio learning component.
How does Capital One determine which courses are a good fit for audio learning?
Although Capital One is considering an expansion of its audio offerings to include job-specific courses, it currently limits audio learning to courses that fall into the career development category (such as leadership, management, and competency-based courses). The decision to use audio in that framework generally is left up to instructors, COU learning consultants (who are tasked with serving the learning needs of specific company business units), and their stakeholders. They consider both the program's learning goals and its intended audience.
What is the cost?
With iPod Nanos currently retailing for $149 to $249 a pop, and standard iPods costing approximately $249 to $349 each, buying iPods en masse can be costly, but remember to put those costs into perspective, advises Michael Walker, director of learning at COU. Even if you purchase thousands of units to jumpstart your audio program, your total outlay likely will pale in comparison to the price tag associated with developing custom computer-based training (CBT) to accomplish the same learning objectives—or paying for an instructor to lead a face-to-face course on the topic.
In addition, be sure to negotiate with vendors. Capital One partnered with Apple Inc. and Audible Inc. to achieve bulk discounts.
Also, factor into your cost equation the benefits associated with iPod learning. Capital One determined that if each iPod recipient spent only four to six hours using his or her iPod to learn, the program would break even from a cost perspective. Because most of those enrolled in the company's program eventually become "serial" users, return on investment associated with the program exceeds that baseline.
How does Capital One deal with learners who are skeptical about audio learning or who don't want to use an iPod?
Capital One treats audio learning as just another delivery method and gives learners the freedom to choose what works best for them, according to Holly Chasan, a project manager at Capital One University. "We [always try to] provide written material, as well as audio to be inclusive of all learning styles."
What does Capital One do to protect sensitive or proprietary information?
Capital One decided early on to refrain from putting any sensitive or proprietary content on its iPods. The company also kept the entire program outside of the company's firewall. Employees must download course content for use on their iPod from their home computer. (If associates don't have a home computer, they can receive a "loaner" iPod from the COU library that comes preloaded with audio content specific to the course for which they are registered.)
How does Capital One avoid the slacker stigma sometimes associated with iPods?
If you work in an environment in which iPod use is viewed as rude, or where listening to the latest Korn single while typing a business memo is considered slacker behavior, you'll have some cultural change work to do before launching an iPod program.
If your company's culture revolves around ensuring work/life balance and fostering a flexible work environment, however, such barriers may not exist. Capital One Senior Director of Associate Communications Rebecca Pratt, for example, regularly dons her iPod at work not only to facilitate her own learning, but also to set an example for those who report to her.
How does Capital One deal with employees who just use the iPod to download music, for example?
If learners want to use their corporate iPod to download the Beatles' greatest hits or listen to the latest John Grisham novel, Capital One encourages them to do so, says Ted Forbes, COU's chief learning officer. The company offers its employees a 20 percent discount on all titles—including both business and leisure content—available through the Audible Web site.
As for those who sign up and take an audio class just to score a free iPod? "We won't stop them," says Forbes—though he notes that whenever a learner signs up for an audio learning class, the learner's iPod is billed directly to his or her cost center and is subject to manager approval.