New virtual campus from BERNER: With video avatars and artificial intelligence to one million learning minutes

Rollout at record speed: In just twelve months, the Berner Group has introduced its new digital campus in over 20 European countries. In a few days, the last remaining subsidiary in Switzerland will be integrated into the online learning network. The training and development platform will then be available to 8,000 employees of all Group brands. With this project, the B2B wholesaler is once again demonstrating its pioneering role as an innovative driver of digital transformation. The family-owned company makes targeted use of the technical strengths of artificial intelligence (AI).

New virtual campus from BERNER Berner Group

BERNER uses algorithm-driven software to translate the training content of the digital campus. Virtual trainers and assistants use the solution to convey personalised content to course participants in up to 18 national languages. "Thanks to artificial speech and video generation, the so-called text-to-speech and text-to-video process, animated video avatars guide students through the course offerings or tell new employees everything they need to know for their career start at BERNER as part of the onboarding programme," explains Christian Greiner, Head of Learning & Development International at the Berner Group. "For us as the responsible specialist department, this not only means enormous efficiency and time savings when creating, but of course especially when conveying the respective content."

Online and offline training connected
The innovative technology also has another important effect. "We know from studies that humans perceive more than 80 percent of information through the eyes," reports Christian Greiner. "The AI-supported moving images increase the chances of learning success because learners find it much easier to grasp, understand and memorise." In total, the digital campus already offers more than 400 different training courses. Whether apprentices, dual students, specialists or managers - there is something suitable for every career level. Users can access the content on mobile devices as well as via laptop or desktop PC. In addition, the company's training experts as well as external coaches link the online content with their offline training in the company's own expert academies and training centres.

"The digital offering in the Berner Group Campus makes a very significant contribution to self-directed learning, as users have the opportunity to complete the units at their own individual pace and to continue their education flexibly and independently of time or place," says Christian Greiner. "This is especially important for our colleagues in the field, who can prepare for their customer meetings in a perfectly timed way." The response proves him right. Since the start of the rollout, almost 1 million learning minutes have already been completed. Christian Greiner: "The huge interest clearly shows that we have our finger on the pulse. For all those involved, this is additional motivation to successively expand and further optimise the offer.

In addition to the regular update of new digital learning modules, live trainings in virtual classrooms, for example, complement the learning offer in the training centres. A recommendation engine, similar to the one used in web shops, will also be implemented to direct employees to courses that match their personal preferences and professional focus. "In accordance with the motto 'Growing through education', our primary goal is to whet people's appetites for lifelong learning," says Christian Greiner.

Creativity, innovative strength and will to progress
"Our raw material in Europe is education and we must develop and support this. To do this, we at BERNER make use of the most modern technology, which we make available to people so that they can exploit their creativity, their innovative strength and their will to progress," emphasises CEO Christian Berner. "This, above all, provides confirmation, satisfaction and commitment, in addition to good remuneration.”

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