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United Rentals Launches United Academy 2.0

The improved learning management system offers increased ease of use and new features.

At the 2019 Total Control & Innovation Conference in San Antonio, Texas, United Rentals announced the launch of a new and improved version of its cutting-edge online training platform, United Academy. 

With more than 420 online, in-person and blended courses, including operator training and jobsite safety courses, United Academy was created as a world-class blended learning model for today’s workers. Since its launch, United Rentals has continued to seek ways to improve methods of delivering and tracking training. United Academy 2.0 is one of the company’s latest examples of digital innovation. 

Better, faster, easier

The platform is now faster and easier to use, with several new features. Customizable and auto-generating compliance reports can be easily configured with the report wizard tool and distributed automatically to specific people on predetermined schedules, such as daily, monthly or yearly. Managers can include calls to action in the body of autogenerated emails to instruct recipients on what to do with the report. 

“Having a training plan that is tailored for the job that the person is going to do for you, and for the place that the person is going to work, becomes very important if you want to be efficient,” said Bal Guerrero, director of United Academy.  

Ordering training is now easier because users can sign on with the same email address and password they use on the United Rentals platform, and a United Academy account can be linked to a United Rentals corporate account.

“Now you can do the transactions self-serve,” said Guerrero. “You don’t need to call anybody, you don’t need to email anybody, to complete the transaction. If you need online training late in the day for your people, or on the weekend, you can go online and purchase that training.” 

Bal Guerrero United Academy Presentation

Bal Guerrero, director of United Academy, shows the added benefits of the new United Academy platform.

With the new platform, both the learner and their manager can receive an alert 60 days before the user’s certification is about to expire and again on the day of expiration.

A new mobile app delivers the functionality of the United Academy website, giving managers the ability to access training profiles for the people they manage, as well as purchase and assign training transactions, all on the go. It also allows them to verify training compliance for groups of people at once. 

"We’re investing heavily in technology because we recognize that digital is critical to transforming how work gets done."
Paul McDonald, United Rentals executive vice president and chief commercial officer

Coming soon

Available soon from United Academy are virtual reality competency assessments that leverage forklift and aerial lift (MEWP) simulators. 

“Imagine you have a site that has many operators of scissor and boom lifts, and they come with their card and they say, ‘I know how to work.’ How can you be sure? Instead of needing to have a trainer double-check the competency of that person, you can have that person complete the simulator competency assessment to help determine whether that person is operating safely and areas where the person may need to improve,” said Guerrero.

VR simulators can also be used after a safety incident to help evaluate or refresh an operator’s skills.  All assessments are captured in the learner’s training profile. 

Finally, 2020 will bring risk-based micro-learnings. 

“Micro-learnings are a training solution that comes from the principle that when a human listens to or is exposed to a significant amount of information, he or she remembers only a portion of that information, and that portion shrinks every day it’s not used,” Guerrero told Project Uptime. United Academy’s micro-learnings consist of two- to five-minute videos, sent to workers and supervisors on their phones, tablets or computers.

“The concept of microlearning is providing bits of training just before they go do the activity,” said Guerrero at the conference. The videos focus on the key risk controls workers need to understand.

As today’s projects grow larger, worksites become increasingly complex, and skilled labor markets get tighter, working safely and effectively requires increasingly sophisticated solutions. United Academy 2.0 is one of numerous examples highlighted at the conference of how United Rentals is innovating in order to provide some of those solutions. Also unveiled was an exclusive preview of the United Rentals Mobile App, to be released in 2020.  

‘We’re investing heavily in technology because we recognize that digital is critical to transforming how work gets done,” noted Paul McDonnell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, in his keynote address. When digital delivers increased efficiency and safety, it’s more than a competitive advantage; it’s a potential lifesaver. 

Marianne Wait is an editor and writer who creates content for Fortune 500 brands. 

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