KeyBank Return
Live Simulation Replaces Aging, Costly Training Region

Project Summary

  • Industry: Banking
  • Target Audience: All new hire tellers in branches nationwide
  • Challenges:
    • Discontinued training region that previously provided hands-on practice in Teller21(Argo™) banking system
    • Required reduction of overall classroom time for new hire tellers, as well as more effective use of that time
    • Same depth and quality as the previous hands-on training required in E-learning


  • Solutions:
    • Scenario-based E-learning courses that provide hands-on practice and skill-based assessments focused on tasks new tellers need for success
    • Classroom training centered around role-plays within the actual job context for advanced practice
    • Coaching program that ensures transfer of skills from training to the job
  • Results:
    • Successfully replaced training region with a task-based curriculum built around system simulations and job context
    • Provides learners with a complete "journey to teller excellence" and provides bank leadership with more cost-effective new hire training

Project Description


KeyBank is one of the largest bank-based financial services companies in the United States, with branches dispersed across 14 states. Training for newly hired tellers in each branch were conducted in a "training region," a replication of the Argo™ banking platform found in KeyBank branches, housed in a duplicate system that tellers could use for practice.

Maintaining two versions of the Argo™ platform, rebranded by KeyBank as Teller21, was not sustainable. KeyBank leadership made the decision to discontinue their training region for Teller21. As a result, they required a training solution that would provide tellers with "real world" skill practice as part of the teller curriculum, allowing tellers to make mistakes in a risk-free environment without losing the quality offered by a simulation lab experience.

Additionally, KeyBank conducted a thorough evaluation of their current new hire teller training program for Teller21, which identified further opportunities for curriculum design revisions. Concerns for stakeholders included how to best make use of classroom time and how to enforce completion of all curriculum components throughout the journey.


Handshaw designed and developed a complete, blended new hire teller curriculum for KeyBank. The curriculum is task-based, focusing on teaching tasks as close to the actual job context as possible - behind the teller line. Topics are integrated within curriculum components so that tellers can understand how concepts relate to job tasks. Additionally, the curriculum is organized into four phases: pre-work, classroom, additional work, and coaching, so that frequently performed and critical tasks are taught immediately, while less frequent and critical tasks are taught over a specified time period on the job.

Design Considerations

After an extensive analysis and design phase, Handshaw developed a blended learning curriculum for new tellers. The curriculum includes 11 E-learning courses for the pre-work phase and 10 for the additional work phase. Courses present learners with clients who have business needs that tellers must meet using Teller21. Learners are given a demonstration of how to complete a task, and then are provided with opportunities for hands-on practice in a simulated environment. Learners are presented with the necessary transaction materials, such as simulations of checks, deposit tickets, and driver's licenses. Multiple tries are permitted, with specific feedback given for incorrect actions. Courses complete with a task-based assessment that tellers are required to pass before continuing to the next course.

A classroom session follows pre-work. Here, learners continue their hands-on practice in an environment even closer to the actual job context - working behind teller stations with other learners role-playing as clients. Handshaw developed Teller21 system simulations and paper documents to support more than 40 role-play scenarios. Tellers are then evaluated by their peers and instructor using a performance checklist.

The final component of the program is a coaching program that provides guidance for ensuring complete transition from the training curriculum to on-the-job performance.

Development and Implementation

Handshaw began development by building a prototype of all training materials and testing each design with a group of new hire tellers. Specifically for the instructor-led training piece, multiple strategies were tested, feedback collected, and the best design approach was selected for production.

E-learning courses and system simulations for classroom training were then developed based on the prototype using Adobe Captivate® and Lumenix® Developer. Courses are housed in KeyBank's LMS and tracked for completion. Additionally, coaching materials include measures to ensure that coaches sign off on completion of these modules.

Handshaw worked with KeyBank's instructional designers to transfer knowledge of the curriculum design and development process to enable them to take ownership of the training and make any future updates or changes internally. Handshaw designers conducted an in-person session where Handshaw and KeyBank co-developed three additional work courses.


KeyBank has successfully replaced their discontinued Teller21 training region with a blended curriculum built around system simulations and job context. KeyBank continues to get positive feedback on the effectiveness of the training program, particularly from learners and instructors regarding the simulated job context in the classroom training.