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Enterprise Learning! Conference Announces Call for Papers

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Transforming the Learning Organization from Order-Takers to Business Partners

“It’s just training, it doesn’t take long to create.” How many times have you heard that or something similar?

The challenges facing the learning organization when moving from order-taker to business partner are:

>>  Customers often think it is easy  to create training.

>>  Customers may have a pre-determined solution.

>>  The learning organization is often backed into a corner in terms of  development time.

>>  Due to cost constraints, the learning organization must deliver more  with less.

Our internal customers often don’t realize how long good learning design takes. We feed this myth, by continually jumping through hoops to deliver the learning solution in time to support a new software, product or program release, reinforcing that we are just order-takers and not partners in providing the solution. As learning professionals, we know that well designed learning solutions can add value by improving efficiencies, engaging staff, saving money, providing metrics data and showing Return on Investment (ROI) for the business. It is imperative that we build strong relationships and partner with stakeholders, so they understand the type of value we can bring.

HOW DO YOU GET IN THE  DOOR AND GET TO THE TABLE?

To start, you must assess your team’s capabilities, your larger learning team goals and combine that with a deep understanding of your company’s organizational goals and the operational realities of the business. Do you have a defined vision (what you provide) and mission (how you’ll provide it)? If not, you need to spend some time reflecting and building out what that is and making sure your team is onboard. You can’t expect anyone to follow your lead if you don’t know where you are going.

While a strong learning design background and understanding of the business is important it is equally important to build relationships.  According to Peter Block: “The building of authentic relationship as the delivery system for expertise and business knowledge. The result is to make internal clients trusted business partners which results in improved business outcomes for companies and organizations." Building on that philosophy, find your champions and cultivate those relationships. Once you have found them, ask if they see areas where the learning organization can be included.

IDENTIFY PROJECT OBJECTIVES

You’ve been invited to the table, now what? When you meet with stakeholders initially, listen first and then ask questions to help: narrow focus, get the project team on the same page and help you decide which learning solutions, if any, to recommend. Then share how learning can help them achieve their goal. Some questions to ask are:

>>  Who are we impacting (target audience)?

>>  What problem is being solved?

>>  What will success look/feel like (metrics)?

The answers will help you to narrow recommendations and decide if learning is the solution.  Sometimes as you meet with the stakeholder and they answer questions, you may realize that the solution is simpler, maybe a communication or a conversation is all that is needed not a full-blown learning solution.

Tip: Use stakeholders time wisely. Some stakeholders may want to be more actively involved in the process than others. Be proactive; ask them how they would like to be communicated with and how often.

Bonus Tip: Begin with ‘yes.’ Yes can be disarming (assuming it is the truth) that you could build what they are requesting (take their order). But, once you know what they want to accomplish, that may drive the design and you are on your way to ‘partnership.

DESIGN PROPOSAL

Once you have completed analysis, go back to the business with your recommendations for learning solutions. As you put the design proposal together tie in your recommendations to the answers that the stakeholder’s provided and use their language.  Provide reasoning as to why the recommendations landed where they did. Be sure to note how you will track success and when results will be reported back to the business.

For example, we were asked to create a half day in person instructor-led training for a new phone system being installed in five countries over the course of two months.  To save money and time we recommended short, engaging e-lessons to introduce the new system followed by a virtual session with an instructor where learners could ask questions.

Tip: Don’t over engineer solutions.

STATEMENT OF WORK

Once the design proposal is accepted, we follow up with a Statement of Work (SOW). This document has been key in our success, second only to building relationships. This will become the roadmap for the project with the business and should include:

>>  What learning solution will be delivered.

>>  Expectations of the stakeholder and subject matter experts during the feedback cycle.

>>  List any critical items from the stakeholder and promised deliverable dates from them.

>>  Signature lines for stakeholder and learning solution provider.

How many times have you begun work on a project, sent for feedback and the stakeholder wants to add additional items that were not part of the original conversation?  The SOW helps with scope creep. If the business doesn’t provide critical information or feedback as agreed to, you can pull it back out and remind your business partner where you landed prior to starting the project.

Tip: We stopped giving delivery dates and moved to hours for all projects. People latch on to dates and remember them.  They forget when the software development cycle ran late or critical items needed for learning solution design were not delivered on time.

DEMONSTRATE IMPACT

Remember you need to report results back to the business. By building in tracking during the design phase you can track that data at set times and share with the business.  This is where your credibility is built.  Cool, flashy design will only take you so far. You can have cool, flashy plus impact or lower key design with impact, but you cannot under any circumstances have any type of design with negative outcomes or impact.  Sometimes projects miss the mark, better to course correct as soon as a you know the solution is not hitting the mark. Sometimes it can just be a small tweak to set the solution on the right course again. When a solution misses the mark, own it.  Reach out to the business and deliver this information and offer solutions.

Tip: If the learning solution is not making a difference, stop and/or readjust.

PITFALLS

This sounds great on paper, but the reality is that it isn’t easy. You can’t chase fads or make a project fit a tool that you want to try out.  Credibility is at stake, make sure that the solution and tool for delivery match, the solution fits the target and that the learning will make an impact.  Look for innovative solutions and don’t over-engineer.

When approached about a project, it is easy to fall back into the order-taker mentality because it is familiar.  Take a step back, ask the questions and provide thought leadership to arrive at the right solutions.

Keep your eye on your target audience and put yourself into the “shoes of the learner”.  Would you want to use the solution?  Would it engage you, provide you needed information, or is it just checking a box? If you aren’t moving the needle, then why do it?

CONCLUSION

Becoming a trusted business advisor takes time and effort. You must build and maintain relationships. You must also understand the business and how learning can help. Results should take the form of speed, quality, operational efficiency, cost savings, culture/engagement and other performance related outcomes.

As you start experiencing wins with this process, start sharing those with your team and across the organization.  The best feeling is for teams to reach out to the learning organization, not because they have a training need, but because they want to bounce ideas to get your thoughts prior to them moving forward with a project.  This seat at the table feels good.

It took 12 months for us to get to this point, and we continue to hone our story and approach, relationships and outcomes, provide thought leadership and continue to help our stakeholders to start in the “What do they need to know” mode and not jumping to “solution” mode.

Order taking will never go away and, for certain instances, it still makes sense. But for the larger asks, put a process in place. Ask: “What problem are we solving?” “Are the results measurable?” and “Is this the right solution?” The process creates a circle of learning and performance. Success breeds trust, credibility, the ability to make a difference with learners and the business, ensure learning is an active partner of future initiatives.

Celebrate your successes internally with your team.  Apply for industry awards and, as you accept industry acknowledgement, share that internally.  Your team is now viewed as a value add. Not just because you said so, but because others see it too. And remember that the purpose for learning in the context of organizations is to add value to the business.

–Ronda Feague is Director of Instructional Design Strategy & ChoiceU Operations, at Choice Hotels International. Choice Hotels International is a 2017 Learning! 100 award-winner for culture.

Published in Top Stories

Business Drivers Spur  Need for New Features

As technology evolves so do the learning solutions that grow our talent. In Elearning! Magazine’s 10th Annual Learning & Talent Platforms Buyer Study, we reveal how the learning ecosystem is evolving. The study conducted November 14th to December 5th, 2017 surveyed 441 learning executives on platform needs, brand and product awareness, user satisfaction, ‘must have’ features on new or replacement platforms, and insights into the decision-making process. We share the topline findings here, and recommend downloading the complete study for free at: http://information.2elearning.com/2018lmstmsstudy/

CURRENT OWNERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS

Almost half of respondents operate multiple learning or talent systems within their enterprises (See Figure 1). Eighty-eight percent have a learning system deployed within their organizations. A large uptick in talent system ownership was noted with 33% ownership. Cloud-based systems continue to rise with 74% of systems running as Software as a Service or in the cloud. Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS) have also reported a slight increase to 31%. The most frequent pairing of systems is Learning Management System (LMS) and Talent Management System (TMS) at 18%, followed by LMS and LCMS at 13%.

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Most learning and talent systems are deployed across multiple locations with multiple US locations and international sites accounting for 2 out of 3 installations  (See Figure 2).

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The learning systems deployed are supporting internal staff (83%) and external customers, suppliers and partners, (74%) (See Figure 3). Support of external audiences has increased 7.2% from 69% in 2016. Customers account for 44% of extended training programs.

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SATISFACTION RATINGS

Owner satisfaction scores have steadily improved for learning platforms over the last five years. This year’s overall satisfaction rating was 2.22, a solid B. Much is attributed to movement toward cloud-based systems that simplify ownership and the updates users receive during ownership. However, learning systems still receive lower marks on Flexibility (2.44), Interoperability (2.47), and New Features & Capabilities (2.52).

Surprisingly, TMSs saw a lower overall score than LMSs of 2.36, a B-. Given that TMSs are newer to the market and can leverage cloud’s ease of use, we expected higher satisfaction scores. The sore points for TMS owners are: Interoperability (2.37), Cost (2.39), Ease of Use (2.42), Flexibility (2.42) and New Features & Capabilities (2.42). However, the owners’ lack of expertise may also be a contributing factor to lower satisfaction given only 31% report they are expert or very familiar with the TMS vs. 72% of LMS owners.

THE NEXT SYSTEM

Dissatisfaction with system's features and flexibility is a continuing concern for learning executives. However, now it is a roar heard from the C-suite as focus on engagement, collaboration and performance takes center stage (See Figure 4).

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In the 2018 study, Employee Engagement is the number one business driver for investment in learning and development. Meaning, learning and development initiatives will be measured against this objective before, during and after the investment.

Why all the focus? According to Gallup 2017 study, organizations with highly engaged employees have 22% higher productivity and 25% lower turnover. Today, 67% of the workforce is disengaged. Plus, 51% of employees are actively looking for their next job; 91% of which will be with a new employer. Engagement is now a C-suite imperative and learning and development is the key.

According to Gallup, 41% of millennials say "a job that accelerates career development is very important." Another 61% say "I want to work at what I do best" - a nod to competency. This is a key tactic to improving engagement. As a result, Personalize Learning has skyrocketed from 0.4% in 2012 to 49% in 2018. With digitalization, smart systems and data analytics, personalizing learning is within the grasp of most learning organizations. And, it is now being funded by most organizations.

NEW SYSTEM ATTRIBUTES

About one out of three LMS owners are replacing their systems and 6% of those without a LMS, are planning to add one. For TMS owners, 8% are planning to replace their system, however 12% of non-owner plan to acquire a TMS. These buyers are investing more than ever on their next system at $1.3 million, up from $1.1 million in 2016, an 18% increase.

Sixty-nine percent of buyers plan to purchase their new learning system within 24 months.  For TMS buyers, 57% plan to make the acquisition within the 24 months.Eighty-two percent plan to purchase a LMS, cloud-based solution (See Figure 7).

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Buyers value Quality, Price and Customer Service when specifying a solution. However, their list of ‘must-have’ features is long. The good news is business leaders are ready to invest to get the features and capabilities needed to drive the business.

When it comes to the learning system, most expect the standard functionality to be present i.e. Course Tracking, Authoring, Testing, etc. The early majority are now expecting Mobile Deployment (68%), Personalized Learning (64%), and Survey Management (60%).  However, only about four out of ten have these capabilities in their current system (See Figure 5).

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On the TMS front, owners expect Performance Measurement, Metrics, Planning (71%), Workforce Analytics (64%), Reporting Tools, Integration and Succession Planning (61%) to be in their next system. They are not generally present in their current system  (See Figure 6).

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BRAND AWARENESS

The study also queried current ownership by brand, awareness and rankings of learning and talent systems by mention. More than 100 brands were named in the study indicating the industry is still quite fragmented. Among owners, the top learning brand only collected 9% share, level with 2016. Among talent systems, the top brand garnered only 12% share.  The complete report on brands, awareness and ownership can be downloaded free at: http://information.2elearning.com/2018lmstmsstudy/

SUMMARY

As technology evolves, so does the solutions and processes we leverage. Learning and talent systems are wonderful solutions. But, they are only as useful as the experts behind the wheel. The C-suite is investing in your team to move the engagement needle and drive performance. Use this research, your team and partners to design the ecosystem your team needs, wants and deserves. The solutions await you.

Published in Top Stories

Learning! Champions embrace hard work, dedication and creative thinking.

The 2018 Learning! Champion Award honors individuals for exceptional contributions to the learning industry. Elearning! Magazine names 17 professionals across six categories for 2018.

“Thought-Leaders” are industry experts always willing to share their expertise and are dedicated to bettering their communities and industries. “High Performers” have gone above and beyond, usually in a relatively short time frame to implement new learning techniques in their organizations. “Trail Blazers” forge new processes and procedures in uncharted areas to elevate learning and technology successes.

“Innovators” are technologists or problem solvers who often bring these solutions to market for others to share. “Creative Consultants” have the ability to create solutions to learning problems that scale beyond the current challenge.

“Rookies of the Year” are new to their role or industry and have surpassed performance expectations and are on their way to a successful career in learning.

The 2018 Learning! Champions are...

THOUGHT LEADER

1. Sae Schatz, Ph.D Director, Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, Department of Defense

Sae Schatz, Ph.D. serves as the Director of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL Initiative), a research and development program under the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training. In the role of Director, Sae leads the ADL in thought-leadership, facilitating learning for our nation’s Warfighters, government agencies, and beyond.  Through research, development and collaboration, ADL is working on next generation strategies, best practices, and innovations to advance the way we learn.

Sae also supports ADL’s mission to develop and advocate open source software, tools, and specifications; as well as create and accelerate the establishment and utilization of technology-driven learning standards that prepare and enable our nation’s learners, both military and civilian. Innovative learning technologies impact our learners by enabling them to be more mentally agile, expanding their capacity to develop sophisticated competencies and skills, and enabling them to thrive in the most  complex situations.

In the last few years, Sae led the authorship and execution of the Marine Corps’ Making Good Instructor Great project and accompanying instructor tool kit. She also acted as chief scientist for the award-winning Border Hunter research effort (sponsored by Joint Forces Command) and, later, for the Joint Staff’s blended learning – training initiative. Sae is passionate about human–systems integration and, in general, about emphasizing human-centered approaches in research, develop- ment, education, and training.

Before joining ADL, Sae worked as the Chief Scientist for a small defense contractor as well as a professional development consultant, and prior to that, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training.

Dr. Schatz received her Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida. She served on the UCF faculty from 2006–2011 (teaching courses in human-systems integration, visual and web design, and web development) and continues to support the Modeling and Simulation graduate program as an occasional adjunct instructor. http://www.linkedin.com/in/saeschatz

2. Anthony Gagliardo, Head of HR, Training & Development, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dare Mighty Things

Anthony is committed to supporting the technical training and professional needs of the men and woman of NASA and California Institute of Technology in their quest to DARE MIGHTY THINGS. JPL’s office of Technical Training and development is comprised of industry leading learning professionals focused on enabling the knowledge that propels those who accomplish the impossible.

In 2017, Anthony reinvented learning at JPL transitioning it from an event-based training model to a collaborative open learning ecosystem. With the world’s top experts in jet propulsion to tap, knowledge exchange was a top priority. Anthony lead the transition by creating a learning ecosystem that tapped expertise internal and external to JPL. Learn more about this program on page 25.

Prior to joining JPL, Anthony served the Federal Aviation Administration as Director of Technical Training where he guided efforts to modernize and transform training for the FAA’s 20,000 air traffic controllers and 6,000 technicians. He also served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years as a flight engineer instructor.

Anthony has published numerous articles in the field of technical training and corporate transformation.  He has earned a Master’s Degree in Management and Public Administration from American Public University and a Bachelor of Arts in Management from APU. He also holds FAA certifications as a Pilot, Right Engineer and Aircraft Maintenance Technician.

HIGH PERFORMER

3. Ryan Waltrip, Ph.D Director of Online Programming, William & Mary University

Agent of Strategic, Institutional Transformation and Instructional Innovation

In just five years as a Director of Online Learning, Ryan Baltrip has demonstrated exceptional distance education leadership and transformed two different institutions’ approach to online learning. In his first Director role, Ryan served a private institution primarily focused on professional, graduate education that also offered undergraduate programs. When he first stepped into the position, the school’s online offerings were extremely poor quality. Online courses were little more than correspondence classes. Yet through four years of driven and dedicated work, Ryan changed online learning at this institution and developed it into a recognized leader in online graduate theological education. He built a team that would grow annual revenue from $1.7 million to over $7million. The overall satisfaction ratings and quality of the programs increased. Ryan also developed holistic course, instructor, and program evaluation tools that were used to improve effectiveness.

After four years of success, Ryan transitioned to a new challenge – being the Director of Online Programming at William and Mary. His leadership has expanded undergraduate offerings that generated half-million in new revenue and fostered improved student satisfaction ratings with online learning in 14 of 15 measured categories. He worked collaboratively with schools of law, business, education, and arts & sciences to develop new online initiatives in each; helped develop the law school’s first online program; and assisted the School of Education’s strategic plans to expand online. He has provided the strategic direction that revamped existing e-learning workshops into the current E[x]ploring Learning Design program that generates a teaching and learning commendation for faculty and helped the second oldest college in the country to see online learning not as a threat but as an opportunity. Ryan’s leadership has been a vital catalyst in transforming a historical, highly ranked institution and helping it to offer high-quality online learning that matches its brand expectation.

Ryan holds a B.A. in Theology, Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and is completing post doctorate studies in Business.

4. Kristen Davidson, VP of Organizational Development, Consumers  Credit Union (Consumers CU)

Kristen has A Passion for Engaging Employees and Fostering Their Growth

As Vice President of OD, Kristen supports the learning needs of 300+ employees at 19 offices in southwest Michigan. She is responsible for scoping, developing, and delivering training programs for employees, utilizing blended learning. She is a highly motivated, self-driven team leader with expertise in process improvement, change and transitional management, performance metrics, and reporting.  She understands the importance of mentoring and has implemented a formal mentoring program at Consumers CU. She works closely with mortgage sales and operations to ensure training needs are met through various trainings supporting other departments.

Kristen’s impact can be seen in many ways throughout the organization. From the 69 people who have taken Kristen’s Leadership 101 curriculum, 74% have since been promoted with 35% promoted to a manager or supervisor role. After 101, people wanted more opportunity to grow and develop. From there Leadership 201 and 301 were created. These focused on developing further leadership qualities. Leadership 201 is geared toward employees who are looking for the next level in developing coaching or management skills. While 101 may qualify you for a position as a Team Lead or Mentor, 201 will develop skills suited for an assistant manager, like recruiting, credit union financials, and strategic thinking. Leadership 301 is designed to hone the skills of someone who currently leads or will soon be leading a team of people. This class gives participants the chance to connect with the CEO and dig deep into the Integrity Coaching process.

When it comes to employee engagement, Consumers CU stands out from its competitors in the marketplace and Kristen is a huge contributor to that. Another initiative of hers, the Performance GPS, has taken our employee engagement levels up 15 basis points, from 4.34 to 4.48 as assessed by our annual Employee Engagement Survey! Comparatively, the credit union average is a 3.96. The Performance GPS revolutionized the way performance appraisals were done credit union-wide.

Kristen has earned many honors including HR Professional of the Year from CUNA, Program of the Year and Best Results Finalist. https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidsonkristen

 

5. Ciara Daume, Instructional Design Manager, Heartland Dental

Leading Training Transformation at Heartland Dental

Ciara leads online learning at Heartland Dental, founded in 1997. The organization’s mission is to “support dentists and their teams as they deliver the highest quality dental care and experiences to the communities they serve while providing exceptional careers and creating value for our stakeholders.”

With their network of over 800 dental practices, 1,200 supported doctors, 10,000 team members, and a presence in 34 states (and growing), Heartland Dental has become the nation’s largest dental support organization. Their support services include HR, marketing, supplies, accounting, payroll, patient support, IT, and more.

Under Ciara’s direction, Heartland Dental transformed their fully in-person training program and made it digital while expanding training opportunities at a cost savings, ($18.5 million to be exact), all while growing their business at an impressive rate. This program compliments Heartland Dental’s 5-year Mastery Program. Upon completion graduates can earn a Fellowship to the Academy of Dentistry along with an award of $250,000. Only seven percent of dentists hold this honor.

6. Andrea Strong, Manager of Instructional Design, SkillPath

Talented Instructional Designer Creates 1,200-Plus Custom Learning Programs Annually

Working fast, furious and full of smarts, you’ll find Andrea Strong, a dedicated Manager of Instructional Design.  For six years, Andrea has led a team of six talented instructional designers, pushing them to deliver quality content and quickly. Andrea is known for meeting lightning-fast deadlines and going above and beyond for clients, employers in all industries and all countries with varying degrees of wants and needs in learning and development.

In 2017 alone, Andrea and her team designed 1,220 learning programs for public and private companies, federal agencies, medical centers and more. Andrea is a fierce proponent of education and lifelong learning, evidenced by her 20-plus years of tenure in designing, training, deploying and leading learning solutions and her own multiple degrees.  Andrea specializes in executive leadership, assessment, education and government business relations – and making learning sing for thousands of learners.

Under Andrea’s leadership, SkillPath has provided training to professionals at 997 of the Fortune 1000, 15 branches of the federal government and four branches of the U.S. military, including work on 226 military bases. Andrea and her team have also trained staff at the headquarters of all four major sports leagues – the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

Andrea’s intense and extensive work for Komatsu has led to additional opportunities (and more than half a million dollars in revenue) to create learning programs within the global company.

“Andrea Strong’s contributions and the thousands of learners she helps each year is staggering,” said SkillPath President and CEO Cam Bishop. “She is bright, talented and extremely determined to create the very best content, curriculum and custom learning programs for our clients, who benefit immensely from her more than two decades of industry experience.”

Andrea has a Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Education from Park University (1997-1999) and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Communication and Speech from William Jewell College (1993-1997). https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-strong-6ba81

CREATIVE CONSULTANT

7. Matt Chambers, Learning Specialist III, California Coast Credit Union

Matt Chambers Creates Unforgettable Learning Videos in Record Time

Matt Chambers is an astute, prolific learning and visual design professional who creates advertising-agency quality live and animated videos.  His other talents include classroom facilitation, experiential activity design, service measurement, lean process improvement, and knowledge management/Intranet design.

In a span of five months, Matt Chambers created three (3) memorable, inventive, and emotive visual learning videos.He has a film director’s sense of setup and framing, a digital artist’s sense of how to create emotional impact, and a digital designer’s understanding of the tools of the trade.He also has great insights into music selection to create a full cinematic effect.While Matt had previous experience in graphic design and video creation, he had not used many of the effects and animation software tools deployed in the crafting of these projects.

To achieve the delivery of three (3) professional quality, highly engaging videos in five months exceeds the production schedule of visual professionals with more years of experience. Additionally, Matt wrote the scripts, narrated the voice-overs, and incorporated ambient music, providing deliverables that are inspiring, educational, and impactful to many different audiences.  He has proven himself to be an innovator and trail-blazer.

Two live videos with effects were created for the organization’s Board of Directors planning retreat and will now be used in the company’s new hire orientation and on the public web site to help recruit new employees and interest prospective credit union members in a profile of what the credit union represents. This placement is the first time the company has ever used in-house videos on the public web site.

The third deliverable, an animated video, was created to launch a corporate initiative in using behavioral competencies (referred to as “superpowers”).  This video is essential to the company, tying into the Employer Brand, Member Experience Story, and updated standards as a high-performance organization. This video is being used in company-wide communications and training, as well as in new hire orientation and in management development (e.g. writing performance reviews).  The concepts are vital for the company, driving recruitment and coaching practices, while communicating key messages about the organization’s culture.

As an individual, Matt is humble, creative, insightful, and committed to life-long learning.  At 30 years old, he is a powerhouse who will make larger contributions to the learning community as his career progresses.  He earned his BA from San Diego State University in Teacher Education, and has been working in learning and visual/graphic design for the past 10 years.  Matt is a senior learning specialist at California Coast Credit Union in San Diego, CA. https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattcbusiness/

 

8. Kim Mabon, CEO, Creative By Design

Where Creativity is Born

Kim Mabon launched Creative by Design in 2011 after honing her design skills in advertising and marketing for large lifestyle and business publishers: Creative Age, Advanstar, Questex and B2B Media Company. Since 1995, Kim has earned over 60 Maggie Awards in partnership with her publishers. As Creative Director of Elearning! Media Group, Kim has collected 24 pub- lishing awards for Best Cover, Best Trade Magazine, Best Media Kit, among others.

“Kim has the unique ability to take verbal and written words and convert to living color that captures the attention of the audience. And, she does it every day,” shared Catherine Upton, Group Publisher,  Elearning! Media Group.

Her skills don’t end in publishing. Kim invests her talents in many volunteer efforts including: Creative Director, My Father’s House Church; Executive Board Director, Corona Chamber of Commerce and Secretary, STARS Network.

Kim is the author of the 5&5 of Advertising program which teaches business owners the top 5 mistakes and 5 essentials of advertising.  She has presented in front of audiences both large and small including The Black Chamber of Commerce, Corona Chamber of Commerce, TEAM Referral Network’s Big Event, SCORE, Inland Empire Woman’s Business Center and many more.

Kim holds an Associate Degree in Graphic Design as well as numerous design, software, publishing certifications. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cbdgraphics/

 

9. Alexandra Manolis, Client Success Manager, BizLibrary

Creating Partnerships that Last through a Consultative Approach

Over the past two and a half years, Alexandra has been instrumental for the Client Success Team at BizLibrary. In her role as a Client Success Consultant, she worked with over 80 clients on their learning and development program. Many of these clients have received industry awards such as Learning! 100, Learning Top 125, Emerging Training Leaders, and LEAD. Addition- ally, through her work she has helped her clients achieve tremendous results.

Alexandra’s work with her 80 clients is a great contribution to the learning industry. Through her consultation, many clients have gone on to present at various conferences, published articles, and made great strides in their training programs. She has presented at conferences on a variety of topics such as launching a new program, marketing a training program, and setting goals. Her clients credit her and her partnership as a reason for their success.

Through her partnership, Alexandra has helped her clients see great results. Go Solution worked with her to create a program that helped them improve close rates by 7%, and FedBid improved their technical and soft skills through their work, just to name a few. Additionally, the internal impact she has had on the team helped to improve the team of 8 consultants. Each week, she provides best practices and strategy to consultants to improve their work with clients.

Alexandra earned a B.A. in Business and a M.B.A in Human Resource Management. https://www.linkedin.com/in/Alexandramanolis/

TRIAL BLAZER

10. Nancy Saks, Director, Learning Center for Learning & Innovation (CFLI), Scripps Health

Nancy leads the award-winning Simulation Center for Collaborative Medicine at Scripps Health, a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.  At the center, teams are trained using live simulations and robotic patients for on-boarding, certification and general practice.

“The use of simulated scenarios has increased in clinical pre-licensure education programs,” shared Nancy. “New graduates come to Scripps expecting to participate in simulation exercises. Now we can build on their training and help them become experts with the equipment they will find in their work areas.”

Nancy joined the leadership team at Scripps Mercy Hospital in 2007 with over 25 years of experience in healthcare and higher education as clinician, faculty, and administrator. Now a part of the Scripps Center for Learning and Innovation, she currently manages education and training activities across the Scripps system for staff, volunteers, and students.

Committed to lifelong learning, Nancy achieved a B.S.N. from DeSales University and Master’s and Doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of San Diego.

11. Jordan Wilcosky, Employee Development Supervisor, Garney Construction

Employee Development for Employee-Owners

From day one, Jordan has been innovative in her approach to training. With Garney Construction being an employee-owned (ESOP) company, Jordan had to ensure that any training plans/approaches provided maximum value to the employee-owners, as all money and time spent on training was time not spent contributing to the ESOP. Keeping this challenge in mind, Jordan was, and continues to be, forward-thinking in program implementation, as well as continues to be proactive with training and serving as the learning and development subject matter expert for the entire organization.

After joining Garney Construction, Jordan had employee-owners express that the training Garney provided in classroom sessions was not relevant to their roles. Additionally, it was expressed that training was not timely. In some cases, information given was provided too late for implementation. On the other hand, some expressed they had forgotten what they were taught at sessions when it came time to implement. With this feedback, Jordan determined they needed a solution that is multifaceted, allowing employee-owners to access training that is relevant to their role, when they need it. She began to implement a new program, Garney’s first online university.

After deciding to launch an online university, Jordan had three initial goals for the program:

  • Create excitement within Garney’s employee-owners via a strategic marketing plan that began one month prior to going live and ramped up in frequency and intensity as the go-live date neared.
  • Average one course completion per user, per month after product launch.
  • Gain buy-in and support from the Officer Team (executive team).

After the initial launch, ongoing goals were made to continue to improve the skills of employee-owners, as well as have a positive impact on the learning culture.

Garney has consistently reached (or exceeded) their initial utilization goal by averaging one course per user, per month, so last year. So, Jordan began calculating the percentage of employee-owners who were completing the Garney University monthly course assignment. She found that while course completion numbers were high, the number of people completing the assignment each month could be improved. In 2016, they averaged 62% completion. By January 2018, Garney averaged 79% assignment completion. In a year, participation increased 15%  while adding 50 new learners.

This initiative has earned many honors including Program of the Year and Best Use of Technology.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanwilcosky

12. Cris Hatcher, Director of Training and Development, Watco Companies

Inspiring Others through Relationship, Dedication, and Service

Since joining Watco, and the Watco University Team, Cris has taken a hands-on approach of building relationships, listening to understand what customers need, and offering ideas or possible solutions to the needs of his customers as the core of developing initiatives related to learning and development.

Cris focuses on providing initiatives that spark an ongoing interest in continued learning by providing initiatives that meet the needs of multiple people at the same time, but also caters to specific learners, so they can get both what they need and want. Additionally, Cris maintains a direct connection to the Watco Customer First! Safety Always Foundation Principles of Watco which are: (1) Value Our Customers, (2), Value our People, (3) Safely Improve Every day.

A new online system, Watco U Online (WUO) was launched under Cris in 2015. Since its launch, Watco U Online has seen con- stant growth in the use of the system, and now supplements instructor led training initiatives, and many other initiatives. WUO offers a proactive approach to working safer for our Customers through consistent weekly training. It also sparks engagement from the top down to the frontline at our locations as managers complete the training, and then pass on what they learned to the team members they serve by teaching them. These programs have forged working relationships among several different divisions of Watco. They have further led to other groups recognizing the ability to use Watco University as a business partner, which leads to continuous value being added as new programs are created and added

Watco University has impacted the business. Over the last two years there has been a reduction in turnover at Watco. Watco ended 2014 with a turnover rate of 35% with an estimated turnover cost of $14 million. In 2015, they reduced turnover by 7% to 28% and reduced the financial impact to $11 million, which translates to a $3 million savings. In 2016, Watco reduced turnover rate by another 6% to 22% and reduced the financial impact $9.3 million which relates to $5 million in savings since 2014.

In 2014, Watco did not have any online training. In 2015, they had 2,008 online completions after launching. In 2016, it improved to 4,704 completion. And, in 2017, online completions grew to 11,679, almost tripling 2016. This is over a 581% increase over 2015.

“This is a great return on Watco’s investment,” says Chris.  When you provide a resource and show team members how it can help them, it gives them the chance to grow. You get some much more value.” https://www.linkedin.com/in/crishatcher/

13. Andrea Jones, Director of Organizational Development, Comer Holdings

Creating a Culture of Learning and Excellence from the Ground Up

As a team of one, Andrea Jones has taken Comer Holdings/IMA from having non-existent training culture to an environment that embraces and craves new learning opportunities. After a much-needed analysis of their employee culture and engagement, Andrea created marketing and training engagement campaigns to take learning beyond compliance and engage every member of the organization, from hourly employees to senior leaders. With her creative, blended training program, Andrea has helped to take learning from a “nice to have” to an essential part of the organization’s culture and ongoing commitment to employees.

Andrea has implemented and incorporated several initiatives as the sole learning and development professional. These initiatives include:

  • Incorporating ethics/harassment training starting in 2012.
  • Conducting a training needs analysis for IMA, followed by aligning their HR goals to the company needs in areas of finance, operations, and leadership.
  • Developing campaigns to continually increase the level of leadership engagement, including developing graphical aids such as word clouds, timelines, and creating a voice for learning and development.
  • Building recognition programs and marketing strategies to create excitement and increase LMS usage to achieve organizational goals. Examples include producing a training newsletter, ongoing email blasts, seasonal contests, a publishing a “honors list.”
  • Building custom certifications for IMA/Comer that incorporate both off-the-shelf and custom content.
  • Coordinating with the HR team at IMA to ensure alignment and develop best practices/strategies for

Notable results of these training programs have included a reduction in harassment incidents, greater collaboration in management across locations, a 15% reduction in IMA’s turnover rate, and a culture shift from low morale to one of excitement and appreciation for the company’s investment in its employees’ development.  Plus, people are proactively asking for training. Plant managers are requesting training for not only themselves, but also their employees to enrich the workforce. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-jones-33434295/ 

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

14. Mary Feierabend, Talent Development Program Leader, MarksNelson LLC

Solving Business Challenges with Development and Fun

The rapid pace of change, competition for talent and continuing education requirements for accountants are pressures 

MarksNelson faces every day. With only 11 months of experience as Talent Leader, Mary had to construct a strategy to combat these challenges.

In Jan 2017, Mary launched MarksNelson’s talent development program called MarkNelson University. At its foundation is a competency framework Mary assisted in creating that ensures skill mastery and promotion readiness. The competencies are tied directly to the firm’s mission and core values and are formatted into Success Profiles for each position. The profiles help employee’s answer the question “when am I ready to be promoted?”

Mary used the profiles to create learning tracks for each position that help to teach the skills needed by employees to be successful in their careers. Other tools in MarksNelson University include a career coach program and a voluntary mentor program.  Mary promotes a culture of learning through creative and innovative programs. She created an Excel Ninja certification to raise Excel knowledge among the staff, a virtual scavenger hunt to educate staff on the tools available through MarksNelson University, used Kahoot (a free game-based learning platform) to engage staff in learning, and markets her learning program regularly. She makes sure to take advantage of all free resources and shares various how-to guides, competency guides, and articles with the staff.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-fei-erabend-83835197/

INNOVATOR

15. Russel Sarder, CEO, NetCom Learning & Sarder TV

Russell is known as the CEO of Learning. Sarder’s portfolio includes the production of learning media, an educational channel, award-winning learning software and cloud learning companies.  Sarder owes much of his success to his passion for becoming a lifelong learner.

Under his leadership, NetCom Learning – a managed learning services, training, and talent development company - has become a multimillion-dollar business. Among many awards, Inc 5000 Magazine listed NetCom Learning three time as one of the fastest growing private companies in the USA. NetCom Learning has also been recognized by Microsoft as Learning Partner of the Year and has been rewarded four times as Top 20 IT Training Company by Training Industry.

He shares his expertise in his books and speaking. Sarder is the author of, “Learning: Steps to Becoming a Passionate Lifelong Learner” and “Effective Learning Methods: How to Develop the Most Effective Learning Method.” He has been featured in Yahoo Finance, CNBC, Daily News and the New York Times. Sarder is also a business practitioner and mentor for MBA students and alumni at Columbia University.  Sarder was named Top Ten Asian American Business Awards and 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in Businesses.   https://www.linkedin.com/in/russellsarder/

16. Angela Dawson, Training and Development Specialist,  Event Network

Guest Experience & Culture is Job One

Angela oversees training for store team members. She develops and maintains curriculum for many training programs including the “1-2-3-Floor!” program (onboarding), succession planning, lunch and learns, peer to peer program, and “Momentum” (elective training incentive program). She also works on marketing and communication for training, launching a marketing initiative called “Third Space.” She supports approximately 500 store facing team members throughout the United States with training and training support for the entire organization, which is approximately 1000 to 1500 team members.

To drum up interest and participation in training, Angela creates many catch ad campaigns to promote training. She is extremely innovative in her themes, making sure they are always timely – relating to the season, world events, and company events. Some examples include marketing around the Olympic Games and being “hungry” for learning (Snickers spin off). She enlisted the help of other team members to go beyond typical flyers and create interactive campaigns to show on TV screens throughout locations.

With the “1-2-3-Floor!” program, she created a new onboarding program with the goal to extend and elevate the guest experience at their partners’ attractions to achieve their maximum retail potential. The name “1-2-3-Foor!” is the goal of the program; new employees are trained and working on the floor on the 4th day of employment. This allows employees to spend 3 days fully immersed in the company culture and training before stepping onto the floor, ensuring they are fully prepared for the job at hand. This program increased revenue, decreased turnover, increased productivity and speed to competency. Angela faced many challenges in creating this program, including a multi-generational workforce and a dispersed workforce. She was able to overcome these challenges with ease and grace.

During Angela’s tenue, Event Network has been named a Learning! 100 and a Top 125. Angela has won numerous program awards. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Xavier University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Communications from DePaul University. https://www.linkedin.com/in/angela-dawson-579a0512/

17. Dr. Nurkhamimi Zainuddin, Deputy Director, Centre for Global Open Access Learning & Lecturer, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

Nurkhamimi is Deputy Director at Centre for Global Open Access Learning, Immersive Technology and Quality Assurance (GOAL-ITQAN) and staff at the Faculty of Major Languages, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM). His research focus is on Teaching Arabic as a Second Language and Technology Enhanced Pedagogy. Nurkhamimi is actively involved in research on open and flexible learning. He coined the phrase for FLOOC (Foreign Language Open Online Course) by adapting the concept of “Learning Buffet”. He has developed e-learning courses and Online Education Resources for life-long learning. Students from all over the world have benefited from his MOOC and OER.

Nurkhamimi believes, ”teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who do not use technology will be replaced by those who do.” Nurkhamimi holds a Ph.D. from International Islamic University Malaysia; is a member of The Malaysian e-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA) and editor of International Young Scholar Journals of Language, Video Journal of Innovative Pedagogies, Malaysian Journal of Educational Technology and Journal of Technology and Information Education.    https://www.linkedin.com/in/nurkhamimi-zainuddin-63398539/

Published in Top Stories

Describing “leadership” is not an easy task, and definitions can vary depending on who is asked. Is leadership a quality, an attribute, an attitude, a job title? A lot of the trouble we face in finding the best definition arises from confusion. It’s essential to distinguish between holding a leadership position and demonstrating leadership skills. Making this fundamental distinction can help clarify what we truly mean by leadership.

Organizations assign leadership positions to selected individuals: this means that they receive a mandate from the company to lead others and are recognized as such. Only a small percentage of employees can hold a leadership position.

However, any employee can demonstrate leadership skills, regardless of seniority, job title, place in the hierarchy, or even management experience. To understand this, we need to start looking at leadership as a daily practice, not a job title. In the words of Chris Worley, it’s essential to think of leadership “as an organization capability, rather than as an individual trait or position in the hierarchy.”

For an organization, it is both essential and beneficial to have as many employees as possible demonstrate leadership skills; it is a key driver for increased performance. Employees with leadership skills will be more engaged in their work and will actively contribute to the organization’s bottom line. They will also demonstrate more vision, more adaptability and increased innovation capabilities. It’s obvious that organizations have everything to gain from having employees with strong leadership skills; this is why they must strive to foster and develop this capability in all employees, from the bottom up and across every department.

It’s also important to keep developing employees that currently hold leadership positions, to make sure they are growing and that they will keep bringing more value to the organization.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT HAS TO BE A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY BETWEEN L&D AND THE REST OF THE ORGANIZATION.

Countless studies, both empirical and statistical, show the correlation between successful organizations and powerful leadership. As we’ve seen, there is just as much opportunity in developing employees that currently hold a leadership position as there is in creating leadership capabilities in every employee. This mission will never be over — and this is why L&D departments play such a crucial role. They have to bring their expertise to make sure that leadership development remains a priority and that leadership training is accessible for everyone in the organization.

However, they can’t do it alone. In order to stay relevant, L&D teams need to engage with all departments across the organization, to make sure that the training they provide aligns with the bottom line.

Our business environment and the way people learn are both changing at an unprecedented pace. This heightens the need to increase communication between L&D departments and the rest of the organization, including business leaders and learners. L&D programs must aim at developing the right skills at the right time, in ways that modern learners will relate to. This can’t be done without ongoing discussions with representatives of relevant departments. This approach will also help the L&D function to demonstrate its contribution to organizational results, something that continues to be an issue in large corporations today.

These fresh, innovative learning strategies will be co-designed for leaders of today and tomorrow. This virtuous circle will enable all employees to think about the leadership practices they can adopt and convince them that they don’t need a specific job title to lead.

Published in Ideas

Sierra-Cedar released the 20th HR Technology Study this month. Three macro-trends were revealed:

Data security and IT risks are hot topics in the news this year. We see that 70% of the organizations with the highest HR Talent and business outcomes have a risk and security strategy that includes HR system.

As employees and leaders come of age in the world of big data, they expect a level of personalization and customization which HR Technology is beginning to address. 30% of organizations are increasing learning, recruiting, and HR data analytics roles to meet this need.

Next generation technology is designed to inform our decisions and simplify our activities; it’s meant to be invisible and ubiquitous in our lives. The line between what organizations want and what they can do may come down to Intelligent platforms.

The top HR technology initiative was business process improvement followed by HR systems strategy. The study queried 1320 organizations across 28 countries. Fifty-four percent were SMEs.

Published in Trends

Josh Bersin, principle, Bersin by Deloitte revealed 10 disruptions that will transform the HR technology field. They are:

New focus on tools for workforce productivity like mobile and social

ERP and HCM move to the cloud as the talent market reinvents itself as “team management”

Continuous performance management has arrived following talent from project to project, data driven and in real-time.

Explosion of feedback, pulse survey & analytics tools going beyond employee performance to well being

Reinvention of corporate learning is here to keep pace with new technologies, A.I., machine learning and the like

Recruiting market is rapidly changing and focused on smart recruiting

Well being market is exploding to focus on the whole person vs solely on productivity

People analytics market has grown and matured with embedded analytics, A.I. and organizational network analytics

Intelligent self-service, communications and employee experience tools to facilitate decision-making

10 HR departments are becoming digital and innovative,  team-centric and intelligent

Published in Trends

The 2017/2018 Learning & Talent Platforms Buyer Study conducted by Elearning! Media Group via an online survey of learning professionals reveals the current trends and purchase plans for 2018. These findings were tabulated from approximately 300 responses across corporate, government, education and non-profit organizations. The study was conducted industry wide and includes Elearning! subscribers and community members.

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Discover Must Have Features, Brand Ownership & Awareness, Buying Process and Roles in 2018 Learning & Talent Platforms Buyer Study Full Report Available February 2018 at 2elearning.com.

Published in Trends

Learning Ovations, Digital Promise, UCI, and MDRC were awarded U.S. Department of Education EIR Grants to scale personalized literacy instruction for United2Read Project. The five-year expansion grant aims to have 90% or more of students reading at grade level by third grade, and to improve district, school, and teacher capacity.

Published in Latest News

Seven of the top 10 strategic corporate initiatives require HR involvement.  HR must play a strategic role in the future success of organizations in an increasingly competitive market for skills and talent, according to HR Realities 2017-18 Study.

“There is a great opportunity for HR to extend its influence right now. But, with a decrease in headcount and rise in HR technology spend, the need to innovate and be agile is vital,” says David Wilson, CEO of Fosway Group.

Forward thinking organizations are already looking at:

>>  Video based recruiting (84%),

>>  Continuous employee appreciation (82%)

>>  Social recruitment (77%).

Sadly, only 12% of organizations use artificial intelligence currently. But, the rate of innovation is only going to accelerate with increased adoption. “Those that are early adopters of technology will see the benefits,” concludes Wilson.

Download complimentary infographic summarizing findings of this U.K study at: http://bit.ly/2izhHte

Published in Latest News

The CEO of Mastercard told an audience in Saudi Arabia that “data could be as effective as oil as a means of generating wealth.” Is he right?

“Companies today handle more data than ever before and it’s having a profound effect on the way governments, businesses and technologies evolve,” says data scientist Justhy Deva Prasad, author of “The Billion Dollar Byte: Turn Big Data into Good Profits, The Datapreneur Way.

Non-digital companies may be doomed. “You cannot halt the digital revolution and if companies don’t build a boat that embraces the coming data tsunami, they’re not going to be able to compete with those who do,” says Prasad.

Traditional legacy companies need a framework for making data strategy central to their business models in the same way that the newer Digital Native companies have. The framework should provide concrete models for creating smart data infrastructures, accurately weighing the value of data and data systems, investing in the right technologies, hiring entrepreneurial people with tech skills, leveraging the full value of data, and much more. It aims to help companies align their data strategy with their business model.

Published in Latest News
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