THE THREE KEYS TO A MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

when looking for talented employees to join your company, what are the most relevant qualifications that your recruiters and hiring managers consider? Résumés are primarily filled with education and work experience aspects that demonstrate what an applicant has learned over the course of his or her life before joining your team.

However, the most important characteristic for people you’re bringing on board is a talent and a passion for life-long learning. While it’s helpful to find people with an inborn talent that matches perfectly their new positions, the reality is that most new employees need to add to or refine their current skillset.

The good news is the majority of skills your company needs in its employees can be taught. Today’s workforce recognizes the benefits of personal and professional self-improvement, and offering training and development that fits the needs of modern learners will shift your organization to be more creative, agile and growth-minded.

There are several key aspects to modern learning that look different from traditional training methods.

1. The first step in delivering a modern workplace learning program is moving it online. The ability to access training videos and materials anytime, anywhere allows your team to find exactly what they need, when they need it, and to apply it on the job right away. One huge disadvantage to traditional classroom training is the lack of mobility. Expenses add up quickly when everyone has to be brought together and taken off the job for hours at a time for sessions. Online training that is also mobile-optimized extends that “anytime, anywhere” ability even further, so those working in the field can fit training in whenever their schedule allows.

2. The second key to delivering a modern workplace learning program is to use video. Let’s face it: this is the way most of us learn at home and away from work. YouTube is a tremendous resource for learning all types of new things. Workplace learning needs to work the same way. Take advantage of the most effective form of training today: micro-learning videos. Video allows both sight and sound to create a more engaging learning experience, and especially when it’s in a micro-learning format, retention rates go through the roof compared to clicking through a text-heavy, hour-long course.

Using micro-learning videos improves the learning process, decreasing the cognitive load, which is necessary for employees to retain information. Even for someone with an exceptional attention span, giving too much information at one time is futile because the brain cannot process and retain it all.

3.  That brings us to the third key of a modern learning program, which is post-training reinforcement. Our brain works on a “use it or lose it” basis, so your employees need opportunities to recall what they’ve learned afterward, or the natural process of forgetting will take over, ousting the majority of that expensive training. With microlearning videos, employees will retain more initially, but they’ll still need the extra boost to retain the information long-term. Better learning retention can be achieved easily and efficiently through an online program that includes reinforcement, such as quizzes and thought questions delivered in the days and weeks after a learner has engaged in training.

All of these key aspects of modern learning online accessibility, in a micro-learning format with post-training reinforcement are what create significantly higher engagement in your training program, which translates to employees being more adept at finding solutions to business challenges across the board.

To gain an advantage among your competitors, you have to take advantage of the talent for learning that each of your team members possesses. Employees are your most valuable asset, so investing in their development in the way modern learners need is the ace in the hole for your organization to become a leader in your industry and to stay there for years to come.

— Dean Pichee, Founder and President of BizLibrary.

Published in Insights

SUPPLEMENTING CURATED CONTENT WITH CURATED INSIGHTS WILL TAKE YOU TO A NEW LEVEL.

BY LACI LOEW, BOB DANNA AND CANDY OSBORNE

Employees are struggling to keep up with data that continues to grow at an alarming rate. Now, more than ever, they’re also having to make sense of changing technology with things like artificial intelligence (A.I.) and cognitive technologies in the workforce. According to reports by McKinsey, nearly half of all jobs could be fully automated or augmented by 2035, adding to employees’ fears that they’ll soon be replaced by machines.

The technological landscape is forcing employees to adapt or be phased out. But as employees persevere with information and data overload and a lack of clear personal and professional boundaries, being on call nearly 24/7, how will they break through?

Ironically, employees who can make sense of the insurmountable amount of data and content and who can then draw thoughtful insights will become subjectmatter experts (SMEs) within an organization, fortifying their foothold in the company and making them invaluable to the company and to their peers.

Jeff DeGraff, Ph.D., author of “The Innovation Code: The Creative Power of Constructive Conflict,” expands on the ironic state we’re in:

“The rhythms of reflection and deep thought run contrary to the speed of work. Making sense of the world requires more than just an infographic. It requires real time.

“Of course, there are many more aspects to the new world of work beyond technology, boundary busting and time shifting. We can speculate about these, because they are already here. But there’s still much about the new world of work we can’t know yet. All we can really do is to continue to make it up as we go along. Maybe the real revolution is making time to make sense of it all.”

 What if there were a way to empower employees at all levels to draw their own insights and share them with their organization not only to position themselves as experts, the go-to people for more information in the organization, but also to help accelerate expertise?

THE ROLE OF SUBJECT- MATTER EXPERTS

Interestingly, if you ask employees who the SMEs are within their organization, you’ll likely get responses that senior leadership has all the knowledge. But research proves otherwise. Most SMEs are buried within the organization, having no voice or means to share their insights and knowledge with others.

What if there were a way to tap into hidden knowledge within an organization to amplify and accentuate the voices of experts, regardless of job title or level?

knowledge to insight

According to a Forbes article entitled, Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success In 2017, two of the top 10 predictions involve SMEs. The first prediction states that customers would rather interact with SMEs instead of sales people; the second prediction is that SMEs will be supported by salespeople. Shifting the focus to enabling employees to be SMEs despite the data overload and changing technology is key. Helping employees to become SMEs can be done by enabling them to develop and share their insights.

We’re entering a new era, shifting away from knowledge workers to insights experts individuals in the enterprise network who distill meaningful and actionable ideas from all the information they read and share with others through a collaborative and dynamic network or platform. This probably starts with a handful of individuals but needs to evolve to all workers, and only organizations with workforces 100 percent full of insights experts will have employees who make meaningful contributions to the business. Thus, the business would have staying power.

ENABLING EMPLOYEES TO DEVELOP INSIGHTS

Content curation and the development of insights are already happening. Employees curate as they handle, sort, annotate and manage information daily. They print documents and use sticky notes, read books and highlight information, make annotations and take notes in notebooks. Online they read and save emails, bookmark sites, insert comment bubbles on PDFs, and contribute on sites like Evernote, Google Docs and social media.

The challenge is that insights are being created and captured in silos, sporadically shared with others who may be only peripherally aware that the knowledge exists, or repeatedly shared to numerous employees (by a single SME) to a point of spending time inefficiently.

When employees curate insights, they’re called insights experts. To be useful, their insights need to be shared across the organization in a meaningful and practical way. These insights experts can identify the useful, actionable two percent of information from all the content they read, gifting a wealth of time savings and expertise to coworkers in need of the same information.

ENABLING A CULTURE OF SHARING

Because of flattened organizations, employees are already enabled to get answers from anyone in the organization; however, the current process is cumbersome and archaic. The smaller the group, the less noticeable it is, and the less need there is for scalability. But today’s enterprise workforce of geo-dispersed and remote workers distorts a clear path of insights discovery and sharing across the full organization.

Current tools allow for the identification of information but do not allow employees to recall, synthetize, analyze or apply the information. Do your employees hoard information or share it? What does that look like today? How much time is wasted by the SMEs explaining themselves multiple times or by the information-seekers searching for it?

Going forward, we need tools that can shift away from the traditional model of curating content to one that will enable employees to draw thoughtful insights and share them from the content they consume. This is the level of expertise needed to propel an organization forward: content curation combined with insights curation.

What are the possibilities of an organization full of SMEs? Greater productivity? Faster speed to market? Increased bottom line? Actualized innovation? Increased sales effectiveness? Greater customer satisfaction? The potential for success is boundless and measurable.

WHAT MIGHT IT LOOK LIKE?

Imagine a network that recognizes and rewards individuals based on their subject matter expertise and meaningful contributions. This is an enterprise-wide network that seamlessly integrates the curation of insights with content. It is set up for recognition and rewards for those who take the time to digest information, draw thoughtful insights, and share them with their colleagues. Not only will insights lead to social badging and SME status, but employees will more deeply root themselves as true experts and help to accelerate expertise and the application of it  throughout the organization.

Learning is accelerated exponentially when you cut to the “a-ha” moment, the curated insight. Consider this example: a sales representative has been learning about consumer mindset by reading books, articles and attending webinars. Throughout her professional development, she makes the connection that the leads marketing delivers are already self-educated on the company’s solution and therefore she and her peers should be moving the conversation away from an educational one to a convincing one. Sharing this insight with her sales and marketing teams could result in better qualified leads and a lowered cost of customer acquisition because they’re better able to target and deliver qualified leads.

When employees seek answers today, their search results return courses, books, videos, blogs, websites, intranet sites, PDFs and other documents, in long form. Then, employees must sift through and read information in bulk until they find what they need — if they find what they’re looking for at all. Searching for insights flips this traditional search query model on its head, such that employees get immensely condensed search queries with the option to expand to the long-form asset if something piques their interest.

Adapting to the changing technological landscape, the rate of data growth and other facets that will continue to overwhelm employees calls for next-generation thinking based on future workforce trends. It’s not a talent management system, a learning management system, a social layering system, or a reward-and-recognition system per se. It’s something altogether unique that allows curated content and curated insights to be shared, discoverable and immediately actionable to the people seeking it. It is what will fuel SMEs, their colleagues and the organizations they support.

—Laci Loew, founder and Principal, Laci Loew & Company LLC, is a results-driven human capital industry analyst offering research-based consulting and advisory services in human capital practices with more than 30 years of experience. Bob Danna, retired Managing Director, Deloitte, now serving as the Executive Chairman of the Board of Pandexio, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in HR and learning transformation, leadership development, workforce analytics and associated management consulting. Candy Osborne, owner of Snowbird Creatives, began her career as a photojournalist in the U.S.M.C. 25 years ago and continues to craft compelling stories: many of them about enterprise learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in Top Stories

BY JONATHAN PETERS, PH.D

An oft-quoted prediction by Gartner Research notes that 80 percent of gamification efforts will fail. No one is sure if the prediction of massive failure will ever come true, nor how we would measure failure in the first place.

Why will so many gamification efforts be unsuccessful if not outright failures? Could it be that designers and instructors simply slap some game mechanics on a program and declare it gamified? Instead of examining their programs and learners, and then strategically interweaving game mechanics, they settle for some points, badges and leaderboards and wonder why very little changes. That’s like placing a cherry on top of a dish and declaring it a sundae. That one ingredient does not magically convert Brussel sprouts into a delectable dessert.

THE GAMES APPROACH

At Sententia, we have a five-level process for creating successful gamified learning programs. Each level builds on the one before it, and like a game, you can’t jump ahead. That would be cheating! Each level consists of six stepping stones. If you follow each stepping stone, we basically guarantee a successful gamified learning program.

To give the process a memory hook, let’s use the acronym GAMES:
Goals
Adventure
Method
Engagement
Synch It
Most people skip over the G and A levels and jump straight into the E level (game mechanics).

FIRST: GOALS

This level can be summarized as the WHAT and the WHO of design. Before we begin to gamify a program, we must first know what we want to accomplish. Where we are and where we want to be, and who will be “playing.” Without knowing these foundational components, it doesn’t matter what game mechanics we throw at a program; we will never be successful.

In my opinion, Gartner’s prediction was wrong not because it was off in the numbers, but because most organizations don’t have a metrics for success or failure in the first place. In other words, how would you know if a learning program failed if you don’t have a definition for success?

You’d be surprised by how often companies are unable to tell us their KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for a learning program. When we ask them “what behavior changes they’d like to see in their learners,” we get responses like, “we want them to work better together,” or, “we want them to be happier at work.” It’s a rare organization that can tell us how it will measure success for learning programs in business terms.

In other words, we can’t measure a Return on Investment (ROI) in money, time and effort if we don’t have a method for determining what a return is. To use a traditional business as an example, a return would be higher profits for the company. We would begin with a company’s current profits and then lay out a plan for achieving the desired profits.

Once we understand profit goals, we can establish KPIs that are needed to reach that goal, such as leads, conversion to customers, price and frequency of sale, and margin. Progress there can be measured, and we can chart progress or lack of progress over the coming weeks and months.

What if we applied the same discipline to learning? What if we had specific and measurable goals for our programs? If we did, we would then be able to analyze what KPIs (behavioral changes) we will measure to know if we are on track.

The good news is that game mechanics can provide feedback loops that let us know if we are on track. Quizzes and traditional methods for measuring learning rely on memorization and short-term responses, but certain game mechanics allow learners to demonstrate that, yes, they understand what is being taught and that they are able to take that learning and apply it to their work and professional lives.

As boring or tedious as it may be, before we begin to gamify a learning program, we need to invest significant effort in defining our business goals for the program, what behavioral changes we want from our learners, and what we will measure as an indicator of performance.

As for the “who,” you chose this profession, but isn’t it true that you usually design for and deliver to people who are not in your field or department? The problem is we tend to create learning programs and environments that we enjoy. It’s what Dr. Stephen Reiss labeled “self hugging.” He said, “Not only do we think everyone should be like us, but that they are like us.” 

Reiss’s empirically-based taxonomy reveals that each of us places different priorities on certain core drives. For instance, we have found that L&D professionals tend to place more emphasis on the curiosity core motivator than the rest of population. What does this mean for the programs they create? Well, they are more driven by learning and knowledge than people for whom they create learning programs. While they enjoy learning, the people in their programs do not. Because of self hugging, L&D professionals will not anticipate other people’s resistance to, if not disdain for, information, knowledge and learning.

Therefore, before we begin the process of creating a program, we first need to understand who our learners are, what motivates them and, ultimately, what they consider fun. Remember, they are the learners; we are creating programs for them.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ADVENTURE

Since the moment humans first developed complex language, they have been telling stories. Why? Because it’s how we transfer information from generation to generation, and it’s how we socialize each generation. It is difficult to retain a list of all that will harm us, but a vivid story will not only help us remember that saber-tooth tigers and white berries are dangerous, but we can also easily pass this information to others. Similarly, a list of, say, 10 commandments, cannot cover the nuances of what defines a “lie” and the consequences of breaking that cultural norm. But a story about how Sally lied, and the consequences she faced after telling the lie, (not to mention what we now think of Sally) make lessons easier to learn.

Before the Gutenberg press, there wasn’t a convenient way to distribute information and knowledge. Yet even today, with vast information a few clicks away, we still tell stories. In the workplace, gossip has more of an impact on a person’s behavior than an employee manual. It doesn’t matter how important your learning program is; if employees tell each other how stupid the training is, it will not be effective.

Story gives a context for information, it aids in memory, and it allows listeners to apply the lessons learned to different applications. Studies show that when we hear or read stories, a hormone called oxytocin is released, causing us to be more empathetic to others and more likely to help our peers in the workplace. Inside of games, we expect at least a thread of story. Some stories within games are rather detailed (“World of Warcraft”), others provide mere outlines (why are those birds angry at the pigs?).

What if, instead feeling dread before beginning a learning program, the learners were eager to hear the next installment of your narrative?

THE IMPACT OF METHODS

While the first two levels of our gamification process may feel strange, and they may stretch you a bit, the Method level is one that will be more familiar to you. Here is where we decide how we will deliver the program. As a reader of Elearning! magazine, you probably already understand the differences between instructor-led learning and e-learning. You probably already have your preferred platform for delivering online programs. And you have also created some amazing programs on your preferred platform.

This is also the level where we look at learning activities. As Monica Cornetti, CEO of Sentient Games says, “Learning happens when the instructor shuts up.” If you’ve been in the L&D field for more than a couple years, you probably already have your go-to learning activities, and you probably have sources for more learning activities when you need to mix things up a bit.

Because you are probably comfortable examining how you’ll present your programs and the inclusion of learning activity, I will move onto the fourth, and most exciting level:

ENGAGING LEARNERS

We are now ready for game elements, mechanics and dynamics. We have to travel all the territory of the first three levels to prepare ourselves to apply game mechanics to our programs. “The fundamentals are the building blocks of fun,” adds Cornetti. If we have not laid the proper ground work, we will not know which game mechanics to apply to our learning programs.”

If you ask a LMS company if its product supports gamification, you’ll get a “Yes, we have points, badges and leaderboards” answer. In truth, the company simply added a couple mechanics onto its platform. It’s like saying, “Yes, we have a ball and bat, so we have baseball.” In reality, baseball is made up of lots of elements and mechanics. There are bases that have to run in a specific sequence, balls and strikes, outs, a leaderboard, boundaries, positions, and so on.

In the field of game design, practitioners have identified more than 300 game mechanics. You need to be strategic in which game mechanics you use and how you use them.

Three lessons here:

1. There are tons more mechanics available to you than just points, badges, and leaderboards.

2. Not all of those 300 mechanics are applicable to learning programs (I’ve identified more than 120.)

3. Less is more. Just because you have 300 or 120 possible mechanics doesn’t mean you should use them all, or even a dozen of them.

What games did you play as a child? Seriously, I want you to, right now, visualize the specific games that absorbed some of your time as a child. Isn’t it true that while you loved those games, you had certain friends and classmates who weren’t excited to play with you? Maybe you had to coerce your siblings to play. This was because certain game mechanics appeal to your motivation profile. Meanwhile, your kid sister or brother was drawn to very different game mechanics.

The effectiveness of a mechanic depends on the player’s motivation profile. A person who is highly motivated by social contact, for instance, will not complete your online program unless you have a mechanic that allows chat between learners. Your interdependent learner will want to work with teams, while lower-motivated people will roll their eyes at teamwork much like your older brother or sister did when you asked him or her to play with you.

To make this a little more tangible, only certain profiles are attracted to leaderboards, and many people are turned off by them. High-vengeance people want to win; they appreciate the opportunity to see who is on top and who they have to conquer to be there. High-power and status people might like leaderboards if the leaderboards represent achievements they value. Meanwhile, high-acceptance motivated people may find leaderboards disheartening if not threatening.

The point is we must match our mechanics to what motivates our learners. That is why, at the first level of this gamification process, we took so much care to identify our typical learner. If we had skipped that step, we wouldn’t know what game mechanics would entice and engage them, nor what mechanics will de-motivate them and cause them to resist our learning program.

SYNC IT’

If you’ve carefully leveled up through the GAMES process, this final stage will simply be a matter of play-testing your program. This is the level at which you look at all your hard work and make sure your program makes sense.

Do you have a single narrative that weaves all the way through? Do your mechanics motivate your learners? Are your mechanics strategically applied? Do your learning activities support the material, and are they synced with the narrative and game mechanics? Is progress clear to your learners, and are you measuring the correct things?

One of the disciplines of game design that I’ve enjoyed applying to L&D is the concept of iteration. We don’t have to get it perfect the first time out. In fact, we wouldn’t expect our programs to be perfect until they’ve been tested.

In the final level, you create a prototype or beta version of your program and test it with a portion of your target audience. Observe where they engage and where they disengage. What do they enjoy, and what appears to be a grind for them? Do they need feedback at certain stages? Where do they become frustrated? Finally, are your mechanics engaging?

When you’re satisfied with the results of your tests, you are finally ready to roll out your program.

But you have one last stepping stone. After all of this effort, you finally must ask, “Is it FUN?”

After all, fun is in your DNA.

—Jonathan Peters, Ph.D., is an international professional keynote speaker, trainer, author and copywriter. His current pursuits center on how leaders, marketers and salespeople can utilize persuasive elements and new technologies to not only inspire, but also to compel people to action.

 

 

 

Published in Top Stories

ABOUT DAU

The Defense Acquisition University (DAU) is the primary training organization for the Defense Acquisition Workforce. It is committed to providing the training — both formal and informal — to improve the professionalism of the more than 160,000 members of the acquisition workforce by engaging them both in the class- room and on the job. DAU plays a vital role for our nation by ultimately developing fully qualified acquisition professionals who deliver cost-effective systems, equipment, and services to meet warfighter requirements.

It’s an exciting time in both of Defense Acquisition University’s worlds: learning and acquisition. We couldn’t be more optimistic about how we will thrive in this environment. People all over the learning world are busy applying new technologies to engage a workforce that learns differently. DAU is no different. Our innate desire to improve drives us to use these technologies in innovative and powerful ways. We are doing this by increasing our focus, efforts and resource investments on our clients’ business results and making that our measure of success.

STRATEGIC PLANNING AT DAU

This year, we developed a completely revised DAU strategic plan that ensures alignment with business strategy and our vision and mission. There will always be more changes, new technology, and new possibilities. We are well positioned to identify these, adapt, and remain a world-class learning leader. This is reflected in our New Strategic Plan, which includes our comprehensive learning strategy — Acquisition Learning Model (ALM) — and in our goal of improving acquisition outcomes via business results.

There are three domains of our new ALM: foundational, workflow and performance learning. One of our strategy’s primary goals is to ensure cross-domain integration and repurpose learning assets among domains. For example, “train like you work, work like you train.” By doing so, we have focused all activities primarily on job and organizational success.

The ALM “links” our training (both in classroom and online); acquisition resources and job support tools; mission assistance and customized workshops. This allows us to be current, connected, and innovative in every area. Our students need current information the latest policies, guidelines, and lessons learned relevant to their increasingly diverse and fast-paced work. Likewise, DAU must have current and direct knowledge of what’s going on in the acquisition enterprise so that we can anticipate the requirements of our students, bring them the assets they need, and teach in a way that is relevant to their work and their learning style. 

DAU must also be tightly connected to its customers and aligned with their priorities and challenges. This helps make our work meaningful and is also a key function of a corporate university. Our students need to be connected quickly and easily to the information required for their success on the job. In addition, the domains of learning in our ALM are most powerful when they are connected to each other integrated and reinforcing.

Our customers also need innovative approaches to problem solving and the ability to think critically. Likewise, we must be innovative in our methods for transferring knowledge to the workforce whether in the classroom, online or through mission assistance.

STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION

To implement our learning strategy, we incorporated its three domains into our performance-based strategic plan. Our strategic planning process is DAU’s engine for change and transformation this is the perfect vehicle for implementing the new learning strategy. This required the creation of three new strategic goals that incorporate the ALM (foundational learning, workflow learning, performance learning) as well as two additional supporting goals of people and infrastructure. All are focused on business results (acquisition outcomes).

The entire strategic planning process is a deliberate, planned, measured, iterative and integrated cycle that continuously moves DAU toward its organizational goals and vision for the workforce. The ALM’s primary purpose “improve acquisition outcomes” is a now a pivotal part of DAU’s vision statement, ensuring all supporting objectives and tasks in our strategic plan drive to that goal.

As implemented in the new Strategic Plan, the ALM extends the concept of learning beyond the classroom. DAU is now delivering more in-context consumption learning on the job anytime, anyplace. All learning assets (e.g., courses, how-to videos, self-service portals and job-support tools) are integrated and shared among the three domains. Moreover, the University is achieving these results in a cost-effective manner while maintaining high standards of quality. By implementing the ALM, the university aligns with senior leadership, and continuously modernizes its business and learning infrastructure. The world-class learning architecture supports continuously updated curricula, talent development and rewards. The scale and scope of the ALM:

Foundational Learning - DAU offers more than 400 technical training courses supporting the 14 Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) career fields, which require that Defense Acquisition workforce members be certified for their positions. Workforce members can fulfill their training requirements through DAU’s core certification and core plus training courses.

Workflow Learning - Access to acquisition knowledge outside traditional learning environments improves efficiency, innovation and effectiveness, enhancing job performance. It also augments the foundational learning that occurred in the classroom and gives individuals quick, easy access to information, connects them to other acquisition professionals, and provides in-context consumption learning opportunities.

Performance Learning - Extends help beyond the classroom into the workplace with mission assistance services. This program places seasoned faculty onsite at organizations ranging from smaller acquisition teams to larger acquisition programs to provide advice, consulting, rapid-deployment training on new initiatives, and training targeted to address unique mission needs. An organization’s complex problems often require face-to-face and high-impact support.

MEASURING LEARNING IMPACT

DAU’s learning measurement strategy is to provide the key performance metrics that are credible to our senior leadership team. Our executive team values DAU as an enterprise when determining impact and performance by both growth and multi-year metric trends aligned to business goals within our strategic and annual performance plans.

To assess the effectiveness of our learning strategy and solutions, DAU measures success by the value-added contributions across the three domains of our learning strategy. This total enterprise view of our contributions determines if the learning needs of the Defense Acquisition workforce are being met.

DAU’s increases in capacity and throughput did not come at the expense of learner satisfaction. The university’s customers consistently give top ratings to DAU’s learning assets and faculty who deliver them. DAU uses the four-level Kirkpatrick training assessment model to evaluate student perceptions, learning outcomes, job performance, and customer impact. DAU consistently receives high marks (80 percent and above) in student surveys from more than 1,756 classroom course offerings per year, delivered at DAU’s five regional campuses and more than a dozen satellite locations. Of the surveys completed by university students, DAU’s classroom courses received an average rating of 6.3 (90 percent) on the seven-point Likert Scale. This exceeded DAU’s target of 80 percent by 10 percent and is 5 percent above the Metrics that Matter corporate benchmark of 85 percent.

BENCHMARKING PRACTICES

DAU also has a robust benchmarking program where we seek out our peer organizations with transferable best practices to adopt and adapt. We average four visits per year and, in return, we share our best practices with others. In the last ten years, more than 80 organizations have benchmarked DAU. Benchmarking is a powerful tool to gain and maintain leadership in our field.

DAU continues to implement Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation, compiling a multi-year database of millions of surveys. DAU has contributed several chapters and case studies to several of the Kirkpatricks’ recent books. However, we knew we must continue to build on this success and raise the bar to take the next big step: to measure the impact of our learning strategy on business outcomes.

IMPACT METRICS AT DAU

The most urgent challenge facing DAU was to help improve business results especially with a new, inexperienced and challenged workforce. We had to better understand learning and development’s relationship, impact, and contribution. To accomplish this, we invested in more in-depth learning analytic capabilities to focus our attention on business results as our key measure of success. What we needed was a more comprehensive learning analytics capability that directly targeted impact metrics: job performance and business outcomes.

Learning analytics must be incorporated into the context and be in direct support of our overarching learning strategy that focuses on the right impact measures. With the ALM, DAU’s primary measure of success (or KPI) for all our courses, Web assets and performance support became the impact metrics. DAU ‘s approach to learning analytics complements this by focusing on measuring and analyzing level III/IV evaluation feedback preferably when students are back on the job.

IMPACT METRICS STRATEGIC OUTCOMES

Foundational learning: Although students respond to impact metrics questions on the end of course surveys, we have found the Level III questions on the 60-day follow-up evaluations are more insightful. At this point, learners (and in special cases their supervisors) indicate whether training contributed to improved job performance.

We also found some interesting dynamics in survey scores on both instructor-led (ILT or classroom) and distance learning (DL) courses regarding impact metrics.

ILT courses score higher than DL. Both drop significantly end of course (t=0) and when back on the job 60 days later (t=60). The difference is less significant between ILT and DL when back on the job.

This has contributed to resource discussions and decisions by the leadership team on which delivery is more appropriate for each course. When analyzing hundreds of thousands of surveys for “impact metrics,” we believe that the 60-day follow-up when back on the job is the more accurate gauge as a KPI for DAU’s contribution to the workforce.

In looking at our surveys regarding the utility of courses to job relevance 60 days later, we find some courses do well and some not as well. We’ve added more “use on the job” survey questions to more than 400 courses. Additionally, we analyze a 60-day follow-up for “utility to the job” questions.

The good news is more than 89 percent are or will use DAU course content on the job. However, another view of the same data would be that 11 percent never use the content (compared to industry standard of 40 percent). This level of analyses has changed the conversation during curricula and new course development reviews.

Text mining helps complete the foundational learning picture. Text mining is an analytic tool we use for interpreting the “meaning” or “semantic space” described by the words extracted from the documents analyzed, to create a mapping of words and documents into a common space, computed from word frequencies or transformed word frequencies, identifying the latent semantic space that organizes the words and documents in the analysis. In some way, once such dimensions can be identified, you have extracted the underlying “meaning” of what is contained (discussed, described) in the thousands of comments in our survey base by course.

We use Statistica’s Text Mining Module for these analyses. DAU now analyzes the root cause(s) of low performing courses through “text mining” of open-ended student comments that accompany the survey scores and takes appropriate action to improve their results through periodic curriculum updates and new course development. In another text mining example, our business and finance courses show the most frequent themes derived from thousands of comments by course include, “Not applicable, good general info, more practical, good course, useful on the job, improved job performance, etc.” The text mining helps with the root cause analyses and supplements Likert and percent scores to ascertain the cause of low-performing courses.

Deep Diver Learning Analytics: The learning analytic “deep-dive” capability has proven invaluable during curricula reviews and prioritizing course update funding. DAU keeps more than 400 existing technical courses current and relevant, while developing 40 new courses per year. New course designs have now improved job impact and business results scores to over 6.75 for business impact.

Our strategic analysis and review have changed the level and scope of discussions during senior leader meetings and curricula reviews. This impact has changed policy level decisions that drive requirements on who must attend which course based on data, not irrational needs.

Measuring Workflow Learning: To measure impact metrics in the informal space, we use all the Google Analytics’ capabilities available to us. We measure our workforce uses, sources, technologies used, dwell times, time spent, access, etc. For example, of 170,000 users, 84 percent found what they wanted in one click; 3 clicks rose it to 97 percent. Other usage data is also tracked here.

Feedback from our workforce on the quality of Web-based assets is tracked through informal survey questions in MTM, supplementing the Google Analytics utilities.

Measuring Performance Learning: High job impact is measured with quantitative interviews, supplementing our qualitative analyses through carefully structured interviews to gain personal feedback on the impact of our Mission Assistance (MA) and consulting efforts.

We primarily conduct Level III/IV executive interviews to assess DAU’s total impact of job performance and business; more than 100 were conducted with senior leadership in FY16. This yielded strategic qualitative feedback from senior business leaders.

ENTERPRISE-WIDE LEARNING ASSETS

We are putting more emphasis on learning assets and less on courses in our overall L&D approach. This has changed who, where and how we develop, deliver and deploy our assets. We moved from curricula and asset development upstream in our process to drive more impact. This minimizes bias toward a course-only solution. We can also leverage technologies that best suit the material and students’ needs. We are also better able to translate learning objects into asset building blocks to use discretely and re- purposing across the ALM.

SUMMARY

The future is uncertain. Many successful organizations have failed to keep reinventing themselves and fall trap to the “S” curve into extinction. In this environment, that is a death sentence. Technology is changing the business. Good for customers; good for innovators; tough on incumbents! Beware of “the way we’ve always done it.”

The heart and future for DAU will remain an evolving strategy. Through it, we will touch every professional in the Defense Acquisition workforce at every stage of their career and help them improve acquisition outcomes. Finally, in everything we do, we must always continue to stay current, connected and innovative. At the same time, we must to be focused on executing our critical mission and achieving our vision: helping the workforce succeed and improve acquisition outcomes.

Only in this way, will DAU can prepare the Defense Acquisition workforce to provide America’s warriors the best in weapons and equipment in defense of our nation, now and in the future.

—Dr. Christopher Hardy is Global Strategic Director of Defense Acquisition University. DAU is a seven-time Learning! 100 Award winner.

 

 

Published in Top Stories

If there is a lesson to be learned from this year’s Learning! 100 honorees, it is that there is always room for improvement, that learning organizations cannot stand pat from year to year, no matter what kind of accolades they’ve won in the past.

For instance, take Learning@Cisco, which is making its seventh journey into the Learning! 100. The company instituted a “My Services Connect” project this past year. And the U.S. Defense Acquisition University (DAU) — another seven-time honoree — which rewrote its strategic plan to account for advances in the theory and practice of government learning processes. And even relative Learning! 100 newbie Ingersoll Rand, which instituted a “Pathways to Growth” plan for its global sales team.

All three of those institutions, along with the others highlighted on the following pages, did not rest and are still providing cutting-edge approaches to implementing new learning projects and initiatives in their respective organizations.

The only Learning! 100 company to earn first-time Top 10 honors this year is Last Mile Health, whose dedicated work in Liberia against an Ebola outbreak earned a visit from former President Bill Clinton last year. This profile is a must-read for everyone, for it exemplifies what can be accomplished to serve mankind through effective education, learning and training—no matter what the circumstances and obstacles.

Learning! 100 applicants are evaluated across three criteria: Collaborative Strategies’ Collaboration Index, Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, and overall organizational performance. Accolades are awarded in four categories of excellence: innovation, culture, performance and collaboration.

Discover how these leading organizations are so successful with their learning programs on the following pages, and watch for upcoming sessions, Web seminars, articles and events hosted by Elearning! magazine.

 

Here are the Top 10 Learning! 100 organizations for 2017:

CORPORATE

1) T-Mobile

2) Amazon Web Services

3) Salesforce

4) Cisco

5) Ingersoll Rand

PUBLIC SECTOR

1) Defense Acquisition University

2) American Heart Association

3) Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

4) Last Mile Health

5) U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Aquisition Academy

 

 

PRIVATE SECTOR #1

The ‘Un-Carrier’ Culture at T-Mobile

Area of Excellence: Culture

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T-Mobile U.S.A. is the fastest growing company in the extremely competitive wireless communications industry. It’s position as the ‘Un-Carrier’ fuels subscriber growth. No long-term contracts, excellent customer service and high valued services are the norm at T-Mobile, the ‘Un-Carrier.’

T- Mobile U.S.A. has been chosen as #1 Learning! 100 for unifying the ‘Un-Carrier’ vision at the sales level.

When Bart Ons came on board, he found that while the telesales team was performing and meeting its revenue targets, the organization was highly fragmented, with call centers each using different processes, tools, management models and training approaches. Knowing this was not a sustainable approach, Ons deployed a pilot engagement of “Pathways to Growth.” The intended outcome was to change the sales management and coaching approach used by managers in six key T-Mobile call centers for more than 1,200 telesales agents.

As the Pathways to Growth (PTG) engagement launched, the project grew to include all call centers as well as a comprehensive and highly customized sales training curriculum, media campaign and rollout. Branding focused on promoting the Un-Carrier culture with a theme to “Unleash, Empower and Excel U.”

The teams worked together to build a series of e-learning preparation modules, on-site and virtual learning classes, coaching modules, reinforcement e-learning solutions, multimedia solutions, promotions and more. The goal was cultural change, excitement and a focus on working cohesively as one unified T-Mobile to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

T-Mobile had already experienced measurable success through its efforts to fine-tune its sales manager coaching process in its B2B sales unit. Through the PTG sales management program, T-Mobile’s B2B sales group successfully shifted its management culture to not only accelerate the effectiveness of sales team members but also improve the accuracy of forecasting by improving the health of the forward pipeline.

During the PTG discovery process and subsequent sales management training, consultants recognized that there was a deeper need to manage a wholesale cultural shift within this sales group. In January 2017, early results from the PTG training were presented to senior leaders, including recommendations and proposed plans for additional, bespoke change management training for the Digital Frontline built around T-Mobile’s “Un-Carrier” culture.

The kickoff of the UEE program occurred in March of 2017 and the training is ongoing. The components of the program include:

>> U-Unleash – Digital introduction to the Un-Carrier philosophy to onboard participants (March-April 2017)

>> U-Train – Train-the-trainer program for Digital Frontline trainers and quality assurance staff (March 2017)

>> U-Lead – Leadership training for Digital Frontline managers, supervisors, trainers and QA (May 2017)

>> U-Sell – Selling and soft skills training for Digital Frontline sales agents (June-August 2017)

>> U-Call – Introducing a new sales call flow offering agents both consistency and flexibility (Mar 2017)

>> U-Grow – Training on call review and coaching to ensure consistency and improved customer experience (starting September 2017)

>> U-Start – New UEE-based onboarding and new-hire training program (starting September 2017)

With a successful sales program, already begun, T-Mobile is being honored with Learning! 100 designation for the second time.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR #1

A Learning Evolution at Defense Acquisition U.

Area of Excellence: Performance

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Defense Acquisition University’s senior leadership team. First row, center, white shirt: DAU President Jim Woolsey. Photo courtesy DAU.

This year, Defense Acquisition University developed a completely revised strategic plan ensuring both alignment with business strategy and directly targeting its vision and mission.

“This is the future of learning, and is already well within our reach,” says DAU’s Dr. Christopher Hardy. “There will always be more changes, new technology and new possibilities. [But] we are well positioned to identify these, adapt, and remain a world-class learning leader.” The DAU’s new strategic plan includes its comprehensive learning strategy, the Acquisition Learning Model (ALM).

One of the strategy’s primary goals is to ensure cross-domain integration and repurpose learning assets among domains. By doing so, all activities have been focused primarily on job and organizational success.

Comprising three separate yet integrated domains (foundational, workflow and performance learning), the ALM “links” training (both in classroom and on line); acquisition resources and job support tools; mission assistance and customized workshops, allowing DAU to be current, connected and innovative in every area. Why current, connected and innovative?

Students need current information— the latest policies, guidelines, and lessons learned relevant to their increasingly diverse and fast-paced work. For them, current also means up-to-date case studies and course materials found in our foundational learning assets, as well as continuously refreshed and interesting news and tools available in our workflow learning assets. Likewise, DAU must have current and direct knowledge of what’s going on in the acquisition enterprise.

Students also need to be connected quickly and easily to the information required for their success on the job, not to mention connected to each other. Finally, the DAU must be innovative in the methods used to transfer knowledge to the workforce.

The entire strategic planning process is a deliberate, planned, measured, iterative and integrated cycle that continuously moves DAU toward its organizational goals and vision for the workforce. The ALM’s primary purpose, “improve acquisition outcomes,” is a now a pivotal part of DAU’s vision statement, ensuring all supporting objectives and tasks in its strategic plan.

As implemented in the new Strategic Plan, the ALM extends the concept of learning beyond the classroom. DAU is now delivering more “in-context consumption learning” on the job — anytime, anyplace — a growing number of learning products to an increasing number of Defense Acquisition workforce members. All learning assets (courses, how-to videos, self-service portals, job support tools) are integrated and shared among the three domains. By implementing the ALM as a cost-effective measure, the university aligns with senior leadership, continuously modernizes its business and learning infrastructure, has a worldclass learning architecture deployed, continuously updates curricula, recruits the right talent, and rewards performance, ultimately garnering global recognition as a leading corporate university.

The scale and scope of the ALM:

Foundational Learning:

DAU offers more than 400 technical training courses supporting the 14 Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) career fields, which require that Defense Acquisition workforce members be certified for their positions.

Workflow Learning:

Access to acquisition knowledge outside traditional learning environments improves efficiency, innovation, and effectiveness—enhancing job performance. It also augments the foundational learning that occurred in the classroom.

Performance Learning.

Extends help beyond the classroom into the workplace with mission assistance services. This program places seasoned faculty onsite at organizations ranging from smaller acquisition teams to larger acquisition programs.

DAU is a seven-time Learning! 100 honoree.

 

PRIVATE SECTOR #2

Amazon Web Services Focuses on Enabling Customer Success

Area of Excellence: Performance

 More than 10 years ago, Amazon Web Services (AWS) started as a storage services. Today, it offers more than 70 services for compute, storage, databases, analytics, mobile and enterprise applications. AWS announced 722 new features and services last year making it one the most innovative cloud-storage companies.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is being honored as #2 Learning! 100 company this year, thanks to its Outcome Based Account Management (OBAM) program. Consistent with the Amazon Leadership Principle of Customer Obsession, the OBAM methodology works backward from customers, defining success through their eyes based on their unique needs and target outcomes. As is common at Amazon, the development of OBAM involved extensive experimentation that spanned more than two years to identify and refine best practices for helping buyers buy. OBAM provides the AWS field organization with a common foundation and universal approach focused on enabling customer success.

OBAM is composed of the process, tools, competencies and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying AWS’s customer relationships. It’s a matchmaking process that’s fixated on transforming the buyer-seller engagement into a lifelong journey where everyone involved in the process is focused on the customer’s success. The program includes a pre-call, pre-work, a live twoday collaborative training day session based upon actual customer situations, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand playbook.

The parent company’s unbroken 20-year streak of double-digit revenue growth shows no sign of slowing this year, helped by an influx of online shoppers who are abandoning stores for “shop by Internet.” Amazon revenues grew by 27.1 percent in 2016 versus 2015, which surpassed last year’s growth of 20.2 percent, and profitability grew by 34.97 percent, versus the prior year’s growth of 34.74 percent. For a company that’s 23 years old, those are unheard-of numbers. And Amazon optimistically projects revenue to continue to increase by healthy margins.

AWS is a Cloud computing platform with a comprehensive suite of services that allows for on-demand computing. AWS has four core feature buckets — Compute, Storage & Content Delivery, Databases, and Networking. At a high level, users can control these with extensive administrative controls accessible via a secure Web client. Tools include identity management, auditing, encryption key creation/control/storage, monitoring and logging, and more.

To continue facilitating its rapid growth, AWS has built an extensive network for live and online training to help people learn AWS or to take on the more technical roles required for devising solutions or running operations. Completion of that training then qualifies learners for AWS certification.

The OBAM program, which has been delivered globally in all geographies, is being met with great success, achieving a global average score from participants of 4.47 out of 5. The program has now been successfully rolled out to more than 1,400 participants, and the overall impact of the program can be seen in both the continued growth of Amazon Web Services and the parent company.

As was evident from the annual report, Amazon Web Services is a major contributor to that growth. It is drawing more small businesses and large enterprises to its Cloud platform.

This is the second time the company has joined the Learning! 100.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR #2

American Heart Association Builds Powerful Relationships

Area of Excellence: Culture

“Life is Why” the American Heart Association (AHA) exists. The mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. This single purpose drives all that they do.

The AHA is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. AHA includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters; funds innovative research, fights for stronger public health policies, and provide critical tools and information to save and improve lives. AHA has 156 local offices and more than 3,000 employees. Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) wanted to establish a unified fund-raising process and culture across the entire organization for both volunteer-centric and direct groups. Besides this unified fund-raising process, AHA also wanted to support its staff in articulating the mission, impact and programs of the AHA, as well as to reach critical thresholds in areas of revenue and health goals. These business outcomes led to the creation of the “Building Powerful Partnerships” program.

Those three key words are actually part of a larger philosophy included in the AHA’s guiding values. From leveraging the strength of its volunteers/ staff partnerships to working with the many individuals and organizations that influence the health of individuals, our nation and our world, the organization collaborates to bring the best and brightest solutions to building healthier lives free from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Some of the learning objectives that needed to be achieved to fully implement the “Building Powerful Relationships” program were:

>> Demonstrate the ability to lead conversations that offer value to partners and volunteers by focusing on their needs.

>> Apply best practices for creating rapport, earning trust, and aligning the AHA message and mission with partner and volunteer needs.

>> Discover and practice proven ways to leverage LinkedIn for establishing credibility and making connections with prospective partners and volunteers.

>> Define four typical human behavior styles useful for enhancing conversations with partners, volunteers and team members.

>> Identify and practice proven strategies for each behavior style, resulting in better communication and increased trust.

>> Describe and practice the five-stage “SMART” engagement model to plan and execute high-impact conversations with partners and volunteers.

>> Apply the Powerful Partner Research process during the engagement process with prospective partners and volunteers.

>> Practice the 5-step “HEART” Conversation process.

>> Evaluate and develop plans for transitioning relationships to the next level of stewardship and involvement.

According to the AHA, the program exceeded all expectations and helped it achieve its critical goals, which in turn helped the organization continue its laudatory work.

This marks the sixth year the American Heart Association has been listed among Learning! 100 honorees.

 

PRIVATE SECTOR #3

 Salesforce U Fills Talent Skills Gaps

Area of Excellence: Performance

Salesforce is the most innovative company seven years running according to Forbes. Salesforce’s Customer Success Platform offers a comprehensive portfolio of services, such as sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, digital commerce, community management, analytics, application development, IoT integration, collaborative productivity tools, AI-powered and professional cloud services. The company enables industries and companies of all sizes to connect their customers using cloud, social, mobile and data science technologies. It also encourages third parties to develop additional functionality and new apps that run on its platform and other developer tools.

With rapid transformation of the Salesforce’s platform comes the challenge to train clients on how to tap its power. Enter Salesforce University certification program to close these talent gaps.

Some 300,000 Salesforce administrative jobs go unfilled per year due to lack of certified administrators, according to Salesforce. To fill this gap, Salesforce University launched the Salesforce Proficiency Pack for Administrators.

Learners can grasp the fundamentals of being a Salesforce Administrator in just 30 days. It’s a blended, prescriptive, expert-led training program that gives learners a 30-day plan to learn what they need to be Salesforce Administrators. It can fast-track adept learners to the Salesforce Certified Administrator program. Accessed online and taking just a few hours a day, the latter is a mix of engaging bite-sized Trailhead content, interactive e-learning modules, hands-on exercises, and certification prep guides and materials. The program also features live coaching from Salesforce Certified instructors, and includes a voucher to sit for the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam.

The Salesforce Proficiency Pack for Administrators is a combination of expert-led virtual classroom sessions, self-paced online material and supplemental, hands-on exercises. Plus, Salesforce Proficiency Pack for Administrators is recommended as preparation for the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam.

Salesforce University offers a comprehensive catalog of courses and certifications to help prospective learners, administer, develop and use their organization’s Salesforce environment. It can come in the form of a customized private course for an entire team or an in-depth instructor-led classroom experience for one person.

Salesforce is a four-time Learning! 100 winner.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR #3

ADL Initiative Focuses on Next-Generation Learning

Area of Excellence: Collaboration

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) is in the process of implementing a new, innovative program called the Total Learning Architecture (TLA), in close concert with many other industry and interagency partners, including the Office of Personnel Management and Army Research Laboratory.

The Defense Department environment served by the ADL Initiative requires its personnel to thrive under volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous situations. To meet this challenge, learning personnel must develop an ever-expanding set of sophisticated knowledge and skills — without increasing training and education time or costs. So the TLA is being designed to help meet this demand by giving various personnel access to the right learning content, at the right time, and delivered in the right ways.

Be advised: the final TLA will not be a particular training device or educational tool; it’s the glue that connects all other learning technologies into an integrated, coherent system. Once complete, it will consist of a set of specifications, such as application programming interfaces (APIs), that define how training, education and personnel management technologies “talk” to each other — both syntactically and semantically. The TLA will also define software services that perform automation and artificial intelligence-based whole-system processes.

“Historically, training and education have followed fairly linear, industrial model,” explains ADL Initiative Director Dr. Sae Schatz. “The TLA is meant to enable the next paradigm of learning — one that’s personalized, data-driven, continuous and flexible.” The ADL Initiative’s Director of Innovation, Dr. Jennifer Vogel-Walcutt, adds” “Classically, e-learning was available ‘anytime, anywhere.’ With the TLA, we’re envisioning e-learning to be ‘everytime, everywhere’ — that is, the right learning content, in the right form, at the right time, and all around us.”

The technology team is currently committed to using collaborative development methods, open-source licensing and open-architecture design principles. This project, which uses an iterative design process, including iterative development and testing spirals, began in late 2015. System designers anticipate that scaled implementation of the TLA — a set of Internet and software specifications being developed to enable nextgeneration learning — could begin as early as 2019.

In addition to authoring technical documents, the development team has created a prototype TLA-enabled learning ecosystem. It includes various software services, technical components and learning applications (also known as “learning activity providers”), all of which exchange data using the initial suite of TLA APIs.

A preliminary research project was held earlier this year. Although room for improvement remains, the prototype implementation and integration of the TLA for this year’s study represented a successful team effort that resulted in a usable prototype and supported a week of interaction with dozens of real users.

Founded in the 1990s, the ADL Initiative conducts research, development, testing and evaluation to enhance distributed learning. By mandate, it bridges across the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, as well as industry and academia, to encourage collaboration, facilitate interoperability, and promote best practices for using distributed learning. Its mission is to provide the highest-quality education, training, informal learning and just-in-time support, tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, anytime and anywhere. Its major activities include crafting the vision and roadmap for future learning, performing R&D to mature emerging concepts, and conducting outreach to diffuse innovation.

ADL is a seven-time Learning! 100 honoree.

 

PRIVATE SECTOR #4

Learning@Cisco Takes on Reskilling of Its Employees

Area of Excellence: Innovation

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Cisco’s professional learning team: left to right, Ryan Rose, Davina Collins, Vandana Malik, Kathy Bries, Holly Howe, Manny Bola.

Three of the most critical business issues facing Cisco and many organizations today are (1) reskilling the workforce for continual transformation, (2) improving employee engagement to drive productivity and agile responsiveness; and (3) sharing institutional knowledge and best practices across the organization.

That’s where the company’s My Services Connect project comes in.

The powers-that-be at Cisco decided to shift its services organization to a consultative, solutions-selling model. This required cross-training more than 14,000 employees on the company’s solutions portfolio as well new offerings in Cloud, security, analytics and data. It also required that employees be reskilled and up-skilled to succeed in the new positions supporting the evolved strategy.

My Services Connect leaders worked with Learning@Cisco leaders to help develop a new social learning platform that would accomplish this goal. To that end, the company launched an internally built Cloud-based software solution focused on knowledge sharing, collaboration, and formal and social learning — all aligned to talent development initiatives and personal/team/corporate goals.

“This was a significant change in strategy” notes Cisco’s Jessica Pasko, “as previous internal policy was focused on the use of traditional talent management and performance evaluation tools. But the enterprise was at a turning point: the need for agile, knowledgeable teams that can share knowledge and learn anytime, anywhere (and from any device) became omnipresent. We also had an immediate need to reskill and up-skill a significant portion of our workforce to align with new objectives and business opportunities the division was intent on pursuing.”

Results of the transformation were dramatic.

>> Employee Engagement: As this platform was replacing others, one goal was to ensure that employee engagement carried over at previously measured levels (25% of employees were accessing these platforms every day). Holding previous levels of engagement met the base-level goal; the “stretch” goal was to increase employee engagement through this new platform. What actually happened was that 33% of total employees engaged with the platform on a daily basis.

>> Employee Empowerment: Another goal was to provide new tools around learning personalization that would give all employees the same curriculabuilding tools previously reserved by HR and L&D teams; in addition, to expand the use of expert profiles by having more employees create peervalidated profiles listing their expertise. Success meant one personalized learning plan per five employees and 75% adoption of expert profiles.

The My Services Connect project proved to be an innovative approach to learning for Learning@Cisco, a multiple Learning! 100 honoree that has a history of addressing the need for technical talent worldwide for Cisco customers, partners and network professionals. Goals historically are accomplished by providing the educational product and training, certifications, social learning communities and learning services necessary to accelerate productivity, opportunity and growth, and to recruit, train and evolve talent. “Learning@Cisco drives the talent development and upskilling needed to evolve the workforce of today to meet the demands of tomorrow,” says Pasko, “and the global networking skills talent gap. In response to an ever-changing industry, Cisco has moved from being a technology-focused company to driving businesslevel outcomes for customers.”

In order to stay on the cutting edge of learning, the company uses collaborative learning, social learning and mobile performance support, along with an LMS integrated platform, Jive, Sharepoint and in-house or custom-built software.

As a worldwide leader in I.T., Cisco has spent the past three decades helping companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow through the transformation of how people connect, communicate and collaborate. This is the seventh time the company has joined the Learning! 100.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR #4

 Last Mile Health’s Training Is a Matter of Life and Death

Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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As she transitions into the role of chief operating officer in 2017, Lisha McCormick gets to celebrate Last Mile Health’s 100,000th patient visit.

“Having worked in the social impact and development sphere both domestically and internationally for nearly two decades, I’ve never seen an organization that has such extraordinary opportunity and potential in front of it,” McCormick says. “An enormous amount of that is a tribute to the work of our team across different counties and countries, and the focus and aptitude they bring to this work.”

Pres. Bill Clinton, who visited Liberia, said last year: “The heroic work [Chief Executive Officer] Raj [Panjabi] and Last Mile Health did to train 1,300 health workers was critical in helping the government contain the [Ebola] epidemic.”

Training community health workers in this setting is literally a matter of life and death. Trainees receive four separate sessions on a series of standardized training modules that Last Mile Health and the government of Liberia developed. The sessions provide community health workers with a comprehensive set of skills covering infectious disease surveillance and response, maternal and neonatal health, and support for adults with HIV/AIDs, tuberculosis and select neglected tropical diseases. After completing each course, trainees are given time to develop their new skills before advancing to the next stage of training.

In partnership with the government of Liberia, Last Mile Health is implementing this five-step model in two of Liberia’s 15 counties. Meanwhile, various other organizations including Partners in Health, International Rescue Committee, PLAN International, Medical Teams International, and Samaritan’s Purse are supporting Liberia to implement the program in other counties. Their shared goal is to ensure that, by 2021, all 1.2 million Liberians who live more than an hour’s walk from the nearest health facility have access to a professional community health worker.

It has not been easy to live in Liberia during the past 20 years. In 2003, the country emerged from more than a decade of civil war, and only 50 doctors remained to treat a population of more than four million. If a Liberian got sick in a remote community — many of which are hours or even days away from the nearest clinic — he or she could die anonymously of a treatable condition like malaria, a complicated childbirth, or untreated infection.

In 2007, Panjabi, Alphonso Mouwon, Weafus Quitoe, Marcus Kudee, Theo Neewrayson and Amisha Raja co-founded an organization called Tiyatien Health, or “justice in health.” Joined by Peter Luckow in 2009, Tiyatien Health began Liberia’s first rural, public HIV program, which treated patients in a gutted closet in a war-torn building in Zwedru, Liberia with only $6,000 in seed money.

Almost immediately, the growing team realized that the greatest needs were at Liberia’s “last mile,” where people lacked access to health care due to distance and poverty. Their solution was to recruit, train, equip, manage and pay community members to provide life-saving health services to their neighbors.

Tiyatien Health came to be known as Last Mile Health in 2013.

Since then, Last Mile Health and Liberia have trained more than 1,300 health workers and community members to prevent and contain the spread of Ebola. In 38 clinics across southeastern Liberia, they supported health workers to “keep safe, keep serving” in the midst of the outbreak through distribution of personal protective equipment (including goggles, gloves, and gowns) and through training on best practices in disease prevention and control. At the community level, the organizations trained their community health workers and other community “mobilizers” to educate their communities about the cause of Ebola, how to prevent its spread, and how to manage and report suspected cases.

The Ebola outbreak, which was finally brought to a halt in 2016, was a defining moment in Last Mile’s growth as an organization.

This is the first time Last Mile Health has earned Learning! 100 honors.

 

PRIVATE SECTOR #5

Sales Management Training Earns Ingersoll Rand’s Award

Area of Excellence: Culture

Ingersoll Rand is a 145-year-old company with nearly 5,000 sellers and managers distributed globally. Ingersoll Rand is being honored as a Learning! 100 organization for a global project undertaken by its Sales Excellence Division that implemented IRSMX/Sales Management Excellence across its business units.

The purpose of the project was to customize and enable one consistent sales management methodology. The implementation spanned multiple geographical and cultural environments, requiring customized content and coaching to address both internal and external cultural diversity associated with business units located around the world.

This project impacted more than 3,200 sales team members in a range of roles, including sales professionals and their leaders.

Due to the scale of the project and Ingersoll Rand’s desire to accelerate adoption of IRSMX across its various business units, global delivery was accomplished through a joint effort between Baker Communications and Ingersoll Rand business unit coaches, with both groups leading IRSMX workshops and IRSMX coaching cadences.

Ingersoll Rand’s goal to make the IRSMX program a part of all its business units’ operations has led to sustained adoption of the methodology and notable business results, with a consistent focus on pipeline health, forecast accuracy, and consistent and effective oneon-one coaching between sales managers and sales professionals.

Through the determination and desire shown by Ingersoll Rand’s Sales Excellence division to make the IRSMX method a part of its core sales management culture, it will succeed in reaching its end goal of rolling out the IRSMX program to every sales manager and team.

The goal was to create a unified sales management system, with consistent coaching and development of sales professionals to improve selling motions, processes and tools utilized from business unit to business unit. The desired outcome would be very clear visibility into pipeline and forecast data, both within their direct and indirect distribution channels.

In one division, the Direct Channel reported consistent, double-digit year-overyear growth in revenue from a combination of strategies inclusive of IRSMX, and an 1800 percent return on investment (ROI) for the program. In the Indirect Channel, the results were equally impressive, with an increase in market share for the first time in several years and a 1300 percent ROI on the IRSMX implementation specifically.

This is the second time Ingersoll Rand has appeared in the Learning! 100.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR #5

The Department of Veterans Affairs Aquisition Academy Changes Culture

Area of Excellence: Culture

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VA101 Training Team Leaders (left to right) Debra Karambellas and Edwin Callahan with VA Acquisition Academy Chancellor Ruby B. Harvey and Deputy Chancellor and VA101 Training Program Manager Paul Gregory.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) is responsible for providing federal benefits to more than 22 million military veterans and their families. Its V.A. Acquisition Academy (VAAA) is one of the keys.

“The VAAA fosters a training system that makes an immediate and meaningful difference by improving work performance, says Laura Edwards. “Our fundamental learning strategy reflects a commitment to stakeholder engagement and value measurement methodologies to ensure business results that support V.A.’s major initiatives. The VAAA emphasizes educating learners in real-world workplace scenarios in order to integrate personal and leadership skills. VAAA continues to mature its strategic performance measurement to help realize the impact of VAAA’s training offerings on business results within V.A. and the federal government.”

This historic undertaking was accomplished through a concentrated program: VA 101, a four‐hour, instructor‐led, classroom‐based, enterprise‐wide training that the MyVA Performance Improvement Team developed as a direct result of feedback from across the country. VA 101 helps employees understand and appreciate the diverse workforce and organizational structure, the services and benefits V.A. delivers, its customers, and how the services are delivered.

The goal of this training course was/ is to raise the common level of V.A. and veteran‐specific knowledge on critical topics. Upon completion of the course, learners are able to:

>> Explain how V.A. employees are part of a larger team that is guided by a clear purpose and common values;

>> Describe how V.A. is organized and who its customers are;

>> Explain the services and benefits V.A. delivers;

>> Discuss the various needs of V.A.’s customers and utilize supporting resources to meet these needs; and

>> Demonstrate the application of “I Care” values.

It goes without saying that training nearly 178,000 people in 12 months represented an enormous challenge. Those individuals were and are spread across three administrations, more than 2,600 duty stations, and numerous staff offices throughout the nation—all with separate lines of authority, systems access and communication channels.

The main challenge for the large, complex program arose from a lack of planning and communication to establish robust processes and clear procedures. What proved effective, however, was a “Center of Gravity” (train the trainer) approach that depended on collaboration. The VA 101 team trained and certified 1,462 “ambassadors” and provided the tools to deliver the training. Ambassadors then conducted local training events for employees. The team developed a national rollout strategy; developed comprehensive role-based implementation plan; conducted monthly training calls; and implemented a robust communication plan. 

According to surveys of employees before and after attendance at VA 101, the outcomes realized by staff members were: 

>> 12% increase in understanding how VA’s transformation relates to them;

>> 4% increase in feeling valued for their work; and

>> 8% increase in witnessing positive culture change in the V.A.

By January, 204,903 V.A. employees had been trained, fully 58 percent of the entire V.A. workforce. Total investment was $1.5 million.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is a six-time Learning! 100 winner.

 

 

View of the full list of 2017 Learning! 100 award winners below:

 

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Published in Top Stories

Virtual Reality (V.R.) has been slower to catch on in the U.S. despite the huge investments made by Google and Facebook. It is projected that 22.4 million people in the U.S. will engage with a form of V.R. at least monthly this year, up 109.5% over 2016, according to eMarketer.

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The V.R. category is being driven mainly by 360-degree photos and videos. The gaming industry is also driving growth of V.R. headset use. In 2017, 9.6 million people in the U.S. will use a headset to experience V.R. monthly, up 98.7% over last year.

While V.R. headsets provide a more immersive experience, adoption will remain low due to their often high cost. This year, only 2.9% of the U.S. population will use a V.R. headset at least monthly, eMarketer estimates, with that number growing to just 5.2% by 2019.

—Source: eMarketer’s AR and Virtual Reality (VR) Forecast 2017

Published in Trends

In 2017, 40.0 million people in the U.S. will engage with some form of augmented reality (AR) at least monthly, up 30.2% over last year. Much of A.R.’s growth will be fueled by Snapchat Lenses and Facebook Stories, according to eMarketer.

By the end of 2019, A.R. users will top 54.4 million, accounting for 16.4% of the U.S. population, or nearly one in five Internet users.

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“Users of Snapchat Lenses comprise the vast majority of our A.R. estimates,” says eMarketer forecasting analyst Chris Bendtsen. “Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to A.R. users in the future, but in the next several years, eMarketer also expects Facebook Stories to be a significant growth driver of A.R. usage, since it is now widely available to Facebook’s user base.”

—Source: eMarketer’s AR and Virtual Reality (VR) Forecast 2017

Published in Trends

The global HR software market is projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2022, a CAGR of 2.4%. The growth rate masks a shift from traditional HR functions of payroll, time and attendance and benefits to the lucrative talent management sectors. These high-growth areas include recruiting, training, performance management/business intelligence and leadership/succession management as well as a shift to software-as-a-service.

While the HR software market went through an unprecedented wave of consolidation in recent years, the digital transformation is under way. The ERP software giants pursue a double strategy in acquiring HR software companies by expanding and integrating the new best-in-class HR management functionality into their comprehensive product/service offerings; and introducing broader ERP product/service offerings through HR management loophole.

Transportation and Logistics is the heavy-user of HCM solutions, according to Market & Markets. The growing technological developments in the field of Cloud, analytics and the emergence of mobile technologies have led to the high adoption of HCM solutions in major industries such as banking, financial services, insurance (BFSI), and health care.

By region, North America is expected to be the largest user of HCM solutions. The high adoption of digital technology across all major industries helps the HCM market to grow in North America, particularly in the U.S. and Canada. The market is in the emerging stage in the regions of Asia-Pacific (APAC), Latin America, the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Therefore, these regions exhibit immense scope for the adoption of HCM solutions.

—Sources: HR Software Market Forecast (2012-2022), Market Analysis https://www.marketanalysis.com/?p=338, HCM Market Worth, Markets & Market shttp://bit.ly/2rlbHVg

Published in Trends

The new technologies of what is being called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” have the potential to transform the global geography of production and will need to be deployed in ways that address and adapt to the impact of climate change, reports the World Economic Forum in a paper titled, “Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production: Accelerating Value Creation.” The WEF paper, prepared in collaboration with AT Kearney, explores the new technology landscape, focusing on five technologies that will have the most immediate impact on production-related sectors. It raises questions for CEOs, government leaders, civil society leaders and academics about the implications for individuals, companies, industries, economies and society as a whole, and as is intended to bring new perspectives and generate responsive and responsible choices.

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The paper maps the full production value chain of activities of “source-make-deliver-consume-re-integrate” products and services from origination, design manufacturing and distribution to customers and consumers incorporating principles of circular economy and reuse. Production fundamentally impacts economic structure at a global to local level, affecting the level and nature of employment, and the environment.

The transformative potential of technology in production systems is widely recognized.Trends toward higher levels of automation promise greater speed and precision of production as well as reduced exposure to dangerous tasks. They also can help overcome stagnant productivity and make way for more value-added activity. The extent of automation, however, causing significant anxiety about issues of employment and inequality.

—Download full report at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/ WEF_White_Paper_Technology_Innovation_Future_of_Produc- tion_2017.pdf

Published in Trends

With the new SALESFORCE- IBM global strategic partnership, IBM Watson, an A.I. platform for business, and Salesforce Einstein, A.I. that powers the world’s No. 1 CRM, seamlessly connect to enable an entirely new level of intelligent customer engagement across sales, service, marketing, commerce and more. IBM is also strategically investing in its Global Business Services for Salesforce with a new practice to help clients rapidly deploy the combined IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

Published in Deals
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