The buzz was all about artificial intelligence (A.I.) at this year’s HR Technology Conference. No surprise, as the size of the global market for artificial intelligence for enterprise applications is worth around $360 million according to statistics.

A.I. HR implementations are seen in talent, recruitment and succession planning.  IBM Talent showcased some applications.  Several other companies displayed Alexa-customized solutions like Paradox, which is a branded A.I. coach. It claims to “build human-powered A.I. to engage, empower and understand large groups of people.” Oracle will be infusing its Cloud applications with artificial intelligence. “A.I. should be an enabler,” says Gretchen Alarcon of Oracle.

Published in Latest News

Learners in today’s workforce don’t want to be taught to, but expect to be able to learn. Millennials especially cite learning as the most desirable benefit a job can offer. They expect learning opportunities to be personal, accessible and flexible. That’s the heart of modern professional learning.

To be able compete in the war for workplace talent, organizations need to personalize the professional learning experience and empower employees to lead their own learning.

“It’s not just about the pay as it is about the whole experience of working for a business,” says Shane Sutherland, founder and chief designer at portfolio and personal learning platform company PebblePad, a D2L partner.

HOW TO PERSONALIZE LEARNING

There are four ways organizations can personalize professional learning.

1. CREATE PERSONALIZED LEARNING PATHWAYS

Enabling employees to create and keep online learning portfolios is a great way for organizations to pave personalized learning pathways. Online portfolios are a space where employees can build up evidence of their learning, reflect on their experiences, and share those reflections if they wish. In that way, they can make employees active actors in their own learning.

They can be transferable from job to job, so employees can tell the story of who they are, what they’ve learned, and the skills they’ve developed — a key consideration in the quickly growing gig economy.

Portfolios can be particularly effective when embedded into well-thought-out learning designs via an online learner engagement platform that presents learning to employees in specific contexts. Modern learning platforms can provide employees with easy access to their portfolios and other learning materials as needed — things like “just-in-time” social, mobile and video learning content, or content that they can access at their own pace after completing certain tasks or reaching different milestones.

2. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOCIAL LEARNING

Conversation can be a crucial driver of personalized employee learning. Coaches, mentors and peers can all help employees to extract insights out of a learning experience, which can be something as simple as a discussion by the office coffee machine.

According to an October 2015 survey by the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, 88 percent of people believe knowledge sharing within a team is essential for workplace learning. Group research projects are a great tool in that regard— they empower people to seek out new knowledge, make sense of it, and share what they learn with their peers.

Manager-led learning, where managers act more like a coach or mentor and give people opportunities to learn through things like projects, can also drive social learning. Creating custom templates can give managers a framework for facilitating effective conversations around projects and performance: What 10 words would you use to describe your performance? What did you find most challenging? What do you feel you achieved?

3MAKE LEARNING MOBILE, AVAILABLE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

Workplace learners expect to be able to access learning experiences anywhere, at any time, and on multiple devices.

According to Google, when it comes to search, 80 percent use a smartphone and 57 percent use more than one type of device. Gartner says that consumers will own and use three to four devices by 2018. And according to a study by Global Workplace Analytics, 80 percent to 90 percent of people in the U.S. workforce say they would like to telework at least part time, and Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. That’s why it’s become increasingly incumbent on organizations to enable mobile learning.

4. ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THEIR OWN LEARNING

Empowering employees to learn outside the office is a great way to get them to take ownership of their own learning. They can learn a lot through online sharing with their own professional and social networks, and independently researching on the Internet — be it through Google, YouTube videos, or LinkedIn.

There are also many learning opportunities available out in the real world, too. Professional events, volunteering, hobbies and personal interests, and community engagement are also great opportunities for professional learning and development.

At the end of the day, personalizing employee learning is about more than simply modernizing learning and development. It’s also about providing learning that’s beyond the bounds of the work they must do.

—Jon Paul is Content Manager for D2L.

Published in Ideas

With so many things to incorporate into your training program, how do you know where to focus your efforts? A successful program requires many factors working together, but it all starts with a program manager dedicated to impacting business results and employees’ development. We work with those training champions every day, and through our partnerships with them, we’ve identified nine key areas to focus on for building highly successful employee training programs.

STRONG PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

Titles of training program managers may vary, but they all share a commitment to continually develop and improve their programs. Ideal program managers are curious, openminded, motivated, and interested in helping others develop their skills.

ASSESSING TRAINING NEEDS

Performing a needs assessment through internal surveys, interviews and research will help determine who needs to be trained and on what skills. Understanding these training needs forms the foundation of what makes your training program integral to the company’s successes.

ALIGNMENT WITH BUSINESS INITIATIVES

To see the strongest results from training, look at how training needs you’ve identified are tied into organizational initiatives. Help employees and leaders see how training and development contributes to the goals of the overall company goals.

4 CREATING GOALS  AND METRICS

When training and business needs are aligned, create goals that show the steps for how to achieve those results. Make sure these goals are achievable in a reasonable amount of time, and that they’re specific to the outcomes desired.

5 LEADERSHIP BUY-IN

Your leadership team’s support of the program is critical to seeing success. Once you’ve identified the needs, aligned them to organizational initiatives, and created strong goals, you can show senior leaders the impact of training on the bottom line. This opens all sorts of doors for a bigger budget, higher utilization and engagement, and the ability to build a learning culture in your company.

6 RELEVANCY OF CONTENT

The training content you provide to learners must be relevant for them to be engaged and really learn from it. Curating content for specific needs allows them to find information quicker and view your program as a valuable source for personal and professional development.

7  INFUSING CREATIVITY

Inviting creative ideas into your program helps grow engagement and a more positive attitude toward training. Collaborating and brainstorming fun ideas delights employees with training that is enjoyable and helps them get hooked on developing their skills.

8 ONGOING MARKETING

This is an area where many program managers struggle to maintain momentum. A successful marketing plan encapsulates initial launch activities, along with strong ongoing efforts throughout the program. Training communication sent to employees should always include the “why” and what’s in it for them. The goal of marketing is to increase utilization and engagement, so to do that, you’ll need to continually show employees how they’ll benefit from the available training.

9. POST-TRAINING REINFORCEMENT

Training is only effective if it’s remembered, so counteracting the brain’s natural forgetfulness is a critical part of seeing results from your training program, since 70 percent of training is forgotten within 24 hours. Providing opportunities for learners to recall what they were trained will help them commit it to long-term memory. Send follow-up questions and provide a space for discussions in order to see positive and impactful results from your training program.

—As a content marketing specialist with BizLibrary, the author researches and writes relevant and helpful content for the HR and L&D community. She manages blog posts, press releases, social media, and creates resources that educate and motivate the BizLibrary audience to take action and improve employee training in their organizations. Contact Brubaker at (636) 205-0354 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  .

Published in Ideas

"Great managers aren’t born — they’re trained.”

That’s the message Scott Blanchard, principal and EVP with The Ken Blanchard Companies, is sharing with audiences as he speaks to groups of leadership, learning and talent-development professionals.

Blanchard points to research that shows most managers don’t receive that necessary training, however, until they are about 10 years into their managerial career.

“The effects are damaging at both an individual and organizational level,” says Blanchard. “More than 60 percent of new managers underperform or fail in their first two years. And those who survive without managerial training often find themselves with negative habits that are hard to break — which can hold them back for years to come.”

With more than two million new people stepping up to leadership for the first time each year in the U.S. alone, Blanchard believes organizations need to take management training a lot more seriously.

“It is very important that those responsible for organizational training put together an effective curriculum for developing people into trusted professional managers. As a professional manager, you are responsible for what your direct reports do, and to some degree, how they feel — especially the emotional connection they establish with their job and the company.

While some people’s influence and communication skills come naturally, every manager can learn and develop the skills they need regardless of their starting point, says Blanchard.

“Some people naturally understand how to work with others collaboratively and how to build rapport, while others come to leadership from a less developed starting point. But you still need a system if you are going to succeed as a manager. It’s something everyone can benefit from."

According to Blanchard, all great managers do four things:

“Great managers begin by establishing clarity for their people through clear goals, accountability and personal responsibility. Second, they intervene appropriately when things are going well — and when things aren’t going well. Third, they adapt their leadership style to what is needed by appropriately identifying a direct report’s development level on a task and then modifying their style to best serve the direct report at that stage.

“Finally, great managers know how to create long-term, long-lasting relationships that are evidenced by trust and engagement over time. This results in people who stay with the organization, talk positively about the organization to others, and perform at high levels in a collaborative manner.”

Blanchard explains that effective managers connect the dots between the work of the person, the work of the unit, and the work of the organization as a whole. They understand the correlation of action, motivation and commitment. They successfully manage both performance and employee satisfaction.

“Great managers help people see the bigger picture from whatever seat they occupy,” says Blanchard, “and that can be a challenge. People’s careers rise and fall and managers need to be there with coaching skills to help people through the ups and downs — even when there isn’t a clear path forward.

“These powerful skills almost always have to be developed through training — and once learned, they can help people focus and find a way forward in any situation.”

Published in Insights

Every business has its challenges when it comes to training employees, but there are three issues in particular that plague companies trying to improve their training programs. All three of those issues result in low ROI and negative views of training when they’re not addressed.

Effective training looks much different today than it did 30, 15, even 5 years ago. We have more access to data and scientific evidence that proves traditional approaches to training aren’t as effective as they could be if modern methods were incorporated.

Your employees have become accustomed to constant connection through various devices. They have access to media that’s relevant to whatever they’re looking for — whether it’s learning how to complete a task, being entertained, hearing about current events, etc. They expect their training experience to be up-to-date with the technology they’re using daily, and to deliver the information they need to be successful in their job.

In a 2017 report, Execu|Search found that 76 percent of Millennials rank professional development opportunities as one of the most important elements of a company’s culture. Considering that they are already making up about half of the American workforce, paying attention to the learning needs and preferences rising from Millennials’ development is crucial for a company to see any return on its training investment.

So, what are the needs and preferences of modern learners? Short content that delivers the message without overloading the brain’s natural capacity to take in information. Video based content with high production value. Reinforcement of training to move important information to long-term memory. If your training is too long, unengaging, and lacking reinforcement opportunities, it’s time to make some changes.

CREATE A MICROLEARNING HABIT

When you’re taking employees off the job for training or having them sit through hour-long courses, you’re missing the opportunity to help them become better at learning. With packed schedules and endless to-do lists, your employees need the ability to learn relevant information whenever and wherever they need it. This means they need short bursts of training (less than 10 minutes) that can be in-corporated into each day, a.k.a. microlearning.

Utilizing microlearning not only decreases cognitive load and allows for a higher percentage of the information to be absorbed, but it creates a habit of learning every day — which is a foundation of innovative and agile organizations.

QUALITY MATTERS: IS YOUR TRAINING A BLAST FROM THE PAST?

One of the biggest complaints from employees about their employer-provided training programs is that the content is out of date. Training videos from the 1980s are hard to take seriously when you’re distracted by the wardrobe choices and the inferiority of the technology. Video is the most popular and most effective format for a wide variety of training topics, but learners today will have a hard time engaging with anything that doesn’t have high production value or clearly demonstrate that it’s relevant to their job today.

HOW TO PREVENT TRAINING FROM BEING FORGOTTEN

The third and most critical issue has nothing to do with what happens during training. It’s all about what happens afterward. Our brains are wired to forget things that they deem unimportant, and they do so at a stunningly rapid rate. Within 24 hours of a training event, your employees will have forgotten 70 percent of what they learned — unless you counteract this natural forgetfulness with post-training reinforcement.

Making training memorable means using spaced repetition to help short-term memory transfer to long-term. Using quizzes right away promotes the first stage of recall, and then spacing out follow up questions (multiple choice, short answer, polls, etc.) signals to the brain that this information needs to be used, therefore it should be moved to long-term memory. Whether learners answer follow-up questions correctly isn’t important. Provide them with the correct answer, and the benefits of forced recall still stand.

To see greater engagement and ROI in your employee training program, try incorporating modern microlearning with post-training reinforcement.

Published in Insights

I recently had the privilege of training 25 companies on mindfulness practices. Part of our session was on corporate culture. It's a topic that I love to speak about, because most companies have a candy coating to their true corporate culture. My favorite definition of culture comes from the Harvard Business Review. It refers to culture as "consistent, observable patterns of behavior in organizations."

The problem with corporate culture is often the difference between internal public relations (P.R.) and reality. The P.R. view is usually consistent across big companies. It goes something like, "Working here is amazing, fun, a growth opportunity where everyone loves each other and treats each other wonderfully. Best. Place. Ever. Oh, and snacks."

The truth tends to be a different story. Most attendees share a list of common challenges in the corporate world including:

>>  Doing more with less (faster, cheaper)

>>  Disconnected management

>>  Offshoring

>>  Technology challenges

>>  Offshoring innovation (sending employees the wrong message)

>>  Risky competition

>>  Increasing injury rates

>>  Absenteeism and presenteeism on the rise

We had 12 industries in the room, including real estate, technology, automotive, banking, consulting and consumer products. All agreed the challenges were universal -- the norm. If this list is the norm, then by definition, it's part of your company culture; the consistent, observable patterns of behavior in your organization. You don't have to talk about it; it just happens.

We then turned our attention to disruption. Every company has normal challenges. But we also have disruptive forces that ebb and flow, making the challenges even more difficult to work with. We started with basic disruption, the kind of global phenomenon we're all sadly getting used to: terrorism, politics, technology espionage/theft.

I challenged the group to think about smaller disruptive forces. The ones we don't talk about, but are massively damaging in the aggregate. For most companies, this includes:

>>  One-third of your employees suffers from insomnia. They show up unable to perform at their best.

>>  Four generations of employees must work together for the first time ever. And guess what? They hate each other! But few companies address the language, expectation and cultural divides that cause daily tension.

>>  Employees aren't taught focus and awareness skills. Injury rates are on the rise, and 91 percent of work accidents are caused by human error. The average company has 3.2 injuries for every 100 employees, at a cost of $38,000 each. If you're in a 10-percent margin industry, you have to make $380,000 just to cover injuries for every 100 employees. Do the math.

>>  83 percent of employees name work as their biggest source of stress and anxiety.

>>  Gallup estimates 70 percent of employees are disengaged at work, and 18 percent are actively disengaged, including toxic employees intentionally looking to avoid work.

The group agreed that disruption is the norm. It's part of your company culture; the consistent, observable patterns of behavior in your organization.

When it comes to company culture, the big question is this: Do you recognize the challenges and disruptive forces in running your business? Do you feel they'll get worse in the next 10 to 15 years? Are you equipping your employees to be resilient in the face of increasing disruption and modern business requirements?

If you're not addressing these, you might more realistically describe your culture as, "We demand faster, cheaper and ignore systemic market forces in the face of increased evidence that people don’t like it here. And we have good snacks." If your culture is just taking disruption as the norm vs. actively working to address it, you may have a culture problem that a P.R. spin won't help.

Here are some ways to solve that problem:

>>  Invest in the stress resiliency, mental well-being and coping skills of your employees. Mindfulness training has the benefit of helping the individual, while also opening him or her up to having more empathy and compassion toward one another.

>>  Look for more opportunities for employees to come together to create community. Whether it's monthly happy hours, celebrating big wins with team karaoke or team "offsites," a team in with which the individuals bond with one another will build a culture that is imperative to the functioning of the company.

>>  Add mental well-being to your quarterly staff surveys. When in doubt, ask. Check in on the level of stress in an open and transparent way with the intention of opening up the conversation instead of ignoring it. Ignoring it is resulting in 46 percent turnover for the average company in the U.S.

>>  Start small. Rome wasn't built in a day. Find what the biggest issue is first, and focus on that for a quarter. Then move onto the next big thing. Just like habits, you need to focus on each aspect of a company's culture one at a time to make real change happen.

>>  Don't let employee well-being slip, no matter what. When things get busy, the first thing that goes is that we forget to take care of ourselves. The same happens in business. Little do a lot of companies understand how much work suffers at the hands of poor well-being.

No company is perfect. But there are a lot of ways and resources to improve the inner workings of any organization.

-- Joe Burton is CEO of Whil, Inc, a recognized authority on employee wellbeing, author and speaker.

Published in Insights

A few years back, “big data” was all the rage. Today, you may be more likely to hear “data analytics. The bottom line remains the same: You have to change yourself, your team, your way of operating and — most importantly — your strategic approach to doing business with stakeholders.

To do this, you must become a data-driven leader committed to learning the basics. You can’t walk the walk until you can talk the talk. Then, find and nurture allies. A successful data analytics initiative requires friends in high and low places. Finally, reassess the profit and loss statements (P/Ls). Changing your approach to data starts with changing your mindset, which starts with the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you measure outcomes instead of activity.

THE STATE OF DATA TODAY

Statistically speaking, you’re likely at or near the beginning of your data analytics journey. But it’s time for change. In 2016, 54 percent of companies had a chief data officer, up 12 percent since 2012. And they have a key seat at the proverbial strategic table. In contrast, the 2017 Bersin Learning Organization Maturity Model, which tracks companies at four levels of L&D maturity, tells a very different story about our use of data. Thirty-five percent of companies surveyed are in the bottom tier, Level 1. They are still focused solely on traditional metrics like feedback from learners, stakeholders and follow-up assessments.

At Level 4, the Bersin model’s top tier, it’s a totally different data universe. Companies are collecting new data while utilizing existing data to improve development and work. Bersin’s findings on the implications for their businesses are pretty compelling. These organizations score better on performance improvement, information architecture, knowledge management, human factor design and content curation than less mature peers. And, perhaps most importantly given how rapid technological advances are changing work and society every day, these companies can look ahead the future and ready employees to adapt to change. But they’re only six percent of companies in the study.

RISKS OF IGNORANCE

What’s so wrong doing things the way you’ve always done them and not aspiring to data maturity? In short, by not leveraging data analytics or doing so without the right guidance, L&D organizations severely limit their ability to solve problems and advance business strategies. That’s what makes them order takers instead of valued partners.

Other more fundamental risks to watch for:

>>  Decision-making by gut, not fact

Common sense can sometimes be our enemy, because sense and logic can be deeply personal and subjective. Data, however, can remove guesswork, biases, anecdotal reasoning and other human foibles that can throw strategic efforts off course. Data can also take the emotion out of business discussions and break down silos as objective metrics light the way forward.

>>  Solving the wrong problem

You’ve surely been there — weeks or months of effort to resolve a vexing challenge are revealed to have been a waste of time, resources and goodwill, because the challenge turned out to be a misunderstanding, a red herring or a rush to judgment. Data helps avoid predetermined (and often erroneous) approaches to problem solving.

>>  Measuring efficiency  rather than effectiveness

Your team may take pride in having filled all available seats for your latest learning endeavor. But is your company better served by getting “butts in seats” or by ensuring that those employees are learning the right content at the right time in a way that drives the intended results? Even the most advanced L&D organizations on the planet can benefit from revisiting the metrics they’re capturing to ensure a focus on effectiveness and not just efficiency.

Too many companies, and L&D functions, don’t focus on defining and achieving measurable outcomes that align with and advance business strategy.

YOUR ACTION PLAN

Here are three very straightforward actions you can take to advance on your journey as a data driven leader.

1 First, start with learning the basics.

You won’t get very far if you can’t speak the language and follow along in conversations. You don’t need to become an expert, but it’s crucial that you read up and get with the basic parlance.

Information without interpretation has little value. You or a member of your team may not be running the numbers, but analytics requires business understanding to give it meaning and power. It’s relatively easy these days to “buy” the services of a data statistician. What you can’t buy is someone who knows your organization and can ask the right questions.

Start with the four types of analytics. Data analytics is commonly categorized as descriptive, diagnostic, predictive or prescriptive. They are separate from, but roughly align with, Bersin’s four levels of L&D maturity.

a.  Descriptive analytics asks, “What hashappened?” Mining data to provide trending information on past or current events provides decision-making guidance for future actions, often in the form of key performance indicators. Descriptive analytics data is usually displayed within reports or dashboards, which are sometimes automated to issue alerts or trigger actions at various thresholds. In day-to-day business operations, much of analytics is descriptive in nature.

b.  Diagnostic analytics asks, “Why has this happened?” Utilizing statistical and analytical techniques to identify relationships in data sets and degrees of correlation between variables helps pinpoint the causes of problems and formulate corrective solutions.

c.  Predictive analytics asks, “What could happen?” The term encompasses a variety of techniques, such as statistics, modeling, machine learning and data mining, which are used for finding cor-relations within big sets of current and historical facts, to make useful predictions about future events.

d.  Prescriptive analytics asks, “What should we do?” It explores a set of possibilities and suggests optimal course(s) of action based on descriptive and predictive analyses of complex data. Utilizing advanced analytical and mathematical models, it can also provide reasons for its recommendations and possible implications of following them.

The best partner for a data scientist is both knowledgeable about the business and relentlessly curious about what makes it tick. This type of person knows how to probe for understanding and judge whether data “feels right.” Deep knowledge of your company, combined with data analytics prowess, is a winning combination.

2 Find and nurture allies.

If there’s one immutable law of data analytics, it’s that you cannot do it alone. Reach out, within and outside your company, to professionals who are successfully using their data; take them to lunch and ask lots of questions.

It’s especially important to identify key data players within your company or non-profit: the data experts, gatekeepers and evangelists, whether in I.T., a data-savvy group like finance or marketing, or on the board. There are a few reasons for this. First, you may encounter leaders who re-sent both you and the very notion of data analytics. As that kind of resistance demonstrates, moving to a data-driven leadership culture, like any change effort, will bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Some will instantly grasp its meaning and potential, while others may be skeptical, cynical or worse. It’s important to find allies early, as detractors may be frequent and fervent.

Another reason to seek allies is practical. Most L&D organizations lack the experience and clout to single-handedly lead a data analytics change effort, especially if it requires data from outside your function. Building strong relationships with leaders from one or more lines of business (such as sales, marketing or operations), you can gain:

a.  Understanding: These functions tend to already be engaged in data analytics and thus have familiarity and resources valuable to an analytically-aspiring L&D team.

b.  Access: Teams already heavily using analytics are likely data gatekeepers whose cooperation (and data) you will need to be successful.

c.  Advice: Analytics-minded executives can help focus change efforts on concrete, measurable business outcomes, avoiding potentially narrower, L&D- focused issues (although it’s generally advisable to start small, you’ll do well to think beyond L&D to all of your company as you become a strategic, data driven leader).

3. Reassess KPIs.

The third priority is an underlying mindset shift. Data analytics is a means to an end: improving your team’s performance. But that can only happen if you are measuring the right outcomes. Are you capturing efficiencies only, or also effectiveness? What have you always wanted to measure? Once you start to look at measurement in a different light, you’ll likely be motivated by the new potential you see to prove to yourself and your stakeholders that what you do matters and advances organizational strategies.

The first mindset shift is to use data to measure outcomes rather than activity. Mature organizations collect more data at more frequent intervals from more sources and are therefore better at understanding their organizations and what they need in order to make work better, and to utilize metrics and data sources that measure results of actions and not just the actions themselves.

Let’s look for a moment at so-called “rear-view mirror KPIs”: what happened. A classic example is using learner evaluation scores as evidence of impact. Yet when my team looked more closely at this a few years ago, our research showed that sales training survey results were typically driven by room temperature, food quality, and whether the presenter was funny. There was no correlation between learner feedback scores and sales rep productivity.

Assessing whether the course achieved its defined goals and objectives requires an entirely different, and more sophisticated, set of questions and measures but will enable learning teams to objectively demonstrate to their stakeholders and themselves that their efforts positively impacted the business.

L&D professionals who are measuring rear-view mirror KPIs have simply been doing their job as they were asked to do it, aiming to fulfill the expectations of their internal customers. This brings me to another critical mindset shift required to change you from an order taker to a strategic partner, and it’s yours.

L&D leaders must take the initiative. We must not wait for business stakeholders to change their expectations of us. It is up to us to hold our executives accountable for defining desired business outcomes — and have them hold us accountable for tracking our impact on those outcomes.

YOUR NEW END GAME

Achieving these priorities and especially these mindset changes are the critical first steps toward measuring impact instead of activity.

-BY JENNY DEARBORN, MED, MBA

About Jenny Dearborn -- Recognized as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council, Dearborn is the Chief Learning Officer at SAP, accountable for the talent development strategy through learning execution for SAP’s nearly 90,000 employees worldwide. She is one of the pioneers of the revolution in using data to harness employee strengths and predict success, which she discusses in her books Data Driven (March 2015), which shot to #1 for new business releases on Amazon, and the newly-released The Data Driven Leader (November 2017). Dearborn is also a thought leader in human capital management, business culture, and the future of the workplace.

Published in Top Stories

Can one learn innovation skills? At Bayer, the answer is a resounding YES!

Innovation is defined as the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay, according to the Business Dictionary. To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need.

The life science industry is surrounded by innovation. Digitalization is creating new business models that are increasingly driving value. Disruptive technologies with big data are transforming R&D and customer approaches. Societal changes are occurring, including aging and increasing populations. Plus, consumerism has customers taking a more active role in decision-making.

When Bayer needed to spark the imagination of employees, it embraced innovation, and embarked on a journey to do just that.

Bayer recognizes that the world is changing, and to remain competitive in the fields of pharmaceuticals, crop science and consumer health, it needs to become even faster and more agile. The company also believes it is not about “doing innovation," it's about innovating in what we do." This mindset is central to Bayer’s future success. Words such as these come easily, and putting it into action is where Bayer has excelled.

To be truly innovative requires the right culture, as revealed in Bayer’s Annual Report: “To further strengthen our innovation culture, we have identified four Focus Behaviors, namely Experimentation, Customer Focus, Collaboration — all underpinned by Trust.”

Innovation requires a shift in mindset. Instead of claiming, “I have no time,” its better to think, “Let’s make time and ask, ‘what if ’?” Rather than accept the “what has always been,” challenge the status quo.

INNOVATION ENABLERS

To help cultivate the right mindset, Bayer has established Innovation Enablers: Inspire, Learn, Collaborate, Connect.

Inspire - to explore and experiment through stories and events. Bayer chief information officer Johannes Schubmehl strongly believes in giving people freedom to innovate. “I love jamming,he shares. “You can never predict the outcome of an experimental session. Usually the result is completely new and cool.” Experiment, trust and empower your team. “Watch what happens when inspiration, aspiration and passion come together,” says Schubmehl.

Innovation Platform - All topics connected to the Innovation Agenda (Inspire, Learn, Collaborate, Connect) are conveniently hosted on the YOUniverse Web application, Bayer’s one-stop shop that enables employees to innovate. The YOUniverse application has had more than 25,000 registered users since its launch in September 2016. The site features more than 500 articles (including stories, learning documents and opportunities to collaborate).

For the Learn section, for example, Bayer staff can find:

>>  More than 40 guides on innovation methodologies and approaches, for self-study and reference.

>>  Webinars on innovation topics like customer-focused innovation, and innovation methodologies to overcome employee survey hotspots.

>>  Online courses in collaboration with IDEO U around elements of design thinking.

>>  Training on systematic inventive thinking with two-day courses to invite employees to learn and apply methodologies to innovate.

Innovation Applied - With recent advances in learning and development on the topic of innovation at Bayer, particularly the establishment of a business-focused Innovation Academy, the company believes it is now at the world’s helm when it comes to driving innovation by truly learning, doing and impacting.

To help unleash the full innovation potential of more than 100,000 employees, Bayer has designed an Innovation Agenda, of which learning is a critical component. Together with strong support from leaders and managers, the passionate and powerful Innovation Network (consisting of more than 80 Innovation Ambassadors and more than 600 dedicated Innovation Coaches) to promote, moderate and contribute toward driving innovation culture and activities from within the core of the company. Innovation Coaches have the passion to innovate and now the power to change.

INNOVATION COACH ON-BOARDING

This approach came from within the company based upon industry best practices. It was co-created with a great external partner company, Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT).

The challenge was to realize objectives in a sustainably successful manner by creating a powerful network of more than 600 fully-trained Innovation Coaches worldwide who had to be:

1. Promoters of innovation among their colleagues in an engaging way.

2. Moderators, by applying an innovation methodology in an innovation mini-session to unleash the creative power of their colleagues.

3. Contributors, by sharing tips and tools with their colleagues

Further, once the Coaches were on-boarded, their professional development needed to be supported so that they could become catalysts for the change that the company envisioned. It was a new network within Bayer. Challenges included: the wide geographical spread of coaches and different time zones; lack of space for Coaches to build new relationships; limited resource availability of Coaches (both time and access to budget); and lack of time for Coaches to reflect on what differentiates them from other existing communities. While inspiring Innovation Coaches about innovation can be easy, finding their relevance to innovation at Bayer can prove to be challenging.

The leaders of the countries and functions nominated Innovation Coaches (dedicating 10 percent of their time) who had a passion for innovation. From June 2016 to August 2017, more than 600 Coaches had been on-boarded via initial face-to-face training, supplemented by many other custom processes and tools. The initial training lasted three days and was held in all the major Bayer sites worldwide, with a general positive average of 4.8 out of 5.0 evaluation score — one of the highest scores in all Bayer learning and training. The Coaches not only learned more about their new role, they discovered an innovation methodology (called systematic inventive thinking) and applied it to real business challenges.

This training was then supplemented by:

>>  Online Coach Community calls to share successes and support coaches with their challenges.

>>  Interactive live webinars with the use of real-time video to learn new techniques such as visual thinking to express ideas.

>>  Advanced training for high-performing Coaches who moderated more than 10 innovation mini-sessions.

All of this was delivered via an online innovation platform called YOUniverse with an invitation from the Innovation Academy to the remaining 99,000 employees at Bayer to also learn and acquire innovation skills such as design thinking.

IMPACT OF ON-BOARDING PROGRAM

Through effective on-boarding and development of coaches, Bayer is now able to directly realize the return on investment. Coaches have been given guidance on how to measure the impact of their tasks:

i)  Promoter (to inspire one person a day on innovation)

ii)  Moderator (to facilitate one innovation mini-session a month)

iii) Contributor (to publish one story a year on YOUniverse or contribute to Community Calls and webinars)

The Coaches’ task of being a moderator who facilitates innovation mini-sessions on real business challenges is already leading to major benefits. Using the methodology that they learned, they are helping to break cognitive fixedness within the company around product, process, business model and service topics. Bayer is on track to exceed a thousand business challenges tackled by the end of 2017 — each one leading to a potential solution.

This role of a Coach is now part of an individual’s growth and career path, and is recognized and supported by management. In addition, the network is making waves internally, and new Coaches are being nominated daily. At Bayer, the saying “Innovation starts with you” is true. And who better to lead this than its Coaches.

Chara Balasubramaniam, Julia Hitzbleck, Melanie Heroult, Krysia Sommers and Henning Trill authored this article. But this has been driven by the entire Corporate Innovation and R&D team, and made possible by all the talented and committed people from the Bayer Innovation network, who all deserve recognition. Bayer is a 2017 Learning! 100 winner for Innovation. It is the company’s second Learning! 100 award.

Published in Top Stories

Celebrating their 13th year,the Best of Elearning! awards recognize 60 brands across 20 categories for excellence. As the industry’s exclusive users’-choice awards, all nominations are made directly by users of solutions to an open-ended online ballot monitored and tallied by Elearning! and Govern-ment Elearning! magazines. These awards honor best-in-class solutions across the learning and technology marketplace.

“As the exclusive users’-choice awards in the industry, the Best of Elearning! awards have become a trusted resource for learning professionals to specifying solutions,” says Catherine Upton, publisher for the Elearning! Media Group.

“We thank our loyal readers and community members for their nominations and congratulate each honoree.

The Best of Elearning! awards program was first implemented to formalize the recommendation and purchase process for the e-learning community. Research indicated 85 percent of readers had recommended an e-learning solution to a peer over the most recent 12-month period, and 61 percent claimed that award recognition “impacts their decision” to consider a product or service. The Best of E-learning! program formalizes this referral process.

THE WINNERS CIRCLE

Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines are honored to reveal the 60 brands named Best of Elearning! This year, nine brands are first-time honorees. They are:

>>  Artisan E-learning's Micro-learning

>>  Babbel.com’s Language Learning

>>  Bigger Brains’ Microsoft Office Library

>>  Content Raven’s Learning Experience Platform

>>  Cypher Learning’s Matrix LMS

>>  Elearningforce’s LMS365

>>  ITU Online’s I.T. Courses

>>  J.J. Keller & Associates’ Training On Demand

>>  Learnosity’s assessment solution

Multiple category winners this year are:

Vado’s Leadership Development, Management Development and H.R. Compliance Toolkit; ej4’s Software Skills, Selling Skills and Thinkzoom; Adobe’s Captivate and Connect; Articulate’s Storyline 360 and Replay 360; and BizLibrary’s Collection and Community.

Companies returning to the winners circle with Awards of Excellence this year are: BizLibrary’s Cloud LMS, Community and Connection; dominKnow’s LCMS; Adobe’s Connect; ej4’s Business Skills, Sales Skills and Thinkzoom; Vubiz’s Compliance Library; and Articulate’s Storyline.

New this year, Elearning! magazine selected two brands as Hall of Fame winners. This distinction is to honor brands that have made extraordinary advances in the learning solutions industry. The 2017 Hall of Fame honorees are Adobe and BizLibrary.

ABOUT THE VOTING PROCESS

Elearning! Media Group community members, readers, subscribers and online community were invited to nominate their solution provider via an online ballot during June 1 to October 1, 2017. The ballot was open-ended with 20 categories stipulated. At close, the ballots were reviewed. Duplicates were removed, vendor ballots were nullified as well as votes without a verifiable company domain address (ex.: gmail, aol, etc.). Editors verified product types and categories before counting. The top vote earners in each category were identified as finalists. Those with a 10 percent lead over all other products in a category earned category winner status. Close vote counts and runners-up earned Awards of Excellence.

To learn more, visit www.2elearning. com/awards/best-of-elearning-awards.

AND THE WINNERS ARE …

Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines take great pride in announcing the Best of Elearning! 2017 winners:

WINNER: D2L Brightspace LMS

PRODUCT INFORMATION

D2L Brightspace is an integrated learning platform or learning environment for students who are enrolled in seated, hybrid and online courses.

Brightspace can run online, blended and CBE programs — or even MOOCs — at the same time on a single platform. It is LTI standards-compliant with a full API set and pre-built integrations. It lets you go beyond basic reporting by turning raw data into real insights that you can act on quickly to provide timely guidance.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Instructional Design Wizard aligns content, objectives and instructional strategies

>>  Quizzes, surveys and assignments  measure progress with optional  TurnItIn integration

>>  Course delivery can be fully online, flipped, hybrid or blended

CUSTOMERS

Rochester Institute of Technology, Walmart, Babcock & Wilcox Canada

CONTACT INFORMATION

151 Charles Street West, Suite 400 Kitchener,ON, Canada N2G 1H6 (877) 352-7329 or (519) 772-0325 https://www.d2l.com/products/

Award of Excellence: Adobe Captivate Prime

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Adobe Captivate Prime is a next-generation LMS that delivers personalized learning experiences across multiple devices. It allows you to align all online and offline enterprise-wide learning initiatives to skill, upskill and reskill your employees.

Captivate Prime is engaging, with gamificaiton, unified content playback and high-quality video streaming. Mobile-friendly, it offers personalized dashboards and course recommendations.

Additonally, more than 30 help videos are contained within the product for step- by-step assistance on setting up your LMS that lets employees get onboarded faster with an online help center and 24x7 phone support.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Modern UI built on single Web page architecture that eliminates navigating multiple pages with a friendly user interface and fast application performance

>>  Content-LMS integration that is virtually plug and play

>>  Track multi-format e-learning content such as PPTX, video, PDF, and DOCX files and xAPI-, AICC-, and SCORM- compliant packages.

CUSTOMERS

Publicis Media, BancSource, Prism HR

CONTACT INFORMATION

345 Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95110-2704(408) 536-6000 www.adobe.com/products/captivateprime. html

Award of Excellence: eLogic Learning eSSential LMS

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The eSSential LMS makes delivering, tracking and reporting training activity faster, easier and more accurate. Founded on an agile development philosophy, eLogic continuously adds new functionality based on feedback from clients.

You can cost-effectively deliver online training to your employees, customers and partners. And access training materials anywhere, anytime at the touch of a button. And you never have to worry about a compliance audit again.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Displays seamlessly on any device

>>  Customize course descriptions and  images

>>  Design branded templates (email,  certificates, etc.) to promote training

>>  Wide range of standard reports and  ad-hoc reporting

CUSTOMERS

Northern Tool & Equipment, Outback Steakhouse, Massage Envy Spa

CONTACT INFORMATION

14934 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33613(813) 901-8600 www.elogiclearning.com

WINNER: The BizLibrary Collection

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s learning technology platform is intuitive and responsive, allowing your employees unlimited access to workplace training content on any device, anytime and anywhere for true just-in-time learning.

The library contains thousands of micro-videos, covers a wide variety of topic areas, and includes additional support materials to further increase learning retention.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Content is approved for HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) accreditation

>>  Many lessons and courses include quizzes and additional support materials to extend the learning process, increasing both retention and the return on your training investment.

CUSTOMERS

3M, Kawasaki, Red Roof Inns, Energizer

CONTACT INFORMATION:

14500 South Outer Forty, Suite 500 Town and Country, MO 63017 (888) 432-3077 www.bizlibrary.com

Award of Excellence: CrossKnowledge Learning Suite

PRODUCT INFORMATION

CrossKnowledge Learning Suite offers a most engaging learning experience to transform teams and business with lasting results. Leverage HRIS data to automatically register learners, create groups, assign content. Monitor your KPIs easily with customizable dashboards. Add content from various sources seamlessly.

The company’s “Blended” innovative learning technology converts the learning process into a group project that is integrated into each team member’s professional life. With Blended, you don’t have to choose between blended learning, self-directed learning, mobile apps or MOOCs. It is effective in any context.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Social learning a vital component

>>  Proprietary algorithm suggests the most relevant trainings to individual learners

>>  Available to laptops, tablets or smartphones, depending on learners’ working context

CUSTOMERS

Engie, Comite International, Aviva, Jaguar Land Rover

CONTACT INFORMATION

111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030(877) 725-7517 www.crossknowledge.com

Award of Excellence: Mastery Training Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Mastery has been helping organizations train their employees on workplace safety for more than 20 years. Immediately access more than 800 course topics to address training on topics such as environmental concerns, health and safety, customer service, leadership, team building, and management and supervision. Mastery has a scalable solution to meet your needs. It trains workers across all industries, from service companies to heavy manufacturing operations. It has employee training solutions for every size organization from 10 to 100,000 employees.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Train anywhere, anytime

>>  Courses are SCORM compliant

>>  Reduce accidents, injuries and other losses

>>  Ensure compliance with your diversity, ethics and harassment policies

CUSTOMERS

Renewable Concepts, Remetronix, Cactus Feeders, Transystems

CONTACT INFORMATION

41214 Bridge St. Novi, MI 48375 (800) 258-3837 www.mastery.com

WINNER: dominKnow Platform

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The dominKnow Platform is a Web-based authoring and publishing solution that helps teams collaborate in real-time, share and re-use content, and easily engage subject-matter experts in the review process. Content is ready for delivery from virtually any location — all from a single source. Included are all the features you need to create engaging, media-rich learning experiences, including customizable testing, flexible interactions and animation creation, advanced variables, branching, audio/video recording, software simulations, system and author created templates and much more

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Responsive and adaptive output

>>  Full-featured HTML5 authoring

>>  Content sharing and reuse

>>  Real-time collaboration

>>  Publish to LMS, LRS, apps, print

CUSTOMERS

Society of Actuaries, Underwriters Laboratories, Vital Learning, Larmer Brown

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

WINNER: Adobe Connect

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The Adobe Connect Web conferencing software service offers immersive online meeting experiences for collaboration, virtual classrooms and large-scale webinars.

With Connect, you can create and deploy engaging on-demand learning content using Microsoft PowerPoint plug-in Adobe Captivate and Adobe Presenter. You can use the features of a learning management system (LMS) at a fraction of the cost with Adobe Connect, or integrate it with your existing LMS.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Measure live learner participation with engagement monitoring

>>  Brandable, customizable and persistent virtual classrooms

>>  Streamline live session management with intuitive backstage tools

CUSTOMERS

University of Arizona, SoDA (The Digital Society), Kentucky Labor Cabinet, BPP Professional Education

CONTACT INFORMATION

345 Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95110-2704 (408) 536-6000 www.adobe.com/products

WINNER: ej4 Software Skills Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Want to know everything there is to know about I.T. training? Visit the ej4 “Software Skills” Library. There, you’ll find relatable information about gmail, SharePoint, Access 2013 and Excel 2010. You’ll discover how to tame your email inbox and how to interface with Outlook. You’ll also discover how to create an Access database and how to control data entry. And you’ll learn how important Excel workbooks are, how to format text and keyboard shortcuts.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Short videos, with an average length of 7 minutes, 12 seconds

>>  Ten videos added to the library every week

>>  Currently 1,500 videos covering not only software skills but…

>>  More than 35 total categories

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: Bigger Brains Microsoft Office Complete Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Bigger Brains offers expertly designed business skills courses in Microsoft Office, Google apps, sales, marketing, ethics, leadership and more.

A unique “teacher/learner” format avoids a one-way information dump, creating an engaging conversation, with dialogue, questions and  answers, humor and more.

SCORM bundles allow organizations to load their LMSs with high-quality, searchable courses on Microsoft Office and other productivity topics.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Courses capture and maintain your attention

>>  No tedious or boring lectures

>>  Requires only minutes to learn and master a new skill

>>  Topics focus on real-world, practical knowledge and skills

CUSTOMERS

ej4, OpenSesame, Halogen Software, Callidus Cloud

CONTACT INFORMATION

1520 E. Greenville St., Suite D Anderson, SC 29621(864) 421-6950 or (800) 743-2724 www.getbiggerbrains.com

WINNER: Vado Leadership Development Learning Track

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Individuals build leadership skills that can help in any role, whether the person is an individual contributor, new supervisor or experienced manager. This course bundle includes bite-sized mobile-ready courses like “Keeping Customers Informed," "Seek Out the Ideas and Opinions of Others," “Show Good Judgment Regarding Creative Ideas” and “Performing an Integrity Review.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Helps learners apply learning on the job through step-by-step instructions and exercises

>>  All of Vado’s courses start with a short, high-definition (HD) instructional video

>>  Content optimized for the mobile learner

CUSTOMERS

Baylor Scott & White Health, Frasca Flight Simulation, Kingston General Hospital

CONTACT INFORMATION

P.O. Box 390153 Minneapolis, MN 55439 (952) 545-6698 www.vadoinc.net

Award of Excellence: ej4 Leadership Content

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The philosophy espoused by ej4 is that great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Employees take training more seriously when you invest in quality materials with relevant content. Not only that, but the material is engaging. When employees hear content that is relevant to them, delivered by people who look and sound like they do, retention and application of content is increased.

Topics include “Becoming a Great Leader,” “What Is Mentoring?,” “The Importance of Succession Planning” and “Managing Interns.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  “Plug-and-play” content fits any organization, providing information that is ready-to-use now

>>  Short formats and on-demand availability

>>  Line managers can look up the topics or skills they need on the spot then get back to work quickly having learned something new

>>  Learners can receive training at the workplace or at home, whichever is more convenient

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive,Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: ej4 Leadership Content

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The philosophy espoused by ej4 is that great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Employees take training more seriously when you invest in quality materials with relevant content. Not only that, but the material is engaging. When employees hear content that is relevant to them, delivered by people who look and sound like they do, retention and application of content is increased.

Topics include “Becoming a Great Leader,” “What Is Mentoring?,” “The Importance of Succession Planning” and “Managing Interns.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  “Plug-and-play” content fits any organization, providing information that is ready-to-use now

>>  Short formats and on-demand availability

>>  Line managers can look up the topics or skills they need on the spot then get back to work quickly having learned something new

>>  Learners can receive training at the workplace or at home, whichever is more convenient

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive,Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNER: Vado Management Development Learning Track

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Vado offers numerous soft skill development courses for a variety of performance areas and competencies including: Career development, coachng, communication, conflict management, delegating work, development, employee engagement, feedback; Leadership, meeting management, onboarding, recognition, retaining employees, supervision basics, teamwork and work relationships.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Helps learners apply learning on the job through step by step instructions and exercises

>>  All courses start with a short, high-definition (HD) instructional video

>>  Content optimized for the mobile learner

CUSTOMERS

Baylor Scott & White Health, Frasca Flight Simulation, Kingston General Hospital

CONTACT INFORMATION

P.O. Box 390153 Minneapolis, MN 55439 (952) 545-6698 www.vadoinc.net

Award of Excellence: BizLibrary Business Skills Collection

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BizLibrary’s Business Skills Collection includes “Lean: Common Tools,” which is part of the company’s Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) course. It tells organizations how to eliminate waste and do more with less.

Also included in the collection are “Business Etiquette: Best Practices,” “Total Quality Management: Creating a SIPOC Table,” “Customer Grid Analysis, “Six Sigma: Process Control,” and more.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Quizzes, handouts and additional support materials

>>  Mobile-friendly

>>  HRCI, SHRM, PDU accredited content

>>  Knowledgable staff that focuses on customers

CUSTOMERS

King’s Hawaiian, American Red Cross,Dollar General, Red Roof Inn

CONTACT INFORMATION:

14500 South Outer Forty, Suite 500 Town and Country, MO 63017 (888) 432-3077 www.bizlibrary.com

Award of Excellence: ej4 Business Skills Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes ej4 and its “Just” products: Just as needed - Create programs with the specific topics your employees need. Just enough - Find the most useful, actionable material in an easy-to-digest format. Just in time - Get content right when you need it with on-demand learning tools. Just right - Use ej4’s extensive library or customize your own learning experience.

Business skills courses include topics like leadership, supervision, safety, customer service, selling, and much more.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  “Plug-and-play” content that fits any organization

>>  Short formats

>>  On-demand availability

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Allied World, Pepsi, Goodwill Industries

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNERS (tie):  Vado H.R. Compliance Tool Kit

PRODUCT INFORMATION

This training starts with the laws but goes beyond by teaching people how to behave toward others, and teaching how they can expect to be treated in return.

The Preventing Discrimination and Harassment Toolkit: “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Employees” (30 minutes) (available in Spanish); “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for Managers” (60 minutes); and “Preventing Discrimination and Harassment for California/Connecticut Managers” (2 hours).

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Creative, flexible, interactive, experiential training

>>  Episode-based, broadcast quality and Millennial friendly

CUSTOMERS

Frasca International, IEWC Global Solutions McKinstry

CONTACT INFORMATION

P.O. Box 390153 Minneapolis, MN 55439 (952) 545-6698 www.vadoinc.net

WINNERS (tie): Vubiz Compliance Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Almost 100 titles comprise the Vubiz Compliance Library. Some of the most popular titles include “Diversity in the Workplace, “Fair Labor Standards Act,” “Healthcare Fraud and Abuse,“Managing Workplace Stress, “Sarbanes-Oxley Act Primer,” and “The Affordable Care Act.”

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Full service: content, development, and delivery software

>>  Thousands of hours of off-the-shelf content available for purchase as-is or tailored to a specific situation

>>  Large, diverse elearning library with more than 4,000 online hours

CUSTOMERS

Bumble Bee Foods, Canon, Davita Health Care, Goodrich Corp., Lockheed Martin

CONTACT INFORMATION

2872 Colorado Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310) 358-9583 www.vubizl.com

Award of Excellence: ej4 Workplace Compliance Library

PRODUCT INFORMATION

ej4’s libraries of courses consist of ready to use solutions for your organizations specific needs. They are broken up by topic in Business Skills, Workplace Compliance and Microsoft Office that can be deployed on any platform.

Programs included are: “Anti-Harassment,” “Anti-Harassment for California, Connecticut, and Maine,” HIPAA, FLSA, FMLA, “Hiring and Firing procedures,”and more. When the regulations change, programs are updated accordingly, so you don’t have to keep track of the changes.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Short, tactical e-learning

>>  Fully customizable

>>  Multi-platform, including mobile

>>  Most video titles are 10 minutes or less in length

>>  Off-the-shelf programs can be customized using ej4 Thinkzoom

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300 St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNER: ej4 Selling Skills Content

PRODUCT INFORMATION

ej4’s libraries consist of ready-to-use solutions for your organization’s specific needs. They are broken up by topic in Business Skills, Workplace Compliance and Microsoft Office that can be deployed on any platform.

The company’s Business Skills Library offers courses in Professional Productivity, Communications, Sales, Project Management, Leadership, Supervision, Safety and Presentation Skills — to name a few.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Other titles: Assertive Verbal Skills, Business Travel, Business Statistics, Business Writing, Time Value of Money, and more

>>  Library expands every month, based on customer feedback

>>  Course titles can be added upon customer request

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive,Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: Baker Communications, Inc. Win-Win Negotiations

PRODUCT INFORMATION

BCI’s unique blend of training, technology and learning reinforcement is said to improve retention, change behavior, and produce high-performers.

BCI is committed to helping companies and individuals achieve world-class (top 2%) performance. It’s where top athletes find their home, where top sellers receive double-comma incomes, where leaders take their teams to new heights, and where companies leave their competition behind. And surprisingly, BCI has shown that it sometimes takes only a small change in some of the fundamentals.

The company’s approach begins with unique classroom and online training. It then uses a mobile learning reinforcement tool and gamification to augment more traditional individual, manager and team coaching.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Ability to embed online training inside most CRMS and other software

>>  Learning and coaching is provided during normal workflows

CUSTOMERS

Moog, SpawGlass, HighMount Exploration and Production, Denali Alaskan FCU

CONTACT INFORMATION

10333 Richmond Ave. Houston, Texas, 77042(877) 253-8506 or (713) 627-7700 www.bakercommunications.com

Award of Excellence: dominKnow Claro

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Claro courses are designed for a fixed page size, but are HTML5-based so they are still viewable on laptop and desktop computers as well as mobile devices.

Using Claro can be as simple as importing a PowerPoint file and publishing. Or use a PowerPoint file as a starting point, adding learning activities and assessment questions for a fuller learning experience. Plus, you can also easily create complex events like hiding and swapping content all the way through to inter-page branching.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Responsive and adapative output

>>  Full-featured HTML5 authoring

>>  Content sharing and reuse

>>  Self-described “world-class support”

CUSTOMERS

Meridium, ViaSat Inc., Society of Actuaries, Underwriters Laboratories

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

WINNER: Adobe Captivate 2017

PRODUCT INFORMATION

With the Adobe Captivate 2017 release, you can automatically create fully responsive content using innovative “Fluid Boxes,” transform legacy courses to responsive e-learning with just a few clicks, and deliver beautiful fonts everywhere using Adobe Typekit integration.

Design all types of content: simulations, HD demos, assessments and more, with just one tool. Create storyboards using Adobe Captivate Draft, and turn them seamlessly into attractive courses.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  More than 75,000+ free e-learning assets included

>>  Easy conversion to desktop courses and/or mobile learning

>>  Develop complex e-learning modules using advanced features or by writing your own scripts

CUSTOMERS

Nissan, Hotels.com, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Roche Diagnostics

CONTACT INFORMATION

345 Park Ave. San Jose, CA 95110-2704(408) 536-6000 www.adobe.com/products/captivate.html

Award of Excellence: dominKnow Capture

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Use dominKnow’s Capture to create crossplatform, software simulations for stand-alone use or integration with other learning content.

Capture is a hybrid tool – it allows you to work from your local desktop for speed and efficiency but stores your work to the Cloud immediately — and it works on both Windows and Mac.

Once you’ve made a Capture, you can quickly add highlighting or arrows using the Draw tools. Or add tips using the Markers tool to help your learners better navigate the learning process.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Real-time collaboration

>>  Publish to LMS, LRS, apps, print

>>  Built-in features, including customizable testing, branching, etc.

>>  Ability to receive feedback from content reviewers

CUSTOMERS

Vital Learning, LarmerBrown, Módulo GRC, Worldwide Interactive

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

WINNER: BizLibrary Community

PRODUCT INFORMATION

In a knowledge-based world, employees need immediate access to information and data to perform at their full potential.  BizLibrary’s Community puts the collective knowledge of an entire organization at  everyone’s fingertips. It’s modeled after social networking tools your employees already use, and it’s essential for sharing knowledge, seeking information, and learning new things.

It’s a great forum for sharing important articles, ideas for process, service or product improvements and funny or anecdotal stories.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Almost eliminates internal email

>>  Helps remote employees feel and stay connected

>>  A vital component of the company’s content management and learning management offerings

CUSTOMERS

Red Roof, FedBid, Watco Companies, Marquette Savings Bank

CONTACT INFORMATION

14500 South Outer Forty, Suite 500 Town and Country, MO 63017 (888) 432-3077 www.bizlibrary.com

Award of Excellence:  ej4 The Quad

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Employees can now join their friends when they use the online learning library. They can learn by watching what others do with The Quad, an intuitive social learning technology. It is a social community inside the Thinkzoom (LMS) campus created to encourage learners to connect with other learners. They can create their own informal network of peers beyond their formal, assigned learning groups.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Leverages workplace friendships and connections to enhance the learning experience in an entertaining environment

>>  Learners can initiate friendly competition with lifetime leaderboards, knowledge sharing, and training reinforcement quizzes

>>  Employees can recommend courses and interact with their peers

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

WINNER: ej4 Thinkzoom

PRODUCT INFORMATION

With Thinkzoom LMS, not only can you see which videos your employees are watching, but you can observe how well they comprehend the material with built-in interactive exams. You can set score requirements and even provide additional student materials so they can put their knowledge to practice.

This learning management system also has a comprehensive reporting feature that allows you to create custom reports based on users, groups, courses and topics. Understanding which courses are popular and which are lacking participation can help you measure your training progress and communicate future training goals.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Use off-the-shelf content or customize the off-the-shelf content

>>  Authoring tools for sharing company-specific knowledge and content

CUSTOMERS

Kawasaki, Dr. Pepper/Snapple, Pepsi, Culligan, Mahindra

CONTACT INFORMATION

12125 Woodcrest Executive Drive, Suite 300St. Louis, MO 63141(314) 878-6700 or (816) 489-4660 www.ej4.com

Award of Excellence: CrossKnowledge Mohive

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Mohive is the CrossKnowledge digital publishing platform that lets you easily design and deliver custom e-learning content using a unique platform that simplifies each step of the process.

It quickly delivers content for the business world that is beautiful, engaging and efficient, with step-by-step guidance and a technology designed to drive content production and share knowledge.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Responsive to every mobile device

>>  Focus on content while Mohive does the rest

>>  Different interactive activities without limits

>>  100% Cloud-based for on-the-go learning

CUSTOMERS

Jaguar Land Rover, Equinix, Air France

CONTACT INFORMATION

111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030(877) 725-7517 www.crossknowledge.com

Award of Excellence: dominKnow Flow

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Flow outputs fully responsive and adaptive content so you don’t have to worry about specific devices or multiple versions of the same content.

Flow is easy to get started with but packed with options to customize page behavior and create engaging and visually- stunning content. The Flow authoring stage is a live-author environment. View your page across all screen-width settings as you make it, or pop open a preview to see the page come to life.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

>>  Built-in widgets like tab sets, panels and carousels

>>  Design and tracking tools are built in

>>  Project assets stored in one central location

>>  Comments logged and tracked for streamlined review

 CUSTOMERS

Gabrielli Consulting, Meridium, ViaSat Inc, Vital Learning

CONTACT INFORMATION

183 Michael Cowpland Dr. Kanata, ON Canada, K2M 0M3 (613) 800-8733 www.dominknow.com

Award of Excellence: Artisan E-learning Micro-learning

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Does your organizaiton need great e-learning courses that get you clear business results, yet you don’t have the time or know-how to develop courses internally? Artisan works with you and your subject-matter experts to gather, organize, design, write and build engaging, interactive e-learning courses.

Whether you are working with policies and procedures, compliance, product knowledge, computer systems, business skills, or just about any other topic, Artisan can help bring your content to life. Its people can start from scratch or convert your existing classroom training into media-rich, interactive e-learning courses that track to your learning management system (LMS) using SCORM standards, or that track to your learning record store (LRS) using xAPI.

FEATURES/BENEFITS

 >>  Get your course text translated properly while managing voiceovers, reassembling the course, and testing the content across several browsers

>>  Customer-responsive team includes Section 508 and WCAG experts, usability professionals, and tech-savvy designers

CUSTOMERS

JLG Industries, Crystal River Cruises,American Red Cross, Community Associations Institute

CONTACT INFORMATION

52 Tuscan Way, Suite 202-379 St. Augustine, FL 32092 (904) 800-9395 www.artisanelearning.com

 

 

If you would like to view the full list of Best of Elearning! 2017 Award Winners, click HERE!

 

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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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