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By Bruce Tulgan

Undermanagement can be difficult to identify. After all, everyone at work is surrounded by metrics and meetings all the time. It may seem like management is ever-present. But what is missing in most workplaces is the human element of management: managers providing direct reports with the guidance, direction, support and coaching that they need to succeed.

The reality is that it keeps getting harder to manage people. The vast majority of managers are still struggling to provide employees with the high-structure, high-substance coaching they need. When managers fail to provide that structured leadership, person-to-person, it exacerbates the very factors that make it hard to manage people in the first place. As a result, too many managers are stuck in a vicious cycle of undermanagement. But most don’t even realize it.

The undermanagement epidemic persists. And it is hiding in plain sight in nearly every workplace.

There Are Five Reasons It Is Harder to Manage People Today

It’s always been hard to manage people. Managers have always been stuck in the middle between the employer and the employee, trying to negotiate their competing needs and expectations. But today, managers are telling us that it is harder than ever before.

Why? There are five powerful trends in the workplace today making it harder than ever to manage people:

1) The Pace of Work Is Increasing

The intensity, complexity, and pace of work is increasing – for everyone. Regardless of position or title, continuous improvement is now the norm. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, ongoing skill building and mastery is a requirement.

2) Hiring and Retention Challenges

Hiring and retention challenges mean most organizations are understaffed in key departments, placing additional pressure on employees and managers in those departments. Organizations that disproportionately rely on new, young employees are also more likely to struggle with skill training and wisdom transfer.

3) Fewer Layers of Management

As organizations have removed unnecessary layers of management, the managers who are left are responsible for larger and larger teams. There is an increased likelihood that managers are responsible for employees working in remote locations, or on different schedules.

4) Constant Pressure to Improve Productivity and Quality

Managers are under more pressure to increase productivity and quality from their teams. Today, that means getting more work out of fewer employees, while utilizing fewer resources.

5) Increased Interdependency

More work is handled in interdependent working relationships and cross-functional teams. Managers and their employees are responsible for managing more relationships and moving parts than ever before. Most employees are answering to short-term project leaders in addition to their primary manager.

The Solution Is More Engagement, Not Less

In nearly every one of the thousands of cases we’ve studied, there is a straightforward solution: a commitment to learning and practicing the fundamentals of leadership. That means regularly scheduled, high-substance, high-structure one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports, so that leaders can stay on top of what’s happening and help their employees plan and prioritize for the best outcome.

We’ve watched how consistently practicing the fundamentals of management has dramatically improved the effectiveness and bottom-line results of managers at all levels, in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Is undermanagement affecting your organization? Learn more about identifying and preventing the vicious cycle of undermanagement in our latest white paper: The Undermanagement Epidemic Report 2019.

About the author:

Bruce Tulgan, Founder & CEO, RainmakerThinking, Inc. Bruce Tulgan is an adviser to business leaders all over the world and a sought-after keynote speaker and seminar leader. He is the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking, Inc., a management research and training firm, as well as RainmakerLearning.com, an online training service. Bruce can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , you can follow him on Twitter @BruceTulgan, or visit his website www.rainmakerthinking.com.

 

Published in Insights

 

-Consumer Tech Trends Impacting Enterprise Learning

By Catherine Upton

If you haven’t recovered from the tech hangover at the Consumer Technology Show, get ready. The rapid pace of development is like drinking from a firehose. What does this mean to those of us working to keep up with all our tasks with an eye to how to do it better? Our editors have provided some insights and implications for enterprise learning.

The State of Data

In 2000, we entered the Digital Age- death to analog devices. This one trend changed the language of our future to digital. Digital devices proliferated and permeated all aspects of our lives. Even young children are bonded to their parent’s iPads.

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Source: CTA.tech

With digital proliferation, came connection. In 2010, the Connected Age was born. We use our devices to connect with individuals and communities, content and work. Facebook, and the like, changed the way we socialize, date and even marry. Streaming services like Netflix are smart and predictive.  Now, our digital devices, communities and cars are interconnected.

This digital transformation created a digital footprint of all things we do, like, buy, sell and more. This data is aggregated and consumed by machines and fuels AI applications. We are entering the Data Age 2020.

[“The new Internet of Things is the ‘Intelligence of Things,” --Steve Koenig, VP of Research, Consumer Technology Association]

 

Future Technology Ingredients

This next stage of technology is emerging in today’s consumer technologies. Voice Computing, 5G, AI, Robotics, Biometrics, and Blockchain are the ingredients for the next generation of technology. We see Digital Assistants with voice activation prevalent in most consumer devices. The voice interface will be the interface of the future- no more typing.  AR/VR, Digital Health, and Vehicle Technologies and Resilient Technologies are here today.

[“We spent the last 30 years connecting people. We will spend the next 30 years connecting things,”--Brian Modoff, EVP, Qualcomm]

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Source: CTA.tech

5G Development

The development of 5G networks will allow overwhelmingly fast transfer of data. Large videos will download in seconds versus minutes. Problems will be solved in seconds with massive data searches and AI interfaces. 5G phones and fixed wireless broadband will be accessible from most major cities by the end of this decade. 5G will connect our cars, homes, appliances and work life.

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The Intelligence of Things

Digital Assistants, embedded AI and smart Machine-Learning place intelligence in our environments. It delegates our simple tasks to automation. No more shopping lists as Alexa will know what’s missing in our refrigerator. Apply this to the workplace, and Alexa-like digital assistants will find missing information, assist our decision-making and in many cases, do mundane repetitive tasks so we can create and solve. AI- embedded chips are on our phones that learn, “Say Hello Siri.” Associate our behaviors into one stream vs many singular activities, “Joe’s calling.”

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Source: CTA.tech

Voice assistants will be everywhere. Alexa, or the like, are in our cars, appliances and workplace tools. Support for AI services, deliverables and tools will determine the winners and losers in the marketplace. Voice will be the interface going forward…less carpel tunnel syndrome in our future.

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We are so early in the AI game. Yet, Alexa already has 60,000 skill lessons across 20,000 different platforms. Imagine where we’ll be in 5 years. Almost all repetitive training will be conducted by digital aides. (See article on AI-based learning by Sam Adkins.)

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Source: CTA.tech

EXPLORE in VR

A truly 3D immersive environment is possible with Virtual Reality (VR). With VR, we can now expand our reality to the stars to “explore where no man has gone before.”  TESLA has developed a VR suit, TESLASUIT, where you can be transformed and enter any VR environment. The full-body haptic feedback, motion capture, thermo controlled suit reinvents virtual reality. We have moved from VR glasses to VR presence.

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Pictured: TESLASUIT by TESLA Source: CTA.tech

Japan is expanding the VR experience to with VRZone, a VR amusement park. Players literally come into the zone and plug in. Imagine using this application to create an ERZone, MarsZone or SeasZone for study and exploration. Training can become immersive with programs like OilRigZone for fire safety training, etc.

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Source: CTA.tech

Augmented Reality (AR) Expands Boundaries

AR has moved off your phone to other devices. Like VR, AR now has headsets, glasses and mirrors that can place you in an AR environment, show you a new haircut or try on a virtual dress.   Today, we see AR in used in mapping, shopping, in sporting events- See that yellow line in NFL games? Museums are leveraging AR to augment content and create visualize experiences like life as an Egyptian in 6000 BC. 

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Source: CTA.tech

Digital Health Promotes Behavior Change

Digital devices have given us insights into how simple activities like walking 10,000 steps a day can save a life. Today, Apple has the largest health history archives in the USA thanks to the Apple Watch.

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Pictured: Digital Health Applications: Diagnostics, Health Watch, Sleep Monitors Source: CTA.tech

Imagine if these same techniques were used in the workplace. By wearing smart sensing technologies, workers in hazardous jobs could alter course when gases are detected. Truck drivers who are overly fatigued could be rested. The underlying technology and software for all these practices are being honed in the consumer market. Those high value industries will be the next to test, deploy and benefit from these developments.

Conclusion

The pace of change will continue to accelerate over the next 5 years. AI, AR/VR and many new innovations will enable and empower us as consumer and workers. We are moving from the horse and buggy era to a supersonic jet in years versus decades. Hold on tight to that firehose.

Source: “CES 2019 Tech Trends” by Steve Koenig, VP, Market Research, Ben Arnold, Sr. Director, Innovation & Trends & Lesley Rohrbaugh, Director, Market Research. Download PPT at: https://www.slideshare.net/intlces/ces-2019-tech-trends?

 

Published in Trends

 

By Tim Tobin

Choice Hotels is a leading hospitality franchising company with nearly 6,000 hotels across 11 brands around the world. From a learning perspective, ChoiceU.com is the LMS portal for over 50,000 Choice franchisees to access, complete, and track learning activities. It includes a wide range of required and elective content needed to run their business. The content spans lessons on our proprietary systems, operations and brand programs.

The Mission

Choice Hotels is committed to learning to drive our franchisee's performance. We engage and prepare all levels of learners from front desk and housekeeping to General Managers and Owners. We provide multiple opportunities for learning from the onboarding process throughout one's employee lifecycle. We understand scale by training over 50,000 unique, geographically dispersed learners globally each year. We do so while maintaining a focus on the unique needs and preferences of each of our learners. We make learning easily accessible, fun, engaging, and results-oriented. We seek input from our learners continuously. We challenge ourselves to deliver content that matters most to our learners and their business in the most useful and relevant ways that meet their needs and preferences.

On May 17, 2017, we launched ChoiceU 2.0. The initiative focused on transforming our LMS to be a more engaging, relevant, dynamic and user-friendly learning tool. This evolution did not require a new LMS. We transformed our Learning ecosystem by evolving our learning delivery, processes, capabilities. and content to meet the needs of our diverse workforce.

[ This solution was not all about technology.]

At the Beginning

It all started in 2016 with an enterprise-wide assessment of learning tools, management system and content.   We gathered data from internal stakeholders as well as from our primary learners – franchisees. We obtained input from Owners, General Managers, and across other employee groups such as front desk associates. The purpose of the data collection was to understand what was working well with ChoiceU.com and what needed to be improved.

Very early on in the data collection and analysis, a common theme emerged. The theme was “we love ChoiceU.com, but…” There were high levels of support for the tool. However, learners found it to be “overwhelming,” “difficult to find what they were looking for,” and for the more senior roles of owners and GMs “lacking relevant content for their role.” We also learned that our methods of delivery did not meet the learners needs or preferences. To that point, content was typically delivered in 45-60-minute online modules. Our learners accepted the online nature of learning in our geographically dispersed environment, but the length presented operational challenges because many learners are guest facing and not traditional office workers.

With that data in hand, we set out to re-design and significantly enhance the learners’ experience. We wanted to make it easy to access learning and make the content and delivery relevant and engaging. Our goal was to increase course completions and help drive key business results. Those results included Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), Overall Service, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Likelihood to Recommend (LTR). 

Our Journey

We combined adult learning principles and leveraged available technologies to develop a comprehensive overhaul of ChoiceU.com. The solution was a major transformation that included many new features and functionality. Utilizing our internal capabilities, solutions in general included needs assessment, user experience testing, micro-learning, learning maps, e-learning, video-based content, and business metrics. It is important to note that all of those listed below are new to ChoiceU.com as part of this transformation.

  •          Created new learning taxonomy

We organized all content by the following four areas: a) systems/operations, b) brand/service, c) leadership/management, and d) functional areas.

  •          Tailored learning and overall user experience to brand and job function.

 Once logged in, the user experience will be based upon the learner’s brand including colors, logos and images.

  •          Integrated interactive learning maps.

One-page roadmaps were created specific to individual’s brand and job function that outlines the content necessary for success in role. Once an activity is completed, the chevron receives a ‘check’ mark. If new content is added, the chevron is unchecked.

  •          Developed Business Solution Maps.

We partnered with stakeholders to identify the top five business challenges facing leaders on property (e.g., preparing for inspection, improving profitability, increasing guest satisfaction, etc.) and built a curriculum specifically to address each of those challenges.

  •          Launched ChoiceU TV

These short (3-15 minute) video lessons are facilitated by an internal subject matter expert or approved business partner.

  •          Incorporated leadership and management content

We partnered with a third-party to add over 80 leadership and management modules in multiple languages.

  •          Supplemented Human Resource and Legal educational resources

Because we are a franchisor, we have limited ability to provide HR or Legal educational resources. We partnered with a third-party provider to include a wide range of these resources to our franchisees.

  •          Added full mobile-enabled functionality
  1. com is fully mobile-enabled across multiple platforms.
  •          Engaged messaging feature

Once logged in, users see the most recent messages. Messages can be tailored to each user by job function and brand.

  •          Added multiple language interface

On the log in page, users have the option to select from five languages to translate the user interface.

  •          Content ratings collected.

Introduced a five-star rating system that allows users to rate and leave comments on every piece of content. Top rated content rises to the top of searches, and it serves as a diagnostic for the ChoiceU team to monitor content.

  •          Enhanced search functionality

Learners can now search by topic, title, keyword, or type of learning.

  •          Easier course registration

Introduced a calendar feature with one-click registration for all live, instructor-led and webinar course; also, once logged in, no course is more than 3 clicks away from registration.

  •          Added documents and Resources section for job aids

Included this new tab to host job aids and other quick tip resources organized by our new taxonomy.

  •          Hosted multiple apps

Introduced brand specific apps to support Daily Huddle/Stand Ups for two brands (Comfort Inn and Suites and Sleep Inn). We built upon their service principles and blended discussion and action into a short (~15 minute) format.

Learners ChoiceU Experience

Personalized Dashboard with Integrated Apps & Live Stream Updates

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Relevant Content Centralized in One Location

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Learner’s Achievements

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Our Results

Results to date have been impressive. We have attracted more students to ChoiceU.com and they are completing more content. Early indications are showing promise for business results as well. As of year-end 2017, we achieved the following:

  • Surpassed 57K active student accounts on CU.com
  • Increased course completions from 336K in 2015 to over 1.3M in 2016 to 1.7M in 2017
  • Increased the number of course completions by owners by over 3x (from 9K in 2015 to over 29K in 2017)
  • Reduced page views by 20% and session duration by nearly 50% indicating learners are finding content faster
  • Achieved nearly 200K completions on ChoiceU TV
  • Increased webinar registrations by over 25% since 2015
    •          Increased brand program adoption rate by 3x with Comfort Service Champions
    •          Achieved 1500 certified Champions in 4 months compared to 1-year w similar previous initiative adoption
    •          ChoiceU.com Superusers – the top 100 in completions – have ADR of $87.04 compared to $79.76 for all other hotels. This same group has LTR of 8.56 versus 8.07 for all others
    •          Increased LTR scores for properties engagement levels with ChoiceU.com. Using Comfort Inn as an example (see chart 1 below), those with no engagement with ChoiceU.com have average LTR of 8.11; low engagement has 8.19; mid-level engagement has 8.27. Properties highly engaged with ChoiceU.com have average LTR of 8.46.
    •          Overall Service scores increased from 8.36 for None and 8.83 for high engagement. Similar results exist across each brand with the greatest increase in scores from the None category to Low suggesting that even some levels of engagement with ChoiceU.com may noticeably increase results across key metrics.

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    Chart 1: Likelihood to Recommend Improvements

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    Conclusion

    This solution was not all about technology. Although ChoiceU.com was the primary anchor of this transformation, the successes we have realized to date are due to the front end work we did to fully understand the needs of the business and our learners, the current state of ChoiceU.com, taking into consideration our operational environment (franchisor, geographically dispersed, 24/7 service model, etc.), subject matter expertise in adult learning principles and theory, and how we structured the team to be more customer centric. It would be easy to overlook any single aspect of what went into the solution. However, it was the combination of these considerations that drove the solution.

    [ The successes we have realized …are due to the front end work we did to fully understand the needs of the business and our learners.]

    We asked, listened and understood. Then we tested, partnered, monitored – and continue to monitor results – and modify accordingly. We have come a long way since we initially identified the need, but we have not fully completed the transformation.   In the near term, we are looking at ways to champion user generated content, demonstrate stronger ties to business results, establish additional business partnerships, enhance the user admin functionality, and introduce leaderboards and badges.

    About the Author

    timtobinarticleimage

    Tim Tobin is CLO of Choice Hotels International. Choice Hotels has been named a Learning! 100 Award-winner in 2017 and 2018.

     

    Published in Top Stories

     By Sam S. Adkins

    Benjamin Bloom is a household name in the training and education industry. He made two invaluable contributions to the industry: Bloom's Taxonomy and the famous 2-Sigma study. This article focusses on his 2-sigma research and the dramatic impact of AI-based Learning on what he called "the 2-sigma problem."

    A Refresher

    In his seminal 1984 study, Bloom and two of his doctoral students compared the effectiveness of learning transfer achieved by groups of students being taught in a traditional classroom setting, using so-called Mastery Learning, or being tutored by grad students in small cohorts of one to three children. "Most striking were the differences in final achievement measures under the three conditions," wrote Bloom. "Using the standard deviation (sigma) of the control (conventional) class, it was typically found that the average student under tutoring was about two standard deviations above the average of the control class (the average tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class)." This is the infamous 2-sigma, or two standard deviations of achievement compared to conventional classroom instruction.

    Bloom also wrote “The tutoring process demonstrates that most of the students have the potential to reach this high level of learning.  I believe an important task of research and instruction is to seek ways of accomplishing this under more practical and realistic conditions than the one-to-one tutoring, which is too costly for most societies to bear on a large scale.  This is the 2-sigma problem."

    metaarichartimage

    2-Sigma Solution

    Artificial Intelligence-based Learning has proven to be quite effective at one-to-one personalized instruction and is tremendously scalable. Properly designed, AI-based Learning categorically solves the 2-sigma problem.

    Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) have been used by the US military for decades. All the ITS implementations included comprehensive statistical analysis of mastery outcomes.  I worked with J.D. Fletcher at the US government's Institute of Defense Analyses to compile the mastery metrics for eighteen intelligent tutoring systems. We found three empirical studies that showed that the use of next-generation Cognitive Tutors exceeded the 2-sigma deviation.

    Conclusion

    There is now rapid global adoption in all six buying segments across all seven regions tracked by Metaari. AI-based Learning is now going mainstream in developed economies and gaining traction in the developing economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. AI-based Learning truly is the answer to solving Bloom’s 2-signma problem. Look at the newest AI-based Learning applications for proof.

    For more on this subject, view “How AI-Based Learning is Solving Bloom’s 2-Signma Problem” by Sam S. Adkins.

     samadkinsarticleimage

    About the Author

    Sam Adkins is Chief Researcher at Metaari. Metaari is a market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for learning technology suppliers. Metaari principals have refined a sophisticated learning technology product categorization schema. Their research taxonomy is the backbone of their quantitative data repository.  Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Part 1 of this 2 part article can be found HERE.

     

    Published in Top Stories

     

    By Sam S. Adkins

    Metaari defines AI-based Learning as education and training technology that enables personalized learning via Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. Conversational AI is a specialized form of Natural Language Processing (NLP). Conversational AIs adapt to individuals and engage in natural communication via text and speech with humans. They learn as they interact with users. Conversational AIs are the foundation of AI-based Learning.

    Metaari published a new market report called "The 2019-2024 Global AI-based Learning Market: Learning in the Bright Air" in January 2019. According to the report, "The international AI-based Learning market reached $1.4 billion in 2019. The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is a robust 28.4% and revenues will surge to $3.8 billion by 2023."

    In our report, we identified over 600 AI-based Learning companies. The vast majority are startups that have launched in the last two years and new companies continue to come on the market at a rapid pace. The barriers-to-entry are now quite low since developers can connect to commercial cloud-based AI engines dramatically reducing the cost of development. 

    In this article, Metaari reveals the most interesting applications of AI in education, healthcare and corporate learning and the motivations for adoption.

    The Grail Has Always Been Personalized Learning

    Despite claims to the contrary, true personalized learning via technology was never possible before the advent of AI. One of the best-known cognitive computing platforms is IBM's Watson and a growing number of developers are building AI-based Learning products on top of Watson's cloud-based platform. Pearson, Apple, Blackboard, Scholastic, Sesame Street, Edmodo (now owned by China's NetDragon) and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are selling new educational products built on Watson.

    Other AI-based Learning developers that integrate IBM Watson include Blupears, Cognitoys, ThoughtFocus, Tencent, and Circadence. They develop fundamentally different products. Blupears is an early childhood learning app. Cognitoys develops physical robots (smart toys) that teach kids to code. ThoughtFocus develops virtual teaching assistants for the higher education segment. Tencent develops tutoring bots for consumers and Circadence develops virtual assistants used in corporate cybersecurity training. There are now hundreds of suppliers developing learning products on Watson.

    AI-based Learning developers are also using other AI platforms. Pearson launched their Longman Welcome to English curriculum in Asia in February 2018 on Microsoft's AI. Cerego's adaptive learning platform runs on Amazon's AI. Montessorium's popular apps for young kids integrate Google's TensorFlow AI.

    In February 2018, IBM's Watson division announced that it was providing the "brain" for the AI-based robot called CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) built by Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESL) for the International Space Station (ISS). The robot was launched into space in June 2018. "CIMON’s digital face, voice, and use of artificial intelligence make it a colleague to the crew members. This collegial working relationship facilitates how astronauts work through their prescribed checklists of experiments, now entering into a genuine dialogue with their interactive assistant."

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    CIMON Courtesy of NASA and the European Space Station

    China's Liulishuo is the first AI-based Learning company to file for an IPO. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2018. The company uses a conversational AI called Dong Ni Ying Yu (billed as "your personal English teacher") to provide AI-based English language learning to subscribers. In late November 2018, the company reported that "Our net revenues grew by approximately 265% and our gross billings increased by approximately 181% year-over-year." The company had over 80 million users across 20 countries by January 2019. Clearly, AI-based personalized learning appeals to users.

    Massive Capital Flowing to AI-based Learning Companies

    In our latest annual whitepaper on global edtech investment published in January 2018, we reported that "Over $2.90 billion was invested in 197 AI-based Learning companies in 2018." This a dramatic increase over 2017 and the previous two years.

    Just over $1.81 billion was invested to 124 AI-based Learning companies in 2017, a record at the time. Investor interest in AI-based Learning companies is very new. Barely $122.4 million was invested in this type of company in 2016 and only to seven companies. Only $2 million went to a single AI-based company in 2015 and there was no investment in this type of company prior to 2015. The highest round in 2018 went to China's Squirrel AI Learning that raised $150 million in October 2018.

    Yet, AI-based Learning is the one area where the US still has a commanding lead over China. The majority (61.5%) of all global investment in AI-based Learning companies in 2018 went to 102 US-based companies that raised a combined total of $1.78 billion. In stark contrast, $299.7 million went to just twelve Chinese AI-based Learning companies, a mere 10.3% of all global investments to AI-based Learning companies.

    AI-based Learning Effective for People with Special Needs

    AI-based methods have proven to be quite effective at modifying the behavior of people with special needs. Educational robots and avatars, both physical and virtual, are now relatively common methods of intervention. The IBM Foundation and the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) announced in August 2018 that they were collaborating on a platform called Teacher Advisor With Watson "a suite of classroom resources focused on supporting teachers who work with students with learning and attention issues."

    Luxemburg's LuxAI sells a small robot called QTrobot (pronounced "cutey robot") designed "to mitigate the social challenges faced by kids with autism." LuxAI claims that their robot is the first scientifically validated AI-based autism intervention product.

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    QTRobot Courtesy of LuxAI

    Brain Power's Empowered Brain product "aims to empower children and adults all along the autism spectrum to teach themselves practical life skills and assess their progress numerically." Empowered Brain "is based on neuroscience from MIT and Harvard and draws on the newest in technology including artificial intelligence, wearable computers, and augmented reality."

    AI Takes Root in the Academic Segments

    There is a growing use of AI-based Learning products in the academic segments across the globe. The products used in the PreK-12 segment are now common in language learning and STEM. Virtual avatars are also being adopted in higher education institutions. They are used as virtual teaching assistants, wellbeing coaches, student advisors, and virtual tutors.

    Pearson hired Milena Marinova, an AI expert from Intel, to run their new AI and Personalized Learning group in July 2018. This is the first dedicated AI-based Learning department formed by an educational publisher.

    Finland's Utelias sells an AI-based Learning robot called Elias. It is used in schools across Finland to teach foreign languages. "The robot recognizes the pupil's skill levels and adjusts its questions accordingly. It also gives feedback to teachers about a student's possible problems."

    The Auckland energy company Vector hired New Zealand's Soul Machines to create the "artificial human" teacher called Will in September 2018. Soul Machines develops remarkably lifelike avatars for clients. The company describes Will as a "convincing and engaging digital teacher." Vector provides the avatar to the schools to teach children about renewable energy.

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    Will Courtesy of Soul Machine

    In May 2018, Tencent announced that they were working with China’s central Ministry of Education to develop the AI English Education Teaching Aid System, "which can support adaptive learning and personalized teaching through artificial intelligence." This will be the world's first national AI-based Learning deployment.

    The Japanese government announced a program in August 2018 that will deploy AI-based robotic English language tutors in over 500 schools in 2019. The robots will be NAO robots purchased from SoftBank Robotics.

    In September 2018, Amira Learning launched an AI-based reading tutor called Amira. "Amira is the first intelligent reading assistant able to listen to children read out-loud, assess their oral fluency, and provide AI-driven tutoring. Amira is based on technology licensed from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). In studies done by CMU and DePaul University in public school classrooms, Amira produced reading growth comparable to giving each student a human tutor."

    Rapid Adoption of AI-based Learning in the Corporate Segment

    Corporations are now using AI-based Learning products for customer education, personalized employee training, intelligent knowledge management, and performance support. According to Metaari's recent market research, corporations across the globe are currently spending $584.9 million on AI-based Learning and will be spending $1.57 billion by 2023.

    IPsoft's Amelia virtual avatar "observes, learns, and remembers anything you ask. She can read emotions and context during conversations with colleagues and customers. If Amelia is unable to resolve an issue, she will escalate the task to a human colleague. Amelia will then observe how the colleague resolves the issue, learn from it, and apply that knowledge to any similar tasks."

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    Amelia Reads Emotions, Courtesy of IPsoft

    A startup called Worxogo has offices in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Mumbai. "Mia, Worxogo’s personal cognitive AI engine, learns, predicts behavior, and coaches employees for improved business impact. It helps them improve their productivity through actionable advice using principles of neuroeconomics and behavioral science."

    New Zealand's FaceMe markets their virtual avatars as digital employees. The avatars are extremely like-like and realistic. They market the product to a range of verticals including healthcare and education. "Solutions to pressing problems related to health and wellbeing, education, and other domains can be found by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data and recent progress in emerging AI technologies."

    courtesyarticleimage

    Courtesy of FaceMe

    Inexpensive Conversational AI rapid authoring tools, chatbot templates, and so-called pretrained AI models are now on the market. AI-based Learning developers are now able to get products to market very quickly. A basic Conversational AI can be built in the Microsoft Bot Framework in a matter of minutes by simply uploading a FAQ file.

    Conclusion

    There is now rapid global adoption in all six buying segments across all seven regions tracked by Metaari. AI-based Learning is now going mainstream in developed economies and gaining traction in the developing economies, particularly in Southeast Asia. AI-based Learning truly is the answer to solving Bloom’s 2-signma problem. Look at the newest AI-based Learning applications for proof.

    For more on this subject, view “How AI-Based Learning is Solving Bloom’s 2-Signma Problem” by Sam S. Adkins.

     samadkinsarticleimage

    About the Author

    Sam Adkins is Chief Researcher at Metaari. Metaari is a market research firm that identifies revenue opportunities for learning technology suppliers. Metaari principals have refined a sophisticated learning technology product categorization schema. Their research taxonomy is the backbone of their quantitative data repository.  Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Part 2 of this 2 part article can be found HERE.

     

    Published in Top Stories

    Striving for Innovation, Culture, Performance and Collaboration

    BY JERRY ROCHE

    The 2018 Learning! 100 award-winning organizations have one thing in common: their learning personnel and programs are undisputedly among the world’s elite.

    “The Learning! 100 recognizes the top 100 global learning organizations for high performance, innovation and culture,” says Catherine Upton, awards chairperson and group publisher of the Elearning! Media Group. Learning! 100 Awards recognize the top 100 organizations for their best-in-class learning and development programs, with learning cultures that create outstanding organizational performance.

    These honors have a solid, researchbased approach that offers organizations a level playing field despite size. The Learning! 100 provides organizations a benchmark for future development; is quantitative and qualitative; and is unbiased by size of the organization. Learning! 100 applicants are evaluated on three sets of criteria: Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, Collaborative Strategies’ Innovation & Collaboration Ratings, and overall organizational performance. Every submission is evaluated on the same criteria, scores totaled and ranked for the Learning! 100.

    “When deciding what qualities constitute a truly exceptional learning organization, we define four categories of excellence,” says Jerry Roche, Elearning! magazine’s executive editor. “Those categories, upon which these awards are based, are innovation, culture, performance and collaboration.”

    There is much to be learned from these winners, many of which had instituted thorough leadership development initiatives. These winners are delivering cutting-edge approaches to learning, reimagining their learning ecosystems and embracing the importance of engagement and performance.

    Discover what makes these organizations best-in-class by reading this article and viewing upcoming Web seminars and stories hosted by Elearning! Magazine.

    Learn more about the Learning! 100 Awards at: http://www.2elearning.com/awards/learning-100-awards.

     

     

    Private Sector #1: Vi

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    Photo courtesy Vi

    Leadership Drives Learning Culture at Vi

    Over the last several years, Vi — a group of retirement communities with headquarters in Chicago — has made a gradual but significant transition of moving the culture from learning being “owned” by the learning organization to being owned by the entire organization.

    Besides having “Employee Development” as a core leadership competency and key learning initiatives tied to company goals and competencies tied to compensation, Vi realizes high levels of business partner engagement in the development, delivery and ownership of learning initiatives tied to the company’s business objectives. This has created higher levels of engagement at all levels of the organization.

    In addition, Vi has a strong governance process in place that aligns with its business planning process. Functional leaders from across the organization actively participate in development and execution of learning initiatives.

    “In talking with my colleagues — hotel, senior living, hospitality, highly regulated health care and service personnel — I believe that our organizational development is unique to us, based on the level of executive involvement, money, front-line management and leaders as teachers,” comments Judy Whitcomb, Vi’s Human Resources and Chief Learning Officer.

    In 2017, Vi’s education/learning focus centered in three areas:

    1. More hyper-focus on career ladders, assessments, competencies and learning resources, reaching to high schools and community colleges to attract talent. “It’s not sexy or exciting, but that’s where we’re putting in a ton of time, and it works,” Whitcomb states.

    2. A new emerging leaders program. “We’ve had really good success with the all-virtual program,” says Whitcomb. “It involves 50 to 60 leaders, and it goes into different levels of the organization. Vi has matured to where leaders are really seeing the value of being teachers.”

    3. A recently-launched student loan imbursement plan. “We’re trying to use every lever available” to attract good talent,” Whitcomb emphasizes. Most important are basic skills training, like concierge, culinary and nursing. “We recently sent some cooks to a culinary institute by partnering with its executive chef. Skills are important to attract and retain the talent, and we’re working with Arizona State University to create a flow of talent for our organization.”

    As a result of strong alignment and engagement with its business partners, Vi has realized:

    >> Large increases in resident satisfaction after implementation of a comprehensive service enculturation program;

    >> Scores rising from 82.6 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in Vi’s last resident satisfaction survey;

    >> Significant increase in the number of internal promotions and a reduction in attrition, resulting in $2.1 million in savings;

    >> Significant ROI of nearly $138,000 per participant from Vi’s Breakthrough Leadership Program;

    >> Significant contributions to Vi’s external quality audits, resulting in zero tags related to training;

    >> 9 out of 11 Vi locations recognized as “Best Places to Work” in 2016;

    >> In 2017, all 10 of Vi’s continuing care skilled nursing facilities achieved five-star status (as determined by the Center for Medicare Services) for the first time in 30 years;

    >> High level of employee engagement particularly related to training (“training to do job well” was 21 percent higher than U.S. norms; “ability to achieve personal career objectives” ranked 10 percent higher than high-performing companies; “training new hires receive” ranked 24 percent higher than U.S. norms); >> Most importantly, focus on sales training contributed to Vi achieving 168 percent of the company’s financial target in 2017.

    Vi is an eight-time Learning! Award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #1: VA Acquisition Academy

    Area of Excellence: Performance

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    Photo courtesy VAAA
    Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory in one of the V.A. Acquisition Academy’s training rooms.

    VA Acquisition Academy Drives Engagement and Impact

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing more than $20 billion of federal benefits to nearly 20 million veterans and their families. The VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA), which is soon celebrating its 10th anniversary, is tasked with training a wide range of those valuable VA employees.

    The VAAA’s mission is to ensure the VA efficiently and effectively provides goods and services to veterans. It offers an integrated competency-based training curriculum to certify those employees and improve their work performance. VAAA is responsible for training VA’s program and project managers, existing and future contracting officers, logistics/supply chain employees, and facilities and construction managers.

    “Our fundamental learning strategy reflects a commitment to stakeholder engagement and value measurement methodologies to ensure business results that support VA’s major initiatives,” remarks VAAA Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory. His organization educates learners in realworld workplace scenarios, integrating personal and leadership skills and measuring strategic performance.

    “The VAAA started out as a single acquisition intern school then added a contracting professional school, a program management school, a supplychain management school and a facilities management school,” notes Gregory. “The separate schools share services so that we can keep costs down and avoid duplication.”

    The VAAA develops some training materials in house, but some are commercial lessons purchased off the shelf, and some are taught by government contractors. Not only does the VAAA conduct training that leads to federal acquisition certification, but it also offers employees career progression classes. “Our training is one part of getting certified,” Gregory further observes. (The other two parts are experience and continuous learning to maintain certification.)

    “We have seen a tremendous need for leadership training in the contracting workforce.” says Terry Horst, Vice Chancellor of the Contracting Professional School. “Many people in that field have been promoted based on technical ability. Historically, most of the school’s courses have not focused on leadership for contracting professionals. In response to this critical need, we developed the Senior Acquisition Leadership Training program.”

    The Senior Acquisition Leadership Training Program lasts nine months. The first class graduated in June. “It is centered on concepts like leadership agility and systems thinking,” Horst observes. “The program assists individuals in the development of themselves and then moves them to a more strategic way of thinking. They learn to turn their strategic thinking into action using contracting case studies. This kind of training empowers them to hit the ground running when they return to their contracting offices.”

    Learners in that program undertook capstone projects, writing whitepapers and briefing senior leadership.

    “It was very satisfying to both the students and the employees who worked so hard putting the program together,” Horst continues. “Students made comments like ‘it changed my life forever’ and ‘I’ll never be the same.’”

    One of the VAAA’s other interesting projects is collaborating with 12 other agencies to reimagine senior level program management training. “We wanted to shorten courses where it made sense and do some blended learning,” says Gregory. “For instance, one course started out as four weeks; now it’s three weeks, because some elements are now done virtually, kind of like the flipped classroom approach. Frankly, this approach looks like it will be a great success.”

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Private Sector #2: Amazon Web Services

    Area of Excellence: Performance

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    Amazon Web Services Leads Its Customers to Success in the Cloud

    Cloud computing sales will top the $185 billion mark this calendar year. And by 2021, that market is expected to exceed $300 billion.

    More than 11 years ago, Amazon Web Services (AWS) started as a Cloud storage service. Today it dominates that sector, with a sales volume that nearly equals the sum of its competitors’. Its growth continues to accelerate at an incredible rate.

    AWS has also accelerated in other areas, like innovation. That innovation includes areas that will begin to shape our lives even more in the future, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and serverless computing. In 2017 alone, AWS announced more than 1,400 significant services and features, including Amazon SageMaker, a tool that radically changes the accessibility and use of building sophisticated machine learning models. This has caused an explosion of growth — more than 250 percent — as tens of thousands of customers started also using a broad range of AWS machine learning services. In 2017, at Amazon’s sixth re:Invent Conference, more than 40,000 attended the event live, with more than 60,000 more attending as streaming participants.

    With all that growth and innovation, how does AWS service such a broad range of customers and customer needs? The answer is its focus on customer success.

    Amazon Web Services is being honored for its global OutcomeBased Account Management (OBAM) program that provides AWS sellers with the Amazonian way to sell. The selling process starts with the customer’s needs and works backward to define the correct solution, all while using a common language, process and methodology.

    This year, a new program component was added called Momentum. The aim of this additional program was to provide spaced learning reinforcement for the disciplines previously taught. This reinforcement series runs for nine sessions every other week and is unique to every team, in every country. This allows the associates to fine-tune their Amazonian talent by focusing on specifically targeted skills. Momentum, in turn, provides a continuous trickle of desired behavior reinforcement over the span of six months.

    OBAM program is the process, tools, competencies and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the seller-customer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship. The program includes a pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training-day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.

    The program, which has been delivered globally in all geographies, is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.5 out of 5.0 from participants. The program has now been successfully rolled out to 2,500 sellers, and its overall impact can be seen in the continued growth of Amazon Web Services.

    As was evident from its Annual Report, Amazon Web Services is a major contributor to Amazon’s overall growth. AWS continues to draw more small, medium and large enterprises to its Cloud platform and growing line of tools and services.

    AWS is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #2: Defense Acquisition University

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    James P. Woolsey is president of Defense Acquisition University.

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    Photo Courtesy DAU
    It takes a wide array of learning professionals to assure accurate, efficient delivery of information to the DAU’s learners, students, stakeholders and business units.

    Defense Acquisition University: A Strategic Shift to the Customer

    Starting in 2017, the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) of the U.S. Department of Defense engaged in a year-long strategic planning effort to take a closer look at changes that would be necessary to ensure success for the Defense Acquisition workforce in the future.

    The leadership team used the Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema Value Discipline Model. There are three primary value disciplines successful organizations have used to narrow their business focus to better serve their customers: customer intimacy, product leadership and operational excellence. So those became DAU’s organizational imperatives (value disciplines) for the future of its learning program.

    “We didn’t invent this,” notes Dr. Christopher Hardy, DAU Director of Strategic Planning and Learning Analytics. “The very best companies lead with one of those — Apple and Google lead with product innovation; RitzCarlton leads with customer intimacy; Southwest Airlines and Dell lead with operational excellence — but they still do the other stuff. We liked this approach so much, we nested all our initiatives in those three areas in our strategic plan.”

    Customer intimacy means cultivating relationships and being adept at giving the customer more than he or she expects; staying ahead of their customer’s rising expectations, targeting markets precisely, and then tailoring products to match the demands of those customers.

    Product leadership/innovation means offering customers leading edge products and services that consistently enhance the customer’s use or application of the product, thereby making rivals’ goods obsolete.

    And operational excellence means providing customers with reliable products or services at competitive prices and delivered with minimal difficulty or inconvenience.

    DAU leadership decided that a customer intimacy strategy best aligns with its vision for the future — that is, to focus on the needs of individual customers by offering a unique range of customer services that allows for the personalization of service and the customization of products to meet differing customer needs.

    “We break our customers into learners, students, stakeholders and business units,” notes Hardy. “We’ve always been customer oriented, but we’ve taken it to the next level.”

    In embarking on this strategic direction, the organization will listen to its valued customers to better understand them and their needs, enable communication and collaboration, and provide a comprehensive solution at the point of need. The organization also listens to stakeholders and consumers (the learners who directly use products and services).

    But what is captured and how it’s captured depends on the target: stakeholder, customer, consumer. How data and intelligence from a source are handled also depends on the source. For example, what is learned from consumers may inform the questions customers are asked, and vice versa. Or what is learned from customers can be shared with stakeholders to help inform their decisions on priorities, resources, and the direction they give DAU.

    This new strategic direction — which is being developed and implemented by several “tiger” teams — ensures that we provide customers with the products and services they need to give the warfighter a decisive edge. Not surprisingly, the tiger teams have representation from faculty and staff across DAU.

    “Our mission is to help our learners; their leaders and the stakeholders complete their missions. If we can do that, we become a strategic asset,” Hardy concludes.

    This is the eighth time that the DAU has been named a Learning! 100 winner.

     

    Private Sector #3: T-Mobile USA

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    Photo Courtesy T-Mobile
    The T-Mobile telesales staff is a hearty and happy bunch, thanks to the company’s Sales Training and Sales Management Transformation project.

    Comprehensive Telesales Training Unifies T-Mobile Teammates

    T-Mobile, the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States with 74 million customers, is one of the most recognizable brands in the land. T-Mobile provides wireless voice and data services in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the T-Mobile and MetroPCS brands. The company, which has annual revenues of more than $40 billion, also serves as the host network for many mobile virtual network operators.

    In 2017, T-Mobile was ranked No.1 in customer service satisfaction by Nielsen. And this month, it is named the thirdbest corporate learning organization among the Learning! 100.

    Its sales division is a large part of the company’s success. Last year marked a continued ramp-up and implementation of a massive sales training and sales management transformation for T-Mobile Telesales. Officials claim that enthusiasm is now at an all-time high, “and the team feels completely empowered to take on any and all competition.”

    T-Mobile USA Telesales was nominated for this list because of its comprehensive effort to unify all telesales call centers and team members in how they interact both internally and externally with customers to communicate T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier vision.

    In 2017, Bart Ons, general manager of the E-commerce and Telesales Department, launched an initial 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 1200 telesales agents. 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 program consisted on a series of e-learning preparation modules, on-site and virtual learning classes, coaching modules, reinforcement e-learning and multimedia solutions, promotions and more. The goal was cultural change, excitement and a focus on working cohesively as one unified T-Mobile to delivery an outstanding customer experience.

    And it has worked.

    “I’ve turned all my one-on-one sessions to self-realization moments,” claims Jake Cline a T-Mobile supervisor. “I love it when an agent says, ‘This is hard,’ and then figures out something that they can do better without me having to point it out to them, like I was doing before.”

    Adds senior manager Charlotte Clevenger, “The UEE Initiative has brought a complete transformation.”

    T-Mobile is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #3: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Area of Excellence: Performance

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    Anthony Gagliardo is head of HR &Technical Training at NASA's JPL.

    Jet Propulsion Lab’s ‘Destination 2025’

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America’s first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth’s moon. In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.

    The JPL human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) team serves as the primary JPL organization responsible for satisfying leadership, organization learning and development, as well as technical training needs of more than 6,000 JPL personnel and 7,000 contract affiliates.

    Like many technical organizations, JPL faces challenges in managing the transference of deep technical and institutional knowledge while experiencing an unprecedented growth in JPL mainline mission and a drastic shift in its multi-generational workforce. JPL must address the changing learning styles of new and existing individuals and the constant employee expectation of a commerciallike learning experience.

    In 2015, JPL’s Chief Human Resource Officer Cozette Hart formed the “Destination 2025” working group dedicated to exploring and advancing the future of working and learning at JPL. Since then, JPL’s business case for modernization of learning has been contextualized. The primary areas of learning modernization were identified as:

    >> Modernization of the JPL learning environment; consistently improve on the availability and quality of training while enhancing the learning experience.

    >> How to significantly modernize talent acquisition and management in the most technically advanced place on Earth.

    Change awareness was raised among stakeholders through early communication related to JPL’s needs for change in learning technology and its rapidly evolving capabilities. At JPL, the scope of change was full employee development and a new training ecosystem. The change team provided support and resources and set the direction for various efforts to increase value in specified business areas.

    To bring resources together, integrate processes and communicate effectively, goal-oriented change management was designed to guide individuals and organizations at JPL. The desire for change was reinforced through employee engagement and participation with the aim to overcome resistance through a cross- functional sponsorship program.

    The proposed learning approach was designed to provide flexibility and support that complements the capabilities of JPL’s unique workforce. The learners of today expect a digitally rich learning environment, and implementation of new technology enabled a personalized learning experience to JPL employees anytime and anyplace in real-time. The HR team and its laboratory partners prepared to shift and integrate resources by focusing on the new learning ecosystems in terms of the operational support, technology and curriculum. Each pivot area evolution was based on application of advanced technologies and approaches.

    JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech. From the long history of leaders drawn from the university’s faculty to joint programs and appointments, JPL’s intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.

    JPL is a first-time winner of the Learning! 100.

     

    Private Sector #4: Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

    Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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    Photo Courtesy Shaw
    The Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) provides employees with 1 million hours of training each year.

    Shaw Learning Academy Helps Employees Reach Full Potential

    Shaw Industries Group, Inc. — a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. — is a leading floor covering provider and the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. It supplies carpet, resilient, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone flooring products and synthetic turf to residential and commercial markets worldwide.

    Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) is a key to that success, providing more than 1 million hours of training annually through diverse learning solutions and platforms to meet the diverse learning needs of Shaw’s associates, customers, suppliers and community. SLA, by design, promotes innovation, fresh thinking and dedication to quality.

    “Education and training are instrumental to how Shaw helps create a better future for associates, customers, communities and the company,” says Danny Crutchfield, Shaw’s director of corporate training and organizational development, who also leads the Shaw Flooring Network. “It’s a critical component in helping associates and customers reach their full potential and succeed amidst an ever-changing industry.”

    The company’s 22,000 associates are engaged in a wide variety of roles (manufacturing, R&D, product design, engineering, sales, distribution, transportation, sustainability, I.T., HR, marketing and communications, management, etc.) to ensure superior customer service and high-quality products.

    Additionally, Shaw recognizes its retailers’ success is inextricably linked to training and support. The company has designed comprehensive and customized educational programs offer to help retailers meet their business objectives. More than 15,000 customers engage with the Shaw Learning Academy each year through regional training, online sessions, markets, the Shaw Flooring Network Convention, and other offerings in addition to extensive continue education opportunities offered to commercial customers worldwide.

    This dedication to education and training is not new.

    “We’ve always been an industry leader in a variety of ways, like product innovation, community involvement and sustainability,” notes Brian Cooksey, Shaw’s director of Operations, Training and Development. “We have had speakers present at different conferences all over the country on different topics. We’re also heavily involved in leading workforce development efforts, technology and innovation efforts, so our speakers are often asked to come and share their stories.”

    The Shaw Learning Academy plays a significant role in helping develop business initiatives. For instance, Shaw celebrated its 50th year in 2017; as a result, leadership began to consider the next 50 to 100 years, “what we need to do to continue to be successful,” Cooksey says. “Like business objectives, culture — things we might want to tweak.”

    To that end, Shaw’s upper managers published a “Shaw Way” document last year that captures their vision, their mission and their values as they pertain to high-level business strategies.

    “The document contains business and cultural imperatives designed to continue our success but also take us to a new level,” Cooksey reveals. “Because we have a diverse offering of products and diverse customer bases all over the globe, we have to make sure we keep up with the times.”

    The process involved conversations across the entire Shaw organization and with customers and with research in marketplace. “It was really a good process for the organization, and from that we developed a new competency model,” Cooksey continues. “It’s really helped to align some of the training support we provide — online or instructor-led or virtual—to give clarity to the organization. And it was nice for our group to have a seat at the table during the process of brainstorming the business.”

    Shaw is an eight-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #4: American Heart Association

    Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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    Photo Courtesy AHA
    AHA employees take a chance to signal their delight with what they've learned.

    ‘Building Powerful Partnerships’ Meets American Heart Association’s Objectives

    During 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) wanted to establish a unified fund-raising process and culture across its organization for both volunteercentric and direct groups. Besides this unified fund-raising process, AHA also wanted to support its staff in articulating its mission, impact and programs, as well as reach critical thresholds in areas of revenue and health goals.

    These business outcomes led to the creation and then extension of the Building Powerful Partnerships program.

    “After we conducted the initial rollout, we found that we had to adjust to specifically serve new employees,” says Amanda Haggerty, the AHA’s Learning and Development Trainer. “The difference in 2017 was a shift to new employees and new supervisors. We also needed to continue reinforcing the content, so training now consists of a suite of ‘refreshers,’ 15 sessions that last 60 to 90 minutes that any supervisor can host during team meetings. These rich coaching sessions are a ‘deep dive’ into the relationship development concepts that allow employees the opportunity for continued application of best practices.

    Some of the learning objectives that needed to be achieved were:

    >> Demonstrate ability to lead conversations that will 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;

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

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

    >> Describe and practice the fivestage SMART engagement model to plan and execute high-impact conversations with partners and volunteers;

    >> Practice the five-step HEART Conversation process;

    “The five-stage SMART engagement model is the entire relationship development process,” explains Haggerty. “It begins at the prospecting stage and lasts all the way to transformational growth.” It’s a year-after-year program, from inception, to growth, through continued maintenance.

    “Within the SMART framework,” Haggerty continues, “the HEART conversation process gets into the meat of an external meeting with someone, including the art of the conversation, how to articulate the corporate mission, and how to make the ‘ask.’”

    This “Building Powerful Relationships” program exceeded all expectations and helped the American Heart Association achieve its critical goals, which in turn helped the Dallas-based non-profit organization continue its work.

    “We’ve seen numerous staffers tell us through surveys that they were more comfortable with the mission and with making ‘asks’ on our behalf,” says Haggerty.

    “This program, has really stuck with the staff. We are excited to continue to bring them the curriculum year after year.”

    This is the seventh trip to the Learning! 100 for the American Heart Association.

     

    Private Sector #5: Navy Federal Credit Union

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    Thomas Greek, VP Learning & Development Communications

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    Photo Courtesy Navy Federal Credit Union
    Leaders learn to work together through experimental activities at monthly ‘Follow the Leader’ events.

    Navy Federal Credit Union: Growth Starts at Point of Hire

    The Navy Federal Credit Union has staked its reputation and growth on the belief that professional development and education start at the point of hire and continue throughout each employee’s career. To that end, the organization continually invests in its employees to drive their engagement, commitment and quality of service to members.

    “We have about 17,000 employees all across the world servicing the military and their families, and most participate in the learning environment in any given year,” observes Thomas Greek, vice president of Learning, Development and Communications. “Our learning strategies are tied into the strategic plan. The mission of our team of about seven trainers is to be scalable and sustainable.”

    Many of the Navy FCU’s employees joined the credit union at entry-level positions and have since grown professionally within the organization. Some senior leaders, who started as entry-level employees, even grew into their current roles with the help of the learning opportunities available to them as their careers progressed.

    “Our employees are instrumental to our continued success, and much of their loyalty, skill level and engagement can be attributed to the training and development they received,” Greek continues. “Navy Federal has a robust learning culture, which is cascaded throughout the organization.”

    It’s not an easy task, either, to offer valuable learning and training to so many employees with such a wide range of skillsets, from communications to marketing to back-office support to finance.

    “New hires come to us with a lot of technical skills,” Greek admits, “so most of what we’re doing is helping teach soft skills like communication, leadership and time management. We reinforce those technical skills and add to them through our soft skills library.”

    That extensive learning library primarily based on in-house-generated content.

    “Our team of instructional designers come with an incredible skillset and are well versed in learning theories,” Greek continues. “Their mission is to create good content that includes how to train effectively in a virtual environment with content that is relevant and entertaining.”

    Since 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union has grown from seven to more than 7 million members. And during that time, its vision statement has remained focused on serving a unique field of membership.

    “Simply put, our team members are remarkable, and they truly understand the important responsibility we have to serve our members,” says Cutler Dawson, Navy Federal’s president/CEO. “For 85 years, we’ve listened to what our members want and will continue to provide an exceptional experience.”

    Employees at all levels of the organization have the opportunity to attend employer-sponsored workshops with curriculum that includes leadership, interpersonal communication skills, “emotional intelligence,” workplace creativity and supervisory skills. Graduate-level instruction and executive skill development is available to those employees at the supervisor/manager level and above.

    Additionally, there is a Career Ambassador Program that “trains up” volunteers from the business unit on how to be career advisors so other employees can get that kind of career advice from colleagues or peers when they need it.

    “We’re growing quite rapidly,” Greek says. “We have a lot of internal promotions, so our people need a lot of just-in-time resources. We give them on-demand career development resources that employees can take where and when they need them.”

    And employee satisfaction is astounding: “Surveys and business outcomes let us know if training hits the mark. Employees take courses because they want to, so we see high scores in engagement, well higher than industry benchmarks.

    Navy Federal Credit Union, which is owned by its members, is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #5: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

    Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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    U.S. OPM’s USALearning Offers Critical Cybersecurity Training

    Cybersecurity is becoming more of a threat, especially to U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. OPM) and other federal, state and local government agencies. Every day, new security issues gain the attention of the computer security community, including loss of data, new malware, and/or new ransomware, which is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Just recently, the City of Atlanta, Ga., had its systems compromised by ransomware.

    The challenges of cybersecurity are changing rapidly with new vulnerabilities being discovered and systems previously thought secure being compromised.

    So U.S. OPM’s USALearning is now working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to develop and offer more than 60 online cybersecurity courses to federal, state and local government employees, including U.S. Department of Defense personnel and U.S. military veterans. These courses can build skills and support any career transitioning to the cybersecurity field.

    The “Cybersecurity Awareness” course introduces the automated information systems (AIS) environment and the threats and vulnerabilities faced when working within the government or defense industrial systems. It provides a working knowledge of cyber intrusion methods and cybersecurity countermeasures to assist employees in preventing cyberattacks and protecting their systems and information. The user experience centers on a single, large-scale, disastrous event. Several contributing scenarios are presented to show different vantage points related to the large event. Through the large event and associated contributing scenarios, students learn about different cyber threats and methods of operation, targeted information, countermeasures, and reporting requirements. This approach demonstrates for users that even small events can contribute and lead to immeasurable consequences.

    More than 600 hours of courses are hosted in a secure FedRAMP environment. Already, more than 200,000 government employees and veterans have self-registered and are taking courses with more than half-a-million course completions or courses in-progress. The self-registration is free, and there is no cost from USALearning to access any of the courses.

    These courses provide instruction on how to lock down sites, perform vulnerability testing, address patches, lock out hackers, and hundreds of other key security topics—practices that are fast becoming requirements for anyone working on computers, especially those taking advantage of the Cloud.

    The USALearning program is operated out of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and is a part of the HR Solutions Directorate, in the Center for Leadership Development. The program was formerly called the GoLearn Program and has been active since the creation of 24 E-Gov initiatives by President George W. Bush’s e-training initiative in 2002. The purpose of the program is to leverage simplified acquisition processes and allow agencies to expeditiously acquire a myriad of support services via Intra/ Interagency agreements under the authority of the Economy Act and Revolving Fund.

    USALearning supports the development of the federal workforce and advances the accomplishment of agency missions through simplified and one-stop access to high quality e-learning products, information and services. Some of its offerings include the development and delivery of customized learning management systems (LMS); learning content management systems (LCMS) and associated services; e-learning/testing platforms; communities of practice; and other customized content and collaborative platforms to include object and document repositories, course development, and innovative software engineering services.

    This is the fifth time that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been awarded Learning! 100 status.

     

     

    View the full list of 2018 Learning! 100 Award winners below:

     

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    Published in Products Featured

    Striving for Innovation, Culture, Performance and Collaboration

    BY JERRY ROCHE

    The 2018 Learning! 100 award-winning organizations have one thing in common: their learning personnel and programs are undisputedly among the world’s elite.

    “The Learning! 100 recognizes the top 100 global learning organizations for high performance, innovation and culture,” says Catherine Upton, awards chairperson and group publisher of the Elearning! Media Group. Learning! 100 Awards recognize the top 100 organizations for their best-in-class learning and development programs, with learning cultures that create outstanding organizational performance.

    These honors have a solid, researchbased approach that offers organizations a level playing field despite size. The Learning! 100 provides organizations a benchmark for future development; is quantitative and qualitative; and is unbiased by size of the organization. Learning! 100 applicants are evaluated on three sets of criteria: Darden School’s Learning Culture Index, Collaborative Strategies’ Innovation & Collaboration Ratings, and overall organizational performance. Every submission is evaluated on the same criteria, scores totaled and ranked for the Learning! 100.

    “When deciding what qualities constitute a truly exceptional learning organization, we define four categories of excellence,” says Jerry Roche, Elearning! magazine’s executive editor. “Those categories, upon which these awards are based, are innovation, culture, performance and collaboration.”

    There is much to be learned from these winners, many of which had instituted thorough leadership development initiatives. These winners are delivering cutting-edge approaches to learning, reimagining their learning ecosystems and embracing the importance of engagement and performance.

    Discover what makes these organizations best-in-class by reading this article and viewing upcoming Web seminars and stories hosted by Elearning! Magazine.

    Learn more about the Learning! 100 Awards at: http://www.2elearning.com/awards/learning-100-awards.

     

     

    Private Sector #1: Vi

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    Photo courtesy Vi

    Leadership Drives Learning Culture at Vi

    Over the last several years, Vi — a group of retirement communities with headquarters in Chicago — has made a gradual but significant transition of moving the culture from learning being “owned” by the learning organization to being owned by the entire organization.

    Besides having “Employee Development” as a core leadership competency and key learning initiatives tied to company goals and competencies tied to compensation, Vi realizes high levels of business partner engagement in the development, delivery and ownership of learning initiatives tied to the company’s business objectives. This has created higher levels of engagement at all levels of the organization.

    In addition, Vi has a strong governance process in place that aligns with its business planning process. Functional leaders from across the organization actively participate in development and execution of learning initiatives.

    “In talking with my colleagues — hotel, senior living, hospitality, highly regulated health care and service personnel — I believe that our organizational development is unique to us, based on the level of executive involvement, money, front-line management and leaders as teachers,” comments Judy Whitcomb, Vi’s Human Resources and Chief Learning Officer.

    In 2017, Vi’s education/learning focus centered in three areas:

    1. More hyper-focus on career ladders, assessments, competencies and learning resources, reaching to high schools and community colleges to attract talent. “It’s not sexy or exciting, but that’s where we’re putting in a ton of time, and it works,” Whitcomb states.

    2. A new emerging leaders program. “We’ve had really good success with the all-virtual program,” says Whitcomb. “It involves 50 to 60 leaders, and it goes into different levels of the organization. Vi has matured to where leaders are really seeing the value of being teachers.”

    3. A recently-launched student loan imbursement plan. “We’re trying to use every lever available” to attract good talent,” Whitcomb emphasizes. Most important are basic skills training, like concierge, culinary and nursing. “We recently sent some cooks to a culinary institute by partnering with its executive chef. Skills are important to attract and retain the talent, and we’re working with Arizona State University to create a flow of talent for our organization.”

    As a result of strong alignment and engagement with its business partners, Vi has realized:

    >> Large increases in resident satisfaction after implementation of a comprehensive service enculturation program;

    >> Scores rising from 82.6 percent in 2010 to 96 percent in Vi’s last resident satisfaction survey;

    >> Significant increase in the number of internal promotions and a reduction in attrition, resulting in $2.1 million in savings;

    >> Significant ROI of nearly $138,000 per participant from Vi’s Breakthrough Leadership Program;

    >> Significant contributions to Vi’s external quality audits, resulting in zero tags related to training;

    >> 9 out of 11 Vi locations recognized as “Best Places to Work” in 2016;

    >> In 2017, all 10 of Vi’s continuing care skilled nursing facilities achieved five-star status (as determined by the Center for Medicare Services) for the first time in 30 years;

    >> High level of employee engagement particularly related to training (“training to do job well” was 21 percent higher than U.S. norms; “ability to achieve personal career objectives” ranked 10 percent higher than high-performing companies; “training new hires receive” ranked 24 percent higher than U.S. norms); >> Most importantly, focus on sales training contributed to Vi achieving 168 percent of the company’s financial target in 2017.

    Vi is an eight-time Learning! Award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #1: VA Acquisition Academy

    Area of Excellence: Performance

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    Photo courtesy VAAA
    Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory in one of the V.A. Acquisition Academy’s training rooms.

    VA Acquisition Academy Drives Engagement and Impact

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing more than $20 billion of federal benefits to nearly 20 million veterans and their families. The VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA), which is soon celebrating its 10th anniversary, is tasked with training a wide range of those valuable VA employees.

    The VAAA’s mission is to ensure the VA efficiently and effectively provides goods and services to veterans. It offers an integrated competency-based training curriculum to certify those employees and improve their work performance. VAAA is responsible for training VA’s program and project managers, existing and future contracting officers, logistics/supply chain employees, and facilities and construction managers.

    “Our fundamental learning strategy reflects a commitment to stakeholder engagement and value measurement methodologies to ensure business results that support VA’s major initiatives,” remarks VAAA Deputy Chancellor Paul Gregory. His organization educates learners in realworld workplace scenarios, integrating personal and leadership skills and measuring strategic performance.

    “The VAAA started out as a single acquisition intern school then added a contracting professional school, a program management school, a supplychain management school and a facilities management school,” notes Gregory. “The separate schools share services so that we can keep costs down and avoid duplication.”

    The VAAA develops some training materials in house, but some are commercial lessons purchased off the shelf, and some are taught by government contractors. Not only does the VAAA conduct training that leads to federal acquisition certification, but it also offers employees career progression classes. “Our training is one part of getting certified,” Gregory further observes. (The other two parts are experience and continuous learning to maintain certification.)

    “We have seen a tremendous need for leadership training in the contracting workforce.” says Terry Horst, Vice Chancellor of the Contracting Professional School. “Many people in that field have been promoted based on technical ability. Historically, most of the school’s courses have not focused on leadership for contracting professionals. In response to this critical need, we developed the Senior Acquisition Leadership Training program.”

    The Senior Acquisition Leadership Training Program lasts nine months. The first class graduated in June. “It is centered on concepts like leadership agility and systems thinking,” Horst observes. “The program assists individuals in the development of themselves and then moves them to a more strategic way of thinking. They learn to turn their strategic thinking into action using contracting case studies. This kind of training empowers them to hit the ground running when they return to their contracting offices.”

    Learners in that program undertook capstone projects, writing whitepapers and briefing senior leadership.

    “It was very satisfying to both the students and the employees who worked so hard putting the program together,” Horst continues. “Students made comments like ‘it changed my life forever’ and ‘I’ll never be the same.’”

    One of the VAAA’s other interesting projects is collaborating with 12 other agencies to reimagine senior level program management training. “We wanted to shorten courses where it made sense and do some blended learning,” says Gregory. “For instance, one course started out as four weeks; now it’s three weeks, because some elements are now done virtually, kind of like the flipped classroom approach. Frankly, this approach looks like it will be a great success.”

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Private Sector #2: Amazon Web Services

    Area of Excellence: Performance

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    Amazon Web Services Leads Its Customers to Success in the Cloud

    Cloud computing sales will top the $185 billion mark this calendar year. And by 2021, that market is expected to exceed $300 billion.

    More than 11 years ago, Amazon Web Services (AWS) started as a Cloud storage service. Today it dominates that sector, with a sales volume that nearly equals the sum of its competitors’. Its growth continues to accelerate at an incredible rate.

    AWS has also accelerated in other areas, like innovation. That innovation includes areas that will begin to shape our lives even more in the future, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and serverless computing. In 2017 alone, AWS announced more than 1,400 significant services and features, including Amazon SageMaker, a tool that radically changes the accessibility and use of building sophisticated machine learning models. This has caused an explosion of growth — more than 250 percent — as tens of thousands of customers started also using a broad range of AWS machine learning services. In 2017, at Amazon’s sixth re:Invent Conference, more than 40,000 attended the event live, with more than 60,000 more attending as streaming participants.

    With all that growth and innovation, how does AWS service such a broad range of customers and customer needs? The answer is its focus on customer success.

    Amazon Web Services is being honored for its global OutcomeBased Account Management (OBAM) program that provides AWS sellers with the Amazonian way to sell. The selling process starts with the customer’s needs and works backward to define the correct solution, all while using a common language, process and methodology.

    This year, a new program component was added called Momentum. The aim of this additional program was to provide spaced learning reinforcement for the disciplines previously taught. This reinforcement series runs for nine sessions every other week and is unique to every team, in every country. This allows the associates to fine-tune their Amazonian talent by focusing on specifically targeted skills. Momentum, in turn, provides a continuous trickle of desired behavior reinforcement over the span of six months.

    OBAM program is the process, tools, competencies and dialogue architecture for initiating and solidifying Amazon Web Services’ customer-obsessed relationships, fixated on the journey of transforming the seller-customer engagement into a lifelong strategic relationship. The program includes a pre-call, pre-work, a live one-day collaborative training-day session, three post-workshop coaching calls, and an on-demand OBAM playbook.

    The program, which has been delivered globally in all geographies, is being met with great success, achieving a global average score of 4.5 out of 5.0 from participants. The program has now been successfully rolled out to 2,500 sellers, and its overall impact can be seen in the continued growth of Amazon Web Services.

    As was evident from its Annual Report, Amazon Web Services is a major contributor to Amazon’s overall growth. AWS continues to draw more small, medium and large enterprises to its Cloud platform and growing line of tools and services.

    AWS is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #2: Defense Acquisition University

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    James P. Woolsey is president of Defense Acquisition University.

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    Photo Courtesy DAU
    It takes a wide array of learning professionals to assure accurate, efficient delivery of information to the DAU’s learners, students, stakeholders and business units.

    Defense Acquisition University: A Strategic Shift to the Customer

    Starting in 2017, the Defense Acquisition University (DAU) of the U.S. Department of Defense engaged in a year-long strategic planning effort to take a closer look at changes that would be necessary to ensure success for the Defense Acquisition workforce in the future.

    The leadership team used the Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema Value Discipline Model. There are three primary value disciplines successful organizations have used to narrow their business focus to better serve their customers: customer intimacy, product leadership and operational excellence. So those became DAU’s organizational imperatives (value disciplines) for the future of its learning program.

    “We didn’t invent this,” notes Dr. Christopher Hardy, DAU Director of Strategic Planning and Learning Analytics. “The very best companies lead with one of those — Apple and Google lead with product innovation; RitzCarlton leads with customer intimacy; Southwest Airlines and Dell lead with operational excellence — but they still do the other stuff. We liked this approach so much, we nested all our initiatives in those three areas in our strategic plan.”

    Customer intimacy means cultivating relationships and being adept at giving the customer more than he or she expects; staying ahead of their customer’s rising expectations, targeting markets precisely, and then tailoring products to match the demands of those customers.

    Product leadership/innovation means offering customers leading edge products and services that consistently enhance the customer’s use or application of the product, thereby making rivals’ goods obsolete.

    And operational excellence means providing customers with reliable products or services at competitive prices and delivered with minimal difficulty or inconvenience.

    DAU leadership decided that a customer intimacy strategy best aligns with its vision for the future — that is, to focus on the needs of individual customers by offering a unique range of customer services that allows for the personalization of service and the customization of products to meet differing customer needs.

    “We break our customers into learners, students, stakeholders and business units,” notes Hardy. “We’ve always been customer oriented, but we’ve taken it to the next level.”

    In embarking on this strategic direction, the organization will listen to its valued customers to better understand them and their needs, enable communication and collaboration, and provide a comprehensive solution at the point of need. The organization also listens to stakeholders and consumers (the learners who directly use products and services).

    But what is captured and how it’s captured depends on the target: stakeholder, customer, consumer. How data and intelligence from a source are handled also depends on the source. For example, what is learned from consumers may inform the questions customers are asked, and vice versa. Or what is learned from customers can be shared with stakeholders to help inform their decisions on priorities, resources, and the direction they give DAU.

    This new strategic direction — which is being developed and implemented by several “tiger” teams — ensures that we provide customers with the products and services they need to give the warfighter a decisive edge. Not surprisingly, the tiger teams have representation from faculty and staff across DAU.

    “Our mission is to help our learners; their leaders and the stakeholders complete their missions. If we can do that, we become a strategic asset,” Hardy concludes.

    This is the eighth time that the DAU has been named a Learning! 100 winner.

     

    Private Sector #3: T-Mobile USA

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    Photo Courtesy T-Mobile
    The T-Mobile telesales staff is a hearty and happy bunch, thanks to the company’s Sales Training and Sales Management Transformation project.

    Comprehensive Telesales Training Unifies T-Mobile Teammates

    T-Mobile, the third-largest wireless carrier in the United States with 74 million customers, is one of the most recognizable brands in the land. T-Mobile provides wireless voice and data services in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands under the T-Mobile and MetroPCS brands. The company, which has annual revenues of more than $40 billion, also serves as the host network for many mobile virtual network operators.

    In 2017, T-Mobile was ranked No.1 in customer service satisfaction by Nielsen. And this month, it is named the thirdbest corporate learning organization among the Learning! 100.

    Its sales division is a large part of the company’s success. Last year marked a continued ramp-up and implementation of a massive sales training and sales management transformation for T-Mobile Telesales. Officials claim that enthusiasm is now at an all-time high, “and the team feels completely empowered to take on any and all competition.”

    T-Mobile USA Telesales was nominated for this list because of its comprehensive effort to unify all telesales call centers and team members in how they interact both internally and externally with customers to communicate T-Mobile’s Un-Carrier vision.

    In 2017, Bart Ons, general manager of the E-commerce and Telesales Department, launched an initial 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 1200 telesales agents. 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 program consisted on a series of e-learning preparation modules, on-site and virtual learning classes, coaching modules, reinforcement e-learning and multimedia solutions, promotions and more. The goal was cultural change, excitement and a focus on working cohesively as one unified T-Mobile to delivery an outstanding customer experience.

    And it has worked.

    “I’ve turned all my one-on-one sessions to self-realization moments,” claims Jake Cline a T-Mobile supervisor. “I love it when an agent says, ‘This is hard,’ and then figures out something that they can do better without me having to point it out to them, like I was doing before.”

    Adds senior manager Charlotte Clevenger, “The UEE Initiative has brought a complete transformation.”

    T-Mobile is a three-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #3: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

    Area of Excellence: Performance

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    Anthony Gagliardo is head of HR &Technical Training at NASA's JPL.

    Jet Propulsion Lab’s ‘Destination 2025’

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a unique national research facility that carries out robotic space and Earth science missions. JPL helped open the Space Age by developing America’s first Earth-orbiting science satellite, creating the first successful interplanetary spacecraft, and sending robotic missions to study all the planets in the solar system as well as asteroids, comets and Earth’s moon. In addition to its missions, JPL developed and manages NASA’s Deep Space Network, a worldwide system of antennas that communicates with interplanetary spacecraft.

    The JPL human resources (HR) and learning and development (L&D) team serves as the primary JPL organization responsible for satisfying leadership, organization learning and development, as well as technical training needs of more than 6,000 JPL personnel and 7,000 contract affiliates.

    Like many technical organizations, JPL faces challenges in managing the transference of deep technical and institutional knowledge while experiencing an unprecedented growth in JPL mainline mission and a drastic shift in its multi-generational workforce. JPL must address the changing learning styles of new and existing individuals and the constant employee expectation of a commerciallike learning experience.

    In 2015, JPL’s Chief Human Resource Officer Cozette Hart formed the “Destination 2025” working group dedicated to exploring and advancing the future of working and learning at JPL. Since then, JPL’s business case for modernization of learning has been contextualized. The primary areas of learning modernization were identified as:

    >> Modernization of the JPL learning environment; consistently improve on the availability and quality of training while enhancing the learning experience.

    >> How to significantly modernize talent acquisition and management in the most technically advanced place on Earth.

    Change awareness was raised among stakeholders through early communication related to JPL’s needs for change in learning technology and its rapidly evolving capabilities. At JPL, the scope of change was full employee development and a new training ecosystem. The change team provided support and resources and set the direction for various efforts to increase value in specified business areas.

    To bring resources together, integrate processes and communicate effectively, goal-oriented change management was designed to guide individuals and organizations at JPL. The desire for change was reinforced through employee engagement and participation with the aim to overcome resistance through a cross- functional sponsorship program.

    The proposed learning approach was designed to provide flexibility and support that complements the capabilities of JPL’s unique workforce. The learners of today expect a digitally rich learning environment, and implementation of new technology enabled a personalized learning experience to JPL employees anytime and anyplace in real-time. The HR team and its laboratory partners prepared to shift and integrate resources by focusing on the new learning ecosystems in terms of the operational support, technology and curriculum. Each pivot area evolution was based on application of advanced technologies and approaches.

    JPL is a federally funded research and development center managed for NASA by Caltech. From the long history of leaders drawn from the university’s faculty to joint programs and appointments, JPL’s intellectual environment and identity are profoundly shaped by its role as part of Caltech.

    JPL is a first-time winner of the Learning! 100.

     

    Private Sector #4: Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

    Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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    Photo Courtesy Shaw
    The Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) provides employees with 1 million hours of training each year.

    Shaw Learning Academy Helps Employees Reach Full Potential

    Shaw Industries Group, Inc. — a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. — is a leading floor covering provider and the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. It supplies carpet, resilient, hardwood, laminate, tile and stone flooring products and synthetic turf to residential and commercial markets worldwide.

    Shaw Learning Academy (SLA) is a key to that success, providing more than 1 million hours of training annually through diverse learning solutions and platforms to meet the diverse learning needs of Shaw’s associates, customers, suppliers and community. SLA, by design, promotes innovation, fresh thinking and dedication to quality.

    “Education and training are instrumental to how Shaw helps create a better future for associates, customers, communities and the company,” says Danny Crutchfield, Shaw’s director of corporate training and organizational development, who also leads the Shaw Flooring Network. “It’s a critical component in helping associates and customers reach their full potential and succeed amidst an ever-changing industry.”

    The company’s 22,000 associates are engaged in a wide variety of roles (manufacturing, R&D, product design, engineering, sales, distribution, transportation, sustainability, I.T., HR, marketing and communications, management, etc.) to ensure superior customer service and high-quality products.

    Additionally, Shaw recognizes its retailers’ success is inextricably linked to training and support. The company has designed comprehensive and customized educational programs offer to help retailers meet their business objectives. More than 15,000 customers engage with the Shaw Learning Academy each year through regional training, online sessions, markets, the Shaw Flooring Network Convention, and other offerings in addition to extensive continue education opportunities offered to commercial customers worldwide.

    This dedication to education and training is not new.

    “We’ve always been an industry leader in a variety of ways, like product innovation, community involvement and sustainability,” notes Brian Cooksey, Shaw’s director of Operations, Training and Development. “We have had speakers present at different conferences all over the country on different topics. We’re also heavily involved in leading workforce development efforts, technology and innovation efforts, so our speakers are often asked to come and share their stories.”

    The Shaw Learning Academy plays a significant role in helping develop business initiatives. For instance, Shaw celebrated its 50th year in 2017; as a result, leadership began to consider the next 50 to 100 years, “what we need to do to continue to be successful,” Cooksey says. “Like business objectives, culture — things we might want to tweak.”

    To that end, Shaw’s upper managers published a “Shaw Way” document last year that captures their vision, their mission and their values as they pertain to high-level business strategies.

    “The document contains business and cultural imperatives designed to continue our success but also take us to a new level,” Cooksey reveals. “Because we have a diverse offering of products and diverse customer bases all over the globe, we have to make sure we keep up with the times.”

    The process involved conversations across the entire Shaw organization and with customers and with research in marketplace. “It was really a good process for the organization, and from that we developed a new competency model,” Cooksey continues. “It’s really helped to align some of the training support we provide — online or instructor-led or virtual—to give clarity to the organization. And it was nice for our group to have a seat at the table during the process of brainstorming the business.”

    Shaw is an eight-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #4: American Heart Association

    Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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    Photo Courtesy AHA
    AHA employees take a chance to signal their delight with what they've learned.

    ‘Building Powerful Partnerships’ Meets American Heart Association’s Objectives

    During 2017, the American Heart Association (AHA) wanted to establish a unified fund-raising process and culture across its organization for both volunteercentric and direct groups. Besides this unified fund-raising process, AHA also wanted to support its staff in articulating its mission, impact and programs, as well as reach critical thresholds in areas of revenue and health goals.

    These business outcomes led to the creation and then extension of the Building Powerful Partnerships program.

    “After we conducted the initial rollout, we found that we had to adjust to specifically serve new employees,” says Amanda Haggerty, the AHA’s Learning and Development Trainer. “The difference in 2017 was a shift to new employees and new supervisors. We also needed to continue reinforcing the content, so training now consists of a suite of ‘refreshers,’ 15 sessions that last 60 to 90 minutes that any supervisor can host during team meetings. These rich coaching sessions are a ‘deep dive’ into the relationship development concepts that allow employees the opportunity for continued application of best practices.

    Some of the learning objectives that needed to be achieved were:

    >> Demonstrate ability to lead conversations that will 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;

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

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

    >> Describe and practice the fivestage SMART engagement model to plan and execute high-impact conversations with partners and volunteers;

    >> Practice the five-step HEART Conversation process;

    “The five-stage SMART engagement model is the entire relationship development process,” explains Haggerty. “It begins at the prospecting stage and lasts all the way to transformational growth.” It’s a year-after-year program, from inception, to growth, through continued maintenance.

    “Within the SMART framework,” Haggerty continues, “the HEART conversation process gets into the meat of an external meeting with someone, including the art of the conversation, how to articulate the corporate mission, and how to make the ‘ask.’”

    This “Building Powerful Relationships” program exceeded all expectations and helped the American Heart Association achieve its critical goals, which in turn helped the Dallas-based non-profit organization continue its work.

    “We’ve seen numerous staffers tell us through surveys that they were more comfortable with the mission and with making ‘asks’ on our behalf,” says Haggerty.

    “This program, has really stuck with the staff. We are excited to continue to bring them the curriculum year after year.”

    This is the seventh trip to the Learning! 100 for the American Heart Association.

     

    Private Sector #5: Navy Federal Credit Union

    Area of Excellence: Culture

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    Thomas Greek, VP Learning & Development Communications

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    Photo Courtesy Navy Federal Credit Union
    Leaders learn to work together through experimental activities at monthly ‘Follow the Leader’ events.

    Navy Federal Credit Union: Growth Starts at Point of Hire

    The Navy Federal Credit Union has staked its reputation and growth on the belief that professional development and education start at the point of hire and continue throughout each employee’s career. To that end, the organization continually invests in its employees to drive their engagement, commitment and quality of service to members.

    “We have about 17,000 employees all across the world servicing the military and their families, and most participate in the learning environment in any given year,” observes Thomas Greek, vice president of Learning, Development and Communications. “Our learning strategies are tied into the strategic plan. The mission of our team of about seven trainers is to be scalable and sustainable.”

    Many of the Navy FCU’s employees joined the credit union at entry-level positions and have since grown professionally within the organization. Some senior leaders, who started as entry-level employees, even grew into their current roles with the help of the learning opportunities available to them as their careers progressed.

    “Our employees are instrumental to our continued success, and much of their loyalty, skill level and engagement can be attributed to the training and development they received,” Greek continues. “Navy Federal has a robust learning culture, which is cascaded throughout the organization.”

    It’s not an easy task, either, to offer valuable learning and training to so many employees with such a wide range of skillsets, from communications to marketing to back-office support to finance.

    “New hires come to us with a lot of technical skills,” Greek admits, “so most of what we’re doing is helping teach soft skills like communication, leadership and time management. We reinforce those technical skills and add to them through our soft skills library.”

    That extensive learning library primarily based on in-house-generated content.

    “Our team of instructional designers come with an incredible skillset and are well versed in learning theories,” Greek continues. “Their mission is to create good content that includes how to train effectively in a virtual environment with content that is relevant and entertaining.”

    Since 1933, Navy Federal Credit Union has grown from seven to more than 7 million members. And during that time, its vision statement has remained focused on serving a unique field of membership.

    “Simply put, our team members are remarkable, and they truly understand the important responsibility we have to serve our members,” says Cutler Dawson, Navy Federal’s president/CEO. “For 85 years, we’ve listened to what our members want and will continue to provide an exceptional experience.”

    Employees at all levels of the organization have the opportunity to attend employer-sponsored workshops with curriculum that includes leadership, interpersonal communication skills, “emotional intelligence,” workplace creativity and supervisory skills. Graduate-level instruction and executive skill development is available to those employees at the supervisor/manager level and above.

    Additionally, there is a Career Ambassador Program that “trains up” volunteers from the business unit on how to be career advisors so other employees can get that kind of career advice from colleagues or peers when they need it.

    “We’re growing quite rapidly,” Greek says. “We have a lot of internal promotions, so our people need a lot of just-in-time resources. We give them on-demand career development resources that employees can take where and when they need them.”

    And employee satisfaction is astounding: “Surveys and business outcomes let us know if training hits the mark. Employees take courses because they want to, so we see high scores in engagement, well higher than industry benchmarks.

    Navy Federal Credit Union, which is owned by its members, is a seven-time Learning! 100 award-winner.

     

    Public Sector #5: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

    Area of Excellence: Collaboration

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    U.S. OPM’s USALearning Offers Critical Cybersecurity Training

    Cybersecurity is becoming more of a threat, especially to U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. OPM) and other federal, state and local government agencies. Every day, new security issues gain the attention of the computer security community, including loss of data, new malware, and/or new ransomware, which is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Just recently, the City of Atlanta, Ga., had its systems compromised by ransomware.

    The challenges of cybersecurity are changing rapidly with new vulnerabilities being discovered and systems previously thought secure being compromised.

    So U.S. OPM’s USALearning is now working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to develop and offer more than 60 online cybersecurity courses to federal, state and local government employees, including U.S. Department of Defense personnel and U.S. military veterans. These courses can build skills and support any career transitioning to the cybersecurity field.

    The “Cybersecurity Awareness” course introduces the automated information systems (AIS) environment and the threats and vulnerabilities faced when working within the government or defense industrial systems. It provides a working knowledge of cyber intrusion methods and cybersecurity countermeasures to assist employees in preventing cyberattacks and protecting their systems and information. The user experience centers on a single, large-scale, disastrous event. Several contributing scenarios are presented to show different vantage points related to the large event. Through the large event and associated contributing scenarios, students learn about different cyber threats and methods of operation, targeted information, countermeasures, and reporting requirements. This approach demonstrates for users that even small events can contribute and lead to immeasurable consequences.

    More than 600 hours of courses are hosted in a secure FedRAMP environment. Already, more than 200,000 government employees and veterans have self-registered and are taking courses with more than half-a-million course completions or courses in-progress. The self-registration is free, and there is no cost from USALearning to access any of the courses.

    These courses provide instruction on how to lock down sites, perform vulnerability testing, address patches, lock out hackers, and hundreds of other key security topics—practices that are fast becoming requirements for anyone working on computers, especially those taking advantage of the Cloud.

    The USALearning program is operated out of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and is a part of the HR Solutions Directorate, in the Center for Leadership Development. The program was formerly called the GoLearn Program and has been active since the creation of 24 E-Gov initiatives by President George W. Bush’s e-training initiative in 2002. The purpose of the program is to leverage simplified acquisition processes and allow agencies to expeditiously acquire a myriad of support services via Intra/ Interagency agreements under the authority of the Economy Act and Revolving Fund.

    USALearning supports the development of the federal workforce and advances the accomplishment of agency missions through simplified and one-stop access to high quality e-learning products, information and services. Some of its offerings include the development and delivery of customized learning management systems (LMS); learning content management systems (LCMS) and associated services; e-learning/testing platforms; communities of practice; and other customized content and collaborative platforms to include object and document repositories, course development, and innovative software engineering services.

    This is the fifth time that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has been awarded Learning! 100 status.

     

     

    View the full list of 2018 Learning! 100 Award winners below:

     

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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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    Published in Products Featured

    The 2016 “Best of Elearning!” awards honor best-in-class solutions across the learning and technology marketplace. Celebrating their 12th year, these honors are bestowed across 27 different categories for which Elearning! Media Group accepted nominations.

    Best of Elearning! awards are the industry’s exclusive users’-choice awards. All nominations are made directly by users of solutions, and more than 4,000 nominations were received this year.

    “We are honored to recognize these 99 solutions providers as Best of Elearning! 2016,” says Catherine Upton, Group Publisher, Elearning! Media Group. ‘The number of nominations and winning organizations is a testament to the innovation and engagement of the learning industry.”

    The Best of Elearning! awards formalize the recommendation and purchase process for the learning community. Research indicated 85 percent of learning professionals recommended a 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.

    Since 2005, four companies have been recognized every year. They are Adobe, Cisco, Skillsoft and Articulate. This year, BizLibrary, SAP, and Articulate lead with four honors each. Additionally, Adobe won three categories and INXPO two.

    Repeat winners from last year are SumTotal, DominKnow, Bizlibrary, Vubiz, Articulate, Adobe, INXPO and TransPerfect. Last year, Bizlibrary won three awards and Adobe two.

    NOMINATION PROCESS

    Elearning! Media Group community members, subscribers and wider learning community were invited to nominate their best-in-class solution providers via an online ballot between June and October of this year. The ballot was open-ended with only categories designations stipulated. No short list of brands were provided. At close, the ballots were reviewed and validated. 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. The balance of finalists earn an Award of Excellence.

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

     

     

    Honoree Spotlight

     

    LMS CLOUD

    Winner: Litmos LMS, a Callidus Cloud Co.

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Litmos has more than 3 million users and is used by large enterprise companies, SMBs and not-for-profits. It is easy to build courses, assign them to learners, and accurately track the results. Litmos is a hosted training system, so administrators don’t need help from the I.T. department to set it up and get started. Content is added in the form of modules; custom branding is available; and users can take advantage of a training scheduler and learner training profiles to make certain users are being exposed to content that they need. Users can access the API to seamlessly share information between Litmos and other systems. Single sign-on can be enabled so that users don’t have to remember their Litmos password.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Simple, easy-to-use interface for both administrator and user.”

    >> “Module form makes it easy to replace individual modules when we release a new or improved feature.”

    >> “Best set of features for the price.”

    >> “Easy, reliable and affordable.”

    PHONE

    (866) 812-5244

     

    LMS ENTERPRISE

    Winner: SumTotal Learn, a Skillsoft Co.

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Established more than 30 years ago, SumTotal’s Learn connects the dots between the skills and competencies people need to be better at their jobs — delivered in the context of what they are trying to accomplish — and prepare the organization for tomorrow, to measurably improve performance. With adaptable learning plans, a visual timeline of priorities and tasks and individualized insight into learning progress contextual actions are a click away, and people have visibility into the measurable impact of their efforts. Learning recommendations, personalized to every individual’s needs and preferences, keep people engaged in continuous learning effortlessly. Engaging and responsive mobile design and notifications make it easy for every role to engage with the learning they need on-the-go or from remote locations, whether online or offline, to ensure learning is prioritized and accessible when and how people prefer to consume it.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Second in usage only to email among employees.”

    >> “Month over month, over half our employees come back, so they really see the value of it.”

    >> “With the reporting function, we’ve been albe to say how we’ve invested in our people and how it has helped our business grow.”

    EMAIL

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    LCMS

    Winner: DominKnow Platform, DominKnow Learning Sys.

    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 singlesource. It offers all the features needed to create engaging, media-rich learning experiences, including customizable testing, flexible interactions and animation creation, advanced variables, branching, audio/video recording, software simulations, and system and author-created templates. The platform outputs HTML5 content that is WCAG 2.0 Level AA and WAI-ARIA compliant and publishes to SCORM, AICC, xAPI (TinCan) and PENS standards. Content is ready for delivery from virtually any location — the Web, your own LMS or LRS, the desktop, mobile apps, or document formats.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Allows for collaborative (SAS) approach as well as an intuitive design.”

    >> “The best e-content manage system enhanced using multimedia u-learning technology and complying with latest learning specifications/standards in all platform aspects.”

    >> “Robust environment for content development.”

    PHONE

    (613) 800-8733

     

    CONTENT AGGREGATION

    Winner: Bizlibrary Collection

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    The BizLibrary Collection contains thousands of employee training videos on key topics your employees need including business and soft skills, leadership, sales and customer service, human resources compliance, I.T., software, industryspecific content, workplace safety and more. Content formats offered meet the needs of all types of learners from short, micro-video lessons, to more in-depth video courses, interactive video programs and e-learning courses. Many of the lessons and courses include quizzes and additional support materials to extend the learning process, increasing both retention and the return on training investment. Administrators can deliver employee training videos across platforms: desktop, mobile and tablet.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Great library of micro-learning.”

    >> “Depth and width of the collection are staggering.”

    >> “Competency guides and live support help to develop curriculum paths and curate the robust content.”

    EMAIL

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    Award of Excellence: OpenSesame

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    OpenSesame makes buying and selling e-learning courses easy. Users can preview courses, read reviews and research sellers in the marketplace. Administrators can buy courses with no subscriptions or long-term commitments and use them instantly in any learning management system. Let us do the heavy lifting, so you can focus on choosing the best courses for your employees. Buyers can personalize their interaction either through browsing the extensive listing of courses online or interacting with one of our content specialists to custom build their training catalog. Sellers can stick with the learning management system they know best and can rest easy knowing their material is protected.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Not just the biggest but the easiest platform I could integrate into an enterprise LMS in 15 minutes, while many content vendors struggled immensely over months to get to the same spot.”

    PHONE

    (503) 808-1268

     

    OTHER LEARNING PLATFORMS

    Winner: Bizlibrary Company College

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    BizLibrary’s learning management system is conveniently organized into three tiers to allow users the option to customize their solutions based upon the needs of their respective organizations. All three tiers offer approval agents, branded website design, a personalized user experience, online and dashboard reports, self-regulation or administrative course assignments, a Cloud-hosted online learning center, certification of completion, social ratings and reviews, a course recommendation engine and email messages and reminders. The second tier of the program, Content Management, offers management of custom documents, links and videos; a quiz and survey builder; the ability to add custom courses, embed video and learning assets; and community social learning and collaborative application. Learning Management, the highest tier, offers all of the previous benefits in addition to classroom management and on-the-job external training, certification management and virtual classroom integration via WebEx or GoToMeeting.

    EMAIL

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    Award of Excellence: ej4 Thinkzoom

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Thinkzoom is ej4’s comprehensive video training platform. With several interactive tools and resources, Thinkzoom helps employees during and after training. Thinkzoom allows administrators the knowledge of which videos their employees are watching and how well they comprehend the material with its built-in interactive exams. Score requirements can be set and additional student materials can be provided so learners can put their knowledge to practice. Thinkzoom also has a comprehensive reporting feature that allows administrators to create custom reports based upon users, groups, courses and topics. Understanding which courses are popular and which are lacking participation can help measure training progress and communicate future training goals.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Easy to implement, easy to use, engaging and rewarding for our learners.”

    >> “Able to train all departments (including remote employees) with relevant, and customizable content.”

    >> “Easy to upload, with a lot of good native content.”

    EMAIL

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    Award of Excellence: Skillsoft SkillPort

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    SkillPort is a modern Cloud-based content delivery platform that delivers highly targeted learning —when and where people want to learn. SkillPort technology, in conjunction with Skillsoft’s unique combination of content, service and experience builds talent and delivers powerful business outcomes. SkillPort offers a full learning experience as a standalone learning platform, or it can be easily integrated with existing business and I.T. systems. The system offers a variety of learning modalities to match individual learning styles; a rich user-experience with a beautiful, clean user interface; analytics, reporting, measurement tools; extensive search and discovery capabilities; personalized learning recommendations, featured topics and curated learning plans; social and collaborative learning to connect users across each organization; and mobile access.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “We’re leveraging SkillPort to align content to strategic training needs.” >

    > “Being able to choose new courses keeps our catalog from getting stale and allows us to meet emerging needs as they develop.”

    PHONE

    (866) 757-3177

     

    TMS

    Winner: SAP SuccessFactors TMS

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    SAP SuccessFactors provides a complete, recruit-to-retire solution across all talent processes, and comprehensive content such as skills and competency libraries, job descriptions, goal catalogs, as well as legal and coaching content. In addition to content, SAP SuccessFactors talent management solutions are provided with a foundational set of capabilities, including Talent Insights, Talent Search, Basic Jam, Job Profile Builder, and SAP SuccessFactors Presentations. The solution includes modules that expressly target recruiting, onboarding, learning, performance & goals, compensation, and succession & development.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Ease of use.”

    >> “Has made us more effective and helped us to keep our people engaged.”

    >> “You’re not just getting software; you’re getting all of the experience of SAP in deploying the software in many companies and industries.”

    EMAIL

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    HR TECHNOLOGY

    Award of Excellence: SAP HCM Cloud

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Empower, engage, and develop your talent – with human capital management (HCM) software from SAP SuccessFactors. The cloud-based human resource management solutions support the needs of multigenerational, global, and contingent workforces. Administrators have access to collaborative tools for onboarding, workforce scheduling, payroll, and more. The software allows organizations to foster a culture of continuous learning and professional development for better business results. Core human resources and payroll functions deliver flexible and efficient global human resources processes. The talent management feature helps attract, develop and retain talent to achieve business results and prepare for the future. Time and attendance management functions optimize the deployments and utilization of each employee’s working time. Human capital analytics increase the success of workforce strategies with reliable and real time, relevant insight.

    WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY

    >> “We will save close to $1.2 million per year.”

    >> “Frees up our people to do what they do best.”

    >> “Allows accessability from all our facilities around the world.”

    PHONE

    (800) 872-1727

     

    I.T. TRAINING

    Award of Excellence: Skillsoft I.T. Skills Library

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Skillsoft provides a wide array of integrated learning types to continuously develop and maintain IT skills — including short expert-led videos, video-based e-learning courses, live web-based instructor-led training, free live mentoring services, certification test preparation, and access to tens of thousands of full text online books. It offers support for more than 100 professional IT certification exams from leading software, hardware, networking, web service companies and professional organizations. Leading experts and mentors provide an affordable fast track to IT certification and offer test preparation designed to improve pass rates.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Combines courseware, Books 24x7, videos and live learning to provide a well-rounded array of modalities to impart I.T. information.”

    PHONE

    (866) 757-3177

     

    Winner: ej4 Software Skills Training

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Ej4’s “plug and play” content fits any organization, providing information that is always ready to use. Short formats and on-demand availability facilitate training, making it available to everyone, anytime, anywhere.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Video format allows you to see the applications being used in ways that learners can relate to.”

    >> “Easy to use; excellent information; adaptable; current.”

    EMAIL

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    SOFT SKILLS

    Winner: Bizlibrary Business Skills

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    BizLibrary’s Business Skills Training program include videos and coursework on topics ranging from planning strategic relationships and managing body language. Other series contain several parts, for example, Measuring Employee Engagement discusses what passes for employee engagement at many organizations, how to measure employee engagement, and how you can improve employee engagement. Other lessons include successful time management and mastering social media.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Able to customize a professional skills program as well as compliance courses and even office ergonomics.”

    >> “Soft skills trainings are helpful, not just in the workplace, but in every facet of life.”

    EMAIL

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    Award of Excellence: BCI Win-Win Negotiations

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    BCI’s Win-Win Negotiations training helps individuals tap into their own strengths and experiences, hone their skills, and align around a proven framework — so they approach every negotiation with a plan, and with the confidence to achieve their goals. Lessons help users increase profits through well-planned collaboration and concession strategies, shift from using tactics to planning, while reinforcing key corporate values, focus upon interests and issues and avoid dangerous positions, enhance communications by developing a common negotiation language and build strong relationships with customers, partners and colleagues.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Absolutely vital training delivered in a systematic way.”

    >> “We realized it’s not always about one person winning; it’s best when everyone can walk away feeling like a winner.”

    EMAIL

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    Award of Excellence: ej4 Business Skills Library

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Ej4’s Business Skills library contains the courses needed to effectively run any business. The Business Skills library contains courses covering professional productivity, communication skills, sales, project management, leadership, supervision, safety, presentations skills among others. The library is made for employees with varying levels of experience ranging from from recent hires to experienced managers.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Quality micro-learning that easily understandable and digestible in a video format.”

    >> “Easy to use, excellent information, adaptable, current.”

    EMAIL

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    SOFT SKILLS

    Award of Excellence: Vado Management Dev. Learning Track

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Vado’s management courses are designed for supervisors, managers and leaders who are responsible for leading, coaching and inspiring employee performance. These courses help build the skills needed to manage individual and team performance, engage and retain employees, and contribute to the organization’s success. They offer bite-sized content, video and mobile access.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Their approach to chunked learning and real-world, direct applicability engages the learner to be an active participant in his/her learning journey.”

    >> “Content from experts yielding expertise transfer, plus collaborative work that exploits each content partner’s transforable value proposition.”

    EMAIL

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    LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

    Award of Excellence: Vado Leadership Development Learning Track

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Research shows that 70 percent of development happens on the job, and Vado provides off-the-shelf e-learning courses that help learners apply learning on the job through step-by-step instructions and exercises. The combination of short videos followed by step-by-step instructions help learners put into practice the learning they just completed, which means organization leaders are confident that the transition from learning to application on the job actually happens, and organization capabilities are increased. Vado’s new Remote Leadership Toolkit is designed to equip managers with the tools and skills required to successfully manage others remotely.

    WEBSITE

    http://vadoinc.net/contact-form/index.php

     

    Award of Excellence: Bizlibrary Leadership and Management

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    BizLibrary’s leadership and management courses cover everything from discipline and accountability, high-performance coaching, handling disagreements at work and everything in between. They also cover helpful topics such as managing remote employees, succession planning, handling team expectations and making the transition from co-worker to boss. Users get unlimited access for their first 30 days free.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Terrific variety in the contemporary, quality videos.”

    EMAIL

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    Award of Excellence: ej4 Leadership Development

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Ej4’s “plug and play” content fits any organization, providing information that is ready-to-use now. Short formats and on-demand availability facilitate training, making it available to everyone, anytime, anywhere. Leadership Development is part of the company’s Business Skills library and touches on everything from transformational leadership and building an effective leadership team. WHAT USERS SAY >> “Quality micro-learning that easily understandable and digestable in a video format.” >> “Just a tremendous resource to have.”

    EMAIL

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    TRANSLATION & LOCALIZATION SERVICES

    Winner: TransPerfect Translation & Localization

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    As the world’s largest privately held provider of translation services, TransPerfect uses a rigorously tested network of industry-expert linguists and full-time quality managers to ensure that the work it delivers is second to none. TransPerfect offers multiple levels of service based on client needs, ranging from draft/summary translation up to certified translation, featuring a multi-step translation and review process to ensure the highest level of accuracy and meet the evolving needs of global businesses. The company can translate from/to more than 170 languages, using more than 5,000 native-speaking linguists.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Benefits include customer service, range of languages provided, time to production, cost/quality and responsiveness.”

    WEBSITE

    www.transperfect.com

     

    SALES TRAINING

    Winner: ej4 Selling Skills

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Selling is part art, part science, and all about the approach. Your team will be able to move prospects down the funnel with ej4’s cutting-edge sales training content. A number of courses are available including Retailer Hot Buttons: Transaction Size, Selling to Different Customer Roles, Building Great Sales Relationships, and Determining Customer Needs.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Our salespeople have more confidence knocking on doors, and have vastly improved sales skills.”

    >> “It’s taken us three calls less per customer to sell them on our products, and I tie a lot of that to the training.”

    EMAIL

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    COMPLIANCE TRAINING

    Winner: VuBiz WHMIS

    PRODUCT INFO

    Vubiz provides full-service e-learning content, development and delivery software with solutions that are flexible in practice. By having thousands of hours of off-the-shelf content available for purchase as-is or tailored to a specific client situation, it offers a number of compliance courses including preventing and stopping sexual harassment, equal opportunity and affirmative action courses for managers, content about the Americans with Disabilities Act and Alternative Dispute Resolution.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Easy to use, excellent content and price.”

    >> “Sound content; adult learning principles paid attention to; and clarity.”

    >> “Excellent customer service from the VuBiz team, quick response time, great at customizing info when needed, and overall great team to work with.”

    WEBSITE

    http://store.vubiz.com/store/ContactUs

     

    Award of Excellence: ej4 Workplace Compliance Library

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    ej4’s Workplace Compliance library keeps users in legal compliance with federal and state regulations while sharing best practices for the workplace. The Workplace Compliance library contains titles covering diversity, workplace conduct, workplace harassment, fair labor standards, and a number of human resource issues revolving around hiring practices, medical leave, termination, and more.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “[The ej4 team is] real good at figuring out what it is that I’m envisioning.”

    >> “We’re changing behaviors, we’re setting standards...”

    EMAIL

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    GAMIFICATION

    Winner: Gamelearn Pacific Serious Game

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Pacific offers learning in video game format and is designed for the development of leadership skills. It was launched with the aim of becoming a practical manual on how to run and manage high-performing teams. Pacific turns leadership into a survival adventure to develop management skills such as defining roles, responsibilities and objectives; analyzing the needs of the team, improving processes and increasing motivation; resolving conflicts within the team; improving communication for the delegation of tasks; encouraging teamwork and performance orientation. Developed in 3-D animation and HTML5 language to be adaptable to a variety of devices, Pacific is available in eight languages and requires only an Internet connection.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Funny, didactic and dynamic.”

    >> “The first training program in video game format for the development of leadership skills.”

    >> “Challenging, user-friendly, unexpected!”

    WEBSITE

    https://game-learn.com/contact/

     

    SOCIAL LEARNING

    Winner: Bizlibrary Community

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    With up to five different generations present in a workplace, people see the world and the way it works differently. This can create conflict about how to complete tasks, reach goals, or run the organization. The challenge is harnessing conflicting viewpoints and ideas and turning them into cooperative creativity for how to be both productive and innovative. An important first step to bringing together a variety of talents and ideas is recognizing the similarities that connect people. Finding common interests, beliefs, or skills (whether work-related or not) can create a bridge over a generational division that energizes collaboration, innovation and problem-solving. To find those commonalities, it’s important for coworkers to be willing to think from a perspective different from their own, taking others’ life experiences into account and how that affects their viewpoint. With an RSS feed, community members receive HR and employee training news, tips and best practices delivered straight to their inboxes.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Works two ways: internal for our employees and even smaller teams, but also for L&D professionals who are a part of the community to ask questions and share recommendations.”

    >> “Easy way to get updates from the vendor and share best practices with other customers of BizLibrary.”

    EMAIL

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    OUTSOURCED LEARNING SERVICES

    Award of Excellence: Skillsoft Learning Services

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Skillsoft begins by developing a personalized e-learning program in conjunction with each client’s strategies, culture and events to leverage best practices — then working to maximize e-learning success. Skillsoft e-learning consultants, customer support and application engineers provide core program support services — a fundamental value-add. These teams deliver the expert e-learning services and advice to help clients establish general strategies for deployment and adoption of powerful learning programs.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “Tremendous catalog.” “Whenever I ask for something, they say ‘we will handle that’...I come back and it’s done.”

    >> “The instructors are fantastically knowledgeable.”

    PHONE

    (866) 757-3177

     

    MOBILE AUTHORING

    Award of Excellence: DominKnow Flow

    PRODUCT INFORMATION

    Flow is content-authoring software that outputs fully responsive and adaptive HTML5-conformant content that automatically adjusts depending on the screen a user views it on. Flow is built it on the same engine that powers DominKnow’s award-winning Claro. It not only offers responsive content that changes and rearranges according to the device one views it on. It also gives authors the ability to choose what content gets delivered, thus adapting to the user’s device for a more meaningful and contextual end-user experience. And it does all of this in a Web-based authoring environment that allows for collaborative development, sharing and re-use of resources, and anywhere, anytime, any platform access.

    WHAT USERS SAY

    >> “A new authoring tool integrated in the Claro LCMS.”

    >> “Fully responsive with excellent, new thinking functionalities that allow you to produce truly responsive content that does not only make the content bigger/ smaller, but that actually totally adapts the content to the screen size.”

    PHONE

    (613) 800-8733

     

     

    Litmos by CallidusCloud

    AWARD WINNING LMS-CLOUD

    ENTERPRISE LEARNING THAT WORKS

    For too long, employee training systems have been cumbersome and complex to work with. But the need to onboard employees, introduce programs, educate staff on updated policies, and offer training to external audiences has been accelerating. Organizations today do not have the time or the patience to spend months implementing clunky learning management systems. Litmos by CallidusCloud is changing that.

    Litmos is the world’s fastest growing enterprise learning platform, supporting more than 4 million users in over 130 countries and 22 languages. The Litmos cloud-based solution unifies a learning management system (LMS), the extended enterprise, and prepackaged content in an engaging platform to meet any organization’s training needs. Built to scale from 100 users to 1 million users and beyond, Litmos is highly secure, focuses on the end user, and provides time to value three times faster than conventional learning solutions. With Litmos, organizations can engage learners anytime through native apps for Android and iOS, and they can extend their ecosystem by using prepackaged connectors and REST APIs. Litmos also provides local US support during business hours to help organizations be successful. Headquartered in Silicon Valley and backed by public company CallidusCloud (NASDAQ: CALD), Litmos is still run with the nimbleness of a start-up. It continues to experience double-digit growth and has a customer satisfaction rate of over 95 percent.

    A POWERFUL PLATFORM: LITMOS LMS, LITMOS CONTENT, AND LITMOS TRAINING OPS

    Litmos LMS is a simple yet powerful platform. Most legacy systems are over-engineered solutions with a huge percentage of features utilized by less than 5 percent of users. Litmos LMS is built with learner’s experience in mind that makes it easy to implement, administer, and manage. The platform’s open API architecture and prepackaged connectors make it simple for organizations to connect Litmos LMS to their ecosystem. And the user interface is consistent across devices, which helps organizations to engage their mobile workforce.

    Litmos offers more than 700 packages of content. In addition, Litmos Content uses an in-house course production studio— composed of specialists in instructional design, production, research, technical operations, and program support—to develop more high-quality, mobile-friendly courses that focus on healthcare, HR, OSHA, sales and marketing, leadership, and more. The design aesthetics for these courses ensure better retention through engaged learning, and all content is available through the course marketplace.

    Litmos Training Ops is an end-to-end training-as-a-business solution, enabling organizations to grow revenue, build loyalty, and reduce costs by automating the business side of training. A self-service, cloud-based platform, Litmos Training Ops delivers a sophisticated, integrated set of tools that help organizations automate and manage revenue, expense, global taxation, training credits, and other business processes so they can improve the ROI of their external training programs.

    ADVANCING CORPORATE LEARNING

    Litmos’ mission and core value proposition is to advance corporate learning by providing a learning experience that doesn’t necessarily reside in one segmented location, but in the departments where administrators work and in the applications where users spend their time. With Litmos:

    >> Customers will get the perfect combination of powerful search and ease of use that learners love.

    >> Customers can go live in 6 weeks— many in days or even minutes—rather than in 6 to 12 months.

    >> Customers will achieve time to value in less than 6 months as opposed to 24 months.

    CUSTOMERS

    litmoscustomersimage

    WHAT CUSTOMERS SAY:

    >> “The Litmos platform has enabled USIC to deliver targeted, timely and efficient learning and compliance tasks to our 8,000+ employees across the US and Canada.” Tim Gale, USIC

    >> “We chose Litmos because it’s extremely user friendly, you don’t need a lot of training and we love the user interface.” Miriam Calvo-Gil, Kapco Global

    >> “We liked that Litmos has the ability to easily upload content, build your own content, and create courses.” Rick Galliher, 1-800-Got-Junk?

    >> “What I like most about Litmos is the easy and fast implementation without needing a team of people or specialized resources.” Cheryl Powers, Coca Cola

    CONTACT INFO:

    4140 Dublin Boulevard #400

    Dublin, CA 94568

    +1 (925) 251-2220

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    www.litmos.com

     

     

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    Published in Products Featured

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

    BY LACI LOEW, BOB DANNA AND CANDY OSBORNE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    THE ROLE OF SUBJECT- MATTER EXPERTS

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

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

    knowledge to insight

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

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

    ENABLING EMPLOYEES TO DEVELOP INSIGHTS

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

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

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

    ENABLING A CULTURE OF SHARING

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

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

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

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

    WHAT MIGHT IT LOOK LIKE?

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Published in Top Stories
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