Establishing a Habit of Learning

In 5 Steps

Establishing a Habit of Learning

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

to Empower Your Learners

5 Ideas for Supporting Employee Learning

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

6 Ways to Learn When Your Interests Are Always Changing

At Degreed, we know the skills gap doesn’t just affect Americans. People outside of the US also have the need for transparent, lifelong learning tools that can help effectively communicate skills, and better lives and careers. That is why we are so excited to partner with Alexander Forbes, on an exclusive basis in Africa.

Alexander Forbes is a pan-African diversified financial services firm operating in the Retirements, Wealth, Investments and Insurance markets. They provide thousands of clients with specialist financial advice and solutions and have recently launched Alexander Forbes’ Empower to enhance their financial well-being proposition. Through its partnership with Degreed, Alexander Forbes Empower now offers its corporate clients access to thousands of courses, videos, articles, books, podcasts and more. This makes it possible for employees to embrace lifelong learning as a daily habit – a massive employee benefit that boosts skills and experience and ultimately helps to secure financial well-being.

Africa is ripe for personal skills development and ongoing learning and the continent’s economy is predicted to boom over the next few years. Africa is also home to some of the most underdeveloped economies in the world, which provides an even greater need and reason to bring low-cost, scalable, individualized learning to the region.

“This is a momentous event for Degreed as we partner with one of the most innovative companies in Africa, Alexander Forbes,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “Alexander Forbes’s vision to better the people and companies of Africa through learning perfectly aligns with the mission and purpose of Degreed. We’re excited to create the next generation of experts in Africa.”

Alexander Forbes Empower was created with a clear and distinctive mission to empower customers to achieve better outcomes, through developing a lifelong relationship with education and learning. At Degreed, we’re excited to be a part of this movement.

Globalization means that an increasing number of organizations are becoming multinational. Many of Degreed’s customers are multinational organizations with offices across the globe. Degreed itself has offices in the US, Europe, and Australia. We’re excited to announce that we now offer a seamless experience for our users regardless of language or location, staying true to our mission of giving people access to the best learning resources, no matter where they are. We’re adding new languages all the time, based on client need. Here is the current list:

Languages currently supported in Degreed:
  1. Arabic
  2. Chinese Traditional
  3. Chinese Simplified (Mainland China)
  4. Chinese Simplified
  5. Czech
  6. Dutch (Netherlands)
  7. English (British)
  8. English (US)
  9. French (France)
  10. French (Canadian)
  11. German
  12. Greek
  13. Hebrew
  14. Indonesian
  15. Italian
  16. Japanese
  17. Korean
  18. Polish
  19. Portuguese (Portugal)
  20. Portuguese (Brazil)
  21. Romanian
  22. Russian
  23. Spanish
  24. Thai
  25. Turkish
  26. Vietnamese
How internationalization works

Degreed will automatically detect the user’s language based on the user’s browser settings, which can be configured by the user. For example, if the user is running a browser set to German, Degreed will detect this browser setting, and will automatically display the Degreed platform in German without the user needing to update their profile settings in Degreed. Detecting language based on browser settings is an industry standard and provides the most user friendly experience. An organization can have users running Degreed in a variety of languages, and the experience will be personalized for each user.

Internationalization of Degreed applies to the platform and not the content itself. This means that the Degreed library will always display content based on the best matches whether we support that language or not. For example, if a company loads content in the Icelandic language, and I search in the library on an Icelandic search term, I will find Icelandic content even if Degreed doesn’t support the Icelandic language for the platform.

Plans for the future

To stay up to date with the evolving needs of today’s learners, we plan to add even more languages in more locations. We’re excited to offer one more way that Degreed can make learning better and easier, and drive engagement at your organization.

Degreed prides itself on quality – quality team, quality clients and most importantly, quality product. We have an agile development team and culture. When I started the Customer Support team at Degreed, I had to ask myself, ‘how does lean agile development affect customer support?’

What makes an agile development culture different? Product changes occur at an especially fast rate. These product changes need to be conveyed and understood by the client in order for the client to best utilize and realize the value of our product. For this to happen the changes also need to be fully understood by the customer support team.

At most organizations, the customer support team serves as the “front line” for end users – the main group supporting and delivering product updates and changes to clients. Therefore, the most important attribute I look for in my team members, in addition to someone that is customer focused, is someone who loves to learn. We need to continually learn and grow with the product in order to best support our end-users.

It’s no surprise that there are new things to learn about each product release. As a team, we need to understand what is being added or changed, with a deep knowledge of how everything works. One specific example comes to mind: when we changed the look and feel of our profile page. As a team, we had to understand more than just that the profile was getting a face lift. We had to understand the intricacies, and where popular (or not!) items may have shifted for an improved experience.  And it’s a good thing we took time to dig deep because the most popular questions over the following weeks started with “Where can I find…”

As a customer success team, we have to be ready for any and everything, which is why the desire to learn is such an important trait for us. Just the other day, I received a call from one of our end-users asking about the layout of Degreed pathways and if the style was flexible. In the couple years I have been at Degreed, that question had never been asked. But I’ve learned serving in a customer support function means being willing and eager to ask the tough questions, knowing our product inside and out because we can’t anticipate every question that is going to come our way.

Luckily, my team proves they are up to the task time and time again. We are available for clients daily while also showing dedication to individual skill development via our internal company leaderboard for most active learning teams. Number one every quarter so far, the customer service team at Degreed is proud to show commitment to both our product and our clients.

So what are some tactics the Degreed customer service team uses for helping the members of our team stay informed and continually learning about the product?

  • bi-weekly product review for the entire company
  • weekly Learning Forum held by the client experience team where we discuss learning topics and ask questions, so we can all stay up to date on messaging
  • weekly team meetings (for my team specifically) where we can ask questions or get help from each other
  • product release review meeting (for my team specifically) where we discuss the release in depth and how it could affect both our users and the team

We are also starting to review upcoming release items from the view of the end user so we can brainstorm what consumers might need and to increase our ability to be prepared.

As I go back to my question at the beginning ‘how does lean agile development affect customer support?’ The answer is simple: we have to value learning.

Vernon Howard said, “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.”  I firmly believe, and lead my team with the same mentality, that if we stop learning, we cannot help our users.

What are some things your customer support team does to continuously learn?

 

We spend hours on our phones each day – checking the news, sending texts, looking at social media, reading articles… the list goes on. In fact, over half of all digital activity now takes place on mobile devices.  As web browsing increasingly moves away from our desktops, powerful tools built specifically for mobile are becoming more valuable and more common.

That’s why we created the Degreed Mobile App – to help people be more productive with the increasing amount that we are consuming content on mobile devices! With the app, learning (and tracking!) is available whenever and wherever you want it.

Here are 5 things you can do right now with the Degreed Mobile App:

  1. Learn from your Feed, which populates personalized learning content specific to you.
  2. Search for content within the app.
  3. Track all the learning you do, both from formal and informal activities, like articles and videos from anywhere on your mobile device.
  4. Get notified, view and complete assigned, saved, and recommended items.
  5. Enroll in and learn from Pathways.

Need a jumpstart or some ideas to get started? Here are 5 ways everyday Degreed users/team members are using the Mobile App.

Maggie and tracking progress
“My family watches food documentaries on Youtube, and we share to the Degreed app from our Youtube history to get credit for what we’ve learned! I also track my progress on pathways through the mobile app, especially while commuting on the train.”

Alex and productive downtime
“I’m guilty of always pulling out my phone to fill downtime. I used to waste that time on social media, but now that I have the Degreed app, I can actually use those extra minutes here and there to learn. Typically, I will save items to Degreed during the work day and then on my commute or downtime pull out my mobile device to read my saved items. I’m also big on podcasts, so I love that once the Degreed app is installed, you can mark a podcast complete as you finish it without even having to leave the podcast app.”

Devin and centralizing multiple learning sources
“I use my iPad as my main device for work and learning, which means I use a variety of different apps for consuming learning content. I make good use of the Degreed share extension to mark content complete no matter which app and device I’m using. I also appreciate getting notifications for things I care about on Degreed, such as recommendations.”

Leslie and recommendations
“My favorite things about the Degreed App are my feed and recommendations. I love that I can pull up the app and go through my feed and see what has been specially curated for me on the go. This is especially handy when waiting for appointments! As I complete my learning I love being able to recommend it out to others if it is something that I think they would enjoy as well.”

Tim and multiple device access
“Every morning with a cup of coffee, either in front of the fireplace or on my deck, I like to read one or two recommended articles and watch a  video. When I run across one that’s especially interesting or relevant, I appreciate the ability to quickly share with my team or a co-worker. I also love that the app functions so closely to the browser version.  Moving between device types is seamless.

Ready? Let’s go. Download the Degreed Mobile App for iOS or Android now.

Degreed is honored to be recognized on two recent Training Industry Top 20 lists: Top Online Learning Library Company and Top Learning Portal  Company.

Top20
“Workers today are inundated with resources. More successful learning teams are utilizing practices like curation to cut through the chaos and bring only relevant, personalized content to each employee,” said CEO David Blake. “Degreed helps people discover, curate, share, track and value all types of learning – from anywhere – all in one place. By using Degreed, L&D teams can spend less time managing and more time empowering.”

Thank you to Training Industry for the thoughtful recognition.

In the midst of the learning transformation happening today, we are seeing a new approach to bringing together technology, access to content and people, and dynamic user experiences that are shaped by human dynamics.  These learning ecosystems are supporting the need to be continually learning, filtering in the overwhelm of access to massive amounts of content, and bringing together connections amongst networks that enable learners to share, mentor and develop lifelong skills.

These learning ecosystems of today’s hyper-connected and networked world incorporate the best of all aspects that the latest technologies and support resources can deliver. They also strive to be simple to access, completely intuitive for the end user and personalized.  Although the concept may seem easy to explain, in reality, it certainly isn’t simple to determine the right foundation with the perfect mix of technologies and support resources needed to make it deliver on all expectations.

Building sustaining learning ecosystems requires a shift in mindsets.  It is critical to have an experimental mindset in creating a learning ecosystem in order to ensure it is future proof.  Also having a learner-driven, growth mindset in establishing the foundation based on the principles of human dynamics solidifies that it is grounded and strong enough to withstand the tumultuous changes yet to come. If it is built based on the learner needs, the human dynamics drive the design, then it becomes more than just the latest fad in a grouping of the hottest technologies but rather it becomes a foundational ecosystem that can evolve with the changing systems that operate it and drive the adoption and engagement anticipated.

As Degreed states in it’s Buyer’s Guide to the Near Future of Learning Technology, “Change is fast and increasingly unpredictable, making it a challenge for individuals and organizations to keep pace with the skills required to solve today’s problems.  It’s no longer enough to simply be competent on the job.  Everyone needs to keep on learning – indefinitely .”

What impacts the success and fortitude of learning ecosystems is the foundation it arises from.  Human dynamics, the study of how people work as a whole system – mentally, physically, and emotionally can spur that foundational story behind what fuels an ecosystem.  It becomes the energy source for the “why” and the architecture in building an ideal and sustaining learning ecosystem.  When built from an innovative, adaptable and connected foundation rooted in human dynamics, a learning ecosystem can evolve and withstand the unpredictability of the shifts that rock foundations.

Not sure what to put in your ecosystem? Stop by Degreed booth 3325 at the HR Technology conference. If you’re not at HR Tech, check out the Degreed website to create your own lifelong learning transcript.

The world’s largest companies are pushing a digital technology agenda that is changing the way the rest of the world works. Over $ 1.7 trillion in market capitalization resides in just four digital business masters: Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. It seems companies have no choice but to innovate if they want to compete and succeed and stay on the cutting edge of technology.

It takes a certain skill set and certain employee network to accomplish these goals, and many organizations are having a hard time cutting the mustard. A recent survey by the Manpower Group reports that 38 percent of businesses globally are struggling to find the right talent. Rather than wait for the talent they need to emerge from the market, enterprises need to look to their current employees first with a focus on how to internally develop the skills needed.

Degreed, Accenture and Nyenrode Business Universities are joining forces in a partnership to address three of the important challenges companies face in retaining and developing the right talent:

  1. Alignment: More successful organizations view their people as a strategic differentiator. They have a clear business strategy in place, understand what capabilities are needed and can align their digital talent development agenda with business objectives.
  2. Adaptability: The classic model of education – a burst at the start and top-ups through formal company training – does not meet the needs of today’s fast-changing business environment. At the same time, learners are finding alternative ways and sources to acquire the expertise they need. Companies need to rethink the way they enable, engage and empower the learner.
  3. Acceleration: Workers understand they need to develop new skills to remain relevant. In our survey, 85% of respondents said they would be willing to invest their free time to learn new skills. If companies invest in developing rapid reskilling programs, they can mitigate automation’s negative impact on workers.

In a combined effort, Accenture, Nyenrode, and Degreed address these challenges. The partnership aims to better exploit the window of opportunity for targeted development and enrich the learning experience with personalized learning offerings that provide academic rigor and proficiency.

“This partnership propels our mission to rotate businesses to the new and emerging opportunities of digitalization, furthering our high-value transformation services,” said Robert-Paul Doove, Senior Manager at Accenture.

Degreed supports targeted skill development to take place within the walls of an organization, by facilitating the discovery, measurement, and recognition of all learning. As explained by Degreed CEO, David Blake, “Our platform automatically connects people to relevant resources and offers an engaging user experience, stimulating people to make learning a daily habit.”

Nyenrode reinforces the learning journey for targeted learners by blending the digital, informal learning journey with their renowned strengths in the field of action based learning, expert-led masterclasses, case assignments, network events and academic rigor. “This partnership enables us to deliver innovative learning solutions to our clients,” says Diederik Slob, Program Director Professional Programs at Nyenrode Business University.

After a period of experimentation and optimization, the team is excited to start serving its first learners on their journey to become the workforce of the future before the end of the year.

To learn more, visit the Degreed website.

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? (Don’t worry, I just pictured a 10-year-old version of myself in a cape too.) My answer to this age-old question has always been reading minds.

Maybe that wasn’t your first choice, but if you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head about how to get learners better engaged with the content you’ve provided, I’m sure it’s a power you wouldn’t mind having.

The right content for your learners can feel like a guessing man’s game. It can be hard to know what’s working, what’s not, and how to do better.

That’s where data-driven design comes in. There’s an abundance of data that can be gathered about how users are interacting with content. It’s just a matter of knowing what kind of data to look for, and how to use it to shape your learning design.

Lori Niles-Hofmann, Director of Digital Learning at Scotiabank, is a data-driven design guru. She’s a firm believer in pursuing the insights that we can’t see and leveraging multiple sources of data to identify trends to get ahead of learner needs.

What kind of data are we talking about? Likes, dislikes, most viewed content, mobile vs desktop usage, popular content length… the list goes on. All of these pieces of information are the users’ way of speaking up about what they like and don’t like – and it’s time we started listening.

As Lori says, “It is not enough to just curate and push out links. You have to have a plan to engage in online dialogue and listen to the comments from the community.” Far too often, companies offer what they think learners need and never pause to find out if it’s actually what they want.

In her eBook, Data-Driven Learning Design, Niles-Hofmann summarizes it plainly: “We can no longer push out content that we believe learners should or must digest… not when there is evidence that tells us what learners are willing to consume as digital content. Instead, it is time to be bold and give learners what they want.”

datadriven

So how exactly do we find out and deliver what learners want? Join Lori Niles-Hofmann in person at Degreed LENS for her “Upskill Yourself: Data-Driven Design Skills” workshop where she’ll discuss in-depth how to change your learning design to better suit your audience.

There has been so much change in Learning and Development in the last decade, it’s hard to imagine what the next 5 years will hold.

Consider these life-changing advances we’ve experienced in the last 10 years: in 2007, Netflix launched and the first Kindle was released, Android Software and the iPad were released in 2010 and coffee-lovers cheer, the first Keurig for home use launched in 2012.

The inventors of these technologies started their lifelong learning journeys in the same place – grade school. Did you know one teacher can impact 25 students every day and up to 4,000 students during their career? Teachers that receive quality professional development can impact student achievement by 21 percentile points. By investing in our teacher’s professional development, the return in learning is 25x.

To enrich the learning experiences of students across the United States, organizations like Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA)  are committed to offering professional development resources to K-12 computer science teachers.

In preparation for her speaking session at LENS, I recently interviewed CSTA Director of Professional Development, Marina Theodotou on the future of education and learning.

Marina believes that education is rapidly evolving, much like the shifts we’ve seen in technology. Theodotou predicts that in the next five years we will need to learn to sharpen problem-solving and social interaction skills at a faster pace to keep up with the increasing speed of information and doing business globally. These skills will also be required to differentiate ourselves from  AI robots that have already taken over activities that take 30 seconds or less.

“The way to ensure that the learning sticks is to break it down into smaller chunks and make sure it’s  implementable,” she added.

So what is CSTA doing to ensure knowledge transfer among their teachers and staff?

“Computer Science changes rapidly so we must constantly make new content and learning opportunities available to educators.  We partnered with Degreed because we can curate content and create pathways on a variety of subjects. Degreed’s daily feed serves users new content every day is especially popular. It makes teachers lives easier because they can take that content and use it in their classrooms every day,” responded Marina.

CSTA teachers appreciate the easy access to diverse learning resources. The daily feed breaks learning down into smaller activities and makes it easy for teachers to implement what they learn.

Additionally important to learning from others is the investment we make in ourselves. I asked Marina what her most memorable learning experience was and how she was applying it today.

“When I was starting my career, I was invited to lunch by the CEO of Bank of America at the time, Mr. Hugh McColl. The 1.5-hour lunch was like getting an MBA. I asked him what the 3 ingredients to success were,  he said: to succeed you need brains, guts and public speaking skills. The next day I signed up to Toastmasters International and a year later got my competent toastmaster certification. Since then, I added two more skills to the mix: heart, which includes values, emotional intelligence and empathy, and tech skills, including knowing how to code, problem-solving and navigating social media. These pearls of wisdom have carried me throughout my career over the last 25 years.”

To hear more about her learning journey and how CSTA is specifically supporting our educators, please make time to attend Degreed LENS, September 28th in Chicago. Marina Theodotou will be speaking alongside UC Berkeley and Accenture for the session Upskill, Reskill, Repeat: How to Get Ready for Career-Long Learning with UC Berkeley, Accenture, and CSTA.

Today we announced the launch of Degreed Skill Certification, a new way to measure and communicate your skills. This new offering, only available through Degreed, will score existing skills and rank expertise levels using a scientifically backed method and technology.

certified-man80

Degreed Skill Certification is a way for people to prove their expertise, regardless of how they acquired their skills.

How It’s Different From Other Certifications

  1. It’s all about skills: Degreed Skill Certification is purely skills based. You are evaluated and ranked based on submitted evidence of current skill knowledge.
  2. This is not a course: Degreed Skill Certification isn’t a training program, course, or class, but rather a credible way for you to prove what existing skills you have, regardless of how you acquired those skills.  Unlike other companies, Degreed does not funnel you into a “one size fits all” training program before certifying your skills.
  3. It’s flexible to your learning style: If you don’t like the score you receive or want to challenge yourself to get to a higher level, you can improve your skills in whatever way suits you. Take a course, get more experience, self-train using internet tutorials; use whatever resources are available to you.
  4. This doesn’t have to be a one-time certification: As you learn and develop skills, you can level up your expertise score.
  5. We’re changing the way people work: Degreed Skill Certification allows companies to benchmark the current skill levels of employees, target skill development resources to improve those skills, and then measure the improvements. Companies get codified transparency into the skills of their employees. Employees get the benefit of having their skills professionally certified.

How It Works

To get certified you will have to submit evidence of your skill mastery, have your evidence endorsed and verified, then it will be anonymously peer and expert reviewed. Now until Oct 13, 2017, we are offering a lifetime pass so you can get certified at any point in the future for no additional fee.

Why You Should Get Certified

“Degreed Skill Certification is a scalable, standardized way to rate and get recognized for the skills you have in whatever scrappy way you obtained them,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “This should unlock opportunities in people’s lives because it will remove the lack of transparency between the education and labor markets. We’re looking to connect everyone to relevant, fulfilling career opportunities.”

For more information about Degreed Skill Certification, or to apply to be certified, click here.

 

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