In May’s “Putting Learners First” Webinar VP of Product Marketing Todd Tauber presented on the current issues with L&D approaches and how to make the shift to put learners first. In this final recap post we’ll explore reimagining L&D for learners. For the first two sections of this Webinar checkout Webinar Recap I: Why It’s Time to Rethink L&D Approaches, and Webinar Recap II: How To Make The Shift. 

Rewire L&D infrastructure to reinvent learning for learners
The hard part is doing the work to actually reinvent workplace learning. Transforming how L&D works all at once can be a huge, complicated job. It often takes months or years, depending on how complicated the organization is.

The key is not cost cutting and reorganizing, though. It’s investing time and money differently. L&D organizations only really invest in 3 things: people, content and tools.

Companies who are making this shift are approaching their content and programs very differently.
– They still do programs and classes and online courses, but they’re tilting the balance much more heavily toward experiential, social and on-demand learning experiences, with more modern formats like short videos, simulations and apps.

These companies are able to do that in large part because they’re changing their people and processes.
– Some are cleaning house and starting over, looking for new kinds of learning consultants and instructional designers who “get” the business and audiences better.
– Others are evolving, re-training their existing staff, adding new kinds of people into the mix alongside their or even creating entirely new roles.
– Several companies – for example Bank of America, EY, LinkedIn, Macy’s and Nike – now have product managers instead of (or in addition to) their LMS administrators.

The problem with different people trying to do different things is that it’s creating some new problems, those problems demand new and different kinds of technology to work better. Very few authoring tools or LMSs, for example, make it easy to create, find, access or track informal learning content or social and on-the-job learning experiences.

Make it simpler to create (and curate) learning
Most authoring tools and LMSs were designed and built for an era of one-to-many learning – the broadcast model. Now, people do a lot more than just consume; they’re also crowdsourcing and collaborating. Learning is no longer one-to-many, it’s many-to-many.

A lot of learners (and L&D teams) now need better tools for creating, curating and sharing learning.

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– Almost 90% of workers say that sharing knowledge is an important or essential part of learning what they need for their jobs.
-Only around ⅓ of employers have invested in dedicated social learning systems.

Make it faster to find learning
Creating learning is only the first step, though. Learners also need better tools for finding the right things at the right time. We are all overwhelmed by information. We are also all impatient. Especially online- if we can’t find what we want – fast – we move on.

Learning content is so easy to make, and so cheap to buy now that it’s become almost too available. Making sense of all the learning clutter out there is a growing problem.

Make it easier to access learning
Finding the right content isn’t much use if people can’t access it. One word: Mobile.
More than half of workers now say they would like to be able to access learning on mobile devices. They may not all need it to do their jobs, but they want it.

Most companies are barely scratching the surface when it comes to mobile learning. Sure, it’s encouraging that more than 70% of organizations now say they’re doing something with mobile learning. However, only 12% of learning content is actually mobile-ready.

Make it possible to track all learning
Companies that do that are just trying to stuff the toothpaste back in the tube, though. It’s become clear that both L&D organizations and individual employees need better ways to track, measure and value all of their learning.

Almost every CLO says they feel the need and urgency to demonstrate the value of their organization’s investment in L&D. In spite of that need and urgency, less than 30% of big companies capture much data on their informal learning activity. It’s hard to manage L&D when you can’t see the whole picture.

It’s also hard for individuals to act on that data. Even if they did collect it, it’s rare for employers to provide workers with easy access to information about their development beyond basic LMS transcripts.
Almost ⅔ of working professionals that we’ve surveyed say they would spend more time on informal learning if it was tracked and given professional credit of some kind.

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Takeaway 3

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Putting learners first requires new, different and better tools:
– For creating and curating learning.
– For discovering and finding learning.
– For accessing learning.
– And for valuing learning.

That means ALL kinds of learning – not just formal training. For more information on how Degreed makes it easy for organizations and their people to discover, curate, and track ALL their learning check out get.degreed.com

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The Battle of Gettysburg is widely considered to be the turning point that enabled the Union to defeat the Confederates in the Civil War. Had the war gone the other way, America would be very different today. While no single person can take all the credit for the victory at Gettysburg, a man by the name of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was definitely an integral piece of the puzzle.Valor_JoshuaChamberlain_640x400

Rough Beginnings

“I have always been interested in military matters, and what I do not know in that line, I know how to learn.” –Joshua Chamberlain

Chamberlain was a professor of modern languages at Bowdoin College in Maine. But as the Civil War progressed, he began to feel a sense of urgency to enlist in the military. His determination and desire to serve the Union eventually opened the door for him to command the 20th Maine, a hodgepodge unit made up of other regiment’s extra men. While other units were given a flag and sent off with the support of their cities, Chamberlain’s men went to war without fanfare or farewell.

If leading an unsupported unit of men into battle wasn’t hard enough, Chamberlain was also given orders to absorb 120 three-year enlistees from the 2nd Maine Infantry into his regiment.

The 2nd Maine men were veterans in the war. They had all served for two years. However, the men were in a state of mutiny. They refused to fight because their unit had been disbanded and the majority of their regiment had been discharged and sent home. While the bulk of the 2nd Maine had signed two-year enlistments, the 120 remaining men had signed three-year enlistments and still had a year left.

Chamberlain was told to shoot the mutinous men who refused duty. Luckily for those men, Chamberlain took compassion on them and worked to fix the situation before it became an issue. He distributed the experienced men of the disbanded 2nd Maine evenly into the ranks of the inexperienced 20th Maine.

Little Round Top

The Battle of Little Round Top was a significant victory that helped make the victory at Gettysburg possible. It was at the Battle of Little Round Top that Chamberlain earned the Medal of Honor for valiantly leading his men in the face of danger.

Geographically, Little Round Top was the far left line of the Union’s defense and a strategic stronghold for anyone who could hold it. If the Confederate troops took the hill, it is not a stretch to assume they would have been able to pick apart the rest of the Union troops, which would have made a significant impact on the outcome at Gettysburg.

To emphasize the strategic importance of Chamberlain’s position on the hill, Colonel Strong Vincent left him with the following order.

“This is the left of the Union line. You are to hold this ground at all costs!”

All or Nothing

Leading up to the Battle of Little Round Top, Chamberlain made a crucial move to band his regiment together. He elevated former 2nd Maine solider, Andrew J. Tozier, to Color Sergeant. As Color Sergeant was usually reserved for the bravest soldier in the unit, Chamberlain was able to instill loyalty and pride in the men who were still feeling mutinous. They began to feel that Chamberlain trusted and respected them. They were ready to go to battle with him.

Once the fighting had begun, Tozier stood his ground in a flurry of gunfire and kept a vulnerable part of the Union line from being overtaken. This act of bravery instilled strength into the rest of the unit, and Tozier was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

Though the hill still belonged to the Union, the 20th Maine was weakening. Chamberlain’s men were running dangerously low on ammunition, and many men who had advanced on the Confederates were wounded and close to the enemy. One of Chamberlain’s lieutenants, Holman Melcher, wanted to advance and retrieve the wounded men. Chamberlain agreed and decided not only to retrieve the wounded, but also to mount a bayonet charge on the enemy in a final, all-or-nothing attempt to defend the hill. If death was his fate, he was going to die knowing he had done everything he could.

In the heat of the battle, Chamberlain ordered the bayonet charge. Melcher responded quickly and lead the way into the enemy troops, which were only 30 yards away.

The order was a success. The Confederates had no idea how to respond to such a charge and, in the midst of confusion and fear, were captured. The hill did not fall.

Living With Valor

Chamberlain was a man deeply rooted in academics, but in serving a cause greater than himself, he became an exemplar of valor.

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While most of us will never be in Chamberlain’s situation, we all will have opportunities to be courageous and face our fears. Things that are trying to overtake us may come from the outside, or they may come from the inside. Whatever battles we are facing, it is important that we face our enemies with valor. Doing so will ultimately lead us to the most fulfilling experiences of our lives.

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I invite you to look for and take opportunities that will help you grow—no matter how daunting the task may seem. You won’t regret it if you do.

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