Many of us have been there. You pull in to LaMars or Krispy Kreme and there is a 10×10 case full of at least 10 choices of donuts. You’ve got sprinkles, filled, iced, cake, yeast, chocolate, vanilla, maple, circle, log…the choices go on.

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The same goes for learning. You do an online search on a subject area in which you need more information, and poof – 200,000 results. You’ve got a library of content to sift through. This many choices can be confusing and maybe even paralyzing in some cases. People think, “Where do I begin” or “How can I find the best of this?” In some spheres, we can rely on expert judgment or crowdsourcing for the initial vetting (think Consumer Reports and Amazon’s star ratings).

But here’s where curation is like donuts – both are better in moderation.

As said by the Oppenheimer AVP of Organizational Development, Patrick Osborne, “There is a diminishing return in having too much content.  One donut is a treat.  Five is a tummy ache.  Ten donuts is a trip to the ER.”

While ten donuts seems like a good idea (been there, done that!), the after effects – not so much. Same goes for content. Too many choices means the user will make no choice – they are too overwhelmed.

In a world of virtually limitless information and learning content, the curator provides a valuable service by simplifying what people see and sifting out all the noise, junk, and inferior options.

Osborne’s advice? “Measure by weight, not by volume.  Be ruthlessly selective. The curator is also a de facto editor.  She decides what people will see, and what they won’t.  There’s an awesome power and responsibility in that.”

It’s good advice, but how does the rubber hit the road? How is Oppenheimer using curation? Well, you will have to come to Degreed LENS in September and attend Patrick’s workshop, “Upskill Yourself: Curating Skills” to find out. Kidding. Kind of.

Like many organizations, Oppenheimer is increasingly hearing from individuals that they have “no time” for learning.  Patrick thinks that’s partly reality but also a statement of modern learner preference—employees want things to be as short, convenient, and interesting as we can make it.  We used to be able to sell 20-30 minute online learning programs.  Now people want 2-3 minute microlearning.

Thanks to curation, the best, most relevant resources for the individual have already been served up in a single place. Oppenheimer is now offering a much broader range of options for learners than they have in the past, and shifting resources away from developing and delivering traditional learning (or outsourcing it) and concentrating on building an infrastructure based on learner centricity.

Patrick’s favorite thing about curation? “I enjoy the challenge of the hunt and the thought that goes into crafting something well.  The mechanics of creating learning pathways are trivially simple.  The challenge (the art?) is in creating a pathway someone would willingly and voluntarily spend time using.  That requires thought and skill and creativity.”

For real this time – Patrick will be speaking about Oppenheimer’s curation journey, alongside Harley-Davidson and St. Charles Consulting Group, at Degreed LENS in September. There are still spots for the conference and his workshop – register and get more information here! Who knows – donuts may be included.

A single, integrated, all-in-one technology ecosystem may work for some organizations sometimes, but it won’t work for everyone all the time. Learning is already too fragmented, and it’s only getting more diverse and complex as new ways to learn like video, chatbots and augmented reality become mainstream.

So to future-proof their investments, innovative L&D leaders are shifting to more flexible ecosystems – dynamic networks of tools, content, platforms that work together and share data to provide workers with on-demand access to all kinds of learning, performance, and career development.

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These ecosystems are all designed differently, to fit each organization’s unique business, operations, infrastructure, and culture needs. The ones we see most often share some common features and functions:

Open: They give people access to resources from inside and outside the organization, anywhere they need, anytime they want
Diverse: They provide a diverse mix of macro-learning (like live and online courses) and micro-learning (like articles, videos, and search)
Social: They enable people to learn with, and from, their peers, managers, and mentors, as well as from external experts
Personalized: They are personalized, targeting each workers’ specific roles, career paths, and interests, as well as their skill-sets
Insights: They track and analyze learning wherever it happens — in classrooms, on computers, on tablets and smartphones, and in real life
Career-long: They give people credit for informal as well as formal learning, and they allow workers to take their data with them through their careers

The challenge is, building an always-on learning environment requires a range of tools, content, and systems. It can get complicated, and it takes work. There are literally hundreds of solutions to choose from…and a lot of them look and sound alike. Plus, they need to fit in with (or replace) your existing processes and legacy infrastructure. So where do you even start?

One place to start is by joining us at Degreed LENS! At the session, The Robots are Here: How to Navigate Next-Gen Learning Technology, Caterpillar, Mastercard and Airbnb will dive into how each organization is adapting and evolving their strategy and ecosystems to confront the digital disruption of L&D.

Tickets are selling out fast. Make sure to save your seat now.

Learning is changing faster than L&D departments can keep up:

“Fifty-six percent of current workforce skill sets do not match the changes in their company’s strategy, goals, markets, or business models.”  — ATD, Bridging the Skills Gap, 2015  

However, forward thinking CLO’s have found success creating learner-driven organizations that empower workers to share their knowledge and take ownership of their own personal development. This is a new way of thinking, leaving many L&D leaders struggling to identify the right combination of tools and skills within their teams.

As leaders look at upgrading technologies and capabilities within their organizations, there’s a legitimate fear that their leap forward won’t take them to the front — that they’ll continue to be behind their competition.

It’s an important time for corporate learning leadership to take stock of their learning investments, and create the strategies and solutions that will take them through the next decades.

So where can you start?

First, better understand the capabilities you should be optimizing for in The Buyer’s Guide to The Near Future of Learning Technology from Degreed.

 

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As much as we would like to believe it, and as nice as it sounds, we don’t develop our people out of the goodness of our own hearts.  Businesses have important goals and a bottom line, and in order to hit those goals, they need to make money.  And if they don’t, shareholders, customers, and employees are all unhappy because the business will likely fail.

It might come as a surprise, but employee engagement is nearly as important as the bottom line. Research from Gallup ties engaged employees to better customer ratings, productivity, sales, and higher profitability. These organizations also saw significantly less turnover, shrinkage and absenteeism and quality defects.

But only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work.

Enlightened CLOs, like Sarice Plate of Xilinx and Susie McNamara of General Mills, focus on both the development of skills needed to get the job done as well as engaging employees. “When employees are excited to learn, they feel more empowered, engaged and productive, and they become more valuable to the business,” said Sarice Plate, Head of Global Talent Aquisition at Xilinx, at a recent Bersin by Deloitte and Degreed-sponsored webinar.

But meeting both short-term needs for performance as well as the long-term needs for development requires thinking about things differently, and creating a new learning strategy – one that’s centered around the learner.

“The first and most important thing is that we are anchoring our talent development strategy to the same strategy we use as a company for everything we do, which is called consumer first,” shared Susie McNamara, Talent Development Leader of General Mills. “So everything that we’re doing, whether we’re trying to meet their short-term needs to ensure that they’re successful in their current role or whether we’re thinking more longer term and ensuring that their development needs more broadly, has the consumer at the center of everything.”

“In re-thinking our strategy, we decided we needed to create an environment that empowered our employees to drive their own development and their careers in a more effective way,” added Plate. “Our learning environment is now learner driven, where employees are able to identify pathways and specific personal development needs, they can consume learning in that timely fashion that best meets their learning style.”

What does putting the learner at the center mean for your software and tools? It means utilizing systems that support natural human behavior like collaboration, ease of use and personal accountability.

“We wanted to inspire our learners and we want our learners to inspire others.  So are allowing learners to start learning groups, to share, to collaborate. But we also needed learners to feel more aligned around our competencies with access to understanding how they can grow those competencies and make connections.”

In both cases, these leaders put learners in the driver’s seat. Want to know more about the Xilinx and General Mills learning strategies? Check out the on-demand webinar, “Let’s Get Digital,” now.

 

 

 

In an effort to continuously honor our commitment to delivering our clients the best experience possible, Degreed recently hired a new Vice President of Client Experience, David Verhaag.

david vHe will lead the post-sale teams including Client Engagement and Client Support. Prior to his employment with us, he partnered with Degreed for 8 months in an advisory capacity. During that time, he learned “first hand about this amazing company and the mission-driven team leading a transformation in the way we think about education. When the opportunity to consider the next step in my career came, joining the Degreed team was an obvious choice.”

He will become a regular contributor to the Degreed blog through the “field notes”  series, sharing both career and client lessons learned. Degreed is proud to have this strong addition to not only our organization but also our client success efforts. A round of applause for his debut:

Start with Why

“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” The message is simple. Simon Sinek’s incredibly popular TED talk and framework is an important way of thinking about sales and marketing. Like many people, I love the simplicity and clarity of “Start with Why”. It makes immediate sense the first time you hear it. Until recently though I didn’t apply this thinking to my own career.

Following Simon’s model, from the outside in my career looks like the following: “I build and manage high-performing Customer Success teams. We deliver exceptional product adoption, industry-leading Net Promoter Scores and customer retention. Want to hire me?”

As Simon would say, “Meh…”

This time around, I reversed my thinking to the following: “I change the status quo. I lead customers and my teams to a new way of thinking and operating. I do this by building high performing Customer Success teams that challenge the old ways of learning and managing talent and we provide the partnership and expertise to drive change. We do this by driving production adoption with industry leading NPS and customer retention. Do you want to change the status quo?” That feels better.

Challenging that status quo in talent management has been a big idea for many years. It is the exciting opportunity I was looking for when I moved from my career from being the HR Guy to a focus on HR/Learning Tech and Customer Success. When I originally joined SuccessFactors in 2004, software as a service (SaaS) for HR and the digital performance review was still a relatively new idea. We moved customers from the status quo of paper-based performance management to the innovative idea of digital talent management and ultimately to the breakthrough of SaaS.

In 2013, I joined HireVue to challenge the status quo in recruitment by moving talent acquisition from expensive and time-consuming in-person interviews and sales training to video-based interactions and assessments. The result was millions of people connecting with career opportunities in a way that enabled them to have their story heard.

The idea at Degreed is even bigger! I could not be more excited to be a part of the Degreed team to work with our industry leading customers to challenge a legacy status quo that negatively impacts far too many people and organizations: learning as measured by the college degree.

What are some ways you have challenged the status quo? Let us know.

Today we launched a new video showing how Degreed changes the way we learn at work, and not at work, and on our way to work…and anywhere else. Basically, Degreed is one big learning party, and you’re invited. The creation of this video made for an interesting production list- here are some behind the scenes stats on the production of “The New Way to Learn”
 

Items purchased for filming:
Old cafeteria trays (the more yellowed the better)
Mashed potatoes
Cheese slices
Tapioca pudding
Chicken nuggets
Fake cat paw with 2 cat sounds
Sushi
Desk Calendar
4th Grade Reflections Trophy provided by Degreed team member Ryan Baylis
 

Degreed Team members featured:
Casey Childs
Jeff Lamb
Caroline King
Ryan Baylis
David Johnson
Cate Williams
Caitlin Probst
Maggie Fero
Kat Kennedy
Kaneischa Johnson
Pam Wilcken
Jason Gill
Titan Sharp
 

Put all of that goodness together on camera, and you get “The New Way by Degreed”- check it out here:

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. Chinese Simplified (Mainland China)
  2. Chinese Simplified
  3. Chinese Traditional
  4. English
  5. French
  6. French (Canadian)
  7. German
  8. Italian
  9. Japanese
  10. Korean
  11. Polish
  12. Portuguese
  13. Portuguese (Brazilian)
  14. Romanian
  15. Spanish
  16. Turkish
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.

For a long time, perhaps too long, the HR and training functions have dictated learning for employees. But workers have started taking things into their own hands as they realize their competitive advantage, their employability, is tied directly to their skill set. This shift from relying on L&D to self-directed has left many organizations wondering what their next move should be.

The best place to start is putting yourself in the learner’s’ shoes and examine the human behaviors around growth and development.

At Degreed LENS, Tim Quinlan of Intel shared the value of approaching your workforce, the learners, as consumers or customers.

“I said, “How do you learn today? What do you want to learn about and how do you learn? If you’re curious about something how do you do it?” And [the management team] said, ‘Well, I have this trusted third party I go to or I do a Google search.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s my experience as well… I think what I want is something that will seriously complement or compete with a Google search because that’s the learning tool at Intel.”

Degreed research compliments Tim’s story. Almost 85% of survey respondents said they learn things for work by searching online at least once a week, nearly 70% learn by reading articles and blogs every week, and 53% learn from videos in any given week.

HR, training and L&D provide the mostly high-value learning experiences people need sometimes, whereas Google or asking a peer or boss for guidance happens all the time, every day, right at the moment of need and not 3 weeks down the road. Recognizing that learning is happening all the time, not just through L&D offerings, it makes sense that “a new type of employee learning is emerging that is more “consumer- like,” commented Josh Bersin during his presentation at Degreed LENS.

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“Learner-centric” practices are at the heart of what more effective organizations deliver in their learning. Organizations that are more mature and advanced tend to deliver a lot less training through traditional methods and more through experiential, social, collaboration. Learning teams that are aligned with and meeting expectations of the larger organization empower “always-on learning, and a culture of exploration and discussion to enable continuous invention1.”

The most important tool in your kit for 2017? Your workers. “If you’re not focused on the experience of the employee, and you’re focused on what you want to do and the content you want to build and how great it is, you’re missing the boat,” added Bersin.

Want to hear more about how organizations such as Intel and Atlassian are embracing the consumer mindset? Check out the highlight video from Degreed LENS in San Francisco.

For more content from the LENS event, visit the Digital CLO content library!


1 – Predictions for 2017: Everything is Becoming Digital, Bersin by Deloitte, 2016

We know there’s more than one pathway to expertise. We also know that amazing things happen when we use our expertise to solve big problems. 2016 was an incredible year for world discoveries, learning, expertise, humanity, technology, and education. And one thing is for sure- we’re learning like never before.

As we set our sights on 2017 we’re taking a good, hard look at what we learned in 2016. We’ve collected stories, data, and lessons from the past 12 months, and put it all together.

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So, what did you learn in 2016? What will you learn in 2017?

If you want to make all that learning matter, you know where to find us.

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Doing more with less has always been one of the hardest things about being a Chief Learning Officer (CLO). “Doing more” has taken on a whole new meaning as CLOs increasingly recognize that learning and career management are critical components of an organization’s employment brand.

But evolving means more than making learning available on demand by upgrading existing content and investing in newer technology. That’s part of it, of course, but the most successful learning leaders are embracing our always-on economy and leaning into the fact that learning happens all the time, all over the place – both with and without the L&D team’s influence. They’re comfortable working in the ambiguity of  “and” – supplying business-led training and empowering self serve learning, leveraging formal and informal, courses and resources.

Most CLOs, however, still have lots of work to do. As McKinsey & Company recently reported, CLOs overwhelmingly think that their organizations’ digital capabilities are too low. 
To better understand what is working – and how – for today’s “Digital CLOs,” Degreed brought over 100 learning and talent executives together at San Francisco’s Dogpatch WineWorks on November 10th.

Here’s what we learned:

  1.    Leverage Digital Tools

Digitization is transforming all aspects of business, including the L&D function. At times it may seem confusing, but we should see this as an opportunity instead of a roadblock. “I’ve got six people, and they’re spread over 19 time zones. Here’s the kicker – I don’t believe we need a bigger team to execute on a really firm strategy. That’s where digitization comes in – I believe that creates the scale we need,” said Sam Haider, Global Head of Talent Development of Atlassian.

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Leveraging new digital tools, organizations can scale while still providing an always-on, continuous learning environment fed not just by content but also by workers and managers.

  1.    Utilize L&D’s New Architecture

Let’s start with a short story.

“So I went to the LMS and looked for Excel and I found a course. It was going to be available to me in two months, and I was like okay, well, maybe two months is too long but if I did wait, what would I find? It was a three-day course and I was thinking crap, I really don’t want to know that much about Excel. I just want to know how to do VLOOKUP… So I went to YouTube and I looked up VLOOKUP and I found a two minute video of exactly what I was trying to do,” shared Tim Quinlan, Director of Digital Platform for Learning at Intel.

Degreed research supports Tim’s anecdote. Just 21 percent of people told us they rely directly on their learning department when they need to learn something new for work, and only 28 percent said they search their employers’ learning management system first.

“The LMS is becoming marginalized” said Josh Bersin. “It’s a compliance system.”

To be fair, we can’t expect a 20+ year old tool that was designed for management, not learning, to meet the needs of learners in 2017. Instead, what we are seeing is an emerging category of learning experience platforms, like Degreed, which are built for the learners, that are augmenting the role of the LMS and other traditional L&D tools.

“It is the age of APIs and it’s clear to see that we don’t need to go with a monolithic architecture of data that feeds different parts of a value chain in one big system,” added Haider.

According to Bersin, this new architecture still includes the LMS as a record keeping system, but the key is a learning system in the center to tie everything together.

  1.    Approach L&D with a consumer mindset

The most common strategy leaders shared at LENS? Embrace design thinking and approach learning as if you were the customer.

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“Design thinking means understanding what your employees are really doing all day at work. Spending time with them, empathizing with them. It’s monitoring. It’s watching. It’s experimenting with things where your employees are and what they’re doing at work and making their work life better. If you’re not doing this, you’re not going to be able to optimize the experience,” said Bersin.

As the people facilitating the learning experiences, it’s important to know their struggles, what they need, what they want from their learning.

“Get involved in the experience. Be the consumer. Don’t think about this from the L&D perspective.  If you think about it from a consumer’s point of view, I think you can do great things in this space,” suggested Quinlan.

As a bonus, if you’re tracking learning, you will be able to generate valuable insight on the value of the experiences, and gauge and determine if they’re meeting the learning needs and curiosity of your teams.

The mission of Degreed remains the same – to make all learning matter – to people as well as to organizations. Degreed LENS was a memorable evening to have so many thought leaders in one room, sharing ideas on how to best support our workforce and succeed in the age of digital transformation.

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Source –  [1] Deloitte University Press, Global Human Capital Trends 2016 – The new organization: different by design, 2016

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