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.

Technology is changing how we work and collaborate. One of the hottest trends right now is cloud-based team collaboration tools like Hipchat and Slack, which are sweeping the market. There are indications that these types of tools will replace email as the primary tool for workplace communication.

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Slack was launched in 2013, and Hipchat launched in 2010. In a short period of time, the number of companies using these tools has grown exponentially. In four years, Slack has grown to 5 million daily active users and a $3.8 billion valuation. These tools have been so popular that Microsoft and Google are getting into the game as well.

The perks of these cloud-based collaboration tools include a great mobile experience, private and public channels that you can drop in and out of as you need, the ability to search across channels and discussions, integrations with other tools like Degreed, calling, video chat, and even screen sharing.

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Some say that these types of tools will bring the end to email. And more than just email, features like file sharing, screen sharing, calling, and video chat mean that these tools are becoming the center of all work-related activity. Some companies even tout the use of these tools as a workplace perk.

But, if there’s no more email, how are you going to get that awesome Today’s Learning email from Degreed with all those personalized recommendations tailored to your needs and interests? Well, we have good news. Degreed offers integrations with both Hipchat and Slack.

Once you enable the Slack or Hipchat integration on Degreed, these tools immediately begin notifying you when you receive a recommendation in Degreed. Each morning, you’ll see your Today’s Learning list, five items of personalized content just for you, delivered in Slack or Hipchat.

The integration also allows you to scroll through a list of all your Degreed recommendations and Today’s Learning in one place.

Takeaways

Cloud-based collaboration tools, like Hipchat and Slack, are becoming the center of all workplace activity including, messaging, calling, file sharing, video chat, and as an integration point for other enterprise tools. Stay on top of this trend by leveraging the Degreed integration with Slack and Hipchat.

Contact your client experience partner for details on how to enable these integrations for your organization.

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Even the concept of a career wasn’t immune to today’s disruption. People are changing jobs at record rates, working for more companies doing a variety of jobs throughout their career, and they aren’t immediately cashing out and retiring at 60. Likely at the root of the radicalization of the career is a simple, basic fact: people are living longer.

As said by the authors of the 100-year life in an article for MIT Sloan, “If life expectancy continues to grow at the rate of two to three years every decade, as it has done over the last 150 years, then a child born in Japan in 2007 will have a more than 50% chance of living past the age of 107.”

This translates into 60 – 70-year careers. To stay relevant and employed, the workforce will need to deepen their skills numerous times, and might even want to re-skill entirely in new areas.

“Individuals will take an interest in skills with value that extends beyond the current employer and sector. Skills and knowledge that are portable and externally accredited will be particularly valuable,” wrote Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott in their recent Research feature, The Corporate Implications of Longer Lives.

While ultimately responsible, it’s not just the individual that has a role in continuous development.

The most successful organizations are supporting employees for their roles now and in the future, recognizing their best investment is their people. Top talent is likely the most engaged, and thus, retaining (and attracting!) these people will be a key driver of business outcomes and success.

To keep up, Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report suggests chief learning officers (CLOs) must now become the catalysts for next-generation careers. “They should deliver learning solutions that inspire people to reinvent themselves, develop deep skills, and contribute to the learning of others,” states the report.

Gratton and Scott suggest decentralized and flexible approaches to learning that are driven more by the learner than the employer.

So how do we help our employees deepen the skills they need now, as well as support future development?

To enable learning leaders to better target their learning and development (L&D) investments and help companies close skill gaps, Degreed recently announced a major upgrade to its personalization engine with the release of skill plans.

Leveraging BurningGlass data and machine learning, Degreed’s innovative platform automatically recommends a daily feed of learning resources focused on the skills required for a person’s current job as well as their professional interests and career goals.

“Resolving the persistent gap between the skills employees have – and the ones they need to move into new roles – requires sophisticated personalization capabilities. These recent product upgrades are a giant leap forward for Degreed’s ability to help our users build and recognize the expertise they need for the future,” commented Degreed’s CEO and co-founder David Blake.

Skill plans empower organizations in four main ways:

  • Give purpose to learning activity by tying learning to skills, and skills to roles in your organization.
  • Customize these roles with the competencies and skills that fit your company.
  • Assign employees to specific roles, which will automatically link them to associated learning content.
  • Create learning pathways, and link them to roles.

Want to see what skill plans can do for your organization? Create your Degreed profile today.

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.

 

Alan Walton is a data scientist at Degreed, but he didn’t start at Degreed with that job title.

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Alan got a degree in math, with a minor in logic, and then landed his first job as a developer. Data science is currently one of the hottest jobs in America, but the term “data science” has only recently emerged. It was not a career that Alan had even heard of when he was in school. Like most millennials, Alan tried a few different jobs. His first job out of college was working for a startup where he wore a lot of hats. He worked on integrations, technical support, implementation, and technical writing. Alan started at Degreed as a developer, then worked as a product manager, and now a data scientist.

Alan’s career agility is enabled by his passion for learning. While in college, Alan’s quest for knowledge led him to learn speed reading. But, when walking through the university library one day, a quick calculation led him to realize that even when speed reading, it would still take him 200 years to read every book in the library. He knew he needed an alternative way to focus his learning.

Before Alan started working at Degreed, he stumbled upon Degreed online and became one of its first beta users in 2013. Alan has now accumulated nearly 40,000 points on his Degreed profile, which might make him the highest point earner in the entire Degreed platform. To give you some perspective, I have 12,000 points on my Degreed profile, which is more than most people on Degreed.

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When Alan first became interested in the data science role, he leveraged Degreed to make the transition. He created personal pathways in Degreed with resources from within the Degreed library, online resources, books, videos, and podcasts. He built pathways for data science in general with additional lessons focusing on sub-topics specific to the projects he was working on and the technical tools for his job.

Alan is a member of the data science group on Degreed, follows other data scientists, and follows the data scientist role so the popular articles, videos, and books his data science coworkers are reading plus the resources the organization recommends for this role show up in his Degreed learning feed, which he routinely takes advantage of.

Takeaways

Will Alan be a data scientist for the rest of his career? I doubt it. He says he’s really interested in AI. If you’re interested in gaining the same level of career agility as Alan, Degreed has the development tools to help.

  • Enroll in a pathway on the topic, create your own pathway, or clone an existing pathway and customize it for your needs.
  • Follow experts in the role you are interested in.
  • Join a group.
  • Follow the role, which will automatically link you to learning, pathways, groups, and experts.
  • Interested in learning more about data science? Follow Alan on Degreed or enroll in the Data Science pathway in Degreed.

Already a Degreed client and interested in initiating a targeted development plan at your organization based on roles and skills? For more information, contact your client experience partner at Degreed.

If you’re just getting started, check out get.degreed.com.

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Among consumer websites, Facebook is king when it comes to personalization. Stories and posts appear in the Facebook feed based on an algorithm that hides and promotes stories for each user based on their interests. Users can influence this algorithm by updating their settings and by “liking” content they want to see or choosing to hide content they don’t.

This feed, and the algorithm that populates it has a huge effect on the Facebook experience. If you’ve ever unknowingly been sucked into Facebook, you can appreciate its power.

Degreed believes in the power of personalization. Engaging, personalized enterprise applications that employees use because they want to- and not because they have to, are the future.

Degreed has a personalized feed for learning content designed to target the development of each individual user. With the explosion of content, it’s getting harder than ever to weed through the noise to find the specific content you need, when you need it. The most efficient way to target someone’s development is to use technology to automate the delivery of content to each individual.

Based on user experience research and interviews, Degreed, like Facebook, continually improves its feed and algorithm. We are constantly looking at engagement and usage statistics and researching what hooks users to keep them coming back.

We’ve been refining and simplifying the user experience to make it easier for users to find relevant content they want and need to target their personal development. A year ago, action points were spread around the system. Now they are more centralized, simplifying the user experience.

What you’ll see today when you log into Degreed is one place to find all the learning you’re interested in. Based on our user research, we’ve found that more items in the feed lead to greater engagement with the content, so now you’ll see a longer list of items. If you don’t like the suggestions at the top of your list, more learning content is just a scroll away. Dismiss any item that isn’t relevant.

The Degreed feed includes system-generated recommendations from any source, in a variety of formats including articles, videos, books, and courses. You’ll see content that has been recommended by peers and managers, popular items from your network, roles you are following, content from pathways you’re enrolled in, and items you’ve saved for later.

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The learning feed gets smarter the more you interact with it. Users can continue to personalize and influence the recommendations by using features in Degreed such as:

  • Adding your learning interests and career goals to your Degreed profile.
  • Enrolling in learning Pathways – focused on topics or skills you want to develop.
  • Joining groups of people with similar learning interests.
  • Saving learning items for later.
  • Following people.

Organizations can influence these recommendations as well by:

  • Adding content to your content management system.
  • Selecting preferred providers for your organization.
  • Customizing pathways for your organization and auto-enrolling employees in pathways.
  • Adding roles and skills specific to your organization.

Takeaways

Most L&D leaders want to use data to improve and personalize learning in their organization. Degreed provides the tools to make this possible.

Content is everywhere, but finding and delivering the right content at the moment of need for each individual is impossible to do on your own. Let Degreed do the work of finding and delivering all the relevant content so you can target the development for each employee.

To learn more about Degreed visit get.degreed.com.

 

 

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Mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online, and 72% of workers say they do at least some of their learning on a smartphone or tablet [Degreed, How the Workforce Learns].

This is good news for organizations who are making the most of this trend. Degreed has recently released substantial improvements to its mobile app, bringing the native iOS and Android experience more in-line with the functionality of Degreed’s web application – making it even easier for L&D to make learning an everyday habit.

Here are 5 reasons to get excited about the Degreed mobile app.

  1. Get credit for everything you learn while on the go

This is one of my favorite things about the Degreed mobile app. As soon as you install the Degreed app, you can get credit for what you’re learning from other apps, like online videos and articles, and podcasts you listen to. Simply share these items with the Degreed app to get credit, save the item for later, or recommend it to someone else.

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  1. Full search and browse

Run a full search of your organization’s internal catalog or search Degreed’s library of 3m+ external resources – both from inside the mobile app.

  1. Complete profile available

You can get the complete profile view for your own profile or see others’ profiles from the mobile app. You can see items you completed or the completed items of those you follow. You can also modify your learning interests to further personalize the experience in Degreed.

  1. Organization branding

You can now customize both the Degreed site and the mobile app for your organization.

  1. Notifications to stay informed

The Degreed mobile app supports push notifications for recommendations, which can be configured by the user. Push notifications will appear even when the app is closed.

Takeaway

Nowadays, having a mobile-enabled learning solution is critical. Check out the Degreed mobile app for IOS or Android, or get the mobile experience by just loading the Degreed site from any device, and start getting credit for everything you learn, no matter where or how you learn it.

 

 

Spending a lot of time with organizations, at conferences, and reading industry research and blogs, I see the phrases “out of sync” and “learning revolution” being thrown around a lot in reference to the current state of corporate learning. There might be some truth to those words – only 18% told Degreed they would recommend their employers’ training and development opportunities.

But a more accurate statement is that there is a massive shift happening in the way people are learning in their jobs.

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The fact is, most workers do spend time learning every week, and they progress every day, in all kinds of ways – not just sometimes, in courses or classrooms. This means that the L&D environment should enable self-directed development as well as formal training – and it should do that through both micro and macro-learning. Equally as important, we as L&D leaders, have to make the vast array of learning content and experiences more meaningful by curating the right resources and tools, providing context, and by engineering useful connections and interactions.

We call this a learning ecosystem. We are in an exciting time where technology, the gig economy, the vast demographics of our workforce have given us the opportunity to rethink our approach and the possibilities! So what does a culture of continuous learning that includes formal and informal, job training and career development, L&D and self-service, look like?

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You need a comprehensive ecosystem of systems and tools that include the following capabilities:

  • curate many different types of content
  • Allow learners to explore indefinitely
  • Aggregate data from all over the organization without manual work into one tool
  • Dashboards to monitor activity deeper than completions
  • Analysis without spreadsheets or data scientist

Perhaps most importantly, embrace APIs, and standards compliance using Tin Can/Experience to ensure that all of your tools will plug in together.

There is also no one-size-fits-all for tools, but platforms like Degreed and Bridge help facilitate L&D’s expanding requirements through their support of required, recommended and self-directed talent development, allowing organizations to meet the needs of a changing workforce.

Learning and development opportunities are a critical factor in making employee engagement (and more importantly, performance) happen. Today, people expect utility, relevance, and personalization, and you create that through a comprehensive learning ecosystem.

Want to know more about the Degreed and Bridge ecosystem? Check out the PR on their new integration.

Co-authors: Sarah Danzl – Communications & Content Marketing, Degreed & Katie Bradford – Director of Platform & Partner Marketing, Instructure

Today’s workforce operates at unprecedented levels, with technology and an increasingly diverse workforce constantly reshaping the world of work. The changes affect multiple facets of the business, right down to people operations. The shifts experienced by L&D are so great that HR expert Jeanne C. Meister suggests that the conventional wisdom about work and the role of HR departments has become obsolete.

Todd Tauber, VP of Product Marketing at Degreed, recently caught up with Jeanne for a Q&A on the future of work and what our always-on economy means for the way organizations view learning.

Todd: You’ve recently written about the idea of “the serial learner” — what we at Degreed call “the career-long learner”. Can you explain what that means, exactly?

Jeanne: Serial learning is a term I coined in “The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules In Mastering Disruption In Recruiting and Engaging Employees” book to imply the need for continuous learning on the part of employees.

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As I noted in The Future Workplace Experience, serial learners possess some of the same qualities as serial entrepreneurs. They are intellectually curious, not satisfied with business as usual, always reaching beyond their current role to learn something new, making connections out of seemingly unrelated topics and seeking out different networks to continuously learn. I think the same concept applies to learners today. This concept is gaining importance as the half life of knowledge is doubling every 2.5 years across all jobs not just technical ones.

Todd: You’ve also said being a serial learner is becoming crucial for career growth. And we’re seeing echoes of that in lots of other places. Why is this idea suddenly taking hold?

Jeanne: I believe the reason serial learning is so key for ongoing career growth is the rate and pace of change in every industry have accelerated. Consider that 52% of the FORTUNE 500 organizations have merged, been acquired or gone bankrupt since 2000. Those companies that are still on the FORTUNE 500 list are responding to change by becoming what I termed in the book, “learning machines.” They are creating a culture of continuous learning and they are also quite transparent about the need for serial learning.

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Consider the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson challenged AT&T employees with this: “If you don’t develop new skills, you won’t be fired but you won’t have much of a career at AT&T. For the company to survive, AT&T employees should be spending between 5-10 hours a week learning online on their own time, to avoid technological unemployment.” Sound harsh? It’s an honest assessment in the case of AT&T and the question for all of us is will we see more CEO’s putting out these types of challenges to their employees.

Todd: How does all this affect corporate training and talent development leaders? How are you seeing chief learning officers and CHROs adapt to this new normal …their people, their processes, their tools, and technology?

Jeanne: I am seeing a sea of change in how companies are dealing with disruption as the new normal in corporate learning. First and importantly, there is the changing composition of team members in corporate learning. When I was conducting interviews for The Future Workplace Experience, I saw a number of new roles in corporate learning, such as Learning Experience Manager, Curator, Employee Community Manager and head of People Analytics. These new roles speak to a new direction for corporate learning – one that is data driven, while taking into consideration the need to craft a new experience for learners, one that is personalized, anticipates their learning needs and is relevant to the strategies priorities of the business.

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The processes and technologies are also changing, Processes no longer start with ensuring efficiency and standardization in Corporate Learning, but now routinely take into account the needs and expectations of learners. A growing number of companies are employing design thinking to create a human-centered approach to learning and one that starts with understanding the needs of the learner rather than the Corporate Learning function. Finally, I am seeing growing interest in technologies which aggregate all of the learning an employee participates in not just the company sponsored learning. In addition to technologies that curate learning, I am also seeing more companies integrate adaptive learning allowing employees to learn at their own pace and participate in learning will best suit their needs.

Todd: So how does all this fit into the overall employee experience …or as you call it, Jeanne, the future workplace experience? What’s career-long (or serial) learning’s role in the bigger picture?

Jeanne: The overall workplace experience is one that mirrors the best experience a company creates for its customers. I like to challenge my Corporate Learning clients to think of their best customer experience, and then ask them to describe their emotions. Many share emotions such as happiness, joy, delight and surprise as they recount a particularly memorable customer experience. Well, that’s what companies are seeking as they create a compelling workplace experience for their employees.

Interested in learning more about serial learning? Join us at a Degreed: Focus event near you:

Jeanne is Partner at Future Workplace and co-author of The Future Workplace Experience: 10 Rules For Mastering Disruption in Recruiting and Engaging Employees

 

 

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

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