Part one of our 2-part xAPI series taught us the basics of Experience API (xAPI) including the definition and how it works between systems. This post will explore getting started with xAPI and the data that comes with it!

Do I need to build it myself? How do I get started?

Good news! If you’re an L&D professional (not a vendor), you have many options in getting xAPI enabled in your organization without doing much, if any, coding work. First, you’ll have to make sure you have a Learning Record Store where your data can be stored. There are many free and paid versions with varying capabilities.

You’ll also need to choose the tools you want to use or evaluate your existing learning tools’ capabilities. There are currently hundreds of tools, such as an LMS, social learning platforms, authoring tools, and more that are already equipped with xAPI. You simply need to ask your vendor if and how they support xAPI. In the case of existing systems that don’t support xAPI yet, you can still bring that data into an LRS using a data converter or third-party connectors.

What am I supposed to do with all this new data?

More and more organizations are using xAPI to connect learning technology products to build the learning ecosystems they need. When applications already support xAPI, integrations can be as simple as plug and play.

Once your learning systems are integrated and all your learning records are stored in one place, your data is perfectly primed for learning analytics. You can start exploring your data to get a clear picture of what’s happening in your organization. Evaluate learning programs and explore the reasons behind the most popular or successful training. And, once you’re armed with a better understanding of these programs, you can begin to positively shape and enhance your learners’ future experiences.

To learn more about xAPI, access helpful resources, and explore how other L&D practitioners are using it, visit xAPIxAPRIL.com.


Lizelle_Holstein

About the Author: Lizelle Holstein, Director of Marketing at Watershed

A huge thanks to Lizelle and our friends at Watershed for part 1 of this 2-part guest series.

Let’s start with a definition.

(v.) white label: To conceal the source brand and overlay a new name for the purpose of internal recognition

Many learning and development teams seem to think white-labeling is an essential part of their learning strategy. We disagree for a few reasons.

First, because white labeling brings a lot of unnecessary work.  You have to come up with this new name. You’ll have to get it approved.  You’ll have to get someone to help with the logo and colors and designs. And most important, you will need a series of marketing initiatives and communications to explain the why, what, how, etc. since it is new to the organization.

Why is that a problem? Do you have the expertise? The time? The tools? The budget?

Of course, you have to roll out any new application or process.  But when you retain the source branding there is one less set of hoops to jump through along the way.

Second, white labeling may not actually be as useful as multiple applications people already use at work every day are not white-labeled and re-branded.

Here are some examples:

Word
Excel
Outlook
Slack
Skype
Jira
Yammer
Gmail
Dropbox
box
Salesforce
Workday
LinkedIn
facebook
GitHub

More than you thought, right?  Sure, some of these have been around, some are widely known and others are becoming well known but didn’t exist two or three years back.  You allow new employees of your organization to acclimate quicker to your systems and processes when you choose to retain the original name and brand. I can just hear them now, “I used that at my last company.  I know how that works.”

We know it is a sensitive subject, but all companies are losing and gaining people every month.  Is this 10, 20, 30 percent or more for your organization? These are people you now have to do less communication with because they already get it. And for Degreed, people are starting to bring their lifelong learning profile with them from company to company.  Not to mention that many well-known organizations use Degreed.

Third, it’s just not that important to your workforce. And then there is the case for using “university,” “hub,” “portal,” or similar in your labels.

How would your people respond if they were polled and simply asked to describe “what do you think of when you hear the word “university”?  We think most would describe the campus they walked around years ago with their backpack on their shoulders. For “portal” or “hub”, we anticipate some generations would connect this to the way previous technologies have been deployed, but for millennials, they may be thinking “world wide web.”  The reality is that today most professionals have smartphones. And these smartphones have apps. Each of these apps has a unique purpose and your people know when and why to use them. Sometimes we need to call something what it is.

We’d love for you to just call us “Degreed.”  Why, because we would love to help with the communications online and offline with why it matters, how it can be utilized and what to do to discover, build and measure Skills. “Degreed” will become a part of their online and offline learning experience and quickly become integrated into their daily habits with our emails, digital assets, videos and more. Provide a consistent message with the Branding of “Degreed” and see adoption and usage grow.

Here is how we can help make you and your team successful:

  1. Build Brand Recognition Around the Office – Brand your intranet with “Degreed,” digital bulletin boards and onsite materials and events.
  2. Build Brand Recognition and Understand the Value – “Degreed” product emails send starting at their first log in through their first week on Degreed.
  3.  Build Brand Recognition and Create a Habit of Learning – “Degreed” sends a personalized weekly email to keep your teams discovering, building and measuring their Skills.
  4. Build Brand Recognition and Create a Social Experience – “Degreed” empowers your team to recommend content, follow others and see what others are learning in your organization.

At the end of the day, we at Degreed respect your decision to label things in a way that makes sense for your company.  We put this together to start a conversation and provoke a deeper discussion on “why”?

Reach out to your client experience team member to get started.

DEgreed+PG_5

We chose the mission of creating a better way to develop and communicate skills not because it was easy but because we believe everyone deserves earning and career potential, regardless of their formal credentials.

We’re pleased with our progress, but there’s clearly more to do. Which is why today, we are excited to announce we have combined forces with Pathgather.

The acquisition immediately increases our ability to deliver our industry-leading learning experience in technology and services, and more importantly, to help you build and measure the skills of both your employees and your organization.

A force to be reckoned with

Founded in 2012, Pathgather is a fast-growing and highly-respected innovator in learning experience platforms. The company, which is based in New York City, brings another 30 smart, creative and dedicated people onto our team starting today. That means we’ve now got the largest team in the industry – more than 230 people – dedicated exclusively to improving people’s learning experiences, and linking career growth to business priorities.

Together, we’re a force to be reckoned with. This acquisition brings together the two real innovators in learning experience platforms – our two organizations literally created this market. It also solidifies Degreed’s lead in the fast-growing learning experience platforms market, with a combined client base of more than 200 organizations, over 4 million licensed users, and nearly $100 million in funding.

“Pathgather has always been dedicated to our customers’ success, and this merger ensures that our users and clients will now enjoy an even better product and experience, with the same level of continued dedication,” said Eric Duffy, CEO of Pathgather. “Joining forces with Degreed plugs us into the biggest and most vibrant community of innovative learning and HR executives in the world. We’re excited to tap into Degreed’s experience, insights and resources.”

The future

This is an exciting time for Degreed; it’s been just four months since we raised $42 million in our Series C, and appointed our new CEO. More importantly, though, this is exciting news for our clients, partners, and users. Degreed has always been committed to innovation, ever since our start in 2012, and our creativity and drive have been a key attraction for many clients.

“This combination makes us the unequivocal leader in learning experience platforms,” said Chris McCarthy, CEO of Degreed. “Corporate learning budgets are shifting fast, and LXPs have emerged as the new operating system for employees’ training and development. Pathgather and Degreed defined this market. Now, together, we have the products, expertise, relationships and war chest we need to accelerate innovation, and dramatically accelerate our growth.”

With our expanded set of resources and capabilities, we are now planning to expand our functionality to further enhance both our clients’ and users’ experiences. To start, that will include:

  • Sustaining our lead with the best-in-class learner experience
  • Expanding access to more and better learning content
  • Improving administration, content management, and reporting capabilities
  • Accelerating our use of data science and machine learning
  • Continued investment in our proprietary skill rating and certification technologies

Obviously, we’re really excited about this. But we’d love to hear your feedback and ideas. So if you have any questions or thoughts to share, we’ve got a variety of ways. Read our press release, get in touch with your Degreed or Pathgather contact person, visit the Pathgather blog, or email me directly at chris@degreed.com.

The future is certain. It’s volatile and ever-changing. It will require all of us, working together to solve these challenges head-on. Degreed and Pathgather are, together, reinforcing our commitment to making skill development accessible for everyone and we’re looking forward to the future with you.

D+P

Having trouble creating a habit of learning in your organization? Not sure what else you can do? You’re not alone.

66% of enterprise L&D leaders have trouble getting employees to engage with their training programs [Bersin by Deloitte].

Here’s the good news.

Degreed has a team dedicated to helping drive engagement and we have some proven tactics we can share that have improved the metrics at client organizations.

But first, the right mindset.

As the old saying goes, “takes one to know one.” So, let’s think about your personal online habits. You might notice there are certain things that drive you back to the same websites and apps day after day. In many cases, this repeated behavior is encouraged by way of a reminder in the form of an email or pop-up. These notifications provide a one-click option to visiting the site like you have probably received from sites like Amazon and Facebook.

Without having to think twice, a habit is born.

As it turns out, this notification tactic works for learning too. You can get in front of your audience on a regular basis by Degreed’s system generated engagement emails.

Degreed’s emails notifications notify your team of important learning events and suggested learning, making it easy to create a daily habit of learning.


Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 10.36.59 PM

*MailChimp 2017

Need more than just metrics? Degreed client, Xilinx, has driven much of their adoption success through email communication.

Here’s a play by play of their strategy.

  1. The Xilinx team made marketing and communicating to their learners a top priority from day one of their launch in November 2016.
  2. They implemented a cascading communication roll out approach – beginning with executives and their staff, then introducing it to the rest of the organization with live briefings, demos, and videos.
  3. The communications strategy also included a message from the CEO prior to the official launch.
  4. These were followed by an email from the Senior Vice President of HR, and supporting collateral materials including posters, table tents, demos, videos and several webinars to ensure employees understood their new strategy, Learn to the Power of X (LearnX) and what it would mean for each employee’s professional and technical development.
  5. Based on pilot user feedback, they enabled daily reminders at launch, automatically generated by Degreed to provide a reminder to their team to encourage learning daily – and it’s working.  Over 43% of employees have logged in more than 5 times and 88% have visited. 

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 6.33.13 PM

Even though their metrics say a lot, feedback from the Xilinx team says even more:

“For us, the Daily Email has been a key part of our implementation success. Employees appreciate the personalized preview and the daily nudge to engage in learning.”

Start driving learner engagement today with Degreed!

habitat

My nephew is a big fan of nature. He regularly pulls out odd facts about animals I’ve never heard of. Admittedly, I’m a much better-informed auntie. Its probably because of these conversations that I’ve been paying more attention to articles about biomimicry, (taking design hints from nature to solve problems humans have). and thinking about how learning occurs in nature.

 Learning organisms and habitat

In March, I wrote about learning organisms. To summarize, in more evolved organizations, learning has pretty much taken on a life of its own. These organizations have in essence become organisms that learn, grow, and develop based on their habitat and their ability to make use of it. The more cohesive the habitat is, the more quickly learning organisms are able to react to environmental change, take calculated risks, and evolve as necessary.

More recently, as I’ve planned for a couple of Degreed Focus events, learning habitat has continued to surface as an important point. More evolved organizations react to the external environment by carefully crafting the internal habitat. Most of the things they do to create habitat fall within four major areas:

  • Consciousness. Learning organisms carefully craft messages and actions around the importance of employee development. They clearly define what it means to be developed in the organization, and they have a collective consciousness about how it will be done. Shared consciousness in an organization sets the tone for how important employee development will be taken. Leena Nair, CHRO of Unilever, makes this point with a recent tweet & LinkedIn discussion.
  • Use of work. As it turns out, no other animal in the animal kingdom, besides humans, gets classroom lessons on how to do their job. Learning most often happens in the flow of work, as recent research from Bersin and Bersin ideas from thinkers like Harold Jarche tell us. Learning organisms default first to the work for development.
  • Infrastructures. Infrastructures, including systems and processes, are the pathways by which learning organisms share information and do work. They are crucial because they can either encourage or greatly discourage progress and performance. Learning organisms are conscious of how their infrastructures, either encourage or discourage progress and performance and continuously make necessary adjustments.
  • Space. Physical and virtual space also affect how individuals learn. (I owe a conversation I had with Frank Graziano at Steelcase for sparking thinking on this topic; Read here for more.) While most L&D professionals understand the importance of the setup of a classroom, the idea of space in habitat goes beyond that. Learning organisms focus on ensuring the alignment and cohesiveness of physical and virtual spaces with work goals and employee development goals.

What habitats mean for L&D

The sole responsibility of L&D function is to ensure a skilled workforce. Hard stop. Habitat plays a large role in that. And focusing on habitat changes the job of the L&D function to a great extent. Aside from the obvious things, like a lesser focus on facilitation and content creation, establishing a deliberate learning habitat also requires several skills and capabilities that are likely unfamiliar to many L&D professionals.

Last week in Denver, around 50 L&D professionals joined together to figure out what some of those capabilities should be and how to use the idea of habitat to develop them in their L&D teams. We heard things like “ability to influence”, “marketing and communications”, “analytics and measurement,” and “virtual space design.”

We also talked about adapting more common L&D skills – facilitation, content creation, instructional design to broader tasks that help to create habitat. For example, could instructional design theory be applied to helping organizations design workflows in a way to help employees learn, and can skills that make a good facilitator be adapted to influence and build relationships with key stakeholders?

As we focus on habitats and their importance for the learning organization in the coming months, we’re going to continue to pick the brains of smart people. We want to find out not just what skills they need, but how they’re developing them.

Incidentally, this concept was presented at two Degreed Focus workshops on Learning Habitats and L&D capabilities in Denver and Dallas. You can access the materials used in this Degreed pathway.

This post, titled “Bees, Trees, Termites, Learning Habitats, and L&D Capabilities” was originally featured on the RedThread blog.

I work out of my house and I love it.  I love my commute of 10 steps vs my husbands 50 miles.  I love wearing pajamas from the waist down and quickly brushing my teeth at 4:00 p.m. when my husband comes home because I forgot.  One thing I don’t love about working from home?  Summertime.  With summer comes no school, with no school comes kids in the house, and with kids in the house there is no peaceful work environment.  Here starts every working persons nightmare known as “summer break” for those with children.

Every summer I am overwhelmed with answering the question, “How do you keep your kids busy all summer without taking out a small loan?”  If it were up to my kids, they would have a summer of unending computer time with occasional breaks to eat and sleep.  Last summer, I had the brilliant idea to take my two kids on a road trip and park it in the Midwest for a month and a half.  I had just bought a new car which had plenty of power outlet options to satisfy all your electronic device needs, and an open invitation from my sister some 1,200 miles away.

In my mind, I pictured a perfect opportunity to bond with my kids in which we would spend time playing car bingo, sing songs, deep conversations about what plagued my teenage son, and all the knock knock jokes I could manage from my ten-year-old.  My heart was full of joy to get a few days with the kiddos, they would have a fun summer adventure with their cousins, and I could work at a nearby coffee shop, uninterrupted, in my new remote, tranquil work environment.  This idea was brilliant.

After packing up the car with the necessities needed for a month in Iowa and enough food to feed a small army, I summoned my two kids to hop in the car.  I refused to let the argument between them about who got what seat and what pillow deter this epic Mother of the Year moment.  Deep down I believed this was going to be the best summer of our lives and a road trip we would cherish for years to come.  Car tank full of gas, husband hugged, cat fed, remote work station in backpack and we were off.

Ten minutes.  Ladies and gentlemen that’s all it took to dash my spirits.  Ten. Short. minutes.  Upon getting into the car, taking one picture, and backing out of the driveway, my kids had both put in their earplugs, laid down in their seats, and asked me to turn the music down.  I guess the car bingo and deep conversations would have to wait.

I was 450 miles into my northeast journey when I started struggling with being the lone driver.  My road trip playlist was on my nerves, kids were sleeping, and a flat Oklahoma highway was not the prettiest thing to look at.  I needed something to keep me awake and entertained by something that didn’t require cell phone service because I was in the middle of nowhere.  It was at this moment that my passion for podcasts was ignited.

For those that don’t know, a podcast is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download and listen to at will.  Podcasts have been around for years, but I discovered them when I started working for Degreed.

screenshot4Degreed also introduced me to other experts whom I might want to learn from. The ability to follow others that you would like to learn from, or who inspire you or have like-minded interests led me to  Kat Kennedy, Degreed’s Chief Product Officer. She was the first person I choose to follow and if you look at her profile, you instantly see that she is an avid podcast listener.  After listening to a few that she had consumed and liked, I started to explore, subscribe and recommend my own.  My favorites?  The Hidden Brain, Ted Talks Business, Ideacast, and Planet Money.

Back to the roadtrip! Failing to stay awake with my own personal rock concert of The Greatest 80’s Hits, I looked at my pretty new dashboard and saw the Podcasts app.  To be honest, I had completely forgotten about podcasts and as I started to scroll through all the ones my phone had downloaded for me over the past few weeks I felt my brain perk up.  I started with a Hidden Brain podcast called “Slanguage” in which Shankar Vedantam talked to linguist John McWhorter about feeling irked when people use literally vs. figuratively.  I then listened to Harvard Business Review’s “Dealing with Conflict Avoiders and Seekers” where I learned some tips to dealing with conflict in the workplace and how to defuse heated conversations (which, by the way, also works very nicely in a car at 10:30 p.m. between an adult and an unnamed teenager).

That day alone I listened to 10 podcasts which totaled almost five hours of drive time but, more importantly, learning time.  How do I know?  Because the first thing I did after checking into my hotel that night was to add all those podcasts to my Degreed profile.  I then proceeded to browse for more podcasts, videos, and audiobooks that would keep my kids and I entertained for the next two days.  Together (yes, together!) we listened to episodes about how Whole Foods Market, TOMS, and Rolling Stones were created. I learned from Adam Alter why our electronic screens are making us less happy, and what top athletes do to stay mentally tough.  And I know this because it is all captured in my Degreed profile, aligned to my skill development interests in creativity, personal growth and motivation.

Last summer’s road trip did not go as I originally had planned, but what I gained will stay with me forever.  I now have insight into what inspires me, I found an interesting and unique way to connect with my kids and I learned many things along the way.

As you go about your day, I encourage you to remember that although it may not be a course or formal learning, what is available to you informally, at your fingertips is very valuable articles, news, podcasts, videos.  And don’t forget to capture all the learning you do with a simple click on your mobile device in the Degreed app, so you can showcase to others and yourself what interests you, how you like to learn, and what topics are important to you.  Had Kat not captured her learning and shared her interests, I may not have found my own love of podcasts.  If you look at my Degreed profile, May and July of 2017 will show a spike in my learning activity – also capturing a time in my life that I will always cherish.

The Experience API (xAPI) is a technical specification that makes it easier for learning technologies to connect to each other. Basically, it’s a rulebook for how learning tools communicate about online and offline activities of an individual or group of people.

How does xAPI work?

We like to use a USB analogy to help describe how xAPI works. Your computer is likely equipped with a USB port or two, which means you can connect certified USB peripherals to your computer to transfer files, connect devices (e.g., printer, keyboard), or even back up data. As long as your computer’s manufacturer and the USB drive manufacturer formatted their equipment according to the USB specification, the equipment will work together.

The xAPI specification works in much the same way. If tools conform to the “rules” of the xAPI specification, they can, in theory, connect to different products (e.g., LMS, social learning platforms, learning experience platforms, etc.) and automatically transfer learning records. In all cases, there’s a Learning Record Store at the center receiving, storing, and returning the data as required.

Aren’t learning and business systems already able to share data?

Not really. Previously, most learning technologies had data locked down internally, allowing the information to be extracted only via CSV, custom connectors, or the SCORM specification.

CSVs require manual reporting work, custom connectors often take lots of time and money to build, and SCORM—though useful—is limited to very basic activity data from an LMS. xAPI eliminates these constraints.

Why do systems need to connect using xAPI?

First, without a standard format, systems are siloed, or trapped on their own islands of data. With xAPI, the info is communicated between systems with statements in an actor + verb + object format (i.e., “I did this” or “Lizelle wrote a blog.”)

Think about how many different types of sentences you can build with just those three parts of speech:

  • Actor (who)
  • Verb (did)
  • Object (what)

You’re capable of communicating quite a bit more than just scores, completions, and duration, right?

This opens up many opportunities for the types and complexities of experiences you can capture and report on. Especially if you consider that learning happens everywhere—across many devices, locations, both online and in the real world.

Stay tuned for part two where we will explore how to get started with xAPI and what to do with your learning data!


lizelleAbout the Author:
Lizelle Holstein is the Marketing Director at Watershed.

 

A huge thanks to Lizelle and our friends at Watershed for part 1 of this 2-part guest series.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

Short for user-generated content, UGC is the term used to describe any form of content such as video, blogs, discussion forum posts, digital images, audio files, and other forms of media created by consumers or end-users of an online system or service and is publicly available to others consumers and end-users.

“UGC – user-generated content.” Beal, Vangie. Webopedia. February 2018. IT Business Edge. https://www.webopedia.com/TERM/U/UGC.html (accessed February 2, 2018).


In a Learning & Development context, user-generated content (UGC) is unofficial educational content created in one person’s area of expertise for others to learn from. UGC can be an article, a video, an infographic, a chart, or any other representation of information.

Some UGC is internal, on your company intranet or wiki sites. Other UGC is public, on sites like YouTube or Medium that allow users to share content they’ve created. If you choose to use UGC, you can rely on internal content, or curate public UGC.

UGC can help you promote peer learning and learning with technology. Internal UGC transforms employees’ institutional knowledge to collective wisdom distributed throughout your company. You no longer need to limit your L&D offerings to topics you have instructional design time for. SMEs can recommend public UGC when it exists or create UGC, freeing your L&D team to focus on the highest-value skills your organization needs.

Next post: Resource

Today is a milestone for us as we announce $42M Series C financing, along with new executive roles for David Blake and Chris McCarthy.

First, though, a huge thank you. We are incredibly grateful not just to our investors, but to all of you – our employees, our clients, our partners, and our families and friends – for supporting us in this journey, for sharing our vision, and for helping Degreed to get this far. I am excited and humbled, then, to share the details of our this funding and what that means for our product, clients, and team.

Our strong history

In the spring of 2013, Degreed raised $1.8M in a Seed Round from top investors in the world of business, venture capital, and edtech, including Deborah Quazzo, Mark Cuban, Mike Levinthal, Chris Eyre, Larry Rosenberger, Kaplan, and Walt Winshall. Since then, we have raised $32M more in our Series A and Series B financings, which added Jump Capital, Signal Peak, GSV Acceleration and Rethink Education to our investor list.

Mark Cuban explained his excitement about Degreed nicely. “Degreed allows organizations to inventory their existing employees, train them, and track it all,” he said. “And, when employees do have external training or experience, have the company give them credit for it—I think that’s critical.”

This $42M Series C financing brings our total funding to $75M. It was co-led by Owl Ventures, a fund that invests in the world’s leading education technology companies, and Jump Capital. Founders Circle Capital, along with existing investors, GSV Acceleration Fund and Signal Peak Ventures, also participated.

Why? Because “this methodology evolves the traditional learning model to today’s social environment through increased interaction and engagement,” said Paola Mazzoleni, the Chief Human Resources Officer at Tenaris, one of our customers. “Employees have autonomy and accountability in defining and designing their development plan to reach their professional goals; they are investing in their future.”

Our experts

At the beginning of 2013, Degreed was a team of five people. Today, we are 150 strong and growing weekly. Each of our employees are driven by a respect for the company principles and the desire to provide our clients the best experience possible. And we’re all guided by 12 core  principles:

  1. Balance
  2. Moderately flat
  3. Equality
  4. Empathy
  5. Flexibility
  6. Dedication
  7. Family
  8. Excellence
  9. Candor and coachability
  10. Transparency
  11. Learning
  12. Mission-first

Focusing on these values allows each member of our organization to be intentional about our time. We believe operating this way has set the foundation for healthy tension, growth and most importantly, trust among teams.

IMG_1044
As we continue to pursue our founders’ original vision, a portion of the proceeds from this funding will also be used to expand on Degreed’s newest product, Degreed Skill Certification – the world’s first system to both certify and rate any skill. To guide those efforts, Blake, Degreed’s co-founder, has taken on a new role as Executive Chairman. Blake and the Degreed board named Chris McCarthy, formerly Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO, to lead the continued growth of the company and its award-winning learning platform.

“Keeping people’s skills in sync with fast-changing markets is the biggest challenge of our time,” said Chris McCarthy, Degreed CEO. “That’s why Degreed exists. We believe there’s a better, smarter way to help everyone keep their skills sharp for whatever’s next, to measure their progress as they grow, and to communicate their readiness – both to current and future employers.”

Our future

Innovation has always been our focus, and throughout our history, that’s been a key attraction for many of our clients. And it’s working. Nine out of 10 clients agree they’re building more productive learning cultures, they’re adapting to shifting business needs faster, and they’re investing in L&D more efficiently.

“Our people are our competitive advantage and Degreed is further optimizing the way that we address current skills and development needs in the short term, and how that will translate to performance as part of our longer-term strategy,” said Sarice Plate, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Development at Xilinx, another one of our clients. “Our learners are no longer having to guess at what’s quality or what might benefit them.”

With this new war chest, we are planning to develop new features and functionality that will improve the client and user experience, including:

  1. Best-in-class learner experience with AI-powered content curation – making Degreed the daily learning destination for all of our clients.
  2. The ability to unlock the ultimate currency of learning (skills) across each enterprise, along with the ability to enable targeted and curated skill development – fueling career mobility for all.
  3. Enabling an ecosystem of HCM technology and content partners, empowering our channel to build and expand business with Degreed and with our customers.

“We face the biggest challenges humanity has ever encountered,” our co-founder and Executive Chairman, David Blake, likes to say. “We need extraordinary experts to solve those challenges and make the unthinkable reality. Experts who can heal, discover, challenge, and advance.”

The future depends on our commitment to be our best selves and discover our own personal missions. To become experts—each of us. The challenges of the future won’t care how you became an expert, just that you did. And that you made a difference.”

Thank you for joining us on this rewarding journey. We look forward to what the future holds, for all of us.

Many of us are starting the year doing a lot of evaluation. Evaluating ourselves, evaluating our fitness and health, and at work, evaluating our contributions. And some of us have decided to make changes.

In learning and development, many want to improve the way we support employees. We’re asking questions like:

– How can I convince my employees to make time for learning?
– How can we make learning part of the day instead of a tedious activity?
– What can we do to make content more interesting?

I’ve been asking these questions too, and in my search for answers, I found the best place to start was better understanding my employees (learners).

Here are my top 3 recommendations for facilitating a good learning experience.

  1.    Support employees so learning can happen available anytime, anywhere.

Workers don’t confine their development to the “office” or typical work hours. In Degreed’s “How the Workforce Learns” report, 85% of people said they learn at work, 67% do so on personal time and 18% are learning during travel or commutes.

While this feels like you might have less control than you’d like, it’s actually a good thing for retention.

Benedict Carey, author of How We Learn and writer at The New York Times, actually recommends changing locations while learning. New scenery maximizes the number of associations tied to a certain memory and makes it easier to access when trying to reconnect with the content later on.

So, creating the environment and culture where employees feel that ALL the learning they do, wherever they do means increased valued and they’ll likely retain information and make connections more effectively.

  1.    Stop worrying about millennials and boomers and start worrying about learner preferences.

I led a panel discussion last year on the generational differences in the workforce with eBay and BlueBeyond consulting. We had a representative from the 4 generations in the workforce today, and what surfaced was that societal trends, more than age, influence preferences for digesting information.

70% of the time, learning still happens on PCs. But smartphones (17%) and tablets (13%) account for 30% of digital development.

While there is some broad truth to generational differences, there were plenty of boomers in the room who prefer YouTube “how-to’s” and a significant number of millennials who still to write things down and would choose face to face over IM.

The takeaway? Learning preference is just that, an individual’s preference. Regardless of generation, we should give each employee options that appeal to their unique learning style and  preferences in content themes

  1.    When investing in new tech, consider more than efficiency.

Many L&D teams are trying to do more with less. Content that appeals to a broader audience, templates that standardize and one system that can do it all.

But how does this approach cater to the reality that we build skills over time, and from a variety of sources including books, conversations, and experience?

As Degreed’s new Innovators Guide points out, the problem with this approach is that in a typical L&D environment, the content (as well as the systems, people, and work experiences) are isolated. They rarely work together to interact or share data. “As a result, they don’t give anyone a useful picture of our learning activities or, more importantly, our skill-sets,” said Todd Tauber, VP of Product Marketing at Degreed.

Instead, we need to consider the benefits of being in the age of technology, and thanks to things like APIs, organizations can form world-class systems from multiple, best of breed solutions. “This is the near future of learning technology: intelligent networks of tools, content, systems, people, and data all working together to empower your workforce to learn better, faster AND more cost-effectively,” added Tauber.

Ready to learn more? Check out Degreed’s Innovator’s Guide.

 

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