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. (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.

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.


Degreed is proud to announce our partnership with IP Innovations.

Our partnership enables IP Innovations to offer Degreed to the commercial enterprise markets and makes Degreed the first skills-building learning platform in Japan.

As a country, Japan currently relies on traditional learning management systems (LMS) and formal learning processes and training programs. However, there is an appetite for informal, efficient learning platforms within the country. The forecast for the Japanese e-learning market in 2016 was 170 billion Yen ($1.7 billion USD).

Through the partnership with IP Innovations, Degreed will be the first informal learning platform offered within the country. Degreed allows Japanese companies to better and more efficiently build skills, track learning and measure mission-critical skills development.

“We’re thrilled to announce a partnership with IP Innovations,” said David Blake, CEO of Degreed. “IP Innovations’ brand equity in Japan uniquely positions us to reach thousands of businesses and offer them Degreed’s seamless learning platform. We believe the agreement is further validation of our mission, vision, and strategy and that informal learning has market appeal on a global basis.”

“We are really excited about partnering with Degreed,“ said Masashi Urayama, CEO of IP innovations. “Degreed is a learning platform that is based on the very different concept than the traditional LMS. While the LMS is a platform that supports formal learning, Degreed is a platform that supports the whole process of learning, including informal learning. In the future where the digital native generation accounts for more than half of the workforce, it is essential to have a platform like Degreed. Through our partnership with Degreed, we are going to foster the culture of learning and spread the method to support performance improvement in the Japanese workplace.”

About IP Innovations
IP innovations is a Japanese company where experts with long experience in the field of human resource development gather. We propose our customer’s distinctive approaches to help create innovative workforce and promote organization development. Founded in 2003, IP innovations is headquartered in Tokyo.

Learn more about IP innovations at their Website.

Interested in a partnership with Degreed? Please visit our partner page.

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide songs being sung by the choir …”

“Oh wait, hang on one sec, I just need to check in on work real quick.”

“Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow …”

“Oh, you know what, I should post this to Instagram. That mistletoe is just perfect.”

“Will find it hard to sleep tonight

The holidays are a special time filled with family, friends, old traditions and new memories. It is a special time filled with the opportunity to connect with one another, to share meals, to share conversation and laughs, to share gifts and the moments that matter.

Something is lost though. Something is lost when the flicker of a screen replaces the flicker of a fire. Something is lost when the bright red alert of a new email consumes our attention instead of the bright red noses of kids coming in from playing in the snow. Something is lost when instead of time spent with family making dinner, our attention is with work, with our technology. Something is lost when we are physically present but mentally remote and connected to our tech.

This isn’t news. We already know this. There are countless articles on the benefits of disconnecting from technology. We already feel the pang of guilt when we check in instead of focusing on our family and friends. We already know that social media detracts from our real-life social lives. We already know that the moments we spend checking in are moments stolen from our families, stolen from our friends, stolen from the memories we will one day wish we had.


We have all sorts of excuses. It’ll be quick. I need to stay on top of it so I don’t have 100 emails when I get back to work. It’s just one short reply. My family likes it when I post photos. It won’t take that long. We all have our excuses and they are just that: excuses.

So this year, drop the excuses and celebrate yourself. You need a break from the totally connected life, we all do. You understand the value of turning off. And the end of the year is a perfect time to power down and to give yourself a mental break. It will do wonders for you. It will do wonders for your career. It will help you to recharge, to refresh your energy, to reignite your creativity and imagination, and help you start the new year inspired. 

The holidays are a special time. Or they can be. This year, unplug. Give yourself, give your family, give your friends something truly special: the unplugged version of yourself. The disconnected version. The full color, fully present, fully in the moment version of yourself. Give yourself time away from the screen. Give yourself permission to fully experience your holiday. In real-time. There is no better gift. There is no better time.

From all of us at Degreed, we wish you and yours a peaceful, relaxing holiday.

As the year draws to a close, I spend some time reflecting on how I spent the year.  With coffee in hand on a cold Minnesota morning, I consider various things: What did I accomplish this year?  What did I learn? What skills did I develop?

All of this thinking then leads to the anticipation for the new year.  What skills should I develop next year?

Maybe you’ve done something similar reflecting on your accomplishments.  But, why do we wait until the end of the year for introspection?

I suppose it’s because we’ve associated the end of the year with the annual performance review that organizations deploy: filling out forms, struggling to recall accomplishments and skills developed throughout the year and wondering how to put into words what you will accomplish 12 months from now.

Been there, done that.  It can feel frustrating.

Truthfully, the end-of-year annual performance process is an outdated process and many organizations have moved away from the annual review, but many have not.

If you’re lucky enough, you might be employed by a company that has evolved to ongoing feedback and regular development discussions with your manager.  Be thankful, if that’s you!  I hope you’re actively engaged in collaboratively building a skill development plan that aligns with your career goals and growth.

At Degreed, I used our Skill Development Plan feature to create a personal development plan where I’ve identified a few key skills I’d like to develop.  I’ve self-rated my level in each skill and set targets of where I’d like to be with each skill.  I’m beginning to work with my leadership team to coach me along the way.

But if continuous feedback and ongoing mentoring does not describe your current experience in your workplace, please keep reading!  The good news: there is hope. Sure, your manager should be there to help and coach you, but YOU are ultimately in control of developing your skills.

As you navigate through the annual review process and begin the new year with goal-setting, go into it with a new mindset. Initiate your learning and development plans with your manager.  Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Be proactive in building a development plan to improve your skills. This means thinking about and writing down your career goals, or the next role you are interested in pursuing, etc.
  • Think of areas that you want to grow your expertise or think of new skills you’d like to learn about and develop – it doesn’t have to be a long list.  Start with one skill.
  • Ask your manager to help you build a development plan with learning resources you can benefit from.
  • Find and ask a mentor for career development and guidance.
  • Seek and use learning resources you can find on Degreed or elsewhere.

Whatever the case, be proactive in making a personal development plan to build current or develop new skills.

I’ve been lucky to have worked for various organizations and managers who have implemented continuous feedback and development discussions in conjunction with a full year performance review.  The common thread was the honest and transparent discussions with my manager of where I would like to develop my skills.  Start with questions like “how am I doing in my role?” and have an answer for  “where and how do I want to progress in my career?”  The key: build a development plan collaboratively.

If you don’t have a way to begin to track and measure your skill development, consider signing up for a Degreed account.  It’s free! And if you have Degreed, add your skills to your profile and accurately rate your level of expertise.  Better yet, certify your skills through Degreed Skill Certification.

As you reflect on your accomplishments and your learning and development this year, ask yourself: What did I learn this year?…In what areas did I develop my skills? How do I want to grow my skills next year?  Take 5 minutes right now to put your development plan into action!

Degreed supports users around the world. Users come from more than 146 countries, and that grows every month. Degreed has many international and multinational organizations with offices across the globe. Degreed itself has offices in the US, Europe, and Australia and remote employees located in more than 7 countries. Degreed provides a seamless experience for our users regardless of language or location and complies with international laws for security and data privacy.


Multi-Language Support

Degreed provides multi-language support for 26 languages, including right-to-left languages, with new languages added all the time. Degreed will automatically detect the user’s language based on the user’s browser settings, and display the platform in their preferred language. To see the complete list of supported languages visit our last post on the topic.


Security and Privacy

Security and data privacy laws vary from country to country. The EU has some of the strictest guidelines. Degreed leverages the global network of Microsoft Azure data centers to comply with all of these international guidelines. Microsoft Azure includes more than one million servers in more than 100 data centers in countries, including the United States, Canada, Germany, UK, India, Japan, China, Australia, and Brazil. Azure data centers in Germany are controlled by a German data trustee to comply with requirements in Germany.

EU Cookie and Data Privacy Laws

Cookies is a hot topic in the EU right now, so Degreed complies with the Cookie regulations by warning users in the EU of cookie use. For more information on how Degreed uses cookies, visit Cookies.

To comply with EU data privacy laws, Degreed will provide a customizable data privacy notification for users.


Regardless of where your employees are located, Degreed has your back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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