Cisco is not only ranked #62 on the Fortune 500 List, they’re also ranked #48 on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018. After listening to Joshua Clark, Senior Manager, Leadership & Team Intelligence at Cisco, discuss how they do things differently during Degreed’s LENS Conference, I’m not at all surprised.

Doing things differently at Cisco isn’t just a strategic initiative written down on a piece of paper once and then forgotten. It is a strategy used daily within their teams, in the way they approach funding, and in the way they push their partners to evolve (the last one comes from personal experience).

How many L&D Leaders do you know who are engineers by trade? Likely, not many. The most obvious difference in the learning team at Cisco is their team leader. Clark has been with Cisco for 19 years. He is an engineer by trade, yet has carved a journey into L&D, building and designing learning. He understands that “no one wakes up and logs into the LMS with a cup of java.” The Degreed project is the result of the vision that Cisco needs a learning platform to develop and keep employees relevant to driving the business forward.

Rather than focusing purely on the need for continual learning when building the case for project funding (which, in and of itself, doesn’t resonate with the executive team when it comes to ROI), Clark’s approach to obtaining funding for learning involved understanding the challenges that were critical to their business, including:

  • The limited shelf life for certain skill sets
  • Critical talent pools and skill areas needing development in the organization
  • Upskilling and re-skilling needs resulting from the previous two challenges

Tying learning challenges to those business challenges resonated with the executive team, and the project was funded.

Moving forward, Cisco also approached the project itself differently:

  • Strategy: The new marketing strategy wasn’t a “one email and done” approach. It included multiple channels (like digital signage, posters, and imagery), new design themes that they were willing to throw away if they didn’t resonate with their focus groups, and the idea that they would need to continually reinforce the message.
  • Team DNA: In addition to Clark’s background in engineering, they introduced new L&D roles like UX designer, curator, marketing manager, and software developer. This brought new thinking to the project to assist with a successful launch.
  • Technology: Having a software developer on their team enabled Cisco to “leverage and tinker” with that expertise when faced with security challenges that were unique, like having a number of learning systems behind their firewall rather than in the cloud that would be easy to connect.

As a result of Cisco’s experience, Clark recommends that we “embrace technology as L&D professionals,” and reminds us through Einstein’s words, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

We face the biggest challenges humanity has ever encountered. We need extraordinary experts to solve those challenges and make the unthinkable reality. Experts who can heal, discover, challenge, and advance.

Degreed exists to discover, empower, and recognize the next generation of the world’s expertise. The smartest, brightest, and most bold, the tenacious, willing, the unsung heroes, self-taught, the scrappy, driven, the passionate, daring, the unafraid. Experts.

There is no single path to expertise. And our success in solving our unique problems depends not upon uniformity, but on our diversity, because our differences and uniqueness make us powerful. Everyone deserves recognition for their expertise, no matter how they got there.

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.

Own your expertise. And join us in solving the future. Degreed

Phillips-Hoang Nguyen-Phan of Dearborn Heights was the July 2015 winner of our Salesforce Build an App Scholarship. We asked Phillips-Hoang Nguyen-Phan a few questions to see what his goals are and get his advice for others-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world.” – G-Man

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

I want to accomplish mastering computer languages that I didn’t learn yet.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

The scholarship will help me pursue an BS in Computer Science and an career as a video game programmer.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Computer programming

What would you love to become an expert in?

Video Design

Congrats to Phillips-Hoang Nguyen-Phan on winning the scholarship. Chances are you could use some extra money to learn too! You can apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Cristina Smith of Peoria, Arizona was the June 2015 winner of our Salesforce Build an App Scholarship. We asked Cristina a few questions to see what her goals are and get her advice for others-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.” –Deepak Chopra

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

In the next year, I’d like to get a summer job or internship having to do with art or design. I want to be a character designer, and I think having experience would help prepare me for a more permanent job after graduation.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

This scholarship is a big step in helping me pay for college for next semester, and helps me stay a little ahead of possible student debt after I graduate. The scholarship will be going towards my classes and supplies, all helping me toward my goal of becoming a character designer for animation or video games after graduation.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Perseverance, since this is my first time getting a scholarship outside of the one I’ve gotten from college after applying for three years since attending.

What would you love to become an expert in?

Creating stories and characters inclusive to minorities, to make media just a little more welcoming for everyone. I’d like to expand my design and creativity skills to do all this, and it’d be great to make possible fictional role models for all kids to look up to.

Congrats to Cristina on winning the scholarship. Chances are you could use some extra money to learn too! You can apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Brett Allison of DeLand, Florida was the August 2015 winner of our Salesforce Build an App Scholarship. We asked Brett a few questions to see what his goals are and get his advice for others-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Find your passion and pursue it with everything you’ve got.

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

I want to get married.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

This scholarship will help me tons in achieving my BS in Environmental Science and then going on to pursue a career in promoting and installing alternative energy in Central America and the United States.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Surfing.

What would you love to become an expert in?

Alternative Energy.

Congrats to Brett on winning the scholarship. Chances are you could use some extra money to learn too! You can apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Casey Neistat,

Hi. We heard you’ve got a google alert on your name- this is our tactic to get your attention.

We’re doing a web series episode titled ‘how to learn’ and want you to be our expert on how someone can learn by doing, experimenting, and paying attention.

No big production- our 3 person crew is in NYC on 10/20. Can we take you to lunch and ask you 5 questions?

Reply Y or N to caitlin@degreed.com

Brittni Walker of South Milwaukee is the March 2015 winner of the Pursue Your Passion Scholarship. We asked Brittni to share her thoughts on goals and expertise to get to know her better-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I have been given is to never lose sight of who you are. Your dreams, passions, and happiness are more important than the expectations others hold for you.

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

In the next year, I want to boost my GPA and make it on the Dean’s List both semesters.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

The scholarship will decrease my financial stress and allow me to focus more on my studies. I want to be the best that I can be in order in make a difference in the scientific community.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Perseverance

What would you love to become an expert in?

Genetics.

Congrats to Brittni for the scholarship win and good luck! Want some extra cash to help you with your learning goals? Apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Schanell Hylton of Tallahassee, Florida was the March 2015 winner of our Salesforce Build an App Scholarship. We asked Schanell a few questions to see what her goals are and get her advice for others-

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice that I have ever received is to “always work smarter not harder”. For me, this slogan encompasses three key elements:
1.PRIORITIZE. It is important to complete the most important tasks that need to be handled first. I usually make a list of all the things that need to be done so I can identify what is significant. Once I have completed two or three tasks that are the most crucial for the day, I feel more successful and productive. Then, I can either move on to other things I would like to do or save them until tomorrow.
2.ORGANIZE. Being organized and having the ability to instantly locate vital things can save anyone time and money.
3.TIME MANAGEMENT. Almost everyone has the impulse to procrastinate but it is better for me to get an early start on tasks or assignments. It is essential to designate the appropriate amount of time to each task and not take shortcuts.

Tell us one goal you want to accomplish this year

The most significant goal I would like to accomplish in the next year is graduating with my Masters in Public Administration from the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University. Also, incorporated in that goal is another goal of mine. I not only want to graduate but to do so with a 3.9 GPA.

How will the scholarship help you achieve your goals?

This scholarship will help me to achieve my goals by providing me the gift of furthering my education. The money will be put towards paying for more classes, books and other materials necessary for me to succeed.

What’s one thing you can teach others?

Importance of Work Ethic

What would you love to become an expert in?

Public Administration

 

Congrats to Schanell on winning the scholarship. Chances are you could use some extra money to learn too! You can apply for the Salesforce Build an App Scholarship here. 

Deloitte University Press recently published an article titled “Reimagining higher education” which focuses on the shift towards lifelong learning and highlights Degreed’s unique capability to help shape the future of higher education.

In part it reads:

“Another firm, Degreed, assigns scores to the full range of educational opportunities available, from MOOCs and immersives to college degrees and corporate training.36 Degreed scores and validates both traditional and alternative education options to provide a credit score-like assessment of everything a student’s ever learned. This score, in turn, allows employers to make quick apples-to-apples comparisons of educational achievement across different domains.

“To lower the transaction costs associated with hiring, employers can turn to services provided by organizations that measure the full range of academic, professional, and lifelong learning options available to students from both accredited and non-accredited sources, to allow for apples-to-apples assessments of candidates’ educational track records. Tools such as Mozilla’s Open Badges platform and Degreed’s credit score system can help employers gain a more holistic understanding of a prospective employee’s educational background, which may include everything from a traditional degree to MOOCs.

“While the average student pursuing alternative education paths today has already obtained a four-year degree, it is likely that alternatives will become a first stop for many students seeking career options in a shorter timeframe and with less of a financial commitment. As low- or no-cost educational alternatives become a viable option for just-in-time learning, employers will have greater access to a growing talent pool that possesses the skills they seek.”

Deloitte also discussed the shift of enterprise learning to focus on continual learning:

“The shift to lifelong learning in turn will prompt employers to rethink their training and professional development strategies, in order to allow their employees to upgrade their knowledge and skills continuously. Currently, fewer than 45 percent of businesses have a written plan for learning.80 As such, businesses across a range of industries are looking to MOOCs and other experiential education providers to fill this role.”

Degreed has made this type of continual learning possible for enterprises. Degreed helps enterprises leverage the free and low-cost learning resources from around the web to give their employees on-demand access to the best learning materials in any subject.

To read the full article, click here.

To learn more about Degreed go to get.degreed.com

Ever wanted to get a MBA, but lacked the time, money, or didn’t fit the typical MBA candidate profile?

Degreed has joined forces with Laurie Pickard, creator of the No-Pay MBA, to bring you a learning track focused on helping you learn the material that you would find going through an MBA degree.  If interested, learners will create groups so they can progress through the material with their peers.  The No-Pay MBA groups will take advantage of Degreed’s robust online learning environment which includes custom content pathways, insights and analytics, custom goals, and social collaboration.

Fortune had this to say about Laurie’s quest to create a no-pay MBA:

“If everything goes according to plan, Laurie Pickard will earn her MBA in three years for less than $1,000. She’ll take classes from Harvard, Wharton, and Yale, among other top-tier schools. And she’ll tackle it all while keeping her full-time job. She’ll accomplish all of this from Kigali, Rwanda. It sounds too good to be true. But Pickard, 32, is determined to pull it off. If successful, she’ll arguably be the first person in the world to cobble together an MBA program from massive open online courses (MOOCs), free or low-cost classes accessible to anyone with Internet access.”

-“An MBA for less than $1000,” CNN Money/Fortune, January 14 2014

If interested, fill out the form below to get early access to the No-Pay MBA group.

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