Developed and driven by the editors of Chief Learning Officer, the CLO Symposium is where learning, training and development professionals come together to learn from each other. By connecting with people and teams who have faced similar challenges and goals, you can learn practical applications that will help you and your team achieve the results your organization expects. This conference isn’t just for CLOs, though. Get the most out of the experience by bringing your team so you can all learn together. The Symposium is held in the spring and fall in different locations each year, so if one event doesn’t work for your learning department, consider attending the other. We look forward to seeing you there!
As learning professionals, we know, intuitively, that learning is a good practice in any context. We know that learning is the best path to a new experience, job or even, a new career. However, do we know what moments in our learning journey are essential to achieving these goals? Wouldn’t it beneficial to know what moments in your learning journey are the most important to optimize your learning and subsequent performance?
In this session, Brett Wilson, Director of Thought Leadership and Strategy at Cornerstone, is joined by both Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson, learning thought leaders and principals at Apply Synergies. Both Bob and Con have been pondering this exact same question above for the last 40 years! Moderated by Brett, Bob and Con examine what have come to be known as the 5 Moments of Learning Need.
Dr Hugo Bowne-Anderson is a data scientist and educator at DataCamp and host of the DataCamp podcast DataFramed. He has worked in applied math research in cell biology at Yale University and the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics, after receiving his PhD in Pure Mathematics at the University of New South Wales. He joined DataCamp three years ago to build out their foundational data science curriculum in Python and his main interests now are promoting data & AI literacy & fluency, helping to spread data skills through organizations.
This workshop provides a framework and a road map for those seeking to create a culture of coaching within their organization. Drawing upon the organization and leadership development strategies employed by some of today’s most progressive organizations, this fast-paced, highly-engaging learning event will provide participants with concepts and approaches they can use to create a culture in which day-to-day conversations enhance performance and accelerate learning
• To learn the characteristics of a coaching culture and how it can help teams and organizations make a significant shift in effectiveness.
• To explore ways leaders can be encouraged and equipped to coach team members on a regular basis.
• To Identify the strategic initiatives senior executives can take to create a culture of coaching throughout their organizations.
How can organizations ensure that women are able to rise to leadership positions?
While companies have been making efforts to promote gender diversity, there is still a significant amount of progress to be made to ensure that women have the support they need to reach leadership roles.
In this webinar, you will learn:
• Why it’s critical for organizations to develop female talent
• The path to female leadership
• Female leadership development success stories
The concept of “open-source” — that is, software for which the original “source” code is made freely available for others to add on, modify, and improve — radically changed the way software is developed, and has played a large part in enabling the technology boom we see around us today.
But the open-source idea isn’t just for software engineers. Some of the core ideas associated with open-source approaches can offer interesting new directions for L&D teams too.
As decentralization, openness, sharing, and collaboration become the new norm in many organizations, the idea that anyone can share their expertise broadly, and that individuals and teams can access and build on each other’s know-how perfectly encapsulates this concept of ‘open-source learning’ perfectly.
In this presentation, you will learn from the experiences of a technology company on applying the concepts of open-source software development to development of another kind – that of your staff. We’ll cover:
● The fundamentals of “open-source learning”
● How these relate to knowledge sharing and learning within an organization
● How to make open-source learning happen
Uncertainty — it’s the one thing in our future that is certain. Look to our politics and financial markets for affirmation. But what does it mean for learning? And what are the issues learning leaders need to address to set priorities in the face of growing uncertainty?
The driver is a darling of our contemporary world: innovation.
Innovation is not new. It has always been a part of life in America. Agriculture at the time of our nation’s founding was more than 90 percent of the U.S. economy. Today it is less than 2 percent. That massive shift is compelling evidence that something big has been going on for a very long time. Now change is accelerating.
The shift from 90 percent to 2 percent occurred over more than two centuries. Today huge changes take mere years. The other driver is the scope of change. Entire industries are being wiped out in less than a decade.
The behemoth of innovation today is the digitizing of nearly everything. Learning is no exception. Let’s begin with training for specific skills.
In the 20th century, most assets were built by trained artisans working with their hands. Highly experienced craft persons built buildings, roads and factories. They were the steel workers, the pipe fitters, the bricklayers, the electricians, the roofers and the welders with the skills needed to put complex things together. Creation of things required additional skills, including detailed planning, financing and project management, to name a few. The resulting physical assets often took years, even decades, to complete. They were designed to last decades. We could see, touch and feel what they built. All this made for a more certain world.
In the digital world, the builders are the software engineers and the programmers. Coders are the craft persons creating and assembling the digital assets of today and tomorrow. It increases uncertainty when we cannot actually see, touch or feel what they are building. The assets are literally all around us, yet invisible. One implication for learning is the need to train more coders and software engineers — and fast.
The result will be an even more invisible world. In financial markets that day has already arrived. Algorithmic trading programs trade the stocks of companies in our 401(k) retirement accounts, all without ever being touched by a human hand. The results are both invisible and uncertain. The fear is of bots of the future.
These forces are causing skills acquired over a lifetime of experience to become obsolete. This rapid obsolescence of our valuable human capital is one of the major uncertainties of the new order. There is much anguish over the destruction of jobs. All the while the learning community is challenged to train more and do it faster. We must rebuild our human capital to address the unknowable changes already in motion.
There are many other shifts going on in learning. In the past, to learn we went to a library, took a course or attended a conference. What do we do today? Google a search phrase or search for a video on YouTube. We learn on demand while sitting at a desk or interacting with our smartphones. It is change in both what we learn and how we learn it.
YouTube is functioning like a huge, largely unmanaged LMS, and it’s not just about content and its delivery modality. The role of credentials in learning has changed. The credentials of the teacher used to be important. When is the last time you even reviewed the credentials of a presenter in a YouTube video? My guess is never. We click on the search results, open the video and, if not satisfied, move on to the next search result. Because it is free, massive in content and extremely easy to use, trial-and-error learning has become common. The reduction in the value of credentials introduces even more uncertainty for those in the learning community.
But this massive new LMS is only one example of a new order in learning. There are critically important universal skills needed for both innovation and the reaction to innovation. Critical thinking and problem-solving are enduring capabilities, more so now than ever in this world of rapid change and uncertainty. However, I would argue we do not currently have a very good strategy for developing these critically important capabilities.
Infosys has always been committed to continuous education for its employees. The global IT business consulting and outsourcing services firm headquartered in Bengaluru, India, has more than 200,000 employees in 87 countries, and they rely on a continuous stream of content and learning opportunities to stay up to date on the latest technology, business and leadership trends. “Everyone who works at Infosys has to upskill continuously,” said Thirumala Arohi, Infosys vice president and head of education, training and assessments in Bengaluru. “It has always been part of who we are and what we do.”
But for years, Infosys’ learning delivery was decentralized, with multiple apps offering a subset of content targeting different employee groups or learning needs, including an app offering just tech training for service delivery people and another for client-facing staff who needed to rapidly review a topic or trend. But in October 2017, the learning and development team decided they needed a more centralized learning platform to keep up with everyone’s learning needs. They envisioned a single destination for learning content where every employee could pursue all kinds of training and managers could see what their people were learning and where there were gaps.
“We looked at what was in the market, but there wasn’t anything that covered our learning experience needs,” Arohi said. So they decided to build it themselves.
The idea came from Nandan Nilekani, chairman and co-founder of Infosys, who spent many years working outside the business on innovative government projects, including deployment of India’s national biometric identification system, said Tan Moorthy, executive vice president and global head of education training and assessments in Plano, Texas. “[Nilekani] recognized that a lot of what we’re doing at Infosys could be scaled to create an anytime, anywhere learning environment.”
Lex Is Born
In April 2018, Infosys rolled out Lex, an open-source mobile platform that offers thousands of courses and pieces of content developed internally and curated from third-party learning content providers. Within the first eight months, 90 percent of the company (180,000 employees) had tested the platform, and more than 10,000 employees now use the platform every day for 30 to 40 minutes, Arohi reported. “We’ve seen a fantastic response, with about one-third of employees using it on their own time at night and on the weekends.”
The learning and development team encouraged early adoption through marketing campaigns, emails and leaderboard challenges for service lines to be the first to complete a certain number of courses or hours. This helped drive early interest in Lex; however, its ongoing success is attributed to the platform’s design and clear links between learning and career development.
The team that built Lex aligned every design decision to four key tenets. First, it had to be convenient — every employee must have access to all content anytime, anywhere, online or off. Second, it had to be relevant to every user’s roles, experiences and career goals. Third, it had to be engaging and fun. Finally, it had to matter in the learning team’s ability to land new projects, meet client needs and gain recognition from management. “It wouldn’t be valuable if it didn’t solve specific user and business needs,” Arohi said.
Spotify for Learning
All of the content offered via Lex is curated to address current business trends and skills that employees will need in the near- and long-term to enable Infosys’ ongoing success. When users enter the platform, if they know what they want to learn, they can search for specific titles or topics and create a learning playlist that they can return to again and again. These searches also deliver a graphic showing courses on related topics. For example, if an employee searches for a course on machine learning, the graphic will include related courses on artificial intelligence and natural language processing. “This way the learner can figure out what other content will be relevant to their interests,” Moorthy said.
If users aren’t sure what they want to learn, the platform offers an AI algorithm that make recommendations based on a user’s role, past training, professional interests and courses that other people with similar roles or interests have taken. For users who have no idea what training to consider, a central navigation feature provides access to learning road maps that are linked to specific roles and project types to guide their learning journey. Users can also click the “Build on What You Know” button for instant suggestions of what else to try.
These guided learning tools are helping Infosys employees expand their knowledge base and identify learning paths that will help them move into new roles or better meet the needs of clients, Arohi said.
For example, Jennifer Darkazalli, associate engagement manager for Infosys in New York, first used the platform to learn about agile project management and open-source software. “These were hot topics for our clients, and I didn’t understand them as well as I felt I should,” she said.
After completing those courses she was hooked, and she now uses the platform roughly five hours a week to enhance her knowledge and stay up to date on business and technology trends that are of importance to her clients. “It’s so user-friendly because it was designed with the user in mind,” Darkazalli said.
She now has a playlist of courses that she accesses every morning and afternoon on the subway, which range from traditional sales training to content on supply chain management, manufacturing automation and financial technology. “It’s like Spotify for training.”
However, her favorite feature in Lex is the live broadcasts by company leaders, which can be watched on any device. “Even though we have 200,000 employees, it feels so personal,” she said. “It’s almost like being with them on FaceTime.”
You Gotta Learn to Earn
For employees on the tech side of the company, Lex offers the option to use Lab on a Cloud, which is a virtual development site where learners can instantly access any software to practice a new skill, rather than having to acquire and download the software to their own computers. “It makes all the difference in their ability to learn,” Moorthy said.
Once users complete courses or a predefined set of content, they receive digital tags indicating certification, which they can display on their social profile for peers and managers to see.
“It is how we choose people for new engagements,” Moorthy said. Creating a culture where managers seek out staff for assignments based on their learning profile has been a key component to the success of Lex. “Learning has a shelf life, and if our people aren’t using those new skills on an engagement, no one benefits,” he said. Because employees know that learning is a factor in these project decisions, they can see the direct relevance of learning to their continued career development.
It also creates a culture of competition, where learners see what their peers have accomplished and it motivates them to do more, Moorthy said. “It’s pushing people to seek out more learning so they can be a part of exciting projects.”
That excitement is translating into new business for Infosys. Moorthy noted that the company has seen growth in digital revenues as more employees take courses on these technologies and are thus able to take on new projects. In September 2018, the company also launched Wingspan, a commercial version of Lex that the company now offers to clients who want to leverage the benefits of the learning platform. “It’s an easy way for large and midsized companies to get their employees excited about learning,” Darkazalli said.
Moorthy agreed that having a single source of learning content with a user-friendly interface and guided learning paths is vital in today’s fast-paced economy. “Technology evolves so quickly, if you have a distributed workforce you need a single place where they can access learning.”