Read Time: ~3 mins
Continuous Learning Is the Best Way for CEOs to Stay Ahead of Change
Every day, the biggest challenge for CEOs is staying ahead of change. It effects every aspect of business and without a handle on what’s happening, you could be left in the dust.
“The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent,” wrote Klaus Schwab, the chairman of the World Economic Forum in his groundbreaking report, The Fourth Industrial Revolution. This Fourth revolution “…is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.”
Every day, CEOs looks for a way to hedge against this uncertain future. If they don’t, massive numbers of jobs — and possibly companies themselves — will simply cease to exist.
How can a CEO hedge against an uncertain future? By becoming smarter. On every level of a company, inside the mind of every employee, create a culture of continuous learning. This will arm the business with the most resilient and innovative force that exists: the agility and potential of the team.
The New Metric: Learning
You’re already familiar with the continuous education (CE) that doctors, lawyers, certified public accountants, investment advisors, and insurance agents undertake. For decades, professions like these have required people to engage in a minimum of 20-50 hours of continual education (CE) or continuous learning (CL) per year — the amount of time often dependent on the state.
In recent years, associations for these industries have started to accept non-formal learning, such as micro-learning, into the fold. Take, for example, the American Institute of CPAs, which is doing brilliant things with its Future of Learning initiative.
Today, it’s not only accountants who need to be one step ahead of the rate of change. The speed and complexity of change in business and technology is growing at such a curve that business and engineering professionals need CE/CL as much, if not more, than their CPA, doctor, or lawyer counterparts.
So in order to future-proof their business, CEOs need to arm their people with the knowledge and skills to rapidly build the next innovation in their industry and enter new markets. They do this by making CE/CL mandatory. They weave in an expectation for learning into the very fabric of the culture.
An Emerging Trend for Visionary CEOs
We’re already seeing this emerge in Corporate America. IBM has introduced a mandatory 40 hours a year for all employees. GE, and its visionary CIO Jim Fowler, has instituted a necessary 20 hours of technical learning for all IT and tech employees. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson has set up the expectation that all employees learn new skills, as reported by the New York Times.
Consider initiating a mandatory 50 hours per year of continuing education for your team. This works out to four hours per month, one hour per week, or 10-15 minutes per day. Require that 50 percent of the learning be related to their role and skills/competency that will keep them as an A+ player. The other 50 percent can be aspirational: anything that takes someone a step further in their career. By investing in the collective learning of our people, we are investing in an agile and innovative future.
Read Time: 4 mins
The Democratization of Enterprise Knowledge and Learning
Enterprises waste money on antiquated learning management, knowledge management and content management systems that come with outdated, irrelevant, off-the-shelf content with poor discovery and personalization. The irony is that most organizations fail to tap into the best knowledge and insights, which come from their own experts.
Studies have shown that the best form of knowledge is the tacit knowledge of the subject matter experts (SMEs) inside our own organizations. In fact, Google has moved 75 percent of all its learning and knowledge-sharing to a model it calls “G2G” — Googler-to-Googler.
Unlock Internal Knowledge
There is a revolution sweeping through learning and development (L&D). In the old world of corporate learning, we witnessed a top-down approach. A few people, often in HR, decided what to teach, and they pushed that learning content down through the organization. In today’s digital world, the best approach is the other way around: Content moves from the bottom up and is no longer about pedigree. The power has shifted to the employees, and they are eager to share their knowledge and insights. And everyone wants to measure the results (i.e., who learned and how much).
This knowledge-sharing is radically good for business. Kevin Oakes of I4CP has said that sharing information is four times more common in high-performing companies. It’s what makes a company resilient and agile.
Knowledge-sharing also builds on something you already have. You’re hiring smart people who have the right knowledge and know the best ways to keep your business in its most successful state. But do you have programs in place to identify who your experts or high performers are? Are you empowering them with easy-to-use tools so they can efficiently share what they know with their peers? If not, you’re missing out on some extraordinary benefits.
The Importance of Tacit Knowledge
Learning is already happening in your organization. It happens when people reach out through informal networks every day, whether it’s on Slack chats or in hallway conversations. They are gathering two main types of knowledge: explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is the content that we can all access easily, via courses, articles, LinkedIn feeds, etc.
Tacit knowledge is less obvious. Ritesh Chugh defines it as “skills, ideas and experiences that people have in their minds and are, therefore, difficult to access because it is often not codified and may not necessarily be easily expressed.” Or, as Nick Snowdon brilliantly puts it, “We will always know more than we say; we will always say more than we can write down.”
Tacit knowledge is the more important and relevant type of knowledge that drives performance, increases resilience and weaves a culture of innovation into the very bedrock of an organization. It’s what drives the informal learning that has become top of the agenda for CLOs.
Tacit knowledge is “where the value is,” says Charles Jennings of the 70:20:10 Institute. “When you look at organizations, the value is in extracting from tacit information and from tacit knowledge, and then institutionalizing it.”
The Democratization of Expertise
So how do you identify and help your experts educate others? First, you need the tools.
When companies make it easy for people to share knowledge by acting as a network that facilitates the digitization of the informal learning process, they make it more tangible, shareable and effective.
For example, by giving employees the tools to share their knowledge directly through their smartphones—e.g., by filming short video segments to convey their insights—they become incredibly empowered. They can then share these videos automatically with people inside their networks and with people who have identified the sharer as an influencer or SME.
Second, you need to manage the key process of curating material. For example, you can use expert curators and AI algorithms to sift through and approve content, which is then sent to the rest of the enterprise or relevant individuals. As the rest of the organization watches or reads the content, they rate it, and the key experts emerge.
This isn’t just a wisdom-of-the-crowd approach: There is a curation layer to make sure the information is, indeed, correct. But the point is that the knowledge is coming increasingly from employees themselves and not from outside the organization.
There are three key benefits to democratizing expertise in your organization:
1. The Benefit for Employees: Valuable Content
The content employees access delivers tangible value that helps them improve performance. The SME has an exact understanding of the problem definition; therefore, it’s smarter to tap into this expert, who has a valuable contextual understanding of the topic, than it is to reach out to someone outside the enterprise.
2. The Benefit for Experts: Recognition and Retention
Studies show that recognition is a key driver in high retention. One of the main factors that makes people leave companies is that they don’t think the company fully appreciates them. With a knowledge network in place, employees receive “likes,” comments and feedback from their peers. They will feel that recognition viscerally. In fact, it will be woven into the fabric of their work day.
3. The Benefit for Enterprise: Visibility
Most companies have no idea who their experts are in key topics. For example, an oil and gas insurance company may not know who their best data scientist is on a specific issue. By using digital tools that help them identify their experts frequently and on a granular level, they will be able to access data that provides powerful visibility into the company’s knowledge bank that may have previously gone unnoticed.
Herein lies the paradox: An organization may have the best knowledge and expertise with its employees, but it cannot be easily accessed because it cannot be easily discovered. Yet it is right there, sitting in the minds of the organization’s team members. Companies just need the technology and tools to draw out and benefit from the great potential of the minds of its employees.
Reflections on Davos: Why future-proofing your organization is the most important thing you can do and why I started EdCast
Upon reflecting on the topics discussed last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, it is clear that the Fourth Industrial Revolution was perhaps the most significant. The first revolution started with the use of water and steam to power machinery. The second replaced water and steam-powered machines with electrical power. The third is the digital revolution. The current fourth revolution is the combination of hardware, robotics, and massive computing power that will make technology an essential part of almost every aspect of people’s lives.
There is a lot to be optimistic about the opportunities that will come from these fast-paced innovations. However, as a board member of Governor Brown’s California Workforce Investment Board, I worry about the massive shift in employable skills that will be needed. It will be a challenge both for employers looking to hire a skilled workforce and for employees looking to continuously upgrade their skills.
During previous industrial revolutions, it took decades for people and organizations to develop major new skillsets on a large scale. With the rapid pace and scale of disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this will not be an option. The WEF report says, “Without targeted action today to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base. Moreover, these efforts are necessary not just to mitigate the risks of the profound shifts underway but also to capitalize on the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The talent to manage, shape and lead the changes underway will be in short supply unless we take action today to develop it.”
Informal learning and knowledge sharing is the answer. Organizations that will succeed are the ones that create a culture where knowledge is actively shared between employees, partners and customers. This mostly comes from informal learning, through online and offline social interactions and curated insights personalized to each individual’s interest-graph. Strategic informal learning is essential to ensure all workers have the most up-to-date skills and knowledge. Informal learning also fits with the learning style of Millennials, which are now the largest group in the American workforce.
Many companies have begun creating a company culture of knowledge-sharing via informal and social learning. Nearly half of all organizations encourage informal learning, among which many have shown interest in implementing a peer-to-peer (P2P) knowledge network for their employees. But we’re just starting out – and there’s still a lot to be done to create more effective knowledge-sharing-based collaboration.
I am convinced that any corporate culture must value informal learning and reward informal learning achievements. Knowledge-sharing is vital to the success of any company. Fortune 500 companies squander nearly $32 billion per year by not sharing knowledge adequately. In a business environment filled with rapid technology change and hyper-competition, such a number is unacceptable.
So what’s the solution? Formal learning such as online classes, certification courses and e-learning based on LMS has long been a part of talent development. LMS require people to be ‘pushed’ to take courses, which are long-format and often boring. They try to create the digital replica of classroom training where one person in the room instructs others. Millennials in the workplace are digital natives and wired to learn in a peer-to-peer, informal and social learning style. They have shorter attention spans, need a compressed learning curve and rely more on knowing who/where to go for expertise. They enjoy collaboration, discussion and networking with experts in their topics of interest. It’s noteworthy that three in five young executives plan to rely more heavily on video as a learning and communication mode. The current workforce absorbs knowledge in many ways, from reading articles online and watching videos to water-cooler discussions with co-workers and scanning social media posts.
In my previous role as a venture capitalist, I acutely felt the lack of a social platform for informal knowledge sharing across teams, influencers and subject matter experts, while working with multiple small and large teams across my portfolio companies. This led me to start EdCast, a knowledge-sharing platform that was incubated at Stanford University’s StartX Labs.
At EdCast, we have a clear vision of how to future-proof individuals and organizations to stay ahead in the knowledge economy shaped by the fourth industrial revolution. We are building a massive knowledge-sharing platform that connects employees with influencers inside and outside the organization to engage in social-learning that is frictionless and effortless. A personalized feed filled with bite-size insights makes learning a daily habit rather than a once-a-year affair. Livestreamed 5-10-minute insights by influencers and thought-leaders are easy to watch, discuss, and engage with.
For our companies and societies to thrive in this fourth industrial revolution, we need to make lifelong informal learning the dominant culture of this decade.
EdCast Featured in the March Edition of Chief Learning Officer Magazine
Everyone is hearing and reading a lot about AI these days. At EdCast, we have embraced AI, Machine Learning and Natural Learning Processing (NLP) technologies in the development of our updated Knowledge Discovery and Knowledge Creation solutions. These will not only facilitate highly targeted and highly relevant learning – but they will do so in real-time.
Our Chief Evangelist, Amar Dhaliwal, recently authored a piece in the March 2017 issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine, which we are excited to feature HERE:
Please read and let us know your thoughts/questions. With AI, Machine Learning and NLP advances coming fast, what implication or prospective result are you most excited about in your organization?
Join this webinar to discuss why context is king!
In a world where access to online content, training, MOOCs, and “friends and experts” is unprecedented, traditional approaches to fostering role growth and development are no longer enough. Learning organizations must reevaluate how they equip and develop today’s modern learner.
New technologies, curation approaches and content providers are fostering newfound interest in the corporate learning space. But are new technologies and interest enough? Are you connecting employees with the right content in a dynamic and efficient way?
Join us to discuss these points by registering below:
Title: In a Learning 3.0 World, Context is King
Summary: This interactive webinar will provide easy-to-understand insights on:
- The Learning and Performance Arc: contextualization of the learner experience
- Content aggregation and how to provide seamless access to ALL learning
- User-generated learning from across the extended enterprise, easily shared within the value chain
Join us for this Training Industry webinar sponsored by GP Strategies. Your hosts, Eric Bruner, CTO of GP Strategies, and Daniel McKelvey, VP of Partner Solutions at EdCast, will share how you can facilitate a learning experience that is contextual and engaging for your employees.
Date: Feb. 16, 2017 at 10a PT / 1p ET
Limited seats available – register today
Webinar: How to Solve the Content Discovery Problem
We’re living in a paradoxical time. We are simultaneously drowning in content and starving for relevant knowledge that can improve performance.
Information overload accounts for 28B hours of wasted hours a year. That equates to almost $1T lost in productivity in the US economy alone, per Jonathan Spira, author of Overload! How too Much Information is Hazardous to Your Organization.
There is a massive amount of brilliant content living within learning management systems, company intranets, document management systems, third party courses, and the untold number of great resources available on the web. But it’s not curated, it’s not contextual, and it can be overwhelming.
Learning & Development leaders are under pressure to provide value and results, but remain at a loss for a single solution to act as a “Netflix of learning”. David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, will host the webinar on solving the content discovery problem with EdCast. This webinar will examine how leading organizations address this problem and how that relates to the future of corporate learning management.
Discussion topics include:
- The current content landscape
- Curation strategies – Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- Make your L&D effort more efficient
- Examples of how companies are getting it done
Date: March 9, 2017 at 10a PT / 1p ET
Limited seats available – register today
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EdCast and Watershed Partner to Deliver Personalized Learning Solutions
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – FEBRUARY 06, 2017
EdCast, the award-winning learning experience platform, is pleased to announce partnering with Watershed, the leader in learning analytics platforms, to address the growing demand for integrated human resources technology and personalized learning solutions.
“This partnership with Watershed is a natural result of where visionary companies are looking to make their learning and development programs more data-centric and efficient,” said Karl Mehta, Founder and CEO of EdCast. “We are pleased to partner with the Watershed team to learning more trackable across all sources for our enterprise customers worldwide.”
Since its founding at Stanford University, industry analysts have recognized EdCast as a new type of digital learning platform. Learner centric and learner driven. Powered by content pulled from many internal and external sources, and enhanced by collaborative knowledge sharing from within the organization. Mobile first and embedded with social and collaboration capabilities, EdCast delivers a new learning experience for employees and enhanced levels of performance for organizations. EdCast uses xAPI technology to collect data from the user’s unique learning experiences. That data is then combined with other enterprise information to provide true business impact analytics and to provide a highly personalised learning experience.
“We’re excited to partner with EdCast, and show how xAPI is helping personalize learning and change traditional L&D methods,” said Mike Rustici, Watershed founder and CEO. “And our upcoming webinar will be a great opportunity to show the L&D community how they can benefit from this technology and enhance their own programs.”
Founded in early 2016, Watershed develops a SaaS-based learning analytics platform that assesses the impact and effectiveness of corporate learning and development programs. Before receiving any investment, the company was already working with high-profile clients and global companies such as Google, Visa, AT&T, and YUM! Brands.
Watershed and EdCast are hosting a public webinar to discuss how personalization technology is changing the traditional approach of Learning and Development programs. It is an exciting topic about how HR departments are flipping the script on how they train employees and share knowledge within their companies. Join us for the webinar on February 7, 2017 at 11a PT / 2p ET. Register to attend this webinar.
Headquartered outside Nashville, Tenn., Watershed is dedicated to changing the world of corporate learning by helping training and learning departments get more from their learning and development initiatives. This includes the creation of a customizable learning analytics platform that provides actionable insights from training and performance data in real time. Made possible by a technology called the Experience API (a.k.a., Tin Can API), Watershed enables users to collect and study learning experiences and how they impact business outcomes. To learn more, visit http://www.watershedlrs.com.
EdCast uses artificial intelligence and curation to bring together all of you internal learning content, expert insights, and millions of external resources into an easy-to-use, personalized learning experience and knowledge platform.
The EdCast executive team has a track record of building large-scale transformational technology; all are passionate about the global impact of mobile and online knowledge-sharing. EdCast is based in Mountain View, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley, with offices worldwide.
Join us to discuss how personalized learning flips the traditional L&D model
In this webinar, we will discuss how personalization technology is changing the traditional approach of Learning and Development programs. There is a lot to cover but it is an exciting topic about how HR departments are flipping the script on how they train employees and share knowledge within their companies. Join us by registering below:
Title: How Personalized Learning Flips the Traditional L&D Model
Summary: Do you know how to use technology to create more personalized and efficient learning experiences?
Join us for this webinar, as we explore how learning technology is:
- flipping the traditional approach of Learning and Development to be more self-directed,
- making the discovery and personalization of content more efficient, and
- providing an enriched, data-driven ecosystem that integrates with your existing system with xAPI and Learning Record Store (LRS) functionality.
Mike Rustici, CEO of Watershed, will join Amar Dhaliwal, Chief Evangelist at EdCast, to share insights from real-world company examples and some amazing technology. We’re only booking an hour, so come ready to see how you can use technology to personalize your learning program.
Date: Feb. 7, 2017 at 11a PT / 2p ET
Limited seats available – register today
Watershed, Founder & CEO
As an innovative software developer turned entrepreneur, Mike Rustici has been defining the e-learning industry for nearly 20 years. He helped guide the first draft of the Tin Can API (xAPI) and invented the concept of a Learning Record Store (LRS), which led to the creation of Watershed—the flagship LRS that bridges the gap between training and performance.
EdCast, Chief Evangelist
Amar was a co-founder of the learning management pioneer THINQ, and after its acquisition by Saba in 2005, led Saba’s product, engineering, cloud, and customer operations teams. He now leads the Marketing and Product teams at EdCast. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, he was a management consultant. Amar studied at The London School of Economics.
VMware chose EdCast to launch the “Virtualization for Beginners MooC” earlier in 2016 as part of their VMware Academy initiative. The results were surprising.
A MooC is defined by Wikipedia as :
“A massive open online course is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as filmed lectures, readings, and problem sets, many MOOCs provide interactive user forums to support community interactions among students, professors, and teaching assistants (TAs).”
Many attempts to successfully deliver MooCs have been made over the years. EdCast was chosen for the delivery of VMware Academy courses because of the following reasons:
- Promotion of group-based learning pedagogy within the organization
- Mobile access and consumption of formal and informal content
- Advanced and intuitive peer-to-peer learning
The completion rate for the course beat the industry standards by 8x!
See the full results below in this infographic:
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Employees are drowning in content but starving for knowledge that can improve their performance today.
For the average work week, employees have only 1% of time available to focus on development and training, according to research conducted by Bersin by Deloitte. In that 1% of time, employees have to wade through a torrent of materials to hopefully find something relevant to their specific needs and job requirements. Instead of wasting that precious time, how much value could a company or employee create if the right content was available at the right time?
That very question is addressed in the infographic we put together below. See how you are being affected by the content discovery problem and what you can do to fix it.
Learn more about how to solve this problem:
Download our eBook How to Solve the Discovery Problem in Corporate Learning.