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Are you ready for 2020? By Marina Theodotou
Reflections from Marina Theodotou, director of operations and analytics, Defense Acquisition University.
Marina Theodotou
Marina Theodotou
This past October, I attended Chief Learning Officer’s Fall 2019 Symposium in Chicago. If you weren’t able to be there, I’d like to share 10 practices I gleaned from chief learning officers and thought leaders at the conference for you and your team to consider as you plan for 2020 and the continuing onslaught of change.

Use the agile process to develop learning assets. Accenture CLO Allison Horn discussed in detail how using the agile scrum process has accelerated the delivery time and quality of learning assets.

Create flat, multidisciplinary teams that include developers, designers, SMEs and testers on the same team to deliver better learning assets faster. Skillsoft SVP Heide Abelli discussed the changing roles of both leaders and their teams. Accenture has also successfully been developing full-stack learning professionals.

Use data to drive decisions. AT&T Vice President of HR Jason Oliver cautioned us to never walk in the room without data at hand. This is critical for CLOs and their learning and development teams as it ties with understanding the goals and the needs of the business and aligning learning to deliver outcomes.

Articulate the value of learning in terms of the user experience. Molly Nagler, CLO of PepsiCo, advised us to rethink the way we articulate the value of learning by borrowing tips from marketing, such as motivating learners by describing the benefits of learning with moments of truth: “A goal lives inside a person, while benefits live inside a product.”

Create a culture of intelligent failure by using candor, framing the work, inviting engagement and responding productively. Harvard Professor and TED speaker Amy Edmondson shared her latest research with the following five tips used by best performing teams.

Get serious about digital skills by creating a self-assessment for all employees to baseline their skills and provide curated learning pathways to help them close the gap. PwC, who recently pledged $3 billion to upskill its 225,000 employees, used an app to enable every employee to self-assess their digital skills and chart a path to close their personal gap to remain relevant.

Invite innovators from across the organization to step forward and self-train in Agile and digital to pilot new initiatives and send them back out to transform the rest of the organization, again a practice implemented by PwC.

Create platforms for workforce engagement, discussion and problem solving. As Edmondson shared, providing a place for employees to discuss challenges, share best practice tips and support each other can be game-changing.

Deliver quality learning at scale by building your LMS stack. PwC reaches its workforce by adding on top of its LMS a learning experience platform powered by xAPIs and a Learning Record Store. This powerful stack and the back-end data it provides has enabled PwC to drive digital transformation in the organization.

Finally, jailbreak data access from IT into L&D to analyze, depict and support the data-driven decisions for business outcomes. Several Fortune 100 organizations, including AT&T, Accenture and PwC, highlighted the importance of understanding the data within your L&D team and being able to tell the story from the L&D angle.

These views are the author’s own and not necessarily those of the Department of Defense or its components.
Chief Learning Officer wants to hear from you: What are you thinking about? Send your thoughts to Elizabeth Loutfi at
According to Marina