Boy oh boy, are we ever excited to tell you about the 2021 Learning Leadership Summit!

We will be LIVE and IN PERSON at the beautiful Como Lakeside Pavilion near the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory and all of the stunning gardens and trails.

This year’s Summit will begin with a leisurely buffet lunch, allowing plenty of time to reconnect with friends and meet new folks. We'll then present the award for the 2021 Learning Leader of the Year, after which will be the feature presentation--unlike any L&D event you’ve ever been to before!
Learning at the Speed of Laughter with the Brave New Workshop

This will be a fun-filled interactive presentation, custom-designed for our Summit led by Margi Simmons. Margi is a highly sought-after speaker and trainer who inspires thousands of professionals each year as part of the Brave New Workshop core team.

We'll send the invitation soon, but in the meantime…
Each year at the Summit we present an award for the Learning Leader of the Year. Any individual or team can nominate a person who they feel deserves to be recognized for outstanding vision, leadership, and commitment to the L&D community.

Click on the image below to learn more about the award and its past winners, and to see how easy it is to make a nomination. Use the button to make your nomination.
Seven learning leaders from our L&D community generously spent time writing their thoughts for us around the following question.

As companies start to return to the office, what are your thoughts or plans for virtual, in-person, and hybrid learning over the next year?
Beth Davis-Salonek
Director of CAO Learning & Development, Technical Writing, and Quality Assurance
Allianz Life

As we fully transition to hybrid work over the next several months, we are looking closely at both our programs and the needs of our employees. We will continue to deliver a majority of programs in a virtual setting, as learners' days on campus will vary. However there are some programs, like New Employee Welcome, that we are looking at offering in person. Even with this, we will still need to maintain virtual offerings for employees who are hired out of state. 

In addition, we are looking at what technology we need to support learners both now and into the future. To do this we formed a technology learning committee made up of members from all three learning organizations (CAO, HR, and Sales) within Allianz Life.
Matt Haag
Director, Global Industrial Training Center of Expertise

Our plans at this point are uncertain, at least as it relates to classroom-style offerings. Although we have started returning to the office on a volunteer basis and have plans to bring more of our associates back this fall, the long term plan for in-person training is less clear. We’ve demonstrated that we can effectively deliver virtual experiences, so we will need to make a case for returning large class offerings to the physical environment.
I don’t think there is a perfect answer, but I believe we will be much more selective about which offerings—or portions of offerings—we shift back to in-person. Until social distancing and masking requirements are fully lifted, it will limit how conducive the in-person environment is for learning. Once those requirements are lifted, we’ll need to ensure we are selecting the right medium for the right content, for example e-learning for content delivery or presentation, and cutting that out of in-person portion of programs to the maximum extent possible. In-person should be reserved for the things where you can best do in person, such as specifically designed action learning, or collaborative and culture-building activities.
Erin Massa
Sr. Manager Training and Education
Tennant Company

In the past year and a half I have been honored to be a part of an organization that kept sight of the top priority: the safety and wellbeing of team members. That was our guiding light. It kept us grounded throughout all of the pivots and uncertainty. 
Our Learning and Development team transformed over 250 hours of instructor-led content to a VILT format. We became nimble with our technology and we were provided with a creative runway to deliver a best-in-class “next best thing.” We learned about our abilities and the effectiveness of VILT. 

However in recent months it has become abundantly clear that many of our team members feel that ILT (in person) is a component to their personal health and wellbeing. Learners from across the company are voicing their desire to experience in-person learning once again. This exclamation has become a defining illustration of the importance of individualized learning styles and strategies in an organization. 

As we daydream about days ahead, I am so excited about the endless possibilities of implementing learning strategies that we have lived in for the past 18 months out of necessity and revisiting the never-failing, always steady-and-true benefit of in-person training. The possibilities of marrying these two schools of thought and re-envisioning a new learner experience is thrilling and gives everyone the energy needed to put one foot in front of the other, stay on the path and ensure the health and wellbeing of our team members! And in order to do that, we must never stop learning.
Kiffin McCoy-Albert, MBE
Senior Manager, Learning & Organizational Effectiveness

As states begin to open back up and restrictions are lifted, we are cautiously getting back to some in-person events. Since our workforce is dispersed, the transition last year to 100% virtual learning was not as big of a shift for us as it was for many. We did, however, get the chance to improve and adjust some of our methods, materials, and platforms.

Moving forward we will continue to embrace a hybrid model for learning opportunities. We are striving to offer more self-directed, customized options for both formal and informal learning, and our team has been able to show how beneficial leveraging peer experts can be. For eLearning offerings, we have begun the shift towards more on-demand, engaging options. For in-person offerings, our plan is to create a space for even more experiential learning than prior to 2020.

I think our colleagues (our learners) are really responding to these positive changes as we work to improve the overall learner experience…and we are really just getting started.
Ronda Mullen
Manager - Talent & Organizational Effectiveness

COVID brought about a global crisis that we are still dealing with today. The way we work, play, and live has all changed. What does it mean to learning solutions and how employees learn, grow, and connect?

Epiq is a global leader in technology-enabled legal services, eDiscovery, corporate restructuring, cybersecurity, and business transformation solutions. Even though we were ahead of the curve regarding working across the globe when COVID hit, it has brought about change that will stay with us. Much of our workforce will continue working from home. It opened Epiq up to a more flexible workforce that can work, learn, and grow from anywhere. In addition, we found that supporting employees' well-being has become just as important as training them on systems and processes.

Epiq’s learning and development is about being creative in how we support our global learner. We are using on-demand leaning solutions but are infusing warm personal touches and support. For example, we might have an on-demand course followed up with a virtual teambuilding exercise that supplements the course. We are also including topics that support the whole employee; topics that focus on things like mental wellbeing and inclusion, so all employees feel heard regardless if they are working out of their home or in an office. Leveraging technology is enabling Epiq to reach all employees but designing in the human experience for the whole employee is what is making it more meaningful.
Rick Rittmaster
Associate Director Human Capital

I’m noticing two things: first, the trend of driving learning through on-the-job experience will continue to accelerate. The pandemic forced many of us to be more flexible than we thought possible. Our hard-earned skills regarding navigating ambiguity will continue to serve as people actively step into learning situations outside of their “normal” day jobs (rotations, stretch assignments, career pivots, etc.). Second, for most, virtual learning will become the default. In-person learning will make a comeback, but in specific situations and with the intent of being purposefully in person.
Paula Smith
Learning & Development Manager

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the United States in March of 2020, leadership development programs were primarily facilitated in-person at CHS. But with the onset of the pandemic, every part of our business had to adjust – including our approach to learning and development.

In collaboration with our vendor partners, our L&D team shifted the delivery of our leadership development programs to live online facilitation platforms in the summer of 2020. With this transition, we recognized a key benefit of live online learning is the flexibility to space out program content which allows participants more time to process key concepts and implement new skills on the job. Our learners had a lot of positive feedback for the virtual learning experience, but many said they missed those in-person opportunities to further bond and network with their cohort.

With that feedback in mind, we began to plan for the next evolution of our leadership development programs as our offices open again. In order to meet the needs of our learners and be stewards of company resources, we’re embracing a hybrid approach. Our program for new leaders will continue to be delivered live online while the program for more experienced leaders will be a combination of live online and in-person workshops to allow for both paced learning and deeper networking experiences with peers.
If you are leading a growing organization, you may be ready to hire a new level of managers and supervisors to support that growth. In this type of talent search, you are often faced with a long process, during which you are still doing the work you hoped to delegate. We can help!

We have 30 years of perspective on learning leadership, we are connected to learning leaders throughout the industry, and we offer both temporary learning leaders and contract-to-hire arrangements. Contact Christine if you’d like to talk through the possibilities!
On May 21st, Jessica Crooker and Jamie Bruemmer from Life Time joined us to talk about how their L&D team, in partnership with the Workforce Inclusion team, plays a critical role in upholding their company's mission to make their workplace a place for everyone.
It was a great opportunity to hear an honest story about one organization's journey to answer questions like:
  • "Who decides what learning matters, and why?"
  • "Are the learning professionals on my team well-versed on inclusion and diversity and how it applies to our organization?"
  • "Where do we source credible information?"

We cover a wide variety of subject matter at our Roundtable events, but when it comes to one like DE&I we find that it's especially valuable to connect and exchange ideas and experiences. Every organization will have their own approach on this topic, so there's a lot to be learned about what's worked and what hasn't.

We're thrilled to announce that we'll continue to discuss what DE&I initiatives are looking like across L&D, as a team from Optum has been doing some innovative things around DE&I content audits, accessibility, and progress measurement. They will share their experiences and learnings at our November Roundtable.
The Learning Technology Network was thrilled to have Samuel Ragsdale, 3M's Director of Learning, share his insights on creating an integrated learning ecosystem to support employee learning and development.

While acknowledging where most organizations are today, he laid out a clear vision for the learning ecosystem of the future. In that future, consumption-oriented, "one size fits all" models are replaced by a personalized and adaptive learner-centric ecosystem that fosters continuous engagement with the workforce.

Samuel then helped us to reflect on the state of our own learning ecosystems and think about where we can take them. Most importantly, he shared actionable ideas to help us all move toward that future state. It was a wonderful mix of the conceptual and the practical, and we thank Samuel once again for spending some time with us.
We're happy to announce that Brandon Carson will share his insights on building a modern learning team at our inaugural Thought Leader Series event. Brandon is a strategic learning and development executive and best-selling author.

In his latest book, L&D's Playbook for the Digital Age, Brandon makes the case that it's time to reorient L&D, take a more proactive role in enabling the workforce, and create a new framework for developing skills and capabilities. For L&D, a playbook can help build alignment across the team and with stakeholders by being flexible as business needs change.