5 Ways Technology is Changing the Role of the Chief Learning Officer

Technology is Changing the Role of the Chief Learning Officer

5 Ways Technology is Changing the Role of the Chief Learning Officer

Last week I attended the ASTD TechKnowledge  conference in Las Vegas as part of an Enterprise Ireland delegation of Irish Training companies. More than 1,500 learning and development professionals from around the world gathered in Caesars Palace to share their ideas and discuss the latest technology trends. My big takeaway is that technology is changing the role of the Chief Learning Officer (CLO). Here’s why:


Tamar Elkeles of Qualcomm told us that 51% of us now use 3 or more devices at work and 56% of us BOOD (Bring Our Own Devices). She says that CLOs need to put learning content in mobile apps, launch fast, learn later, use all platforms and give  employees what they need to do their jobs (e.g. meeting room locations on a mobile app).

According to Dr Art Kohn 70% of what we learn in traditional training events is forgotten in less than 24 hours. What we do after training to boost and reinforce learning is more important than what we do during training. The use of social media, polls, videos etc. sent to learner’s mobile devices will enhance the application of learning and recall 10 fold. Rather than focusing their resources on the design and delivery of training, CLOs need to focus their efforts on post training application.

On the exhibition floor Katherine Defensor of Train by Cell told me that they are designing mobile blended learning modules of 5 minutes duration using social media. Amy Jo Martin of Digital Royalty says that 95% of public conversations around TV are  happening on Twitter in real-time. Bob Osmond of IBM says that today’s generation that want to help and be helped in their jobs trust social media rather than traditional training events. CLOs need to wise up to social media.

Yoku Okubo of Fujitsu used a number of case studies to demonstrate the value of learning by combining perspective with existing content. CLOs should move towards facilitating curation learning rather than generating content. Content is free on the internet, the role of the CLO is to facilitate the acquisition of learning through technology rather than re-inventing the wheel.

CLOs haven’t yet mastered the art of demonstrating ROI. We focus most of our evaluation efforts on training metrics but  performance can’t be achieved by training alone so training alone should not be the object of evaluation. The move towards Tin Can APIs will help to capture metrics on the learner’s experience and the application of learning.

Richard McCarthy

Richard joined OMT in 1998 and is head of Consultancy Services following a 14 year international career in project management, financial control and various management development roles. Richard specialises in working with Senior and Middle Management, focusing on critical Organisational Development Initiatives such as Strategy Development & Implementation, Change Management, and the roll-out of extensive Management & Leadership Development Programmes and One to One Executive Coaching. His previous work across Europe and Africa has helped him understand the impact of organisational culture, and change on managers’ ability to deliver successful results. Richard enjoys the challenge he gets from his work, especially working with clients who face difficult strategic choices or need to develop new skills & behaviours. Richard believes the rewards are satisfying when you know you have made a meaningful contribution.

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