corporate learning

5 Lessons Learned from 16 Years in Leadership Development

5 Lessons Learned from 16 Years in Leadership Development

When I started working in corporate learning and development 16 years ago, a few trends were predicted to be inevitable:

  • The classroom would become obsolete

  • Most lessons would be taught online

  • Professors would be replaced by e-learning

Today, not all of these predictions have come true. We continue to see new technologies, fads, and buzzwords (remember Second Life classrooms?) but most of them fade as quickly as they arrive.

So rather than write about another new trend, I wanted to reflect and take stock of some truths that I have found to withstand the test of time.

Below are five lessons I’ve learned about leadership development – lessons that I think will stay relevant even in learning environments full of VR and AI learning.

Amy Speranza and Jaclyn Courter: How to develop high-potential leaders online

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Abilitie was thrilled to partner with Amy Speranza and Jaclyn Courter to present Abilitie's third Learning Leader Roundtable, our first in New York, NY.

The foundational topic of the event was "How to develop high-potential leaders online," though the conversation spanned all the big issues that learning programs face today! Attending learning leaders represented organizations in the Fortune 100, non-profits, startups, and the global public service sector. 

Before the event, Abilitie surveyed attendees on their online learning practices to set the stage for the conversation. Interesting trends emerged:

  • In the programs represented, the demographic most frequently engaged in hi-po programs was recent graduates and entry-level, followed by managers, and then the executive level
     
  • The three most popular elements to include in hi-po learning programs were action learning group projects, personal assessments, and traditional classroom training.
     
  • The least popular element to leverage for hi-po programs was job rotations.
     
  • Participants surveyed reported that 5 years ago, only about 20% of their training took place online while today closer to 47% of their training takes place online. They predict that in 5 years, about 60% of their hi-po training will take place online.

While there is truly never a "one-size-fits-all" for learning, some patterns emerged as the roundtable participants discussed. A few are outlined below:

  • Just because the platform is virtual doesn't mean the connections can't be real. Online programs are successful only when there is an element of socialization and community.
     
  • In virtual settings, variety truly is the spice of life. Don't expect the same platform or medium to work in every phase of the program. Variety keeps learners engaged. 
     
  • Be ready for the long haul in showing ROI. There are many ways to demonstrate the value of learning, but to demonstrate long-term value, consider intermittent follow-ups and check-ins with participants for years to come.

Once again, a huge thank you to Amy and Jaclyn from GE for partnering with us to present this Learning Leaders Roundtable. There's nothing like engaging with our community to get us excited about the future of learning and development! 

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