3 Forces That Are Changing Everything We Know About Corporate Learning

Fred Isbell

Recently I had the pleasure of hosting the first of our Service & Support Thought Leadership Webcasts: Simplifying the Future of Learning. I joined a panel of subject matter experts and thought leaders to discuss and answer some common questions about the future of learning. The panel included:

  • Jodie Stahly Payette, global alliance leader at Deloitte Consulting LLPLearning WC-1
  • Kerry Brown, vice president of user adoption for SAP
  • Jan Meyer, global head of learning strategy, business development and delivery channels for SAP

Throughout our discussion, three interesting thoughts and conclusions emerged:

1. The generational aspect of the future of work is fascinating.

As a late “baby boomer,” I am part of the “grey wave” that is giving way to younger Gen Xers and millennials. Although I have no plans to retire anytime soon and intend to actively write and teach for many years to come (while playing and coaching hockey, of course!),  my generation is giving way to new workers. Millennials have a very different view of the world. For them, e-learning and use of the cloud are much more common than for my generation that grew up on a diet mainly of classroom learning.

When I do retire, millennials will be 75% of the workforce. As a result, I have been preparing for this moment with a bit of “reverse mentoring” with my millennial colleagues. So far the results are quite promising – sweet!

2. Consumerization of IT is distinctly parallel with learning and education.

Thanks to Amazon, Facebook, Google, and others, people expect the same simple work computing experience as in their personal lives. After debating how this trend is impacting corporate learning and talent development, it became very clear learning management solutions must pull this off to be successful.

Think about it: We can order a new book from anywhere – made possible by enterprise mobility, ubiquitous connectivity, and the networked businesses of the digital economy. The same is the case for the future of learning. Learning is now delivered directly to the student, wherever they are.

3. The mindset of a continuous learner is the secret ingredient for the future of learning.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, I am always looking for one or two major “aha” moments or key takeaways from any event, presentation, or session. The concept of being a continuous learner was one of those “aha” moments for me. Fortunately, I drank that Kool-Aid long ago.

Whenever I speak to young MBAs and university students, I stress this notion as a key part of being successful in a fast-changing world. When asked how much of my marketing MBA at the Duke/Fuqua school of business I use, I say “the 4 P’s” and the basics of Phillip Kotler’s marketing textbook that’s now in its 14th edition. (As an MBA student, I believe the book was in its 2nd!) Everything else I have learned through my dedication to continuous learning – some online, others from colleagues, and much from on the job training.

As Albert Einstein once said, “An education is what’s left when the facts are forgotten.” However, I do have one amendment to that quote: Combining that know-how with being a continuous learner is the secret sauce for business success.
Duke Disrupts October 2014-2
The old adage “if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there” has never been truer. The majority of our audience attending the Webcast indicated that they either have a plan underway or are in the process of planning for their organization’s future of learning. From my view, this is very promising.

I recommend you take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to watch the on-demand replay of the Webcast. And be sure to visit SAP Education for more information on e-learning, learning in the cloud, and more.

Fred Isbell is the senior marketing director and head of thought leadership Service & Support Marketing at SAP.

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About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell worked at SAP for nearly 19 years in senior roles in SAP Marketing. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing spanning nearly 30 years. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.