Developing and Implementing a Learning Vision & Strategy a Case Study, Bob Dean, CLO, Grant Thornton
Bob Dean described the development of "Grant Thornton University" in the past few years of growth at the company and significant change in the economy. Many of his themes were quite similar to those described by Cliff Purington. His group was asked to develop e-Learning for an organization whose training consisted primarily of bringing people into classrooms. Given the nature of the accounting / auditing world, Dean was also confronted with the need to bring aboard 500 people from Anderson; help the employees get and track their continuing education credits; and handle different accreditation requirements in each state in the U.S.
For Dean and Grant Thornton the basis of continuous learning is foundation, immersion, reinforcement, and community. He is striving to bring these things together in the environment he is creating at the company.
The strategy that Dean implemented at Grant Thornton included familiar-sounding elements:
- Focus on Strategic impact. As with Rockwell Collins, training and development people became strategic advisors. He had to deliver systems to help on-board 500 ex-Anderson employees as quickly as possible. And the Sarbanes-Oxley act created a good opportunity to show off the capabilities of Grant Thornton University in creating and disseminating hot-off-the-presses knowledge to the company's employees.
- Create a continuous learning culture. Help people see that they can transition from classroom and book learning to an environment where more of the on-the-job experience includes continual education. Dean also talked about the need to add a network component to the learning experience, and the technology they used included expertise locators for just this purpose.
- Leverage multiple delivery channels. The live classroom learning still makes sense, particularly for continuing education. But they have also made sure that classrooms and webcasts can be easily recorded and repurposed for use in additional learning opportunities. Even materials that start out with in a web-based course might end up in a live session or in a booklet in an on-site training room.
- Create compelling content. As with Purington's discussion, while the specific technology doesn't matter, people expect high quality and video game-style interfaces to electronic content. It has to be able to grab attention, improve comprehension and retention, and spawn action.
- Show the value. This is an area where Dean admitted to having some difficulty. During Purington's talk, he suggested that the best value was the anecdotes from the business leaders. At some point, the CEO stopped Purington in the middle of a justification because "he had all the justification he needed from the other unit leaders."