Article: Learning at the speed of business: A Udemy Case Study

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Learning at the speed of business: A Udemy Case Study

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In an enriching session at TechHR Singapore, Shelley Osborne, Head of Learning & Development at Udemy shared lessons and strategies learnt from their success in L&D for Udemy employees.
Learning at the speed of business: A Udemy Case Study

In today’s rapidly changing world, with multigenerational workforces and the shrinking shelf life of skills, organizations are facing pressure to invest in upskilling and reskilling their employees like never before. It thus becomes imperative for organizations to build a learning culture that can equip employees at the speed of business and help them to extract the benefits of tools that put employees’ learning at the forefront.

It is in this direction that Shelley Osborne, Head of Learning & Development at Udemy shared lessons and strategies learnt from their success in L&D for Udemy employees, in a session at TechHR Singapore. The session highlighted how the world’s leading L&D organization used highly effective strategies to help drive up employee participation for their internal L&D programs. 

Here are some of the strategies shared by Shelley in the session.

Need for speed

Shelley began by pointing out that every single day, new technologies are emerging and employees need to learn quickly for their projects in the short term or for their career overall in the longer term. For example, a marketer who needs to learn technologies, wouldn’t normally even think of as a marketing tool like Snapchat

Not a captive audience

Today’s corporate audience is not a captive audience. There are many demands on their time and they have cutting edge technology and resources literally at their fingertips via their smart devices. Therefore, using technology to enable the best in class learning experiences, giving them ample choice in learning options and ensuring that learning is innovative, short and captivating is critical to keeping them engaged.

Personal & professional growth vs Attrition

Udemy conducted an in-depth survey within the organization and discovered that 80% of employees say learning new skills make them feel they feel more engaged. 50% of the employees said they would leave a job that didn’t have significant learning opportunities.

In this direction, Shelley shared some of Udemy’s most successful L&D strategies:

• DEAL Hours: They launched a program called Drop Everything And Learn, where every employee across rank and file, from C-suite executives to new hires get 1 hour every month to learn.

• Learning Fairs: Udemy has Learning Fairs twice a year for all their employees where the entire company stops for a whole day to bring in external trainers to deliver interesting learning modules. They also encourage their own employees to deliver training on fascinating subjects at these fairs.

• Building a FOMO mindset around Learning: By clever marketing campaigns to promote their learning programs, using celebrity endorsements to evangelize and sharing statistics that indicate there are only a few spots left in a learning program or that it’s exclusive or short-lived, they create a buzz and make employees feel they will miss out if they don’t attend trainings.

• Gamification: Udemy successfully used contests to tap into the competitive nature of employees. They tracked and published data around which individual or team finished the most number of trainings etc. to successfully drive up participation. One caveat is to ensure that social learners or those who are not hyper-competitive do not get overwhelmed by those employees who are more competitive by nature. The company calls this the Socialites vs Killers syndrome.

• Using Augmented Reality: The L&D team at Udemy successfully used AR for Pedagogy rather than Novelty. They developed an AR game called Udemy Go fashioned after Pokemon Go. The game was designed to be used for onboarding new employees. It was learning outcomes focused- to engage new employees in interesting ways while also helping them learn about Udemy. This resulted in tremendous results with a score of 4.6/5 for the increase in knowledge of Udemy employees after the game.

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Topics: Learning & Development, #TechHR 2019

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