At Accenture, the key to social learning is learning through collaboration with colleagues, and it is the act of connecting people in conversations that leads to learning. These discussions are typically driven by storytelling and problem solving — personal stories of workplace challenges and new ways people have found to solve them. These types of conversations have always had a place in business, whether they happen during meals, travel to client sites or in the office. Today’s technology, however, helps us extend the conversations around the world.” — Rahul Varma, chief learning officer, Accenture

Some of you might have already read Thomas Jenewein‘s first blog titled Social Learning – Innovations for the Future Workplace on this year’s Professonal Learning Executive Forum, which brought together thought leaders and business drivers in corporate learning to discuss learning innovation and aspects of social learning.

I’m a Manager at Accenture’s Training Competency Center in ASG (Austria/Switzerland/Germany), and just like Thomas I too had the pleasure to actively participate in this year’s Executive Forum at the Grandhotel Petersberg near Bonn.

I’d like to provide a summary of the motivational speech Accenture’s Chief Learning Officer Rahul Varma gave during the one day conference.

Rahul used our company as an example to describe why international employers, in particular, must place an ever greater emphasis on digital communication and learning media.

Rahul explained that learning has always been a key driver in Accenture’s growth story. Our mission remains the same:  to build market relevant skills, and attract and retain the best talent globally.

But major pressures are making our current approaches difficult to sustain. Training costs cannot continue to scale as we continue to grow the size of our global workforce. Our people’s learning time is at a premium. Our local capabilities and bandwidth are inadequate. And our competitors are threatening to match our promise for learning.

To meet these challenges, we have been revolutionizing learning at Accenture. What will learning look like the Accenture way?

Well, as always we’re committed to giving our people time away to learn, so they can focus and grow. They’ll still have the major regional experiences: meetings of the mind on an international scale. Major training hubs in the US, India, Europe, and Asia will continue to play an important role to

  • build and preserve our global culture
  • develop global leaders

But there’ll also be more collaborative local learning experiences that bring the best of the regional experience closer to home:  local, but globally interconnected, using a network of connected classrooms to

  • Connect experts with learners everywhere
  • Facilitate global networking
  • Reduce travel

And there’ll be more virtual training, highly interactive and delivered anywhere, and with greater access to world class content and a culture that supports development. It will now be easier than ever to be learning all the time. There’ll be easier access to the best on demand content, a rich pool of internal and external online resources to

  • Allow learners to learn on the go whenever and wherever they like
  • Build specialized skills with less time away from work
  • Reinforce our global culture

And there’ll also be more opportunities to learn on the job. Accenture’s learners will gain knowledge and support through apprenticeship learning, coaching, and collaborative learning.Time away to learn and learning all the time – two ways Accenture’s staff learns through a rich variety of experiences.Social Learning is a powerful way to enable our people to be “learning all the time”

ACN_social_learning_strategy.jpg

We connect people to information and people – mobilizing the power of ‘One Global Network’.

What does this achieve?

  • Improve time to competency and development of skills
  • Create opportunities for innovation thru networking
  • Sell more effectively
  • Educate and enable sales workforce
  • Lower delivery risk and increase delivery efficiencies

Rahul closed his speech by providing a peak at what we at Accenture see as being key trends for the future of Social Learning:

  • Social Learning Embedded Everywhere
  • Learning Chains
  • Boundaries blur between Internal / External Content
  • Democratization of Learning / Content – learners can rate their learning experiences and provide helpful recommendations to peers on where to go for the most relevant and effective learning solution

Well, I guess you can tell that I was really enthused by the way our CLO explained Accenture’s (social) learning strategy to this external audience of high ranking corporate learning experts and decision makers. You can find a downloadable version of the full deck used by Rahul at the PLE Executive Forum site here. Just scroll to the bottom after clicking “More” under Rahul’s picture.

Let me know what you make of Rahul’s motivational speech! – I look forward to your opinions.

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