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Author's profile photo Thomas Jenewein

Recap: Professional Learning Executive Forum 2015 on Academies & Transforming the Learning Function

On the 14th of September we had the Professional Learning Executive Forum in Bonn, Germany. It was organized by SAP Education, Accenture Strategy & the HRM Institute and took place in the nice Kameah Grand Hotel. This years agenda topic was “Functional Academies and transformation of the learning function”.

We were happy that SAP Mentor Martin Gillet joined and did some live tweeting (see Hashtag #LEF15), shoot photos and of course gave  wise remarks & inputs. As another new element we had Stefan Behrendt from SAP & Sandra Schulze with graphical recording of the discussions & presentations. This makes it easier for me so I can paste their great pictures, instead of writing a long essay. Like last year the event was moderated by learning veteran Norbert Büning from Cisco.

Keynote & Fishbowl

It all started with the keynote from Michael Frey, Head of Commercial Excellence at Evonik. He described the set-up of Evoniks Marketing & Sales Academy and shared details on the program of the school of marketing, their learning framework which includes also jobaids, projects, self-learning or social media. He also highlighted that the sales functions needs another program design – as sales employees prefer more interactive formats due to their personality. More details can be found in his slides or below on the graphical recording.


Afterwards there was an interactive fishbowl discussion. We talked a lot about the changing role of HR to become more a moderator of decentral academies. Depending on the company culture it can be a more governed or federated approach. However one thing is clear: functional know-how resides in the functions of every company – and in times of expert careers also learning & development needs to reside. See a further summary in this pic.



Education Hacking vs. Corporate Learning ?
Peter Palme, Change Manager, Carlsberg – SAP Certified Application Associate – Cloud HCM shared his insights in Education Hacking. Education hacking stands for an intelligent, non-traditional and faster way of learning – using new tools and open available content. He explained how he e.g. learned to read a chinese book after 32 hours, or a chinese newspaper after 7 months just with non-traditional approaches like using an App like Memrise. Or how he used open education ressources like openSAP or the SAP Learning Hub to prepare for his Cloud HCM Certification. Of course this disrupts corporate learning – and jobs in this functions need to extend from trainer & consultant to coach, curator or community manager.

Companies like adidas or SAP already show how the learning & development function can support such new approached. See here Peters presentation on slideshare, a blogpost by him on LinkedIn (What Corporate Learning & Development can learn from Education Hackers and Employees?). Furthermore you may check out this short videointerview by Peter (or long version) or the recorded picture.


“Academy 4.0”- Education of craftsmen in times of digital Transformation :

Dr. Stefan Hoffmann, who leads the academy of the Viessmann Group held that session with Steffen Peter from the Vissmann Group Academy. The digital transformation does also impact craftsmanship and how craftsmen and blue collar workers are learning. Learning Methods, contents and how customers are approached need to changed. It was discussed how this can look like for heating systems: from Apps for a more information retrieval towards quiz-aps for motivating the acquiring of new knowledge & skills. We saw well known challenges like how to get to a situation that self-learning is pulled, that also the individual learners are motivated to use new ways of learning. Also here we see that new approaches can be beneficial. Like using design thinking methods to better involve the targetgroup when designing learning programs. Or that new tools (like SAPs Workforce Performance Builder) can help to make learning more available on-demand and in context. Please find here the slides from Vissmann Academy and below the graphic.


Functional Academies that Endure: Key Principles for Success in a Digital Age

Andy Green, Accenture Strategy, EALA Sales Lead Accenture Academies shared his insights into how academies can be established and maintained successful. Of course this depends on factors like culture, company structure & size just to name a few. See more insights in the graphical summary.


Transforming Functional Learning Programs: Strategic Building Blocks for Sustainable Corporate Academies

Daniela Wuttke, Accenture Consulting, Talent & Organization Manager was the only world-café I was not able to attend. However the picture speaks for itself.


In the following days there was the “Zukunft Personal” – Europes largest HR fair. We had some interesting presentations, which I also would like to share here

TLDR (Too long didn’t read)

Marek Büttel from SAP Education summed it up quiet well: How can we create a new learning culture in times of digital transformation? The answer lies in an extension of formal learning by learning which happens social, self-directed or on-demand. Learning and education experts need to drive this transformation – otherwise they will be disrupted. While technical tools are important enablers it is key to create an environment where learners are motivated to learn.

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