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February 16th we had the pleasure to hold a webinar with SAPs Chief Learning Officer – Jenny Dearborn. At SAP she is responsible to align and drive all corporate learning and enablement activity for SAP’s 75,500 employees worldwide. Next to that, it is also worthwhile to mention that the National Diversity Council recognized her as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology in 2014 and 2015. She writes for different magazines like Huffington Post and published a best-selling Book: “Data Driven – How Performance Analytics Delivers Extraordinary Sales Results” .

In the webinar, Jenny shared her opinion on the key global forces that affect the way companies are enabling their workforce. Empowerment is the theme across all these forces – putting the power and control in the hands of learners.

She also shared the elements of a successful learning culture and the new role of managers. Jenny gave insights on what is special to SAPs learning culture and Best Practices.  You can review the recorded Webinar and slides here.

What I found especially interesting were the 20 minutes Q&A at the end of the webinar. Please find here the write-up:

Q: How to best align learning & performance management?

A: Based on role and for the different performance categories you either can make learning available or assign it. It also should be part of the development plans, which are part of the performance management.

Q: Do you have some best practices on transforming the learning culture?

A: At SAP, we removed some of the barriers to learning. E.g. we centralized budgets so courses are not billed internally – which sometimes in the past hindered employees to consume training. In addition, we simplified the learning catalog. Next to that we moved the learning infrastructure to the cloud (to SuccessFactors Learning) where it is easier to access, e.g. also mobile, faster to rollout to new locations, and simpler to update via regular innovations.

Q: Where do you see trends in the next years?

A: In formal learning it is the use of simulations, byte-sized mobile learning – also offline. Moreover, of course we want to further support peer to peer learning, like learning on the job or coaching and mentoring.

Q: Is it a question of financial resources to use learning technology?

A: As a Learning Leader, you need to build a business case for investments in learning and e.g. show the costs of not training the employees. Executives will understand if you demonstrate the business impact of investments in learning. Many resources by the way are also free like some MOOCs (Note: its easy to integrate Open Educational Ressources like MOOCs via the “Open Content Network” in SuccessFactors Learning)


Hope you found the post interesting. If you are interested in further webinars from SAP Education you can find them here (german language mainly).

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