Wake UP CLO’s – Change Now

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After attending numerous shows and hearing from numerous CLOs, regardless of the vertical, I repeatedly see and hear the same thing in regards to online learning (let alone immersive learning).


Traditional learning is still very effective.   We only provide compliance training to our employees.  Blended means F2F and e-learning.   We have to add e-learning, but its for our compliance training.  New employee training works best in person. 

Those who have embraced e-learning, with embrace having an asterik involve, seem to buy into fear factor of age when it comes to purchasing their new learning tech like an LMS.

  • Live and Die by the Big Dogs – Cornerstone, SumTotal, Saba and SuccessFactors
  • They buy those folks not because it may be the best for their needs, but because they are “established” and “well-known”
  • Sure your system might be loved by the training dept, but the CLO thinks the system in question isn’t old enough, so let’s go “established”
  • The fear of non-traditional, which in this case applies, is constant.

Step outside of the box?  Let’s Wait.

As a CLO if you are in any of the above boxes, I would say I feel for you. 

But I don’t.

What I will feel is for you to wake up and enter the 21st century where your employees are for the most part in the non-traditional mindset (yes even folks above 30), and the same way of thinking and specifically learning isn’t aligning to your perspective.

Blended?  Dump ILT and paper.  Switch to e-learning and immersive learning (VR/AR/MR). With online learning you change the first piece of the pie – the biggest piece from an “LMS” where you house courses, content – and in many CLO minds, for compliance training only (NEVER) to

Learning Hub

Yes, your LMS is a learning hub.  And with this hub each section within it (functionality with some capabilities) is a spoke on that hub.  Each spoke can stand on its own, but multi-connection and thus multi-capability is far better.


  • Social –  P2P is arriving on your shores.  Embrace it.  How many of your employees are communicating with others via a messaging app, sending files, pics, etc. to one another?  It is in essence P2P.  And you can’t block it.  Stop it at workplace sure. Outside, nope.
  • Learning  – Courses, content, aggregators of assets/resources and more.  All for the purposes of learning and engagement.  Collabortion isn’t for everyone, after all plenty of folks like to work independent and perform better than being in a group.  It doesn’t change by going online.  What does change is engaging and interactive.  It stinks F2F, online – another world entirely.  
  • Content/Courses – Yes it is a key – a core if you will and it is essential.  Build it, buy it, or grab it (if free) and place within.  Can be a central point, and often it, or be tied into any spoke out in your learning hub.  Who says that the learner has to pick to select or buy the content in a course library only?  Why not enable the learner to pick courses in a social environment?  Assign points for just picking courses – gamified.
  • Ask and Expert/Coaching/Mentoring – Hot new item is the ability for the learner to record themselves via a web cam or mobile device, upload and then the “coach” can review the video in the system and provide comments.  Learner than reads comments and responds.    Can I cross that into other spokes? Why not.
  • Curation –  Content today. VR experiences tomorrow (okay by 2020).
  • Webinars –  Web conferencing.  Webinars to view in real time.  Webinars recorded for later viewing.  Why can’t a recorded webinar become curated or a piece of content in a catalog or whatever?
  • Deep Learning –  Recommended based on the algorithim, add more variables, more accurate responses and selections.   
  • Video –  A couple of vendors are adding video editing capability.  Expect others to follow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if video editing comes available for the learner.
  • Assessement tool, pre-post assessements, video assessments, standalone or tied in
  • LRS
  • Bolt-on – Popular ones are Pathgather, Grovo and Degreed.  As Grovo noted to me, most people already have an LMS and want an additional layer (they referred to it as something else, but the semantics aside it is one and the same) to their system. 

Layer, bolt-on, however you choose to spin it vernacular wise, it is an additional spoke to your whole system.  

The Hub

Think the curtain and what exists behind it is not an old geezer wizard, rather the brain.  It is the analytics.  The administration of the whole entity.  A great training or L&D area knows how to maximize it to its full potential.   Additional functionality such as notifications, e-mail (now), SMS (tomorrow, although there are vendors already offering it) exist within


And the point here is part of the wake-up.  A CLO sees an LMS as an LMS never harnassing it to its full possibilities because of a variety of factors (one or all play)

  1. Company culture doesn’t allow the employees to really utilize all the capabilities – “We are a bank. Are employees should not have fun while learning”
  2. Company blocks social and other similar at company location.     The problem to that philosophy? Research shows that the majority of employees access an LMS outside of the workplace, which uh, means they can use that social and likely do on their own time. 

It’s like saying, “we have blocked the asteroid from coming to earth, by using this advanced gamma ray.”  Only to learn afterward that the gamma ray only works with sunlight and due to climate change, the last time it was sunny was 2035.

   3.  Compliance training is the only form of training provided by the company.   I have heard this from a lot of companies, regardless of employee size.  And you wonder why people never go back into the system…

   4.   We launch and move on.  You read about this.  You attended a show or maybe read a couple of articles.  You bought what you thought was the best, because it was established and one of two or both happened:

  • Fanfare for it being launched.  You keep it going.  Add your courses, but never fully bought into it, let alone embraced it.  It is like buying a house in a well established neighborhood, keeping it updated, but living there just because it is the place to live, not because you truly love it.   Passion has to always play a role with online learning. 
  • It didn’t deliver.  Maybe your game plan was all wrong.  Maybe the system promised one thing and did something else.  Maybe you should have listened to the folks in your training or L&D departments who you tasked with finding the best system.  Maybe it was a combination of things.   Who knows.  Actually, one person knows for sure, you.

And yes, maybe you went out of the box purchased a lesser known vendor’s platform and it failed for X or Y because they promised this and it didn’t do that, OR the product just stinks. 

And yes, bad does happen, whether it is established or not.  But focusing only on “established” which uh, doesn’t mean much in the SaaS world, isn’t the best move.

Funny but Sad Story

A couple of years back, I spoke with a person who was the CLO for a company in the southeast of the United States.  He attended the same show I was at to learn more about online learning.  After all of it, he said he wasn’t going to get an LMS or use online learning because what they are doing now works, and so why change it, if you don’t have to.  

Nothing would change his mind.  Zip.  I should add that he kept all his training notes, ILT sessions, training records, etc.in file folders in a file cabinet.

A file cabinet.  I know still today of CLOs who follow this person’s mantra to a T.   Right up to the file cabinet.  I also know CLOs who have jumped into the online learning world but deep down wish the ILT and more traditional way of learning would be prevelant and not where it is.

Immersive is coming


For some VR is the “I want it now” of Veruca Salt.  Which is great, uh sans the Salt.   However, how are you going to track it?  Right now you can’t, at least LMS wise, although some say you can (unable to verify that as being accurate, since viewing is one thing, analytical data is another).

Thus, the approach I would go is to use VR in replace of your ILT.   Have a 3rd party build VR content/courses for you and use the technology for its potential.  Want to be ahead of the curve?  Go Mixed Reality.  

The cool thing on the VR, AR house is that your employee’s smartphone solves half of the problem from how to view it.  For AR it solves it 100%.  For VR, a smartphone VR headset is the other part.  You are not stuck to going Oculur Rift or Vive (better choice).  A Daydream from Google runs around $79.  I’ve seen other VR smartphone headsets as low as $10.  Thus excluding the cost of the content, the technology piece is really inexpensive.

Bottom Line

CLOs this is your wake up call, to ditch the traditional mindset and embrace what you deep down know is the future.

For online learning it is already here.

For immersive the journey is just beginning.

But the idea of blended with ILT as a fixture is the wrong mindset.

Anything you can do in ILT is achievable with immersive learning, but because of VR/AR/MR, the learner will experience it, rather than read it on a PPT or talk about it in a group.

Any topic presented in ILT can be met with equal if not usually better results with WBT.

Why then, would you prefer the old ways?

Why then, would you see an LMS, not for the marvel it can be, but what you think others are saying it should be.

A place for people to take courses.

Compliance preferable.

E-Learning 24/7

No blog next week as I am on biz travel in Europe.  Blog at the end of July is my debut NexGen LMS Grid. 





One comment

  1. Hi
    ”Research shows that the majority of employees access an LMS outside of the workplace, ”

    Please… can you share a link to research?

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