- Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning (HBP) announced a new partnership with Degreed, an education technology company, and introduced the next iteration of its principal corporate learning platform, Harvard ManageMentor Spark, March 14. The updated platform prioritizes "building an organizational network around learning," the companies said in a webcast to announce the partnership.
- With Spark, learners can access pre-made courses around subjects like "design thinking"; search for articles, case studies and videos by topic, time duration and content type; set goals for completing them; and create groups to share content and learn with colleagues. Employers can customize courses by adding their own organization-specific content, and will also gain access to Harvard Business School and Harvard Business Review content through Spark, according to the webcast.
- "We're constantly exploring partnerships that amplify our ability to help people connect their skill-sets to learning opportunities," said Chris McCarthy, CEO of Degreed, in a press release. "Now, through this first-of-its-kind partnership, we're combining our best-in-class learning platform with their premier learning content."
L&D partnerships between employers and universities have reinforced of late that — no matter the business goal behind upskilling — the employer's approach needs to be learner-centric to be successful. HBP's tech partnership with Degreed is no exception. To help workers master new knowledge, employers have turned to platforms that gamify learning and have considered how those platforms reflect the consumer tech talent use in their personal lives. Degreed, also, has been one learning platform that has received serious corporate attention from companies such as Boeing and LinkedIn.
HR has more to grapple with, though, than getting learner buy-in or making sure they complete coursework. While most workers are eager to upskill, particularly if it allows them to move up or earn more, employers need to consider how the L&D technology they invest in can scale and alleviate the pressure of digital transformation. Any employee can complete assigned coursework if given the time, but if they retain that knowledge, they may be better able to use their new skills to help employers innovate.
"We are coming to a point where AI, data and automation will become table stakes in business, and success will be determined by how well talent is driving disruption and execution," Ian Fanton, senior vice president and head of corporate learning at HBP, said in the press release. "[We] understand that highly personalized and contextualized experiences, embedded in the flow of work, are what will ensure organizations have the leaders they need to succeed. We understand how this content requires the most engaging and compelling experience."
Learning tech that meets workers where they are, either by allowing them to self direct their learning, get easy feedback from managers or access information on subjects that interest them, may be important for HR professionals to adopt in the future — for the sake of employee retention and the larger fate of their organizations.