One size doesn’t have to fit all when it comes to learning at scale. Hear how Brandon Carson, Vice President, Learning and Leadership Partner, has been personalizing learning for 2 million people at Walmart. Find out why it’s important not to be intimidated by scale. Discover how you can take an adaptive approach to give your employees what they really need. Explore why building trust through putting your people first leads to a positive impact.
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Top tips for personalizing learning at large
Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from Brandon:
- Don’t be intimidated by scale: Your organization’s size shouldn’t lead your thinking. Assess your learning landscape. Identify the key factors that will help you navigate it.
- Take a ‘one size fits one’ approach: Effective learning happens in the moment of need. Give your employees relevant content and you’ll motivate them with immediate results.
- Build trust to see real impact: Produce the L&D that your people need to excel. Build trust so you can access more authentic data and create greater impact.
- Focus on wellbeing by developing careers: Put people at the center of learning and development. See them enjoy their work, progress in their careers and stay with your organization.
Don’t be intimidated by scale
Brandon joined Walmart in 2021. He’s responsible for the learning strategy for 2 million employees across the US. Working remotely with limited opportunities for in-person collaboration added another level of challenge to getting to know such a large organization.
Instead of being intimidated by the scale of this task, he set about assessing his new work landscape. What are the business drivers? How are decisions made? Who are the key partners and stakeholders? And how does culture impact dynamics?
The scale of your organization is just one factor that will impact how you navigate L&D in your business. Brandon believes engaging your own critical thinking is key.
“Most of the companies I’ve worked with in my career, you might call ‘at scale’. But you can’t let scale intimidate you or drive too much of your thinking.”
Take a ‘one size fits one’ approach
Creating effective learning and development at scale is about more than just producing content. Massive learning libraries make it impossible to find the right content at the right time. And sitting through hours of elearning outside of the work context feels like a distraction.
That’s why Brandon champions personalized learning pathways. Adaptive learning provides employees with relevant content in the moment of need. Helping people learn while they’re working gives context and motivates them with immediate customer results.
“Think of it as the reverse of scale. Build ‘one size fits one’. That’s our opportunity now we have the technology available… We need much more intentional design and smarter systems. We need more intelligent learning systems that adapt to us, are context sensitive, and that have guidance.”
Build trust to see real impact
From your team through to every learner, trust and transparency are essential for successful learning and development.
Brandon believes taking an adaptive learning approach that really works for your employees is the start. By helping them achieve the best in their career, you build trust. This trust means you’ll be able to access more authentic information about your workplace.
This data is critical to finding out the capabilities people need to succeed in their roles. It means your adaptive learning can really meet your employees’ needs – now and in the future.
“L&D and HR should be leading the way in creating trusted people systems that become the backbone of the organization… Trust is the oxygen of the enterprise. Data is the blood. They work together. And they’re both essential. Especially as we redefine our practice.
Focus on wellbeing by developing careers
People-centered learning isn’t just good for business. It puts the wellbeing of employees at the heart of L&D.
Brandon is passionate about creating a positive impact in people’s lives. Truly relevant L&D values employees’ time. It provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. And this enables them to enjoy their work and progress in their careers.
“Build a system of trust so that your people feel like their best interests are being applied… [We’re] not only focused on your current state, but your advancement. And we can really help you through the coaching and mentoring that you need to be your best in your career.”
A quick recap
Years of experience in large organizations has led Brandon to champion personalized learning at scale. He has four strategies to put your people at the center of L&D:
- Don’t get intimidated by the size of your organization, focus on understanding it.
- Take a ‘one size fits one’ approach with adaptive learning.
- Build trust to embed your impact in the business.
- Focus on wellbeing by helping people develop their talent and build their career.
Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.
With 25 years’ experience in L&D, Brandon has worked at some of the world’s largest organizations, including Microsoft, Apple, Home Depot and Delta. As Vice President, Leadership and Learning at Walmart, he helps the whole US workforce build capability.
You can find out more and get connected with Brandon on Linkedin.
On Brandon’s reading lists
Find out what reading informs Brandon’s approach to L&D.
Exploring the future of learning, this blog provides Brandon with lots of insights on evidence-based learning practice.
Brandon worked with Laetitia on his own writing. He recommends her work for the feminist perspective on the new world of work.
Looking for more reading tips? Check out our book blog.
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