Skip to main content

Embedding Democratized Learning Creation: David Hepworth

L&D are under increased pressure to deliver more with less. Hear how David Hepworth, Learning & Talent – Design and Technology Lead at Aviva, is meeting this challenge with democratized learning creation. Discover how to get alignment across your organization on this learning strategy and find out why being future-focused and respecting people’s time is key to your success.

Embedding democratized learning creation at Aviva

Top tips for successful democratized learning creation 

Don’t have time to listen now? Here are some top tips from David:

  1. Move from blocker to facilitator: Empower learning content creators from across the organization. Put controls in place to enable effective democratized learning creation.
  2. Get aligned on your strategy: A democratic approach to learning requires alignment. Get senior stakeholder buy-in. Establish a framework for prioritizing learning requirements. Ensure your strategy is truly inclusive.
  3. Support the workforce of the future: Focus in on what your organization and employees need now and in the future. Let people access the learning that they feel will protect their careers.
  4. Respect people’s time: Forget traditional learning that’s sole purpose is to tick a box. Provide immersive content in focused, short bursts. Create impact while respecting people’s time.

1. Move from blocker to facilitator

The pressure on L&D output has massively increased over the last few years. There is a constant challenge to do more with less. So, how do you simplify processes and deliver at speed without impacting quality?

For David, the solution is democratized digital learning. Empowering anyone from across the organization to create learning and share content ensures L&D aren’t a blocker to meeting training needs. Putting controls in place maintains standards and allows anyone to produce quality learning. At Aviva, this includes a ‘license to create’ and L&D designed elearning templates. These ensure all learning is effective, on brand and accessible.

“We’ve essentially created a hub and bespoke model in the organization. I have about 300+ content creators globally. These are experts in the organization who know what they’re doing. I’m not an expert in underwriting, I’m not an expert in data science. I’m an expert in learning. So let me work with these colleagues to equip them to make their own learning content.”

2. Get aligned on your strategy

Embedding a strategy for democratizing learning requires organizational alignment. From the CEO and CPO to managers and employees, everyone needs to understand the importance of learning to individuals, teams and your business.

David has three steps to get people on board with creating a democratic culture of learning. Start by getting senior management buy in to learning playing a central role in your organization’s success. Next, establish a framework for prioritizing learning that focuses on business needs. Lastly, make sure your learning strategy is inclusive of all employees and the skills they need to be successful in their careers.

“Our strategy is very simple. We have learning for everybody. We make sure that – regardless of who they are, where they come from, and where they’re going – all our colleagues can engage with content that meets their needs and their development goals.”

3. Support the workforce of the future

The business landscape is constantly shifting. By opening up content creation across your organization, it frees you up to focus on strategy. 

For David, this means identifying the knowledge and skills needed now and in the future. What tasks could become automated? What employee capabilities should your organization focus on? L&D can take the lead, but it’s also vital that employees play their part. After all, if they stand still in the skills market, they will fall behind the pack. That’s why it’s essential people can access the learning that they want and feel will protect their future careers.

We’re exclusively looking at highly human skills. What is it that we are really confident humans can do that robots can’t. For example, subjective reasoning, creativity, analyzing, compare and contrast and drawing conclusion, dealing with complex and infrequent…A workforce of the future might not be reskilling, but taking your skills and moving them to another part of the organization where there’ll be of value.”

4. Respect people’s time

Even with the right content to meet your organization’s needs, there are still barriers to effective learning and development. 

When David talks to his learners, their number one challenge is having enough time. And this isn’t surprising when previously people faced six hours of compliance modules on their learning platform. Aviva have transformed their approach. By providing immersive, personalized learning content in focused bursts, they create impact while respecting people’s time.

“Nano learning concentrates learning into focussed bursts, short periods of time. It drives action, opportunity to practice and creates a series. There’s a more-ish effect. So, I’ve had a little taste and I want a bit more. I can fall into the rabbit hole, or I can grab what I’ve got and move on.”

A quick recap

At Aviva, they know the power of an inclusive learning strategy. Using a democratic learning model brings this to life across the organization. David has four strategies to enable democratized learning. 

  • Move from blocker to facilitator who empowers content creators from across your organization.
  • Create alignment on your learning strategy throughout your organization.
  • Focus in on what your organization and employees need now and in the future.
  • Respect people’s time with relevant content in focused, short bursts.

Want to find out more? Check out the full podcast.

About David

After around 20 years’ experience in various L&D roles, David became Design & Technology Lead at Aviva in 2018. He oversees a team delivering outstanding learning experiences via digital technology across all Aviva’s global markets.

You can find out more and get connected with David on Linkedin.

Join the conversation!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our podcast, so feel free to get in touch on Twitter @Elucidat with any questions or queries. You can also email Kirstie, our podcast host, at As always, don’t forget to subscribe to Learning at Large in your favorite podcast app and leave us a 5-star rating if you enjoyed it.