Learning In Practice 2014: Global Learning Division 2 Winners

From left: Diane Lujan; Charles VanSickle and Patrick Angel


Diane Lujan

Senior Manager of Talent Management, Western Union

Western Union Co. is among the most recognizable names in communications. From the 19th century era telegraph to sending telegrams to wire money across the country and internationally, the Englewood, Colorado-based financial services and communications company has remained attuned to its clientele’s changing needs.

But reaching a geographically dispersed employee base and training across global boundaries — while aligning training to fit with the company’s broadening corporate culture — created some distinct obstacles. Then, a 2011 employee engagement survey uncovered a problem.

Almost half of Western Union’s workers said they weren’t getting cohesive training or ongoing developmental support. Blame it on far-flung locations or language differences, but the message was clear: To remain a leader in its industry, Western Union needed to quickly revamp its internal training programs.

Diane Lujan chose to focus training on employees’ interpersonal skills and team collaboration. She and her team created common cross-cultural learning systems to account for employees’ perceived lack of awareness of Western Union’s shared value system and customer-focused efforts. Then the company partnered with two consulting firms that provided training in small time increments with task-specific content through e-learning modules.

The program, WU Fundamentals, laid the groundwork for future competency-based learning needs. Learning leaders identified three important theme areas: increased self-awareness, optimized team interaction and expanded client-shared value.

The program launched its pilot phase in 2011 with 552 participants. Several thousand more have since participated.

Western Union is poised for future growth because of the program. The program’s effectiveness has been ranked highly based on Kirkpatrick’s method of evaluation.  



Charles van Sickle

Systems Operations Branch Chief, U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute

The Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department delivers real-time training to information technology systems administrators. That’s all well and good for local employees. For those staff members who work overseas? Not so much.

To provide more training options to students at overseas posts and to address the business challenges brought on by tight federal budgets, Charles Van Sickle implemented an interactive, avatar-based synchronous training environment to teach systems administration courses.That allows students to participate in the class from virtually any location. Many of the overseas students are nationals who manage the department’s IT systems.

The School of Applied Information Technology at the Foreign Service Institute has successfully incorporated AvayaLive Engage platform into its learning delivery suites. Students from 17 different countries including Bulgaria, Cote D’Ivoire, Ecuador, Liberia and Spain have received instruction.

The school is now seen as a vital new addition. 



Patrick Angel

Director of Global Irrigation Learning, Valmont Industries Inc.

It’s hard to believe in this era of online connectivity, but a lot of learning is still a shoulder-to-shoulder knowledge transfer.

Patrick Angel of Valley, Nebraska-based Valmont Industries Inc. realized that a learning management system was crucial as the irrigation supplier’s products grew in complexity and the organization sought a global clientele. Language support was crucial for its far-flung dealerships. Valley University was introduced to address these needs.

To date, nearly 13,000 courses have been completed.