Learning In Practice Awards

The Technology Award

Learning in Practice Awards 2016

For learning executives who have delivered new and unique applications of emerging technology to employee learning and development.


David Birnbaum, Vice President of Learning, Century 21 University co_1116_lip_gold

The newest generation entering the workforce relies heavily on technology and accessibility to learn. To more effectively train new sales associates, Century 21 University — the learning arm for real estate company Century 21 — revamped its teaching style to best fit students’ needs.

lip16_award_metal_co_name__0196_300pxThe university launched two programs in September 2015: Create 21, the university’s tuition-free course to train newly recruited sales associates, and Recruit-2U, a course aimed at franchise managers to assist them in recruiting new sales associates. To avoid the typical downfalls of self-paced, online interactive courses, such as limited engagement with peers and instructors, the company implemented live online video interactions between students and coaches and a “flipped classroom” approach.

The online interaction enables role-playing and instant feedback from other students and the instructor. The flipped classroom, introduced in Recruit-2U, allows students to complete work at their own pace and schedule a follow-up coaching session on their own time. The programs also were accessible across laptops, smartphones and tablets to keep up with students’ demands.

Program feedback has been positive. Managers in the Recruit-2U program increased their recruitment by 17 percent just four months after participation.

—Alice Keefe


co_1116_lip_silverPatricia McNerney, Deputy Director for Political Training in the School of Professional and Area Studies, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State 

Thanks to new technologies, demographics and global paradigm shifts, the world is less predictable and often less familiar each day. This creates challenges for U.S. diplomats. That’s why the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State introduced the Tomorrow Now: American Diplomacy in a World of Rapid Change course, led by Deputy Director Patricia McNerney.

Tomorrow Now was created to help midlevel foreign affairs officials develop skills, attitudes and knowledge that will allow them to adapt and work more effectively in a changing environment. The course emphasizes topics such as crowd-sourcing, the dark net, big data, new technology and innovative policies.

Using a flipped classroom model and a range of technology, students work through real-world problems in class and get feedback from foreign policy experts, preparing them to predict and adapt to our rapidly changing world.

—Alice Keefe


co_1116_lip_bronzePatricia Aquaro, Managing Director Global Risk and Professional Excellence, BNY Mellon 

To replace a virtual instructor-led training course on risk culture, BNY Mellon University launched the EmpowerTheUser simulation. Cutting down on costs and average seat time, ETU provides role-play scenarios based on real-world situations, allowing participants to better understand their daily role in managing risks in the workplace.

—Alice Keefe



co_1116_lip_goldAdri Maisonet-Morales, Vice President, Enterprise Learning and Development, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina 

The health care landscape over the past decade has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. Policy, politics and socioeconomics have all changed. But with change comes the opportunity to adopt new skills and learn quickly.

lip16_award_metal_co_name__0180_300pxThe 21st century workforce wants information to be accessible and immediate, making traditional classroom settings less desirable. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina developed a way to make learning better with BLOOM: Blue Learning Opportunities On-demand Media. BLOOM offers an original, effective and technologically-savvy way for employees to consume educational multimedia content. Primarily a video uploading website, it has the capacity for podcasts, presentations, images and documents.

Officially launched in 2013, BLOOM offers conveniently accessible, topic-driven material similar to TED Talks, delivering information in an immediate, flexible and enjoyable way. The site allows employees to build their skills and stay informed by viewing others’ content, and it gives them a chance to teach their peers by sharing their knowledge and uploading their own content.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield is determined to provide quality content on BLOOM, has invested in professional equipment to film and edit, and even hired skilled personnel. As of May, more than 900 videos have been uploaded and played more than 34,000 times.

— Alice Keefe


co_1116_lip_silverHeather Linn, Manager, Organizational and Talent Development, WellCare 

Federal health care reform has created obstacles for the industry for nearly 10 years now. But the landscape has gotten brighter recently, despite the tight margins and frequent contract renewals companies face.

WellCare, which works exclusively with government-sponsored health care, has taken this opportunity to focus on improving skill and internal development. Led by Heather Linn, manager, organizational and talent development, the company offers a 12-week-long course that not only teaches participants in a traditional way, it encourages peer networking and collaboration. Through participant feedback, WellCare has been able to custom fit the program so it is most beneficial to its specific work culture, featuring debriefings and a general increase in communication.

Outcomes have been significant. Among those who have participated so far, 30 percent have received promotions, and there has been an overall decrease in manager turnover.

—Alice Keefe


co_1116_lip_bronzeBetsey Frank, Director, Staff Development and Technology Training, Sidley Austin LLP

Sidley Austin LLP knows if a company wants to stay competitive, everyone needs to be on the same page. The law firm’s new e-learning program, Learning About Law Firms, helps achieve this goal using interactive technology to educate staff on the firm’s structure and departments, as well as common legal jargon.

—Alice Keefe


Dorothy LaMark, Director of Learning, The Predictive Index co_1116_lip_bronze

After a decade of five-day-long, lackluster, lecture-oriented training seminars, Dorothy LaMark, director of learning at The Predictive Index, created a learning program that is flexible, personalized and has less lecture time. Her new, shorter workshop model increased participant satisfaction and participation by 25 percent.

—Alice Keefe