Chief Learning Officer magazine created Provider Awards to recognize distinguished service providers for their close work with clients to design and implement innovative and effective learning solutions.
The Excellence in Academic Partnerships Award recognizes accredited academic learning providers that have partnered with an organization in the past year to teach several of its employees about a key business issue.
The Excellence in Content Award recognizes providers that have created superior customized and/or off-the-shelf learning content in the past year.
The Excellence in Customer Service Award recognizes providers that have demonstrated a commitment to top-notch implementation, maintenance and support around a client’s learning solution in the past year.
The Excellence in E-Learning Award recognizes providers that have rolled out an innovative and effective new e-learning program or suite for a client in the past year.
The Excellence in LMS Award recognizes providers that have rolled out a robust new learning management system (or equivalent) for a client in the past year.
The Excellence in Simulations and Games Award recognizes providers that have rolled out innovative and effective branching, nonlinear and interactive learning programs for a client in the past year.
The Excellence in Social Networks Award recognizes providers that have rolled out wikis, blogs, communities of practice, social networks and/or any other employee communication and collaboration platforms for a client in the past year.
EXCELLENCE IN SOCIAL NETWORKS
Gold: General Physics
Windows Mobile devices are offered by a range of companies, including AT&T, HP, Sprint and others — and many of the outlets selling these devices are selling competing devices, as well. This presents a unique challenge for Microsoft, since it has found that salespeople well-trained in Windows Mobile are highly influential in customers’ purchasing decisions. But how does Microsoft get these diverse, global professionals to engage in voluntary training when Windows Mobile is just one of many products they offer?
General Physics’ Via Training division helped Microsoft launch the Windows Mobile Global Training Program, which includes a social network among its three education pillars: Windows Mobile Training (WMT), Windows Mobile Experts and Windows Mobile Connection (WMC) Forum.
The WMC Forum engages learners in a peer-to-peer training experience in which discussions focus on topics such as the Windows Mobile operating system, industry news and device accessories. Activity is mostly unrestricted, but administrators oversee the content and periodically insert tickler content to spark discussion.
Web analytics and data mining tools allow Microsoft to monitor traffic, discussion popularity, referrals from the Web and customer issues. It then uses this information to measure progress in terms of engagement, acquisition and satisfaction among forum users.
The WMC portion of Microsoft’s content has proven invaluable, although all three pillars work together to provide a broad training experience. WMC has helped build community among the 1 million worldwide sellers, who often have a high turnover rate. The forum has prompted brand advocacy and a sense of trust. It also has brought to light key support issues that can help both sellers and customers.
So far, 75 percent of the trainee population has registered on the forum, and 10 percent has posted content. This is compared to the industry-standard posting rate of 2 to 5 percent.
U.K.-based Legal & General Group is in the business of making other people money. As a leader in investments — with 280 billion pounds invested worldwide — more than 6 million people across the globe depend on the organization for life insurance, pensions, investments and other insurance plans.
Despite these numbers, Legal & General has found a consistent challenge in ensuring its salespeople obtain the training and certifications necessary for the job. To find a solution, it turned to Saba and its Learning Network solution to manage the training experiences of 10,000-plus sales agents.
The Learning Network is a tool with a catalog of more than 2,000 learning resources. The most significant part of the collaboration with Saba has proven to be the employee-driven move toward Saba Collaboration, on which learners have built communities of practice. To date, more than 70 communities have been established at Legal & General.
The Collaboration resource has allowed wikis, chats and threaded discussions to take place among employees, leading to collaboration on best practices and the mentoring of high potentials, among other activities.
Productivity also has improved. One group previously used a companywide e-mail to prepare and elicit comments prior to sales briefings. Now it uses a community wiki to post content and start discussions, cutting lead time from one week to less than a day.
“The wiki allows dozens of people to contribute on the sales briefings; everyone can see who made specific changes and agree or not agree with them,” said Andy Wooler, HR technology manager at Legal & General.
EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMIC PARTNERSHIPS
Gold: Bellevue University
“You can do it. We can help,” said Bellevue University to The Home Depot, as it was challenged to create a pipeline of associates for 30,000-plus leadership positions nationwide.
The two organizations have worked together to solve the business challenge of making sure Home Depot’s associates are prepared for Home Depot careers. Out of their collaboration, the Professional Retail Management program was born.
The go-ahead for the project came through in February 2008, and exactly one year later, the first cohort of Home Depot associates began its yearlong journey through the program. During the year of preparation, the two partners focused on three important components to ensure the success of the project: content design built collaboratively, cobranded communications to leadership and front-line workers, and measurement.
The program is offered as a bachelor’s degree from Bellevue, and it is entirely completed asynchronously when off the clock, which is especially important for Home Depot’s customer-facing workforce. The first portion of the curriculum focuses on building foundational knowledge, and then it moves on to developing strategic thinking skills. Content covers topics such as factors in retail success and analyzing financial reports. It also includes case studies and real-world examples to ensure authenticity and relevance to daily work.
In order to garner support across the company, Bellevue started with presentations and webinars to company leaders. Once buy-in was earned, senior leadership endorsement was communicated to the front-line workforce by the executives themselves, and a cobranded Web portal allows associates to spend more time exploring the program.
Student associates are able to network during the program with colleagues at stores across the country, creating a sense of community across the company and allowing associates to share different learning and working strategies and apply them on the job.
“The expertly designed courses cover areas that impact [associates] every day, focusing on skills that will make [them] more confident on the job and make a difference in [their] work,” said Teresa Duren, vice president of HR for the Southern division of The Home Depot.
Silver: SMU Cox Executive Education
According to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, January-through-July tourism was down 17 percent over 2008, with the summer months seeing bigger and bigger declines. But this is nothing travel technology company Sabre Holdings didn’t know already.
Recognizing the challenge, Sabre paired up with SMU Cox Executive Education to ramp up the skills of its highest leaders, who will need to be increasingly effective in the face of the economy and the fast-paced nature of the travel and technology business.
The solution to upskill the company’s high potentials was Executive Excellence EVERYday, an executive development program focusing on key aspects of leadership — namely, individual, interpersonal, managerial, organizational and global components. The program uses a number of tools, including assessments, one-on-one coaching, meetings with executive sponsors and an accountability team.
One strength of the program is its diversity: The first iteration of the program took place in a number of locations, including Uruguay, London and Texas. Participants were given opportunities to learn from one another by encouraging ongoing and productive relationships that could nurture the sharing of ideas borne of their rich personal experiences.
“We learned a lot about ourselves and each other, about our business, and about who we are as leaders,” said participant Tom Klein, vice president and group president of the Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airline Solutions. “As a result, we have developed into more effective leaders, executives and people.”
Bronze: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Most readers won’t be shocked to hear that there will be mass retirements in the government sector in the next few years. But 25 California agencies have created their own unique solution to this well-known talent crisis.
As the U.S. economy has deteriorated, all government agencies have faced cuts to training, but many in California decided they had to take action. Twenty-five local agencies decided to come together to provide like training since, individually, they lacked the staff, time and funding to do it alone.
The agencies chose Cal Poly Pomona and the school’s College of the Extended University (CEU) to provide long-term curriculum and training for leadership in the Southern California Local Government Leadership Academy. Past and present city managers serve as instructors, and networking opportunities are built in to the program. There are currently eight academies in place as of September, and the partnership continues despite the California budget crisis and the worldwide recession. Among the academy goals is to expand the program across the U.S.
EXCELLENCE IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
Gold: Vivid Learning Systems
For Vivid Learning Systems, customer service is more than just another part of the business process; it’s a top priority. Vivid Learning Systems team members treat customer service with the same zeal as a physician on call would treat a medical emergency — they are known to work all night long if a client’s needs dictate so.
Vivid’s commitment to customer service was evident in its delivery of a training solution to NStar, a Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility company serving 1.1 million electric and 245,000 gas customers. Like many companies these days, NStar needed a training solution that would streamline operations, reduce costs and make sure the company was meeting corporate safety policy compliance expectations. NStar also needed a flexible solution that would adapt to its needs, rather than the other way around.
Vivid produced an integrated e-learning program that offered standardized training content to all employees and included interactive and engaging content to help employees meet NStar’s compliance expectations. In addition, the solution boosted business performance and helped increase worker productivity by eliminating nonproductive labor hours. Also, NStar now is able to enjoy an integrated reporting system for all training, testing and certification data.
Vivid exceeded NStar’s expectations not only with the solution itself, but also by providing customer service that went beyond phone support. The Vivid team never outsourced any of its work to third-party providers; as a result, service requests were always turned around quickly.
“As the largest electric and gas utility provider in Massachusetts, we needed a training program that delivered our electrical workers the safety information they needed in a dynamic and efficient way,” said George Popovici, senior safety engineer with NStar. “Vivid’s products are ‘self-serve’ and flexible, so our workers can train when they have downtime, which has directly impacted productivity.”
The results of Vivid’s e-learning solution were clear: The overall cost of training delivery decreased by about 65 percent; workers were able to use their downtime more wisely; and training content became standardized for all employees, regardless of geographic location.
Research shows that a content staff directly translates to satisfied customers. Healthy communication is the most important factor in jump-starting that process. That’s exactly what Gundersen Lutheran Health System’s learning and development team had in mind when it implemented AchieveGlobal’s leadership development skills program, “Hardwiring Leadership Skills,” which was designed to improve communications between employees and management.
Employee satisfaction surveys revealed that Gundersen Lutheran needed to focus more on improving employee engagement in four areas: recognition, participation in decision making, teamwork and supervision. These goals complemented the more strategic initiatives of Gundersen Lutheran, a physician-led, not-for-profit health care system: demonstrating quality of service, becoming known as a great place to work and achieving health care cost reduction.
“Hardwiring Leadership Skills” was delivered to Gundersen Lutheran’s leaders in five four-hour sessions:
- Principles and qualities of genuine leadership.
- Developing others.
- Giving recognition.
- Providing constructive feedback.
The program emphasized clear delivery of information and the structuring of challenging conversations. Role-playing opportunities helped participants practice difficult conversations and model their newfound effective behaviors.
According to surveys administered to employees after all leaders had completed AchieveGlobal’s leadership training, there was a significant improvement in the original focus areas. Leaders’ leadership skills grew stronger — as did Gundersen Lutheran’s reputation as a great place to work.
Bronze: General Physics
If someone were to ask Textron University or General Physics staff members about the secrets to their successful alliance, they would likely reference two themes: continuous communication and a relationship dynamic that allows General Physics to function like an extension of Textron’s staff, rather than simply a third-party provider.
General Physics — a training, consulting and engineering provider — handles Textron’s LMS help desk, training administration and event management. General Physics employees do the groundwork during Textron’s on-site training sessions, which means they take care of facility preparations and cleanup, in an approach that allows the university to focus entirely on content. However, rather than staying behind the scenes, General Physics employees are active members of Textron’s project teams and offer regular feedback on how to better the training programs. General Physics team members also share best practices from their other clients.
EXCELLENCE IN SIMULATIONS & GAMES
“Synthesizing the needs of the younger generation with the performance patterns of more experienced workers can create difficult challenges for managers,” reads a Talent Management magazine newsletter article on managing a workforce composed of many generations. Recognizing this fact, Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) embarked on a project to create an educational experience for its corporate learners that addresses this challenge.
With the help of NexLearn, Harvard Business Publishing created a new two-hour self-paced course in which tutorials, games and simulations are used to teach managers about employees’ varying perspectives as well as managers’ own assumptions and perceptions about each generation.
“Leading Across the Ages” is based on the work of subject-matter expert Tammy Erickson, who also serves as an avatar in the course. Modules include “What’s Your Generational IQ?” in which the student role-plays different real-life scenarios as if he or she were a member of various generational groups. This allows the student to explore different generations’ attitudes about workplace topics such as career advancement, development, compensation and communication styles.
Other modules include working on a project with members of multiple generations, conducting interviews with members of other generations and resolving conflict among workers.
After completing Leading Across the Ages, leaders should improve in their communication and collaboration skills, their innovation capabilities, their recruiting and developing skills and their worker engagement numbers. It is also expected that the course will reduce tension among the generations in the workplace as well as sharpen leadership skills overall while improving the leadership pipeline.
In August, HBP awarded NexLearn with its Business Partner of the Year Award, based on several successful projects, including the Leading Across the Ages course. “With careful business planning, NexLearn maintains a constant focus on meeting their customer’s business and technical requirements,” said Peter McAteer, a vice president and general manager at HBP.
Silver: WILL Interactive
Will Interactive took on enormous responsibility when it partnered with the Army to create learning to address the high suicide rate among soldiers. In an effort to allow soldiers to address their emotional war experiences and to learn how to identify the suicide warning signs in themselves and others and fight the stigma around seeking help, Will applied its immersive learning solution.
With help from Lincoln University in Missouri and the Army Research Laboratory, Will made “Beyond the Front,” and since February 2009, every soldier in the U.S. Army has been required to complete the simulation. The training addresses suicide prevention and mental health maintenance, and it helps soldiers practice intervening when they identify risk factors among their peers.
In the immersive video experience, learners play the role of a depressed soldier who experiences a breakup in his or her personal life and loses a friend in combat. Based on the soldier’s decisions throughout the scenario, different outcomes ensue, such as suicide or positive resolution.
Soldiers have given positive feedback on the experience, noting that the training is a step in the right direction toward addressing the record-high suicide rates among today’s service members.
The U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, has praised the simulation as among the best training the military has provided in 36 years.
Bronze: Enspire Learning
Hampton Hotels opened 12 new U.S. hotels in August alone, an impressive number given the world economic state. With such rapid growth, and in order to maximize revenues in a challenging business, Hampton recently worked with Enspire Learning on a simulation to bring its managers up to speed on the hotel market, competitors and industry trends. The training was meant to increase managers’ confidence in making critical decisions, so the simulation addressed challenges related to hotel capacity, computer systems and unexpected adverse events.
In a two-part process, learners first make decisions related to their hotels, and then watch how those decisions influence outcomes. They get information on scenarios through news articles, STAR reports, market summaries and interviews with hotel staff. Feedback is provided throughout in the form of statistics and debriefings.
Comments on the simulation program have been enthusiastic, and users have given it an average score of about 4 out of 5 on user interface, feedback, concepts and strategies.
EXCELLENCE IN LMS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture relies on its LMS, AgLearn, to manage its training and activity across the department. Five years since its inception, AgLearn has advanced thanks to a combination of improved technology, training coordination and the new policies that support its use. In the past year, the improvements accelerated even more as the USDA called upon learning solutions provider Adayana to expand AgLearn’s capabilities in several different respects.
The USDA first contracted with Adayana to add unique customizations and technical features to the system itself, which included new splash and home pages, online training courses and tool kits for administrators, courseware development templates and system support tools.
With more than a dozen agencies, it was often challenging for AgLearn to achieve consistency with its LMS. So, on the marketing communications front, Adayana worked to help those organizations realize the value of AgLearn and increase its use. For example, Adayana hosted webinar sessions; fostered licensing agreements with SkillSoft to make more than 4,000 commercial off-the-shelf courses available through AgLearn; disseminated communication plans across all agencies; and performed other outreach related to promoting AgLearn.
Finally, to cement AgLearn’s value, Adayana helped the USDA create a working capital fund to track training costs and value as well as new policies that support AgLearn’s use. This new system is centered on the proclamation of AgLearn as a “first stop” for all training needs — any organizations seeking outside training materials must first submit online external training requests and ensure their courseware of choice is not already present in the AgLearn system.
Results show that Adayana’s influence has helped increase AgLearn course participation and completion rates and has allowed the USDA to operate with a budget of $13 million less than anticipated. Also, AgLearn is projecting an agency training cost avoidance of almost $23 million for fiscal year 2009 as a result of Adayana’s efforts.
The economic challenges of the past year imparted new realities upon learning and development across all industries, and made “do more with less” the year’s organizational catch phrase. Financial services company LPL Financial was no exception to this new frontier of cutting back: LPL’s learning and development team was tasked with refocusing training on critical strategic initiatives such as retention and office efficiency — with fewer resources and a budget 30 percent less than in 2008.
A learning team of five, led by Andi Campbell, director of education and consulting, knew the solution rested in a blended learning approach “with an online component each and every time,” Campbell said.
LPL was already part of the way there: The company had been using GeoMaestro from GeoLearning since July 2008, and it had just begun training online with GeoConnect, powered by WebEx. So the team decided to centralize this LMS for all training. Elements of the resulting system include:
- Business Essentials certification program: An eight-module, instructor-led and online training program for financial advisors and office staff.
- Advisor Integration Management Program: Available with online group learning opportunities, developed for successful on-boarding of new staff.
- Focused e-learning and monthly topic features: More than 40 e-learning modules for performance improvement.
- Practical Leadership Concept certificate: Leadership development curriculum for financial advisors and staff.
Bronze: Allen Communication Learning Services
Physical therapy professionals never stop learning, and they rely on continuing education to stay licensed. To help them keep current, F.A. Davis Co., a publisher of health care learning materials, set out to create an online collection of continuing education courses for physical therapists. F.A. Davis enlisted the help of online marketing company FulcrumTech to help develop a user-friendly and resource-rich Web site exclusively for physical therapy professionals.
To achieve this, FulcrumTech sought Allen Communication Learning Services to integrate a learning portal into F.A. Davis’ site. The resulting portal, CE Courses, included an array of other elements that F.A. Davis requested, such as an e-commerce feature for purchasing courses, a display of continuing education state requirements on users’ home pages and podcasts of the courses.
The learning portal took less than three months to develop and roll out, and its network membership continues to increase monthly. Since deployment, users have offered positive feedback on the site’s ease of use — dubbing it a convenient way to stay licensed.
EXCELLENCE IN E-LEARNING
Gold: NIIT Cognitive Arts
The word “Diageo” might bring to mind a child’s cartoon friend on “Dora the Explorer,” but instead, envision the characters of Johnnie Walker or Captain Morgan. Diageo is a global alcoholic beverage company — also making the Smirnoff and Bailey’s products — and it recently worked with NIIT Cognitive Arts to transform its training model from instructor-led to e-learning.
Diageo came to NIIT with a number of goals for its 500 annual new hires’ training, including ensuring employees are ready to use information systems (IS) effectively within seven days, implementing consistent training among its locations in 80 different countries, reducing service desk support and communicating the Diageo brand image.
NIIT used its Critical Mistake Analysis to review Diageo’s inner workings and to identify the company’s most common errors in terms of IS. It chose those it concluded would have the biggest business impact and created an e-learning program in the form of an expedition, or treasure hunt, in which the treasure was the new hire’s proficiency in the company’s IS.
Real-life work situations were built in to the content, and a virtual coach provides feedback and clues to the learner. The training uses modalities such as tutorials, demonstrations and interactive exercises. The format was enhanced with graphics and animation, along with a narrative script to make it more interesting for the learner.
Within three months of launching the e-learning, Diageo had already returned its cost of development for the program. Service desk calls decreased by 50 percent from new hires, and the completion rate was 91 percent. New hires themselves endorsed the program, with more than 80 percent saying the module met its objectives and that they would recommend the e-learning format for the training. Diageo found that the program led to new hires being 33 percent more productive overall.
Silver: Learning Tree International
In 2008, when EMC2 eliminated travel budgets for training and eliminated all funds for training outside of its Massachusetts headquarters, the company called upon its 15-year partner in training, Learning Tree International. Believing in the power of instructor-led training (ILT), EMC2 still wished to reach out to its diverse employees around the world, but at the same time it wanted to reduce costs and keep its training quality intact.
EMC2 builds and manages secure information structures, and it offers myriad IT training courses, including Oracle Database, Java, .NET and C#. In order to meet EMC2’s goals for effective worldwide training at reduced cost, Learning Tree worked with the company to create a new classroom technology called AnyWare.
AnyWare gives participants access to real-time ILT from any location in the world. Learners can interact with their instructors as well as with other participants in the classroom and in remote locations; they participate in discussion; and they are able to complete hands-on exercises with the rest of the class. In addition, the instructor is able to see their work back in the classroom and provide feedback.
The new technology has helped EMC2 reach all of its goals for learning post-recession: Costs were reduced and training was made available to the world. A few extra benefits were realized as well. Participant drop out, common to e-learning modules, was mitigated because participants felt like “they were there.” Also, EMC2 realized greater synergy, in that employees from different backgrounds and regions were able to share their knowledge with one another.
Bronze: Allen Interactions
HSBC, headquartered in London and one of the biggest banking institutions in the world, partnered with Allen Interactions in order to prepare for new e-learning experiences after launching a new brand that required employees to develop higher-level customer service skills.
The new brand, dubbed the Global Premier Program, was meant to enhance the bank’s international services, and it required a higher level of proficiency from its workers. HSBC required an e-learning program that was consistent, but customizable across the 86 countries and territories in which it does business, and that was engaging and effective for learners.
In answer to the company’s need, Allen Interactions worked with HSBC to create a Global Premier solution, which came in the form of global e-learning courses deployed across many LMS platforms.
The courses were customizable by country and language and used scenario-based models for instruction. HSBC business-unit leaders have reported success with the new courses, and the company sees the e-learning as a gold standard among its learning initiatives.
EXCELLENCE IN CONTENT
In a perfect working world, project guidelines would not be allowed to change at a moment’s notice, and deadlines never would be an issue. However, that scenario is far from reality, and far from what happened when Cisco Systems Inc. asked Market-Partners — a consulting company focused on increasing sales effectiveness — to create a new sales training program for its entire global sales organization. Originally, the new program, designed to train more than 4,000 sales roles and leaders, was intended to include both instructor-led on-site training and WebEx training.
One month after development began, however, Cisco mandated a new travel reduction, which meant that nearly all training would have to convert to WebEx format. Thus, a redesign was in order. Market-Partners team members were tasked with condensing instructor-led training sessions into WebEx live Web delivery — and they were given less than three months to complete this switch.
This spur-of-the-moment transition process involved selecting more than 25 facilitators who were skilled in live Web delivery and with the appropriate sales backgrounds and language requirements for the English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese and Korean program versions. They had to be trained to deliver programs in four role areas: senior vice president, vice president/organization development, manager and account manager.
The task at hand was no easy one: transitioning the delivery of programs that were meant to be delivered via live sessions without losing sight of business and learning goals. The issue of audience engagement also was something to think about, as facilitators faced losing learners to the distractions that can often surface in e-learning training, such as checking e-mail. Thus, content and delivery had to be in sync.
Close supervision of the program followed after its launch, as weekly meetings ensured deployment success and ironed out any issues.
All of this attention to detail ultimately paid off when participants were polled on the program’s effectiveness: The average overall score was 4.3 out of 5. The program not only gave participants a unique learning experience — Cisco and Market-Partners themselves also earned a new learning benchmark.
Silver: Herrmann International
Herrmann International’s “Whole Brain Thinking” management solutions were well known to IBM even before talks began on updating its Basic Blue New Leader development program.
Given the past success of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) — the assessment tool at the center of Whole Brain Thinking — in helping leaders learn their own preferred thinking styles, IBM again sought Herrmann’s expertise. IBM needed Herrmann to help develop a blended learning program with special emphasis on reaching its global leaders. The alliance also had to make sure this new program saved money and time spent in the classroom. All of this, plus keeping up the existing program’s high success standards, was imperative.
Herrmann and IBM decided to retain Herrmann’s Whole Brain Thinking elements in the new learning program and use it as the framework for a brand-new format. The end result was a five-module simulation titled “The Thinking Accelerator featuring HBDInteractive,” which combines virtual and face-to-face classroom labs with webinars and coaching. The program starts with participants learning about their thinking preferences through the HBDInteractive assessment. Then they enter “Preference Island,” a simulation that details Whole Brain Thinking and its relevance to leadership success. This experience is customized to each participant’s individual HBDI profile.
After these initial ramp-up activities, participants are ready to apply the lessons they learned from the simulations to in-person sessions dealing with real-life business challenges.
Bronze: Harvard Business Publishing
Hormel Foods’ culture of long-term retention means employee development is critical; it’s a fact that many employees devote their entire careers to the company. In that vein, sales team members in the company’s food service division were always bred to develop into management roles. However, until recently, Hormel Foodservice had no formal management and leadership development program in place.
To change that, Hormel Foodservice partnered with Harvard Business Publishing to develop a leadership development program based on Hormel’s core competencies with key business goals in mind.
The program they developed is a blend of self-study and facilitated sessions featuring articles, videos, e-learning modules and online tools. It operates via five chapters: Customer Focus, Team Leadership, Core Management Functions, Think and Act like a Leader and Manage Change — each delivered in three to four months. At the conclusion of each chapter, participants hold meetings in person or virtually and conduct interactive case discussions. One particularly invaluable characteristic of the discussion component is that senior managers act as teachers to the learners, handing down their own experiences through direct interaction.