CLW 2021 Speaker Spotlight – Microsoft’s Catherine Curtis

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Speaker Spotlight_Catherine Curtis

Our world has changed so much in a year. COVID-19 has gripped the planet and forced people in all walks of life to re-examine what they are doing daily, to abandon the unneeded and embrace the things that work and matter most in their respective lives. Organizations are having to embrace that strategy as well. It can be felt across the board, especially in the learning organizations.

In many cases, employees are remote and are required to learn in new ways… all while the company is finding its traditional forms of content transmission must adapt to this new reality.

Out of that, the Corporate Learning Network as devised the next iteration of Corporate Learning Week. This year’s event is all virtual and offers sessions on four non-consecutive days:  March 9, 16 & 23. The fourth day features a series of master classes and an interactive group discussion focused on the management principles of Peter F. Drucker.

One of our featured speakers is Catherine Curtis. She’s the Director of Global Technical Learning for Microsoft. Being a leader of one of the world’s most recognizable and influential brands, we asked him to look at the current trends and provide learning leaders like you a path forward into a successful 2021.

Catherine Curtis

Director - Global Technical Learning


Speaker Spotlight

What’s the most significant challenge facing learning leaders right now?

Determining how to keep the learner engaged. When we think about continuous learning, and the state of the world today, being remote offers more challenges to the learning function. It is not about delivering virtually, it is about HOW we keep learners connected focused and engaged.

What’s the solution(s) to that challenge?

That is the million dollar question! Solutions include:

  • Leveraging products like mentimeter or Kahoot to keep engagement ‘in the moment’
  • Providing hooks within the courseware to prompt learners to continue their learner journey
  • Recommendation mechanism to keep the learning happening
  • A learner social space to keep all learners connected.

What’s your approach to leading the learning function?

Lead with the vision, be open to the team’s thoughts on how to implement the vision. Diversity around the table is critical in creating a solution that ALL learners can benefit on.

What new strategies or technologies excite you most in this field?

  • AI, and the incredible opportunity to drive technical learning in continuous way.
  • Also MR (mixed reality) it will potentially provide a super engaging learner experience.
  • From the data perspective, Blockchain to create that end to end view of the learner

What are you most curious about?

When I see something new, I ask:  how did they do that? It does not really matter the topic. Also, integrating technology into remote presentations/learning sessions.

Corporate Learning Week 2021

During Corporate Learning Week 2021, discover the specific leadership/management content and digital disruption tools/strategies now required to prepare organizational leaders for thriving & surviving in today's turbulent business environment.


Catherine Curtis
Director Global Technical Learning