Adele Cook Discusses the Post-COVID-19 State of Learning

Adele is a panelist participating in CLN’s L&D Leadership in a Time of Great Change

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The Corporate Learning Network is preparing for its very first virtual conference: L&D Leadership in a Time of Great Change. The event, scheduled July 14 and 15, promises to engage Chief Learning Officers, learning and development leaders, and Chief Strategy Officers in conversation about topics related to thriving in a post-COVID-19 business environment.

Leading up to the event, Corporate Learning Network's Editorial Manager Mason Stevenson will be interviewing speakers about various topics and getting a feel for their perspective on the corporate learning world now and how it will survive in the future.

One such speaker is Adele Cook, Chief Learning Officer for the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

State of Learning

The Post-COVID-19 World

Mason Stevenson

If you were giving a post COVID-19 “State of Learning” address to a room full of learning leaders, how would you describe the current landscape?

Adele Cook

Fluid and exciting: a little like whitewater rafting. We have to be expert boaters, have a range of skills that enable to us navigate all the different situations we encounter, and have speed, speed, speed.

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 strategy all learning leaders must apply? Why?

Adele Cook

Evaluate! If you’re not being asked to do it now, you will be. And even if you won’t be, it’s part of knowing whether you’re delivering on our core promise in L&D: helping to drive excellence within our organizations.

Mason Stevenson

From your perspective, what are the top 3 learning technologies?

Adele Cook

That’s the question I ask other people! But one that I just obtained and that I absolutely love is ThoughtExchange, which is a crowdsourcing app. I am using it in a variety of ways already, including gathering thoughts from my direct and indirect reports about what they want, need and are curious about in our “new normal.” Based upon anecdotal evidence, it is already having an appreciable impact on engagement within my team.

Mason Stevenson

From your perspective, what does the future of learning look like for companies/organizations?

Adele Cook

I believe there will be more and more AI. Many organizations are already doing this, but many are not. AI can solve the problem of trying/failing/learning in a safe space without ratcheting up the need for additional instructor resources…or the problem of doing meaningful practice at all with a distance-learning solution.

Mason Stevenson

How should learning leaders transform now to meet the needs of the future of learning and the future workforce it will support?

Adele Cook

Keep up with the technology and how the leading edge are doing things, even if you’re not ready yet. I’m out there learning from the great organizations of the world so that I know what to get us ready for. That practice has turned out well, as the need to work and deliver remotely has advanced the need for more sophisticated technology immensely.

Mason Stevenson

What’s the role of innovation in corporate learning now and in the future?

Adele Cook

Innovation is survival now. Our entire landscape has changed for the foreseeable future. The inclination (or trap) would be to recreate what we had, just using different techniques and tools. But this is an amazing opportunity for us to reimagine everything we do.

If we start by looking at the value proposition of what we do—or the problems we need to solve–we can innovate to fulfill the values or to solve problems in a different way that isn’t just a recreation in virtual space (or what have you.)

In my opinion, this opportunity is different than many that have presented themselves in the past in that there is insurmountable urgency about every change we’re making. If we don’t innovate, we don’t survive.

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 book every learning professional should read?

Adele Cook

That’s a difficult question! Just about every book on my “to read” list would be useful, but at the moment I am reading The Elegant Pitch, by Mike Figliuolo. It is definitely a must read for anyone who is seeking leadership approval for an idea.

Mason Stevenson

Number 1 corporate learning thought leader every learning professional should follow?

Adele Cook

Josh Bersin is hot right now. I’d also recommend Brene Brown, Beth Weinstein, Christopher Lind, Brandon Carson, Christyl Murray and Suzanne Mulder.

L&D Leadership in a Time of Great Change

Most seasoned learning and development executives have been through economic crises before. They know the agony before the organization adapts and bounces back.

Yet in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, the collapse in business activity is far more severe than in previous recessions. That's the reality.

That’s the focus of our first virtual conference: L&D Leadership in a Time of Great Change. The event itself and accompanying webinars are designed to help learning leaders navigate through uncharted waters. To learn from the best. To avoid expensive trial-and-error learning.

Why attend this virtual conference? You'll hear case studies, winning strategies and evidence-based results from strategic management leaders & learning executives charged with the awesome responsibility of managing L&D in today's new business climate.

The virtual conference is free-to-attend and is open for registration. It begins at 12p Eastern Time on July 14 and 15. To learn more about the event, see the premiere speaking faculty, access pre-event content and to register for the event, click here.

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