Exploring the Future of Workforce Training with Expert Adaptive Learning Consultants

Workforce training is evolving quickly, driven by new technologies and a growing desire to personalize learning experiences and provide just-in-time learning to employees with the learning they need at just the right time. In this transformation, adaptive learning consulting has become essential, serving as a key partner for businesses looking to derive the most value from their learning and development budgets. These consultants utilize creative adult learning strategies to design training programs tailored to the specific needs of each organization. Let’s explore the significance of adaptive learning and discover how it can change the way your organization approaches talent development. By adopting these innovative methods, your workforce will be equipped not just with the right tools, but also prepared to support the successful execution of your organizational strategy. 

The Evolution of Workforce Development 

In the not-so-distant past, workforce training often followed a one-size-fits-all approach — a standard curriculum delivered in a classroom setting or, more recently, via digital platforms without the ability to cater to individual learner needs. This inflexible format was inherently restrictive, failing to fully utilize educational technologies and accommodate the varied learning styles and speeds of employees. Consequently, these methods of delivering learning and development did not maximize the potential return on investment that can be achieved with more individualized delivery that accounts for each individual’s specific needs.  

These modern approaches have initiated a transformative shift. Revolutionary technologies, especially those powered by artificial intelligence, have led to the emergence of adaptive learning. This approach customizes the educational journey to suit the individual profile and needs of each learner. The rise of adaptive learning represents more than just an update in educational methods — it signals a fundamental shift in how organizations foster talent development. Let’s take a closer look at this shift towards adaptive learning and its impact on enhancing your workforce’s capabilities. 

The Shift to Adaptive Learning: A Change in Employee Development 

Understanding Adaptive Learning 

Adaptive learning systems use sophisticated algorithms and machine learning to assess each individual learner’s knowledge base, skill set, and preferred learning style, customizing the educational content to fit their needs. This creates a dynamic learning environment that adjusts in real time, ensuring learners are consistently challenged at the right level without feeling overwhelmed. 

Benefits of Adaptive Learning 

The most obvious benefit of utilizing an adaptive learning approach is the ability to reduce overall training time by eliminating the need for learners to spend time reviewing concepts they are already adept at. That said, the benefits of adaptive learning go well beyond just making training more efficient. By aligning with each employee’s unique learning profile, these systems significantly boost engagement and motivation—key ingredients for effective learning. As employees become more satisfied with their training experiences, they often report better knowledge retention and application skills, which can lead to enhanced business outcomes. Furthermore, the data-rich environment offered by adaptive learning enables precise measurement of training success and identification of areas needing more attention, ensuring that investments in training deliver measurable returns. 

Role of Adaptive Learning Consultants 

Expert Insight 

Adaptive learning consultants serve as guides and architects, charting the course for the integration of adaptive learning into your organization’s training programs. Their expertise lies in understanding the technology and methodologies that underpin adaptive learning and translating these into real-world applications tailored to your unique business needs. 

Strategic Advantage 

Expert consultants contribute a strategic perspective to the adaptation of learning. By customizing learning paths, they facilitate the development of skills precisely calibrated to your organization’s objectives. They also offer scalability in training solutions, enabling growth and evolution without the need to redesign your educational framework from the ground up. Finally, their solutions enhance retention rates, ensuring that acquired knowledge doesn’t just linger in the short-term memory but becomes a lasting asset to both the individual and the organization. 

Implementing Adaptive Learning: Strategies for Success 

Choosing the Right Consultant 

The efficacy of an adaptive learning program is only as good as the consulting team that designs it. When seeking a partner in adaptive learning consulting, consider their track record – have they successfully developed learning programs for organizations similar to your specific needs? What is their approach to needs analysis, development, and post-deployment support? Do they bring a well-rounded team of learning specialists, technology experts, and data analysts to the table? 

Blueprint for Integration 

Integration is a key challenge in adopting adaptive learning into your organization’s learning strategy. A strategic approach, created by seasoned advisors, involves several key steps. First, conducting a thorough analysis of training needs across the variety of roles within an organization, leveraging both qualitative and quantitative data. Next, a content library must be developed which aligns to these needs. Next, developing an adaptive learning model, considering how and when the system will adapt to learners’ progress within the operating context of your organization. Finally, deploying the technology, ensuring it’s seamlessly woven into the fabric of existing training programs. 

Navigating Challenges 

Adopting technology is seldom without its challenges. Resistance to change, budget constraints, and technical issues can all impede progress. However, with the right consultant by your side, your organization can mitigate these risks. Consultants can cultivate buy-in from stakeholders by highlighting the personalized benefits of adaptive learning. They can also provide cost-effective solutions, and their technical expertise ensures a smooth implementation and operation of the system. 

The Transformative Potential: Partnering with gothamCulture 

gothamCulture’s Adaptive Learning Consulting services stand at the forefront of the industry, offering a holistic approach to personalized learning in organizations in all sectors. We believe in empowering organizations with the tools and strategies required to foster a dynamic, agile, and highly skilled workforce. Our approach to adaptive learning consulting integrates seamlessly with your broader HR and training strategies, ensuring cohesive and effective implementation. 

Our consultants are not just experts in the technology required to establish and maintain these processes; they are also skilled at understanding the human element of training. They know that successful learning hinges on the delicate interplay between employee motivation and the system’s ability to adapt. By prioritizing both, we create adaptive learning solutions that are as effective as they are innovative. 

We invite you to take the next step in enhancing your workforce’s potential. Contact gothamCulture to learn more about how our Adaptive Learning Consulting services can transform your organization’s learning and development ecosystem. With our partnership, you will not only keep pace with the future of training but will emerge as a leader in cultivating adept, knowledgeable, and engaged employees. 

gothamCulture Releases Findings From the 2022 State of Culture Study

2022 State of Culture artwork

New York, NY – gothamCulture released its second annual State of Culture Report on December 30, 2022. 

The 2022 State of Culture Report is the culmination of a year of research on a global scale of 170 respondents across local, national, and global organizations. From this research, the team extracted key insights into the aspects of organizational culture and climate that link to a variety of performance outcomes as well as the practices that drive results in the day-to-day. 

 Some key findings from the study include: 

  • Only 57% of respondents in senior leadership roles reported that their organization cultures are evolving rapidly enough to stay competitive.
  • 70% of respondent organizations reported outsourcing at least some HR functions, and it seems that outsourcing in the HR space will continue to grow over time. .
  • Organizations that reported a large number of resignations said it was mostly due to inadequate pay/benefits and a lack of ongoing investment in employee skills.

 For more insights to read the 2022 State of Culture Report here. 

Stay up to date with future State of Culture surveys and reports here. 

If you have questions or comments about the study or the report please email info@gothamculture.com 

 About gothamCulture 

gothamCulture is a management consulting firm that draws on our associate’s comprehensive expertise and experience in the areas of culture, leadership, and people strategy to provide innovative solutions and client-service excellence. Our work is guided by our deeply held shared values, including a commitment to each other and our clients, unwavering integrity, the maniacal pursuit of excellence, relatable expertise, and authentic community. For more information, visit www.gothamCulture.com. 

Podcast: The Great Resignation? Reshuffle? Reimagination? Renegotiation?

In this episode of the gothamCulture Podcast, guest host Conrad Moore from MAiUS Learning talks to Marcelo Dias, a Talent Performance & Development Leader about how being burned out actually changes your brain chemistry resulting in exhaustion, cynicism, or just lack of effectiveness. Once employees reach this level of dissatisfaction with their jobs, it just ends up taking up a lot of their mental space. What can we do to get back to flourishing at work?

Production note: This interview was originally recorded in January 2022.

Released: December 20, 2022

Podcast: Leading With a Learning Lens

In this episode of the gothamCulture Podcast, Kate Gerasimova, Senior Associate at gothamCulture talks with Brooke Rufo-Hill, Head of People and Culture at Rippleworks about what it means to be a learning organization. How can we focus on improving everything instead of proving anything? Brooke offers examples and strategies about how to move away from focusing solely on productivity and more on learning and how it improves performance as an organization.

Released: December 13, 2022

Podcast: Leadership – Balancing the Act of Doing and the Art of Being

In this episode of the gothamCulture Podcast, Kate Gerasimova, Senior Associate at gothamCulture talks with Kimberly Penharlow, Certified Leadership & Performance Coach and Organization Psychologist, about leadership which is a delicate balance between the act of doing and the art of being. The act of getting things done is very transactional. This year’s focus should be the art of being. The art of being a leader, in relationship with your team and culture, and understanding the importance of resilience.

Released: November 29, 2022

Forgiveness: Forgiving the Bad Boss

In a recent blog, I related the story of discovery about what was causing a client to be “stuck” in his career.  It concerned an incident with a boss whose actions had severely impacted the client and his sense of value as a person and a professional.

A number of readers rightly responded that the client’s recognition was a critical first step – but only the beginning of that particular part of his personal journey.

By way of explanation, I had the opportunity recently to speak to another client about a similar situation which had occurred some years before. The client spoke about how recognizing the cause of the pain he had experienced with a boss had made him feel liberated.

I asked what “liberated” meant.

“Over the years, I’ve realized that that particular boss might well have made mistakes and might still be doing so. I almost feel sorry for him.”

 “What else?” I asked.

“Well, I’ve long since left the company, but my colleagues back there tell me he hasn’t changed. I’m not sure, but maybe it’s in his DNA.”

“And what has changed for you?”

“My perspective for one thing. I now know that you can’t change how people act, but you can indeed change how you respond and react to them. And you can look at them with a sense of gratitude for what you learned from them. I am not just more resilient after that experience with that particular guy – I am actually stronger as a person and wiser as a servant leader. I have a real awareness that all of my actions as a leader impact the people who work with me far more than I imagined. Being emotionally aware of the “wake” I make is one of the most important pieces of self-awareness for me. And knowing that I can make mistakes and must make amends – that serves me every day.” 

 Then his voice trailed off and became quieter…. “And there’s something else and it’s the most important thing…”

I leaned forward: “What else?”

Forgiveness. I am truly liberated when I can forgive someone else. It is an essential part of who I am and a fundamental part of my spiritual beliefs. I can have a spirit of forgiveness in prayer, in meditation, or in times of quiet reflection. Everyone deserves forgiveness, no matter what they have done. Even me.”

After our call, I sat in quiet reflection for longer than I usually do when I finish a session. I realized then that many of us spend considerable time and energy building awareness of what we have done, or what has happened to us. And that can help us stop the covering up of the pain and bad memories.

But the key for me is this: What we then choose to do with that knowledge is a critical part of the “meaning-making” we humans share on this incredible journey called life.

Forgiving others for perceived or actual bad behavior is a gift bigger than any of us realize. It is not part of our nature – it transcends our natural human reactions in a beautiful and poetic way. I saw that in my client. And I hope for each of us who at times has been a “less than good” or even a “bad” boss, that we can seek forgiveness in our own ways as well.

For me, that is the most liberating part of the story.

The Bad Bosses We Carry With Us

I was working with a client one day, appreciating the self-discovery that was taking place for him. He spoke about the ways he had been shaped professionally and how he had been able to function and succeed in the workplace.

The client was focusing on very real strengths and capabilities. A litany of successful teams and projects flowed from his mouth as his eyes lit up and he recalled advancing from a junior position in the company to a senior leadership role; a role he had assumed a number of years before.

Unfortunately, even with all of that, the client then related to me that he felt he had somehow hit a plateau and was stuck in a job and didn’t see a path to advancement.

“What do you think gets in your way?” I asked.

The client sat in silence for a long minute and I waited. He began to speak haltingly and then stopped speaking altogether. A frown came over his face. Then I noticed some emotions emerge. I sensed that it had been triggered by something deep inside of him and I paused for a while and then gently asked:

“Please tell me what you are experiencing right now.”

Some tears welled up in the client’s eyes and the answer came in a slower cadence: “I remember a time a few years ago…”

I waited.

“I had worked for months as a project lead. We had created a product that was leading edge for our industry and we were all so proud of what we had accomplished.”

 “Please tell me more,” I said.

“And then the week came when we were to present to the CEO. We were ready, and we were so excited. Our vice president asked us to give him a pre-brief the day before. He gave us an hour and we nailed the presentation.”

“What happened then?” I asked

“After we finished, the boss sat with a sour look on his face and then told everyone but me to leave the room. Then he started berating me – yelling at times. He told me that the project was a ‘disaster’ and that I should be ashamed of my work in leading it. He said he was going to cancel the project and tell the CEO we weren’t ready.”

I paused and then pressed further, “Something else must have happened. At least that’s what I am experiencing by your body language and your facial expressions.”

After a look away and another deep sigh: “Yeah,” he said ruefully. “He waited two months and then presented the project as his own. Shortly afterward, he got promoted. I’ve been bitter ever since and I swore back then that I’d never do anything more than what I was told.”

“That’s a lot to carry,” I said, then waited a long minute and asked: “Would it be okay if we pursue it a bit further?”

He nodded and continued to speak – slowly at first and then it came as a flood of words.

What emerged was a theme that I have heard from many clients during the ten years I have been coaching professionally. A boss – and I don’t use the word “leader” here intentionally – broke a bond of trust, was belittling or had made someone feel smaller or diminished as a person. My client, like so many others, had submerged that memory, yet carried it inside of him. When he spoke about that particular event (He told me I was the first person to hear the story in its entirety), it was incredibly powerful for him to juxtapose that past experience with his current (and very real) well-developed capabilities and desire to grow in the organization.

I often explain to clients that it helps to “Name It” so they can “Tame It.” For my client working through these memories and their attendant emotions was a breakthrough for him. Over the next several sessions I saw his confidence grow as he explored more choices with intention and enthusiasm. He did the hard work of realizing that one bad boss need not derail a successful trajectory. He learned he may carry that boss with him but that that boss no longer controls him. It turns out this was just the perspective he needed to get back on track to re-energize his own continued sense of success.

Diversity of Thought: Café Culture Podcast

Diversity Of Thought

Diversity of thought, also known as cognitive diversity, refers to the notion that each of us is unique; that we are raised and brought up differently, and we have different personal and professional experiences which influence how we think and interpret information. And this acknowledgment has become a core part of many companies’ efforts to drive innovation in their organizations and industries.

gothamCulture’s Kate Gerasimova, author of the article, “3 Powerful Ways to Improve Diversity of Thought On Your Team,”  discusses strategies that every organization can use to bring a thought-diverse culture to their organization, including hiring outside the box and how to brainstorm differently. Listen to more on this Café Culture Podcast episode.

Be Kind to Those You Meet on the Way Up

“Be nice to those you meet on the way up because you will meet them on the way down,” is variously attributed to Jimmy Durante, Wilson Mizner, and even Walter Winchell.

Whoever said it had a perspective from which we all can learn. In my experience as a leader and as an executive coach, it is a topic that few people consider in the moment, yet it is a lens that is at once pragmatic and empathetic. It helps frame any person’s life journey and their career.

Most of us have experienced some type of promotion or an event that effectively moved us “higher” in a company or organization. One day we were at one level and the next we were someone’s boss or at a step that put us above our previous peers. It can be a bit unnerving sometimes, occasionally a rite of passage, and, sometimes – just sometimes – we can succumb to a feeling that we deserved the promotion while others did not.

In my experience, I think most of us experience all of these feelings. The key for each of us is to try to reconcile those thoughts into a realistic filter that provides a foundation from which to continue to learn and grow and remain effective members of a leadership team.

How do we approach those situations?

I always ask clients about how they feel about a promotion when it happens. It is often a fascinating series of questions and answers as we work together to help them build awareness about how to handle a new role.  My own approach might include these questions:

“Congratulations! What are you experiencing as you talk about the new job?”

“What has changed for you?”

“I’d be interested in any challenges you feel you face.”

“How is it going with the people who used to be your peers?”

“What intentions do you have and what choices do you feel you can make?”

The answers vary and inevitably lead to others. I often help clients explore the challenges of not wanting to let go of old responsibilities, while trying to also assume the new role (which I call the “Marley’s Ghost of Leadership.”) Attempting to hold onto an old job while attempting a new one can send a lot of signals to subordinates, including lack of trust and a breakdown in communication.

Also, a number of clients struggle with being promoted ahead of peers or those who might be more experienced in the organization. It is not uncommon for these clients to be labeled as “whiz kids” or “shiny pennies.”  They can contend with jealousy or judgment by others who might think they’re not worthy or capable of the new role. This can all add pressure and challenging expectations as they attempt to navigate the new role.

Other clients might try to disregard any messages from others and revert to just getting the job done and achieving more results in the new role. And while their achievements might continue, their relationships sometimes do not.

In any of these situations, as a coach I sometimes challenge people to help them gain perspective of the “promotion ladder”:

“So, you got promoted and you feel that people are labeling you or may even be jealous of you. What are the possibilities that you might once again be subordinate to them?”

 “I can’t imagine that.”

“Do me a favor and think about it.”

 “Well, it might be uncomfortable.”

“Why would it be uncomfortable?”

 “A lot of people think I left too big a wake as I completed projects and assignments – and that I don’t give enough credit to others.”

 “What might you do differently now that you thought about how others might see your performance and relationships?”

“Well, I guess it would be wise to connect with others and get to know them, work to give others credit – make it “we” instead of “I.”

“Effectively to be nice to others while you’re climbing the corporate ladder?”

“Yes, because you might meet them on your way back down!”

 A smile and then a look of recognition can often follow.

The harsh reality for each of us is that whether it’s a job change, a demotion, or a retirement, we all experience a trip “back down the ladder.”  If we’ve treated everyone with kindness, we can know that we have done our best to maintain and build relationships.

And after all, isn’t that what life is all about?

How to “See” the Elusive Venn Diagram

Venn Diagram Graphic

A Venn Diagram is described by Will Kenton in Investopedia as “an illustration that uses circles to show the relationships among things or finite groups of things. Circles that overlap have a commonality while circles that do not overlap do not share those traits.”

It might seem odd to focus on the concept of Venn Diagrams in an article about coaching. But, believe it or not, it is a wonderful illustration for a foundational aspect of the coaching process. When we work with a client, we encourage their curiosity about what they are experiencing and work to “stay in the moment” to help them fully explore their situation, challenges, and opportunities while we also invite them to see the patterns they notice as they explore their thoughts and feelings.

These patterns vary. Some might be words that are often repeated. Or they can be a smile whenever they speak about a certain idea or person. They can also be when they discover that the varying viewpoints of others may actually have shared commonalities not previously considered. Being able to notice and appreciate patterns is foundational to learning and development.

In a recent session, a client was describing a major event occurring for their company. In some cases, the varying viewpoints on resolution of the issue were diametrically opposed to each other. A team that was previously cohesive and aligned was struggling to share perspectives without exploding into argument. My client was concerned, largely due to their high regard and respect for every member of their team.

I asked the client if they saw a pattern in what they were describing.

“What is it that each member of your team identifies as the issue?”

Every team member has a different perspective,” the client answered.  “One sees the issue as financial. Another thinks it’s related to human resources.  And yet another sees outside influences at play.”  

I paused and took another tack. I invited the client to close their eyes – to imagine each member of the team as a circle. Then I invited this perspective:

“Take a step back in your mind and envision where those circles overlap. Please tell me what you see.”

There was a long pause and I waited. Then the client opened their eyes and spoke:

“Well, the first overlap is this:  Every member of the team feels responsible for the success of the company. 

 “Anything else?” I asked.

 The second overlap is: “Each individual wants the current crisis to be addressed. 

 And Third:  Everyone is feeling stress.”

The client paused again and looked thoughtful. The concept of the overlaps – the “Venn Diagram” had registered. They went on:

“Yes, there are commonalities and if I step back I can see the overlap.  I just had to look at it a bit differently.”

From there the client was able to discover that the team had points in common and that their “system” had areas that were well developed. From there, the team could make choices to add range and to try different approaches based on the patterns they observed.

In Gestalt Coaching, we look for such patterns and invite the client or the system to see them. When they do, they can become curious about what the team can add to their capabilities and how each person, including the leader, can help them move towards it.