What does the future of learning look like for your organization? This is a question that Clar Rosso, Vice President of Member Learning and Competency at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), has been exploring for years to make sure her organization is equipped to meet the evolving, highly competitive needs of its members.
In this episode of the Leading Learning Podcast, Celisa talks with Clar about how AICPA convened the Future of Learning task force to develop a profession-wide global learning vision and address major changes related to the creation and delivery of continuing education. They go in-depth to discuss details surrounding this initiative, including what AICPA has identified as the four strategies to fuel the future of learning.
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Read the Show Notes
[00:18] –A reminder to check out the upcoming Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design (LTD) to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA. The event is designed specifically to help professionals in the business of continuing education and professional development find new and better ways to engage learners and create lasting impact through the effective use of technology.
[01:42] – A preview of what will be covered in this episode where managing director Celisa Steele interviews Clar Rosso, Vice President of Member Learning and Competency at the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
[03:43]- Introduction to Clar and some background information about who she is and her role at AICPA. Clar says that AICPA is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession with over 400,000 members in 144 countries. AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession, US auditing standards for private companies, develops the uniform CPA exam, and offers specialty credentials. She also discusses their joint venture with Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to establish the Chartered Global Management Accounting designation (CGMA).
[06:00] – In 2013 the AICPA convened a Future of Learning task force that developed a profession-wide global learning vision. Can you tell us a little more about the Future of Learning project, what it has achieved, and what it’s still working to achieve? Clar explains that in 2013 the CPA profession (and learning community, generally) had experienced a seismic shift related to the creation and delivery of continuing education. She says that they wanted to figure out what was creating that shift and then create a vision for the future. In the process they identified key emerging learning trends, including:
- Competency is as important, if not more important, than compliance
- Learning needs to be relevant and contextual
- Learning should be collaborative, interactive, and participative
- Mentoring and coaching are key ways that people like to learn
- Learning should be just in time, blended, and tech-enabled
[09:12] – What was it like to convene a task force like that? Any lessons learned about what made that work well or any hurdles you hit/anything you would’ve done differently to share with other associations looking to do something similar? Clar shares that in over 26 years working with associations, this was the best task force she had ever worked with. She suspects it was successful because they didn’t have an end in mind and there was a lot of exploration, which led to meaningful, purposeful conversation. She also said that the group was engaged in figuring out what the learning best practices were and that they really “walked the walk”.
[11:29] – Celisa: I’m particularly interested in what a poster available on the Future of Learning site calls the four “Strategies to Fuel the Future of Learning”—namely, (1) Innovate and experiment, (2) Ignite a passion for learning, (3) Make learning personal, and (4) Measure what matters. I love how each of these sound but can you unpack what each of these mean and talk about how they play out in practice? Clar says it has been a period of transformation and change but that it has been a really incredible experience for both her team and their members/customers who engage in their learning. Clar discusses their approach to thinking about change as small and incremental, rather than big and all at once. She says they have begun to think about the production/creation of learning as an iterative, agile process, which has dramatically increased their products’ speed to market and elevated the member learning experience.
[13:56] – Clar shares some examples of how they have (1) innovated and experimented to elevate the learning experience including their use of 3-D avatars, gamification, and drag and drop technology.
[17:10] – Clar discusses how they have (2) ignited a passion for learning by not only adding the 3-D/multimedia elements, but also through interactive scenarios to engage the learner. She also says they have offered more blended learning opportunities with competency based exams and that they are trying to use more social learning channels as well.
[20:07] – Celisa and Clar discuss how AICPA has changed their classroom learning to include a transformation of both the materials and instructors. Clar explains that their instructors have moved from lecturers to “learning facilitators.” She also shares examples of how they have accomplished all these changes.
[23:48] – Clar addresses how they have been (3) Making learning personal and she shares the importance of this. She says that they have found that a case-study approach (especially with feedback from an expert) has helped with the personalization of the learning. She also talks about how they have used crowd sourcing through an app and that they have brought the idea of competency to the forefront through the launch of their competency and learning website.
[30:06] – Clar talks about what they have done to (4) measure what matters and explains that this area focused on establishing a competency framework for the profession. She shares details about this including a focus on level rather than position. She also says that they have been working to move to more competency-based compliance.
[36:33] – Clar shares that an area they have been able to shift the needle in is related to their introduction of different increments of time measure beyond an hour (i.e. nano learning which is 10-minute increments). She also says they have changed their CPE standards to include the concept of blended learning to give credit for work done outside of the classroom.
[39:16] – How do you approach your own personal lifelong learning? How do you keep learning and growing your knowledge and skills? Clar shares that when she was a classroom teacher she learned to ask, “Education for what purpose?” which has driven her in both her personal and professional learning experiences. She also reveals that she prefers mentoring and coaching and peer-to-peer learning over classroom learning and that she loves to read, observe, and reflect. Learning for her needs to be practical, application-based, and not overly focused on theory.
[41:56] – How to connect with Clar and AICPA
Twitter – @clar_rosso
[42:46] – Wrap-Up
A reminder to check out the upcoming Leading Learning event, Learning • Technology • Design (LTD) to be held May 18-19, 2016 in Arlington, VA.
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[44:45] – Sign off