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How Do I Become a Chief Learning Officer?

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  • Written By: Jan Fletcher
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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The position of chief learning officer is a relatively recent role in the business world. As such, the requirements and training to become a chief learning officer are still evolving in the workplace. A person assuming this position is likely to become responsible for instituting and designing training programs, developing company leadership, and procuring capital investments that facilitate learning, such as training equipment. To become a chief learning officer, you will likely need a strong background in at least one of the following disciplines: human resources, technology, business strategy, or business administration. A basic orientation toward being an encouraging person would be considered valuable in this field.

Specific educational areas that would prepare you for this role may include degreed programs in industrial organization and psychology, human resources management, and business administration. This career is also suitable for a cross-disciplinary career track, so a minor degree along with your major in one of these areas may be beneficial. Since this position is geared to intensive personal interaction, a person who enjoys interpersonal relationships would be a good fit. Understanding how to motivate people, and how to respond to the employee fears that can crop up when staff members are tasked with learning to use new technology is a desirable skill for this career track. To prepare yourself to become a chief learning officer, consider pursuing and obtaining a solid understanding of the competitive challenges in recruiting and training talent.

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The workforce demographic is changing as the first baby boomers begin to retire and younger workers begin to replace them. Younger workers have a different approach to learning than older workers, in general. These younger workers expect newer technologies to be used for training purposes. A chief learning officer will need to employ the latest technological methods to teach this generation of workers. So a chief learning officer must be adept at using new instructional technology.

To become a chief learning officer, you should be a flexible person. You will likely be expected to embrace the latest social and technological developments in individualized training. For example, instead of older methods that relied heavily on textbooks, and programmed learning modules, a chief learning officer may use an on-demand learning format or support forums, or other social network tools that a user may customize to his or her schedule and needs. Some in this profession advocate retiring the classroom-instruction model and mining the training potential available in social networks. Regardless of changing demographics and technological shifts, however, basic people skills remain essential, if you want to become a chief learning officer.

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