Winning with Learning
Entrepreneur, eLearning Pioneer and Udemy Vice-President, Leadership Development Alan Todd shares his reflections on the past, present and future of making learning a competitive advantage.
Here are some of Alan Todd's key takeways.
- Research shows that the number one reason people leave a job is because of their frontline supervisor so the need for good manager training not only supports the manager, but it can also have a positive impact on many team members.
- Beyond quantitative measurements, define and evaluate qualitative measurements to show the impact of learning on organizational performance
- Non-intrusive data mining with the assistance of tools like Chat GPT can help provide data to evaluate learning.
- If learning is greater than change, you are an innovator and you win in the marketplace. If learning is less than the rate of change, then we're climbing someone else's learning curve and we're lagging behind.
- At least a third of the learning outcomes are explained by what happens before the learning experience we create, and then another third by what happens after the structured experience so pay more attention to those befores and afters.
- Connecting people to content can be lonely and isolating, but when you connect people to people, it's human. When you bring a human component to e-learning, it becomes more engaging, more natural, more accountable.
Listen to Alan Todd on his podcast Leading Up with Udemy.
Powered by Learning earned an Award of Distinction in the Podcast/Audio category from The Communicator Awards and a Silver Davey Award for Educational Podcast. The podcast is also named to Feedspot's Top 40 L&D podcasts and Training Industry’s Ultimate L&D Podcast Guide.
Susan: [00:00:00] Learning and development is an ever-changing industry and it continues to evolve with the use of artificial intelligence. But the same challenges exist to engage learners and create meaningful learning experiences.
Alan: And if we could get people, To sort of light their hearts on fire for the program they're about to go through, you know, that, that makes all the difference of the world and it's that same fire that allows them to have the persistence they need to like suffer through the behavior change when you just want to fall back to your old ways of, of working.
Susan: That's Alan Todd vice-president leadership development at Udemy. Alan shares his L&D career journey and his insights to win with learning
Susan: Joining me today is d'Vinci CEO, Luke Kempski and our guest, Alan Todd, vice president of leadership development at Udemy. Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace with more than 204,000 courses and 54 [00:01:00] million students on a variety of topics.
Susan: Welcome Alan.
Alan: Thank you, Susan. Yeah. Great to see you, Alan. Yeah. Likewise. Great to be here today.
Susan: Well, Alan, tell us a little bit about Udemy and also your role with the organization.
Alan: Yeah. So Udemy is the world's largest learning marketplace. So and you, you rattled off numbers and they just keep growing. It's now 60 some million learners on the platform every month. There's 13 to 14, 000 enterprise customers. So think of this really large marketplace where creators go and build hundreds of thousands of courses and then a small fraction of them, around three to five percent, actually make it into a catalog called Udemy Business and that's sold to the businesses. And I came to Udemy by way of acquisition. They acquired my company two years ago, Corp U. , and so I've spent the last two years helping to evangelize the Udemy Leadership Academy, which is the rebranded version of my company. So we're very [00:02:00] large in technical skills and we're growing fast in helping companies build leadership skills.
Susan: I knew when I read those numbers, they probably had changed since I wrote them a few minutes ago. Thanks for the overview.
Luke: And I, I know Alan, you know, we've known each other for a really long time. I actually looked back a little bit and we brought our staff way back when to your company ADT, uh, well over 30 years ago. And we came over to your computer classroom so that we could all learn windows and email. And I think we got onto the Internet and used our Netscape browsers and checked out what was on the Internet at the time or on the World Wide Web. So I know that was like your first company and you've had many ventures since then. And they've all been, you know, really connected to learning and training. So if you can kind of give us a fast recap of your entrepreneurial journey, that would be great.
Alan: Yeah, for [00:03:00] sure. So thank you for, for sharing that, Luke. It was, uh, A long while ago, but so when when I got out of college PCs just came on to the market, right?
Alan: So nobody in the world would have ever heard of the name bill gates at that time And frankly Steve Jobs was you know These just weren't names that people knew like for example, my mom would not know who they were but I I very quickly Um, got helped people set up computers and realized that I had a passion for just the just teaching and learning.
Alan: And I had no idea. It didn't dawn on me in high school or college or anything, but I, but I, I really enjoyed. Helping people learn how to use computers. And I sort of just kept doing more of that and more of that and more of that. And that first wave of PC wave where we met Luke, was just, ultimately it grew into building training centers all around, you know, Philly to Baltimore to Harrisburg, you know, the mid-Atlantic region and building these [00:04:00] so that, that, that PC wave, um. It was really fun teaching people how to use computers and we built a great business. And there was a second wave coming called the internet. And as a result, we were using, we, we were building software to run the training business and that software, we rebuilt it all with like internet protocols. It turned out to become the very early version of an LMS and we, we ended up when Netscape launched their company and launched the browsers, like the first browser of the World Wide Web, we actually built Netscape Internet Learning Academy and then Gartner Group, we built Gartner and then Ziff Davis University.
Alan: So we did all this cool sort of the next thing and. And that first company got acquired by what is today Randstad, and they're still in the same office park, uh, where you would have visited 30 years ago. They're still there. Um, but the second company then was called Knowledge Planet. Um, and we built that learning management [00:05:00] system.
Alan: And so like we started, like I said, with, with Netscape right at the very beginning of the internet. So that was kind of the second wave of my life. First one was PC training. The second was, was the, the internet was coming and people. You know, it just dawned on me that people are going to need to take training over the internet. So we did that. And then when that, uh, you know, that went for a long time, that got acquired by a private equity group and a consortium of companies that they wanted to merge together. And sort of the industry, uh, was, was kind of putting things together. And, and so knowledge planet got acquired and put into that environment. The third sort of phase was the idea that the web would become interactive. And this was like in 2010 when the bandwidth got big enough that you could, with 3G or broadband at your house, you could actually stream a video. The cloud got good. You didn't have to build your own servers and, and you know, we had our own like data centers.
Alan: We didn't have to do any of that stuff anymore. So the cloud and the bandwidth that enabled us.[00:06:00] To do something in leadership development, that was much more rich streaming video and media and connecting people together. So the through line of all of that is education and really paying attention to sort of mega trends or waves that are happening to PC, the first gen internet, second gen internet. That's really what I've done for the last 30 years.
Susan: That was quite a summary about 30 years and under three minutes. That was great. Well, this next question, I'm sure we could spend the whole podcast answering, but you know, in your experience, what are the ingredients for an effective learning experience? You know, for people responsible for creating these learning experiences, what should we make sure is in them to make sure it's really valuable?
Alan: You know, it's, it's an interesting question. To which I'll give you an interest. I'll give you the first, the not so interesting answer. Cause there's an easy set of answers, right? I could say it needs to be relevant. It needs to be impactful. It needs to be, you know, I can focus on the learner. Isn't that common sense and it should be [00:07:00] engaging. Like, think about the opposite of all this. Do you really want it to be boring and not timely? And no, I want it to be timely and impactful and relevant and focused on the learner.
Alan: I want to break it into small chunks and not give them long, boring stretches. So I have to take. Bigger things and chunk it into smaller things and link them together, right? Maybe Um, I have to space content out over time. So space not mass together I don't want to like take video lectures people used to do Take two hour video lectures and put it on the web and call that a course and you know Just terrible design and and but all of that stuff.
Alan: Here's my sort of different answer if you say to me what makes a difference and and after a lot of years of study and And research and looking at the the academic bodies of research There's at least a third of the outcomes are explained by what happens before learning, and a third by what happens after learning.
Alan: So when you look at the learning, you know, I think it explains like a third of the power of the [00:08:00] outcomes. So, if you go to a company, you're designing, I would say, Ask people before learning. How are you creating focus, intentionality and motivation so that these people are excited to take this training or they want to, or they believe it's going to make their life better.
Alan: It's going to make their career better. If you don't have good answers to that, right, then you've lost a third of the battle. Before it ever even started, and then we can do all the best practices to build good, engaging, effective learning. And you guys at d'Vinci know this better than anybody, and you've been doing it forever, and you, you know, building high quality video and audio and production values matter, right?
Alan: So you can't, again, put a camera in the back of a room and film a professor for an hour, put that online. People did all, you know. 12, 15 years ago, that was, that was standard and it was terrible, right? It was like filming plays instead of making movies. So, and then, and then if you look at the, what happens after learning, what are you doing to sustain behavior change?
Alan: What are you doing? Are there [00:09:00] QK, cue cards or job aids or something to give people recall? Like to keep, cause that's what we know cements things into longterm memory, which we have to do. And then we need to develop habits. We have to practice something like every day for 21 days, according to research to start to develop and cement a habit, a practice.
Alan: What, you know, whatever that practice is, it might be a leadership practice. It might be a safety practice. It might be whatever the practice is. So I think there are good practices. You guys know them as well as anybody, but I don't think any of us spend enough time thinking about what happens before, what happens after.
Alan: I'll give you one quick story that, that I love. So, my, one of my partners at CorpView is Mike Barger. And, and he used to run Top Gun. He was a naval pilot, and then he was a Top Gun pilot, and then he ran Top Gun, and he's also a co-founder of Jet Blue. So, his... Story is like a completely crazy story, but Mike always tells he here's what he described as Top Gun.And this is my example. You want to [00:10:00] do Top Gun training design, do Top Gun learning design. He would say we'd come in and spend four hours in a classroom setting up the scenario. Here's the good guy. Here's the bad guy. Here's the route. Here's the pattern. Here's the thing that that that whatever it was.
Alan: And then we'd go out and fly it for an hour. And then we'd come back and debrief for six hours. And I was doing all the math and I'm like, these are like 10, 11 hour days. He goes, yeah, every day when you go to Top Gun school, 10, 11 hour days. And you're in the plane for one hour. Yeah, one hour. So think about that with learning design.
Alan: You don't have to give them 11 hours of like teaching and learning material. You got to give them something to go try and practice and come back and say, how did that work? So if you're building learning design, you know, that Top Gun approach is great, but really it's what's the third in advance. I guarantee a Top Gun, you know, those people are there have focus intentionality and motivation.
Alan: They're like, yeah, I know why I'm here. And yes, I want to be better. And I want to be great at this. [00:11:00] And if we could get people, To sort of light their hearts on fire for the program they're about to go through, you know, that, that makes all the difference of the world and it's that same fire that allows them to have the persistence they need to like suffer through the behavior change when you just want to fall back to your old ways of, of working. Yep.
Luke: Uh, Top Gun sounds. Somewhat like the like the NFL or football season, right? Yeah, you play for a couple hours on Sunday and you go at it again.
Alan: Well, you know, it's crazy about NFL. It's like a 3. 5 hour game, but it's only like 10 minutes or 11 minutes of play action. So I read this article - they're like when they watch the game the film game the day after like the coaches and the owners.It's only a 12 minute film a whole game So it's even worse Luke.
Luke: So I know at Corp U, you really were very focused on leadership [00:12:00] development and taking a different approach to that you know, talk about kind of what, what that approach was what inspired it and how it's been received and has been measured. If it's been measured at all and how's it, how it's working.
Alan: Yeah. So here's what happened after knowledge planet. I had a multi-year non-compete, so I didn't know what I was going to do. You know, I couldn't really do what I love to do. Uh, so.
Susan: And Top Gun School was out.
Alan: They didn't offer me a slot. I would have done that, but instead they offered me a slot in a doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.
So I did this Penn CLO program. It was taught by the Wharton School and the Graduate School of Education. And it was this interdisciplinary program. And I spent a couple of years, uh, doing that work and I loved every minute of it, uh, and it was a lot of fun, but here was the epiphany right around that time.
Alan: Um, Facebook was just sort of [00:13:00] coming into. Uh, prominence and it had left, it was, you know, purely a college kid thing. And now it was like available for everybody in the world. And people started using Facebook and they'd be online for four hours. And the whole time I was scratching my head going, man, at Knowledge Planet, we couldn't get people to stay on for five minutes, you know?
Alan: So I'm like, what's different like social media. And it was a brand new world. People didn't even know what it was. And at the same time I was learning. About the sociocultural theory of how people and organizations learn and it's sort of I had an epiphany. First of all, it explained everything. I didn't know and have real words to that was my lived experience for like the prior 20 years. I'm like, this is it like, it's a sociocultural theory. And there are other theories about how we learn empty, you know, we're empty vessels and blank slates and you fill them up. But, sociocultural just says we learn best when we engage with a range of others and take in, you know, an experience together through the eyes, the ears, the senses, but working with other people and we watch them and learn and, and I just, I [00:14:00] absolutely loved it.
Alan: So you put those two things together and you go. Okay, here was, here was kind of epiphany number one was connecting people to content can be lonely and isolating. Connecting people to people is human. So if I can bring a human component to online learning or eLearning, like that would be this human thing.
Alan: I still have... great content, but I can bring a human element to it. And so the, that, that was kind of thing one for me. And then the genesis of Corp U was sitting around Penn or, you know, day and night for a long time. And I started looking at executive education because I, you know, I'm kind of interested in executive education, leadership development.
Alan: And then I looked at the competitors and looked at Stanford and Harvard. And what I found was exec ed was expensive. Right, exclusive. It was mostly a good old boy network. So it was, you know, 90% white male teachers, um, [00:15:00] that they never measured any impact at any executive I ever saw. It was, it was, the outcome was a signal.
Alan: You were like a slap on the back. Like you made it. We're sending Luke off to Harvard to take some executive education because we're promoting him to be a senior leader. And it was, all it was, was a signal. It was like a badge of honor. So it was expensive, exclusive. Um, and, and I started thinking about like, what if we applied this theory to create like great online education that was going to be connecting people to people, which is, if you look at the value, why do I want an MBA or exec ed?
Alan: You go meet people that are like you and you build a network. What if we could do that online? And what if it was inexpensive? inclusive and impactful. And that's what, that was the genesis. So we're going to go do that. We're going to get the same professors. We're going to create high production values. In fact, the very first thing we ever did, we, we shot it at your place, Luke. Um, uh, with Chuck Dwyer, professor at [00:16:00] Wharton Graduate School of Education. Um, and, and that was like the first thing we did. And, and it was really about connecting people to people and having them grapple with real things.
Alan: Solve complex problems. Generate and spread ideas. Teach and learn from each other and from experts. And capture and share that knowledge. So that was kind of the genesis. Cohort based learning. Get a cohort. They go through the thing together. Uh, you can do these real-world things. Give it to them in small chunks, deliver it over time. And practice and have experts jump on live calls to say, how did it go? What happened when you tried it? What worked? What didn't work? And they're giving you a little courage, uh, encouragement. They're giving you coaching, giving you feedback. It's not good. Everything we teach doesn't work for everybody every time.
Alan: That's impossible, particularly in leadership and soft skills. So that was really how it all came about. That was the, that was the genesis of Corp U and a bunch of other really great people that had filled in all those thoughts as well. So everybody from, [00:17:00] uh, Mike Barger, who I mentioned that ran, uh, JetBlue to my sister who I've been working with for 30 years, but a lot of people were involved in helping to shape that. But that that was probably the, you know, the genesis of it.
Luke: And when you think about the value of investing, particularly, I guess, in leadership development and executive development, um, but then you could talk even more broadly about enterprises investing and learning and what, how that can, how that's so essential to their competitiveness and to, uh, their development. How do you position that when you talk to high up executives?
Alan: Well, it's pretty easy, right? So, and because the problem is so big. If you look at like, let's look at simple data. We've been working on the leadership development industry has been in commercially viable industry for the last 30 or 40 years. It was pretty nascent before that, but sort of you, when you look at the research, it's sort of exploded. And [00:18:00] now it's this giant industry and it results, the whole entire industry results in almost no behavior change. So when you look at the research, very few people. A super majority do not sustainably change their behavior, and the University of Michigan and a bunch of other schools have studied this because they'd like to, uh, figure it out.
Alan: Gallup measures employee engagement, and it's been sitting for 30 years, low, 13% of employees worldwide are engaged, I think it's 30% in America, so we're better, but it's still terrible, right, no matter what, and 70% of the variance in team engagement is one's manager is defined by or described by the manager.
Alan: That's Gallops. You know, they've studied tens of millions of managers for 30 years just to answer the question. So you look at that data, other data, um, SHRM Society of Human Resource Management. You know, they, they, they look at the data and say the majority of. Uh, leadership positions are filled with outsiders at 18% more pay.
Alan: So, and then the [00:19:00] other one, I look at the, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the, the tenure of a manager is shrinking. It used to be like 10 years and then seven and six and five, it's four. So now you put this together and you go. Oh, we develop these people, they leave, we don't pay them more, so they leave to get a, to get a manager somewhere else for 18% more money. Employees are disengaged, right? So you put these pieces together, um, and you say, If employee engagement isn't going up in your company, it's, I mean, there's something there there's a frontline leader problem because they apps and the number one reason they leave, uh, is a frontline leader. Um, the number one reason someone gets promoted to frontline leader, um, is because they were good at their prior non-management job. It's the number one reason, again, you look at the research on this.
Alan: I mean, in the end, our I'm proud if we make a difference in one person's life. And by the way, if we make a difference in one manager's life, it makes a positive difference in 10 direct [00:20:00] reports on average life. So let's focus on making a difference in people's lives, making it stick again, making smaller chunks, getting on time.
Alan: But do they, do they want it and need it and believe that this is going to be a great use of their time? And that's a practicing behaviors. They believe that that will create a great experience. And we'll create a follow through that, that gives them reasons to stay committed over time.
Alan: I don't have to survey people to death There are a lot of methodologies around learning is like did you do a pre imposed survey? Well, I always ask Do learners enjoy those? Yeah. Do they want more surveys? Do they, are we trying to like make them unhappy?
Susan: You'd have to survey people to find out, right?
Alan: So there are non-intrusive ways and that's what I'm obsessed with right now, which is to find non-intrusive data mining.
Alan: Like there gotta be ways. We're doing a bunch. We're pushing the envelope on new. To world innovations around measurement, you know, and something that I like to think about a lot, but some ways to do it without more [00:21:00] surveys and more self-reported stuff, but more connecting the outcome data to some of these second order effects like retention and promotion and engagement.
Luke: Yeah, that all makes sense. Uh, can you talk a little bit about some of the, where you're, what you're looking at now that can kind of be technology-based that can give you some more of those, uh, especially anything that's within learning experiences that are, um, created to actually track some, some level of improvement in performance or engagement or outcomes.
Alan: Well, I'll tell you what we have spent the last, I think, six years on, and it has to do with. A subset of AI called machine learning, and this is before Chat GPT and large language models is what we focused on, and it's getting really, really easy, really, really fast. So I'll say this because I think anybody can now start to do this, and it's not the [00:22:00] obvious use case for Chat GPT.
Alan: And that's this. If you look at how we mostly measure learning outcomes. It's almost always these quantitative metrics, things I can easily quantify. You know, did they do it is the first one, like some kind of completion rate. Did they like it? Some kind of level one evaluation or net promoter score or some kind of reaction about their opinion. And that answers a lot of these what questions.
Alan: But what I find a lot more interesting is the why questions. Why did they like it? Why did they persist? Why did they bail? You know, these are much harder questions in quantitative surveys and self-reporter bias. You know, it, it, they give you clues, but they don't give you a preponderance of evidence. And so if you can add in qualitative, research. And this is what we do with non-intrusive data mining. But here, [00:23:00] here's the trick. You got to get them to say things like, so if you build a course, add in a discussion, add in a reflection so that they're writing like, oh, I taught you a new thing. What do you think? And reflect, how will you use this in practice?
Alan: Make them write. And what's the power of dialogue and reflection? Well, they're like the most powerful forms of active learning that exist, right? So if i'm just watching something that's a very passive form of learning. I'm, not going to remember very much if I read it. I might remember a little more but if I actually reflect on it and think about you taught me a leadership practice I'm going to go try it tomorrow if I reflect on that and then engage in dialogue with other people that work with, now I a couple things are happening.
Alan: Number one - I've just gone from passive learning to super super deep active learning right the best form of learning there is Um, and when you look at studies from the Chronicle of Higher Education and others, it's like, yeah, active learning, the lecture is not the way to do it. Um, you know, it's dialogue, it's group conversation.
Alan: So if I can get you to do that online, this is what we did. [00:24:00] Guess what happens if I have a cohort of 30 or 40 people, and every day they're reacting with, you know, some reflection and some dialogue over, you know, it's only 30 minutes a day. But if you do this for three-week course, I get this massive mound of data that is just non-structured discussion data dialogue.
Alan: And so this is the magic where we went a bunch of years ago and it was building machine learning algorithms with natural language processing. And we did it the hard way because there was no other way to do it to identify the patterns and themes, we could do sentiment analysis, but the patterns and themes would tell us like, now we know why they aren't.
Alan: Doing this and they're not adopting the behavior because they're mad about the culture and they're mad about the bonus issue They don't they're not bought into the direction the company's taking Those are the insights that we started bringing back to senior management And you would literally see jaws hitting the floor because they're like, wait a minute.
Alan: This is like real hard business data, cultural data, like actionable [00:25:00] insights, I can do something about to change the course of the outcomes of this learning. I have to, my strategy is not bought in. Well, let's go fix that. Or the language we've got, you know, we've got a new, a new sort of mantra or script or capability.
Alan: They're not using it. So we can identify that. So the why comes from non- intrusive data mining. Looking for patterns and themes in this unstructured data that if you can get the unstructured data in the form of structured dialogue, like if you have live meetings like this, just record them and turn the transcript on, you get an instant transcript, right?
Alan: And now you can run that stuff through. chat GPT and say, give me the pattern. What are the top patterns in this? Give me a sentiment analysis. Are these people leaning in or not leaning in? And that was the data that blew me away that the people, the participants, they don't have to do any more work.
Alan: They're actually doing the most powerful form of active learning. And we're getting gobs of incredible outcome data [00:26:00] that changes the whole course of the way we think about learning measurement. So now when you put it all together, you get in. academic terms, they'd call it mixed methods research. But if you say, what's the most believable way to convince a senior leader?
Alan: Have some quantitative metrics. Hey, we trained a thousand people and 850 of them, you know, stayed with it long enough and finished the course and said it was a really valuable use of their time. So they were the arbiters of value and said it was good. Okay. But do a CFO. They're like, okay, then I'm, I'm half sold.
Alan: Then the other half, by the way, here's where they're leaning in. Here's where they're not leaning in. Here's the stuff they're worried about. Here's what they said. They need the barriers that are getting in their way to applying this stuff, to get the results that we're trying to achieve around our big initiatives, our big transformation, our big, whatever it is we're trying to do.
Alan: And I think it's, it's. That is the picture of measurement that I'm most excited about. And it's an interesting way to think of using Chat GPT to do some of the natural language processing for you. And you, and there are more and more tools and other people are playing with this and we're playing with, how can I [00:27:00] build one so that your company, the more it uses it, it's trained, it's training, um, the transformer on your company. So it's using also web data, but it gets smarter about your company, the more you use it. So there are a lot. A lot of people doing that.
Luke: And, take that another step farther, you know, again, at the highest level of an enterprise and thinking about competitiveness and how, you know, what if you're not doing that and your competitors are doing that and you're in a constantly changing economy, marketplace, technology, all that's rapidly evolving and you're trying to compete. How can then, how can learning make a difference in being able to win?
Alan: Well, that that's actually my favorite topic is, is winning through learning. And I think there's a lost art in 1991. Peter Senge wrote the fifth discipline, the art and practice of the learning organization. And I've been kind of, I am on this learning organization [00:28:00] renaissance.
Alan: I think we're in a renaissance period and the time is now, and essentially my equation for success is learning. Greater than change. If learning is greater than change, you win in the marketplace. And I'm not talking to learning. Like we think in L and D I'm talking about organizational learning. Are you building the capabilities that the business requires to achieve its results when the CEO of Coca Cola says we're going to double the business in the next five years without doubling costs that says we're going to grow fast and we're going to grow our profits.
Alan: So we're going to have to build some new capabilities about access to fresh water. So these are organizational capabilities and we want to help build those capabilities. If I'm an L and D profession, I'm going to help you build the capabilities, the organizational capabilities that are most critical to the senior leaders to drive the future performance of the business, what we need to do to be competitive.
Alan: And if our organization is, if learning is greater than change, we are an innovator. And we're shaping the [00:29:00] learning curve. If learning is less than the rate of change, then we're climbing someone else's learning curve and we're struggling and staying behind. And that learning curve involves, like some people use the term like reskilling or upskilling, but it's a lot of people.
Alan: And it's not just upskilling the people because competent people is not a full capability. The systems, the processes, we need systems thinking and look at the, the environment within which those people operate. So if you can create the conditions and shape the environment for learning as a learning leader.
Alan: with business leaders and then run programs that have before and after training to cement that change. Now you're really building the capabilities that matter to the firm, that drive competitiveness. And yes, Luke, a hundred percent agree. You can, you can actually work in a high change world. And the person with the highest rate of learning creates the highest rate of change and drives that curve for everyone else to follow. That's the way [00:30:00] to win.
Luke: There you go. That's the way to win. Um, when you, you're, you mentioned AI and when you think about, how, disruptive do you think AI is going to be to kind of the training industry, the learning and development industry, whether it's from people like us. Who create learning experiences are for, um, the companies who make the technology, the LMS technologies.
Luke: What, what, what are you seeing? And what, what are your instincts tell you based on your journey that this is how disruptive is this going to be? And what kind of things should we look at that are happening now? That might give us a clue of what you what's going to be in two years, three years out?
Alan: Just with regards to the question of AI and chat GPT, the future of our profession, I think, I mean, a couple of things just jumped to mind immediately when they said, um, probably eight years ago all cars would be self-driving by like [00:31:00] 2015. And I remember 15 years ago, Oh, on current course and speed, China's GDP will be bigger than the United States by 2012, like whatever, fill in your blank numbers, but things went way past is the trend, right? Sure. The pace at which we're going to get to that trend.
Alan: Um, the prognosticators, are they right? Absolutely not. Um, and it, Udemy runs a marketplace, right? Five months ago, six months ago, we had no courses on chat GPT and no one else did. Then like January, we had 50 courses, February, 500 courses. You know, now it's like, if you go to Udemy.Com and type ChatGPT, there's like 2000 courses, and like I said, it's a marketplace, so people are like looking for the ones that have the most use with the highest ratings.
Alan: So is there a hype? Yes. Is everyone looking at it? Yes. Is it being oversold? Yes. Will there be a trough of disillusionment to use a Gartner term after, you know, like a [00:32:00] bubble? In my opinion, yes. Is it as powerful as we think it's going to be? Yes. Also yes, but over a long ramp. Um, you know, the slope of enlightenment will take, will take much longer than we think.
Susan: This is a, such a great conversation, Alan, and I'm sure our listeners will be sad to know that we're ending. However, we want let them know that they can continue to listen to you on your Udemy podcast. Tell us a little bit about that and, and where people can find you.
Alan: Yeah, so, uh, I host a podcast called Leading Up with Udemy, and we're on all the podcast platforms. Um, and it's been a lot of fun. So we get, you know, we get people that are studying all these issues, like top professors, Udemy instructors, and a lot of, uh, learning leaders from our customer base that come in. So, uh, yeah, take a listen on whatever platform you like Leading up with Udemy.
Susan: Thank you. We'll put that in the show notes so people can find you.
Alan: Uh, thank you Susan. Thanks Luke.
Susan: Oh, it's great talking to you, Alan, and, um, definitely inspiring to, to keep us all motivated with, uh, what's next in our industry and beyond.[00:33:00]
Alan: Yeah. Super.
Susan: Thanks, Alan.
Alan: to see you both.
Susan: What a great learning career Alan has had.
Luke: Yeah, I know. It's always fun to talk to him. It's great to hear about his entrepreneurial journey. That's been a journey really in sync with the evolution of learning technology. I like this point about creating learning experiences. You know that there's at least a third of the outcomes are explained by what happens before the learning experience we create, and then another third by what happens after the structured experience. We have to pay more attention to those befores and afters. We. I also think you made a key point about e-learning, saying connecting people to content can be lonely and isolating, but when you connect people to people, it's human. When you bring a human component to e-learning, it becomes more engaging, more natural, more accountable. You network, you share, you learn from each other.Leading to what Alan referred to as [00:34:00] cohort-based learning, which you're starting to hear that term a lot more these days. You know, we're using a cohort-based model now for a learning platform we're developing at d'Vinci, and we'll have to save that for a future podcast. So, yeah, We covered a lot of ground with Alan, leadership training, measurement, AI, machine learning, but I think the big message with Alan is win with learning in a constantly changing, highly competitive world. Make learning your way to be the best and win.
Susan: Yeah, he has certainly seen a lot of changes over the years, Luke, and I think, uh, his point about connecting with humans is so important, especially as we go forward into this next chapter of learning and integrating artificial intelligence. So we'll have to get Alan's takes on that at some point in the future.
Luke: Sounds good.
Susan: Well, thank you Luke. And special thanks to Alan Todd of Udemy. And if you have an idea for a topic or a guest for Powered By Learning, please feel free to reach out to us at PoweredbyLearning@dvinci.com[00:35:00]
By Luke Kempski, CEO
d'Vinci Interactive is an award-winning comprehensive learning solutions provider for corporate, government, medical, non-profit, and K-12 target markets.