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Social Learning: Comcast’s Indispensable Tool
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
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"A consistent learner experience drives a consistent customer experience, and that’s what the cable TV business is all about,” says Martha Soehren, Comcast University’s top executive, who oversees the training and development of Comcast Cable’s 91,000 employees.

Although tireless efforts within Comcast University to improve training related to customer service had already yielded many positive results, Comcast needed to reinforce its customer-first philosophy among its thousands of employees with leadership responsibilities. 

Enter Social Learning 

Comcast: A Customer-First Approach to Learning, a new study from ATD Research, explores how Comcast revamped its leadership development program, encouraged social learning, and measured the impact of learning programs, all with an eye on ultimately improving the customer experience.

The study reports that the backbone of the blended One Comcast Leader program is a modern social learning platform that enables participants to collaborate and learn in a variety of innovative ways. After considering options, Comcast University selected the platform provided by San Francisco-based software firm NovoEd.

The customized website features a modern and intuitive interface that is easy to navigate, especially for anyone familiar with social sites like Facebook, says Jennifer Lagana, senior program manager. Users are greeted with an opening page that introduces the learning program and its various elements, including guides, tutorials, discussion groups, postings, and assignments. It can be accessed from any device.

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The NovoEd platform was introduced in 2016 to participants in the 12-week manager transform pilot. As with all other OCL sessions, the 45-person class was divided into “trek teams” of four or five participants who were each asked to devote two hours on the site each week at their convenience on team-based assignments.

The platform features an array of options for participants to receive instruction and collaborate with peers and facilitators in groups large and small. Instructional videos are available on the site, and participants are expected to contribute informal video reflections about leadership concepts uploaded from their portable devices.

Employing the social learning platform over a three-month course enabled CU to ensure that experiential learning is incorporated into and reinforced within each manager’s professional life, says Lagana. Learners are not in an isolated bubble of a training environment, but rather are applying leadership concepts in real situations and then sharing those experiences with colleagues. Another priority for the platform was to ensure that CU’s top goals for the OCL initiative—a high course completion rate, a positive learner experience, and an improved customer experience—are met. Thus far, reactions to the social platform have been positive.

“It is not only a tool for learning, but also for sharing of best practices,” says Lagana. “The virtual world format enables users to collaborate at any time and in many ways.”

NovoEd is one of two social learning platforms CU uses to develop its leadership corps. The company uses SurePeople’s platform for the director launch and high potential leader programs, which is separately operated. Why the two different vendors? “We wanted to explore different options in this space and to test both platforms,” Lagana says. She says the SurePeople platform provides a leadership assessment tool that CU finds useful for its director level executives, and which is not part of the NovoEd experience.

To learn more about how Comcast uses emerging learning technologies to improve customer service, check out Comcast: A Customer-First Approach to Learning.

About the Author
ATD Research tracks trends, informs decisions, and connects research to performance. By providing comprehensive data and insightful analysis, ATD Research Reports help business leaders and workplace learning and performance professionals understand and more effectively respond to today's fast-paced workplace learning and development industry. Our research reports offer an empirical foundation for today's data-driven decision-makers, containing both quantitative and qualitative analysis about organizational learning, human capital management, training, and performance.
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