Cheryl has been creating a culture of learning for over 20 years. Shel began her career in 1993, working with screen reading technology for the use of accessing computers. Cheryl’s first husband was disabled and used this technology, but they found that the software and hardware collaboration was tenuous and required a lot of work. They had little experience with computers before this and they certainly ‘learned by doing’ for their business. They also sold voice recognition software and worked with diverse clients; some with physical or cognitive disabilities and some in professions like doctors or lawyers. There were little training materials for these, so Cheryl and her husband wrote their own tutorials to make sure the learning for each client was specific for their needs. Part of creating a culture of learning is ensuring that learning is customized to meet the needs of everyone.

When reminiscing about her ‘trial by fire’ start with learning solutions and computers, she says:

“I used to laugh that I had to stay one lesson ahead of the people I was training… I had to know a little about a lot. I also got quite adept and writing custom macros and scripts to make the software do what my clients needed.”

One of Cheryl’s biggest challenges was meeting the needs of her clients located in rural areas, which was not cost-effective for travel, therefore she needed to find a solution to bridge the distance. Cheryl put her head together with a friend and, in 1997, put together a tool that would allow them to train people remotely. Cheryl’s friend has now patented the technology and is selling numerous productivity enhanced new versions.

Cheryl decided that to truly launch her instructional design career, she needed to go back to school. In 2002, that’s just what she did. This is when she realized that even the experts didn’t know much about learning that truly changed behavior, they focused on the presentation of information to people rather than what made them learn. This presentation of information, without evidence of application, was not the best business model. She realized that she needed to make learning work!

But after some time working in the corporate realm in learning, she became quickly disillusioned. Why weren’t people pursuing learning solutions that could make an impact? The focus on deadlines, budgets and the narrow-minded views on learning got to her and she ventured out on her own.

However, even after venturing out on her own, she saw that the same concerns plaguing the corporate realm had followed her. To make money, she would need to make learning that was less than effective. Even her vast skills in creating learning solutions were being under-appreciated.  Learning was not being tied to application and it was delivered outside the context of where the it was needed.

As Cheryl’s financial situation improved, she started building a learning program focused on better performance, she termed as a ‘campaign.’ This ‘campaign’ truly demonstrated that learning can make a difference for a reasonable price and in a reasonable amount of time, a formal version of Creating a Culture of Learning was born.

On Creating a Culture of Learning, Cheryl remarks that:

“We live in a world where the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to do our jobs are changing rapidly. No longer can we hope the people we hire, and the skills they bring to the job will be enough two or three years from now. Learning can no longer be separated from work or acquired only in school. Learning needs to be a part of what we do every day. Creating a Culture of Learning is more than simply building good courses. It is a mind shift to learning as an integral part of one’s job duties and their career plans.”

As part of TLDC18, Cheryl’s leading a pre-conference virtual and day live event on Creating a Culture of Learning. Over the pre-conference virtual events and the day live event, she will help you learn skills to create an inspiring and engaging learning culture. You will walk away with a customized learning plan specific to you (and your organization), you’ll also have the blueprint on how to protect the future viability of your organization and the viability of your own job.

As learning practitioners, we need to make sure that employees are learning and effectively utilizing ALL meaningful resources. Organizations are shying away from paying for learning that is having little impact on the organization.  We need to adapt our learning to the digital/information age where learning is a part of what we do every day, easily accessible from the place we need it and within the context of our job duties.

For Creating a Culture of Learning and TLDC18, Cheryl challenges you to, ‘Join us on a journey to better learning.’

If you want to connect with Cheryl before TLDC18, you can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn. Or watch the replay of our daily TLDChat all about learning and development, where Cheryl was the guest.