SalesForce – Following the learning trail | Business Post
The message that education and training fit not only in the formal environment of schools, colleges and universities but also in other contexts is not new.
Distance learning was a mainstay of higher education long before the coronavirus pandemic and continuing professional development and industrial qualifications demonstrate that learning as a lifelong experience is a well-understood concept.
Today, though, technology has facilitated developments in both formal and informal training: from picking up handy skills and passively auditing lectures from world-leading universities, to breaking down advanced degrees into modular components, the internet is now the home of learning.
Kris Lande, senior vice-president of the Trailblazer ecosystem at Salesforce said it was not just a matter of availability. In fact, new pedagogical approaches can be taken, with the learner put at the centre of the experience.
“Learners are no longer satisfied with siloed, one-size-fits-all approaches. They’re eager to learn from others. They want to learn wherever they are, and they want it to be personalised,” she said.
Lande believes companies like Salesforce have an important role in supporting skills development and lifelong learning. And millions of people are already using Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, with 1,300 community groups across 90 countries.
“The Trailblazer Community and Trailhead empower anyone, from any walk of life, to skill up for the jobs of today and of the future. Not only are users — or as we like to call them, Trailblazers – lifelong learners, but they pay it forward, creating opportunities for others along the way,” she said.
Naturally, the pandemic accelerated companies’ digital transformations and, in doing so, accelerated the need for digital skills, so there now is a greater demand for a workforce prepared to navigate an all-digital future.
However, many people don’t have the time or resources to reskill through traditional education.
Lande said this made it more important than ever for people to have access to free reskilling opportunities and career communities, allowing them to succeed in the post-pandemic economy regardless of where they lived and what their background might be.
“We’ve also learned that, with the right tools, we don’t always need to be physically together to be part of a community. When everything changed amid the pandemic, our Trailblazer Community found new ways of connecting and collaborating.
“For example, when Gemma Blezard, a Salesforce architect based in Britain, saw friends and neighbours losing their jobs, she created a weekly webinar series to help them transition to careers in the Salesforce ecosystem. The support of community has been critical over the past year, as thousands have been inspired to embark on new career paths in technology
Lande is adamant that the way we learn has changed. “The barriers associated with traditional education, like cost and time, make it an inaccessible option for many people who are motivated to learn skills for a new career.
“Luckily, there are other options available. Our mission at Salesforce is to create an equal pathway to opportunities into the tech industry – and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the Salesforce ecosystem. It’s an interconnected network of learners and innovators who use Salesforce to build successful careers, companies, and communities around the world.
“Through Trailhead, Salesforce is cultivating success and empowering anyone – whether they’re looking to completely transform their careers or reskill at their current companies – to learn the skills needed to be successful.”
In order to keep learners’ attention, Trailhead is gamified: learners are rewarded with points and badges, making it interactive. This means the learning experience is bite-sized and conversational, and complex topics are broken down into smaller units.
“It’s virtual, empowering employees to learn from anywhere. And finally, Trailhead is personalised for roles and levels – meeting employees at whatever stage they’re at on their career journey,” said Lande.
The Trailblazer Community has become a tool for anyone looking to succeed within the Salesforce ecosystem and the company has reported positive results: one in three Trailblazer community members say that community connections helped them secure a new job and more than 80 per cent in a role say community engagement has helped them be more productive and innovative.
Lande said businesses today were likely to support staff as they learned because they know that new skills are needed for today’s ‘new normal’ – whether it’s soft skills, digital, or technical skills.
According to recent Salesforce research, when companies invest in continuous learning, 68 per cent of their employees are more productive, 70 per cent are more engaged in their work and 60 per cent are more likely to stay at their job.
“They recognise that continuous learning is critical in order for employees and companies to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation. And workplace learning is a proven driver of success for both employees and employers,” said Lande.