This year’s Learning! 100 Award-winners continue to exemplify the very best qualities of leadership that have consistently propelled the world of learning to new heights, year after year. We’ve seen paradigms broken, technology applied in areas that we would have never thought possible, and new practices that have completely disrupted traditional approaches to learning. And as inspiring as all this sounds, we’ve come to expect even more barriers to be broken in future years.
So that begs the question, “What’s going on?” After all, the classroom has been pretty much the same for the past several thousand years.
We think part of the answer may lie in the collective unrest with the status quo. It’s probably no different than the “tipping point” we reach when we decide that it’s time to buy a new car or even a new home. Whether those reasons are positive or negative, it really doesn’t matter. We’ve made the decision that what we have is no longer meeting our needs.
And in the same way that constant advertisements entice us with new products, features and capabilities, the accomplishments of our peers show us that even more is possible in our own organizations.
We can be more efficient. We can be more cost-effective. We can be more learner-centric. We can use technology to go where we’ve never gone before. We can reach new audiences wherever they are. We can provide for better ways to collaborate. We can move out of the classroom and into the workplace. We can even flip the entire process of learning. It’s our collective imagination that defines those limits.
With all these new possibilities, the person that leads these charges has also changed. It’s no longer the person that we hire to manage important, but unchanging processes, like payroll, plumbing and housekeeping. It’s a new breed of person who would quickly leave if you told him or her that they had to manage the same process for the next 25 years.
Instead, we’re seeing a new breed of leaders arise from within our ranks. These new leaders are no longer happy with the way things have been done in the past. Instead, they are creating a vision for what learning can become. They eagerly assemble all the knowledge they can find on a topic, and then they make a commitment to see that new vision become a reality — no matter what stands in the way.
So what then makes this new leader different? We think it’s not only the leadership qualities of vision, knowledge and commitment that make a leader rise to the top. We think it also takes a fourth element: passion. We think it’s that fourth ingredient that elevates a team to one of the top 100 learning organizations in the world. It’s that element of passion that propels their teams to achieve what they never thought possible, and to once again raise the bar of excellence one notch higher.
To this year’s winners: We proudly salute your achievements and your outstanding leadership.
—The author of this article, Joe DiDonato, is editor-at-large of Elearning! and Government Elearning! magazines, along with being the Learning! 100 awards chairman. To see a complete list of Learning! 100 award-winners in both the corporate and public sectors, visit the website gov.2elearning.com.