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From Crotonville to Digital: Upskilling GE’s Global Workforce

A History of Investing in Leaders

General Electric (GE) is the world’s leading digital industrial company, providing products and services including aviation, power, and renewable energy to clients across the globe. Over 60 years into its 125-year history, GE determined that its most significant limitation to growth was its supply of high-quality managers. In 1956, the Crotonville leadership institute was born, and GE quickly became known for its legendary leadership training, a reputation that holds today.

“NovoEd is an experiential platform. When bringing the classroom experience online, we wanted our employees to retain the ability to reflect on their learning, apply new skills, engage with colleagues, and receive feedback.”

– Sara Ley, Former Digital Learning & Technology Leader GE

The Journey to Online Learning

As successful as Crotonville was, and is, with 285,000 employees and over 60% based outside of the U.S., only 30% of GE’s professional employees were able to participate in a learning experience at Crotonville. To remain at the forefront of an increasingly digital future and to scale the ‘Crotonville effect’ and reach more employees worldwide, GE formalized a digital learning strategy which, in 2016, evolved into BrilliantYOU™, an online learning experience platform.

BrilliantYOU was created to better scale and enable talent development and to upskill the GE workforce. Included in the vision of the platform experience was the ability to curate a variety of learning experiences to meet the needs of different business units and functions and to address unique learning preferences. BrilliantYOU would need to be a one-stop-shop for learning, providing employees not only with access to books, videos, and blogs but to courses and functional academies that could replicate a Crotonville-like classroom experience.

Crotonville Goes Digital and Global

The GE learning and technology team, known as the BrilliantYOU team, wanted to create a cost-effective, best-inclass learning experience for large, distributed teams while maintaining the meaningful connections established in a classroom environment. To create a social, connected, digital classroom, GE sought an online learning delivery platform that met the following criteria:

  • Joins groups of learners from across the global community
  • Empowers individuals to learn from peers, mentors, and leaders
  • Enables team-based learning and seamless collaboration • Creates a learning experience that is engaging, social, and mobile
  • Provides learners with the opportunity to practice real-world applications

After initially piloting with another learning platform, GE ultimately selected NovoEd because the learning experience provided by NovoEd best aligned with their requirements. The team felt that the NovoEd platform enabled them to bring large populations from around the world together to engage on a topic or take a course and learn, pair, practice, and share. “NovoEd is an experiential platform. When bringing the classroom experience online, we wanted our employees to retain the ability to reflect on their learning, apply new skills, engage with colleagues, and receive feedback,” said Sara Ley, GE’s Digital Learning and Technology Leader.

“We’re able to have an open, authentic conversation with the NovoEd team and to me, that is what makes a true partnership.”

– Sara Ley, Former Digital Learning & Technology Leader GE

Measuring Success

Currently, GE offers over 40 online courses on the NovoEd learning platform, including a mix of GE-created content as well as content from NovoEd partners like UVA’s Darden School of Business, UC, Berkeley, and Stanford University. Topics range from leadership, storytelling, and onboarding to finance, supply chain, and engineering.

Since bringing the NovoEd Learning Delivery Platform into the BrilliantYOU learning marketplace, GE as scaled its program to reach thousands of learners each week and has seen a significant increase in engagement rates. GE has overwhelmingly received positive feedback and employees feel like the NovoEd learning experience was a “huge step up.” And, with advancements in data and analytics, GE is also actively working to track engagement and feedback to ensure they’re meeting the needs of all learners.

“We’ve received great support and partnership, which speaks volumes of the NovoEd team. We’re able to have an open, authentic conversation with the NovoEd team and to me, that is what makes a true partnership,” asserted Ley

40+

online courses

285,000

employees

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