Financial Services Learning & Development Innovations: Fidelity’s Modern Learning Experience

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At the conference, Fidelity and other firms talked about using tech to create engaging learning experiences.

The Financial Services Learning & Development Innovations conference is designed to explore the unique challenges of developing training programs in the highly regulated, risk-adverse financial services industry.

There was one key theme that came up a bunch during the 14th Financial Services Learning & Development Conference in Boston on March 20th and 21st: the importance of creating engaging, modern learning experiences.

In his opening keynote, conference chairman Bill Kennelly of M&T Bank said there’s a lot of change happening in the learning and development space. Advancing technologies and new, more modern learning expectations—driven mostly by millennial workers, the largest generational cohort in the workforce—are forcing financial services learning leaders to think differently about how they deploy learning and development programs, he concluded.

With that in mind, much of the day was devoted to talking about how financial services firms can deliver more efficient and engaging employee-focused learning and development programs. Sessions covered everything from the impact of artificial intelligence on skills development to change management to developing an L&D strategy to prepare for tomorrow’s business needs. What became clear as the day progressed was financial services organizations are looking at ways to modernize their learning and development programs by leveraging new technologies and different learning behaviors.

Fidelity defines a new and better approach to learning and development

In the afternoon, Daniel Hinojosa, senior manager, PI L&D transformation architect / E2E learner experience at Fidelity (a D2L customer), talked about how his organization created a learning experience to drive better engagement and retention. Modern learners demand modern learning experiences, said Hinojosa, and with that in mind, Fidelity knew it needed to modernize its approach, leveraging digital technologies to make its learning experience more flexible and more personal.

“Personalized, self-led learning, matters,” he said. “We believe that digital resources provide the most flexibility in the moments that you need them.”

And for Fidelity, that included adopting agile principles and tools to enable pace over perfection in its learning and development program, using tech in an intelligent way to continuously improve while allowing on-demand, in-place learning.

Fidelity started by designing its experience for “Betty,” a persona it created that wasn’t a millennial, but exhibited millennial tendencies: she likes her smartphone and is two to three roles into her career, has after-work commitments, and a family that needs to be considered. Creating the persona was about keeping in mind whom Fidelity was designing its modern learning experience for, said Hinojosa, which allowed the organization to account for better flexibility and engagement.

Technology has been a big part of Fidelity’s process. The organization enabled an omnichannel approach to learning and development that supplements coaching and live training with a flexible, interactive, experience. Using D2L’s mobile-optimized modern learning platform, Fidelity integrated all its learning content—video, whitepapers, and digital media like audio and video mini-cases—in one place, which learners can access on-demand, anytime, anywhere, so they can learn where and when they’re most comfortable to promote better retention.

The organization assesses each piece of content and uses an algorithm to determine the most impactful things. That content rises to the top.

“We know strategically what the most important thing is to the business, what has the most impact, and what’s most important to a modern learning experience,” said Hinojosa.

Fidelity also develops and deploys different daily and challenge activities learners can choose to complete to personalize the learning experience; it found that choice alone is motivating, said Hinojosa. The organization also uses videos featuring subject matter experts as “narrators” to guide the online experience. Those videos are deployed to learners at key moments to emphasize important points and emulate the personalized feel of a real-world “classroom” experience.

“Experts are contagious,” said Hinojosa. “People want to talk to experts when they move into a new role.”

Fidelity’s solution also features a practice component that’s deeply embedded in the experience, supporting coaching and training in a live format. The online platform helps the organization assess where learners are in the learning experience so facilitators can determine who needs high-impact training and interactions where high-value feedback can be provided. Coaching plans are tailored to the learner.

Fidelity also created a solution roadmap to help it stay true to its vision as it continues to develop its learning experience. Its most recent development has been the creation of a scenario-based VR experience to help its associates better connect with clients by testing them for active learning, empathy, and other key soft skills.

“Through this new modern learning approach, associate proficiency is accelerating,” concluded Hinojosa. “Engagement is strong.”

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