Today’s learners have come to expect personalized, on-demand training that they can immediately apply on the job … but that’s not all. Learners also want to visualize their future career path in the organization, complete with training recommendations that can help them move from where they are to where they want to be.

Delivering personalized learning journeys is also in the business’ best interest: The Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report found that, for the tenth consecutive year, a lack of career development was the No. 1 reason why employees left their jobs. By mapping learning to employees’ future career goals, they are more likely to pursue them in house.

As more organizations recognize learning and development (L&D) as a key factor in retention, training teams will be tasked with creating curated learning journeys for employees — a tall order for busy learning leaders, and an even taller one for those responsible for training a large, globally dispersed workforce. This is a major reason why Cornerstone OnDemand’s acquisition of EdCast — its first deal since becoming a private company in August of last year — is making waves in the market: The combined platform is set to deliver personalized learning journeys at scale, solidifying its position as a leader in all things people development.

The Strategy

A billion-dollar company with over 75 million users across over 180 countries, Cornerstone is already well-established as a leading learning management system (LMS).

EdCast, a major learning experience platform (LXP), has also made a name for itself. Known for its ability to create and deliver data-driven, personalized learning to users, EdCast was also recognized as one of the top 50 “Best Companies for Diversity” and its chief executive officer, Karl Mehta, was recognized among the top 50 “Best CEOs” in the U.S. for small-to-midsize companies in 2020.

By acquiring EdCast’s four platforms (its Talent Experience Platform, Spark for SMBs, Content Strategy Solutions and MyGuide Digital Adoption Platform), Cornerstone will be better able to fulfill its mission — to improve access to education on a global basis through online learning, says Katie Ballantyne, vice president of product and customer experience at Cornerstone.

“As a result of our acquisition of EdCast, we can deliver on this commitment faster, as we will be poised to accelerate the rate of innovation in our market through our combined solutions,” Ballantyne says.

Talent Development, Reimagined

Cornerstone’s acquisition of EdCast stemmed from a “shared vision” to unify and scale their learning platforms, Ballantyne says. From a strategic standpoint, this makes sense: It’s likely that Cornerstone — one of the biggest LMSs on the market — and EdCast — one of the biggest LXPs on the market — had an overlap in customers, which made for a less-than-ideal user experience. After all, it’s difficult to create a learner-friendly experience when employees have to jump back and forth between platforms to complete training, view learning pathways and take skills assessments, among other L&D-related activities.

A seamless learner experience is also important on an organizational level: Without it, training won’t achieve its intended business impact because learners will be disengaged and, therefore, unlikely to retain what they’ve learned and apply it on the job.

Himanshu Palsule, Cornerstone’s CEO, said in the press release, “Today’s fragmented learning and human resources (HR) technology landscape “is ripe for reinvention.” Organizations are seeking new ways to unify employees and the business in areas “most critical to growth,” including workforce engagement, talent retention, skills transformation and career mobility.

As an all-in-one people development solution, the combined platform will help ease multiple customer pain points, from delivering personalized upskilling and reskilling to improving retention and navigating a constantly changing business environment.

Today’s businesses are “grappling with volatility without a clear blueprint ahead,” Ballantyne says. An integrated people development platform can help them prepare for whatever comes next.

As learning and talent management processes continue to integrate, platforms that support both will have a competitive advantage in the market — and so will their customers.

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