Welcome to Learning Is The New Working - the podcast about the Future of Workplace Learning and the people helping us get there.  Below, you can find our catalogue of published conversations, or you can search for Learning Is The New Working and Subscribe to us on your favorite blog platform for your new bi-weekly set of nourishing learning audio goodness.

And we’d like to make two special shout outs - thanks to Season Two sponsors and Learning Future Group network members Humentum www.humentum.org 

- and a special final thank you to the great Portland musicians YACHT who provide our intro music, ‘I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler.’ So did we - which is why we want to get you help to make it Cooler, together.

LITNW: Season Two

‘Learning Is The New Working’ is a new podcast from Chris Pirie, ex-Microsoft Chief Learning Officer and now independent investigator of The Future of Workplace Learning. A set of stimulating conversations are going to happen with some of the leading thinkers and edge practitioners in the modern Workplace Learning space, from Chief Learning Officers to Learning Experience Designers, from Neuroscientists to Technologists, vendors of Learning Tech and the HR leaders charged with developing human capital potential. Our topics are everything from the American skills crisis to our scary, but fascinating, century - how the rise of the robots, AI, employment and demographic change are re-shaping all our lives, in work and out of it. We will also explore how the process of learning is changing with current and emerging technology, share war stories about which new ways of delivering Learning work, what Sales Enablement is versus what it could be, and what a ‘Learning Science’ might offer… all with the ultimate aim of empowering the CLO.

Click to subscribe on: iTunes  Spotify  GooglePlay SoundCloud

2.5 ‘Training Also Has To Be For The 3-Shift Grocery Store Clerk’

A big welcome for this episode to influencer JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect at Microlearning leader Axonify and, of course, a well-known L&D community commentator over at LearnGeek. JD’s a super-committed and super-enthusiastic thinker about some key issues in our world, from what fuzzy leadership training really counts for, to what Microlearning should mean for the front-line worker, and in an intense 50 minutes we cover topics that include:

  • why he lives a mile behind Disney in Florida
  • why we’re still in ‘chase’ mode in L&D (and why that may not be so bad)
  • why we need to start focusing on not just the frontline worker, but also the frontline worker manager
  • what his motivation really is: to make sure someone goes home safe today because they read the guidance on how to work that machine right
  • a primer on all things Microlearning,
  • and what it means to go to the Dark Side and work as a vendor, and much more.



JD recommends we check out his work and community activity here



2.4 ‘At LinkedIn, We Believe In Drinking Our Own Champagne’

This week ‘Learning Is The New Working’ meets former Oracle and Tesla Sales Talent Development ninja Ben Putterman, who is now tasked with helping colleagues at LinkedIn understand all about the way we want to work with sales people now. Our very stimulating review of his personal Workplace Learning journey includes great milestones such as:

  • why Oakland rocks!
  • why there’s no such thing as a typical day at LinkedIn - and why that’s good
  • how seriously LinkedIn takes personal branding
  • the co-creation mission; why modern Sales isn’t about proving how great your technology is
  • are we spending too much time and money reassuring CEOs they’re not jerks?
  • what the heck are we doing about training up the solopreneur and the Uber driver, why social selling matters, how to Rock your Profile, and much more.


If you haven’t read it yet, drop what you’re doing and check out Liz Wiseman’s seminal book on how great leaders make everyone smarter, Multipliers.

2.3 Yeah, All This 'AI' In Your Ed-tech Product... What's It REALLY Do?

In a wide-ranging conversation, ‘Learning Is The New Working’ sits down with Dr Stella Lee, a Vancouver-based Digital Learning Strategist, Educator, Writer, Public Speaker, Networker and Canadian ed-tech startup advisor. If you wanted to design a curriculum vitae to produce an expert in Workplace Learning tech and social trends, I honestly don’t see how you’d do better than Stella has - and so it was a great privilege to work with her through key Workplace Learning issues, including:

  • what her career Venn Diagram looks like - and what’s at the ‘sweet spot’ in that busy middle intersection
  • what the specific geography, demographic and cultural factors north of the US border in that big old lovely country up there mean for skills
  • what five generations in the Workplace might soon be looking like
  • what Canadians are doing about it - and what we might do well to keep track of (‘Brave New Work,’ anyone?)
  • the central role in serious AI of ethics and diversity - and why we should be a tad reserved about all the wild claims we hear from ‘AI-Powered’ Learning systems
  • Why we might not really want smart fitness devices, do we really need Big Data in L&D, why we get so stressed about the LMS-LXP debate but everyone in the Third World just uses WhatsApp - and much more.


Stella is a prolific columnist and writer, so look out for her in places like Chief Learning Officer - but we think the easiest place to connect with her is via the website of her consulting firm, Paradox Learning

2.2 Degreed: 'Your Marathon Time 10 Years Back is Not a Fitness Metric For Today' 

Today, please give a warm welcome to Kelly Palmer, edtech leader Degreed’s official Workplace Futurist, L&D trend thought leader. Kelly, the former Chief Learning Officer at LinkedIn and who is also, of course, co-author of 2018’s widely read Workplace Learning think-piece The Expertise Economy: How the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete, and succeed, is a great interview, taking us on a tour of the Learning horizon that includes:

  • her personal road from studying Literature to Educational Technology to Product Development roles at Sun Microsystems
  • how come she ended up living two blocks from Grace Cathedral
  • why you can’t prove your aerobic fitness with your decade old Marathon PB - so it’s probably time to jailbreak the degree
  • Silicon Valley’s new career realism: they won’t stay for ever - but let’s really try to be so great they’ll one day come back
  • HOW many jobs will go? Really?
  • Talent analytics, the future of the Learning & Development team, why CEOs are getting real interested in what you do - and much more.


Kelly's book (co-written with her colleague, the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Degreed, David Blake):

The Expertise Economy: How the smartest companies use learning to engage, compete, and succeed

2.1 ‘The Accountability Is The Learning:’ Kate Shaw (Part 2 of 2)

We continue to work through the problem of Change in both society and Workplace Learning with the second part of our special Season 2 opener, our two-part debate with Kate Shaw, Director of Learning at Airbnb. We go pretty deep here with Philosophy and Emotion, so be warned! Our topics include:

  • Why it’s kind of b.s. to tell employees we ‘want them to learn’ - when we actually want them to run really smart experiments, and their accountability off them is what they Learned
  • Why even really smart people can be pretty poor at predicting outcomes
  • A useful tool (the Cynefin problem taxonomy) - problems can be simple, complicated, complex or chaotic
  • Conceptual analysis time - what is ‘belonging’? How can we really unpack it? Better - how do we teach it to Airbnb employees so they can create it for us customers?
  • Why you need to be ‘seen’ at work, and why that includes being encouraged to contribute
  • Why D&I thinking is so important - but isn’t a fully developed approach yet
  • Why it’s sometimes OK to get some theoretical ‘wet paint’ on the CEO
  • Nudge economics, moving from noise to behavior change, why Workplace Learning leadership is more about curation and contextualizing than content delivery, a very noisy motorbike, and much more.


Check out Dave Snowden’s work on making sense of complexity at his Cynefin site, here

The internal Airbnb leadership development program is called ‘Amplify’ - here’s a nice case study on it from its tech partner, Degreed*

Kate is working closely with Greg Walton at Stanford and Lauren Aguilar at Fourshay

*Whose Kelly Palmer is also the subject of the next Learning Is The New Working, available on your favored podcast platform 3 July

2.1 To Airbnb Via The Soviet Union & Star Wars: Kate Shaw (Part 1 of 2)

Let’s work through the problem of Change in both society and Workplace Learning with the first part of a two-part debate with Kate Shaw, Director of Learning at Airbnb. A very high-profile Workplace Learning practitioner with a peerless CV that includes working at both Lucasfilm and Apple - but which started out with Kate studying Russian History at college and which gave her a defining experience visiting with people who were at once so different from us but who also had their own perspective “as valid as my own” - Kate and I go on a journey that hits stops like:

• Why you can think you’re a depressed nihilist - but how you get betrayed by a love of great food into being a happy Epicurean!

• How a trip to live among the 'Cursed Enemy' can change you up

• How having a Mom who struggled to get the kudos for her work shapes your whole view on life, work, and a Changing workplace

• Why a VC was so unimpressed with the original elevator pitch for Airbnb that he asked, ‘I hope you guys have other ideas than this?’… about a platform that has now hosted half a billion nights and is at a higher valuation than its 100-year old biggest competitor

• Why you sometimes need to stop working with Silverbacks

• The link between Design and Technology, why College just isn’t ever going to enough any more, why the good stuff happens when you make things collide - and much more.


Kate and I talked a lot about the idea of ‘Blitzscaling,’ as defined by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh in the book of the same name published last year: go here for the book’s website, and here for it on Amazon.

Remember this is the first of a 2-part episode, so we will have more Notes for the second and final part in 2 weeks’ time.


LITNW: Season One

‘Learning Is The New Working’ The following episode comprise Season One where we investigate the current state of work, workplace learning and meet some innovators and veterans of Workplace Learning.  Thanks to Season One Sponsor Intrepid by Vital Source.

1:5 How Come We Think It's OK For Sales People To Miss 70% Of Quota?

Listen, to learn from, Sanchita Sur, Founder and CEO of Emplay, the company behind Sales GPS, the only AI-based turn-by-turn Sales Enablement coaching system, on:

• Why so many of even the greatest sales people are just not delivering
• How data-enabled Learning may change that picture
• The 70-20-10 matrix - and how to use it to better track Workplace achievement
• Ways to help better support your Sales team - and why that really DOESN’T mean replace them with machines
• How conversation automation may soon be your new best friend
• and a really useful AI/ML terminology unpack!

Resources to help us all learn together:

Sanchita’s bio reflects her significant contribution to the modern Sales Enablement discussion: a significant contributor to the creation of Jenny Dearborn’s landmark Data Driven: How Performance Analytics Delivers Extraordinary Sales Results, she has over 13 years of experience in enterprise-performance management, process consulting and direct sales.

Prior to founding Emplay, Sanchita worked at KPMG, Cable and Wireless, iGATE, BTS and BlueShield of California in management consulting and account management roles, after training in her native India in Electronics Engineering and Industrial Management.

Sanchita’s company website is here, and her LinkedIn profile here.



Listen, to learn together, to ex-Microsoft bootcamp business model disruptor Ludo Fourrage, Founder and Chief Product & Learning Officer of Nucamp, on:

  • Let’s make it as expensive and difficult as possible to try and get into the IT industry. Actually, you know something? Let’s not
    In 2016, there were 1.25m software developer jobs going vacant. That’s a lot of H1Bs, guys
  • ‘Second-tier cities’? We love them
  • How a business mission became a social mission
  • A community coding approach. What’s one of them?
  • Why the Marine metaphor for the bootcamp experience may have to be dropped now
    and finally
  • Why I charge 90% less than the other guys - and am still growing like Gangbusters

Resources to help us all learn together:

Ludo asks anyone interested in what he’s doing to check out Nucamp here - but be clear… he doesn’t mean the RV company of the somewhat similar name. Just so’s you know.


1:3 From Wild west scholar to northwest edtech entrepeneur

Listen, to learn from Sam Herring, CEO & Co-Founder of Seattle-based ed tech leader Intrepid by VitalSource on:

  • How researching the individual stories of Wild West characters shaped a vision for educational tech achievement
  • There really won’t be a Dr Evil with a pinkie in his mouth controlling the Learning software market
  •  Where the $40 billion that got invested in ed tech these past 20 years really went
  • Why not a lot of the ‘thousand ed tech’ flower start-ups will ever probably bloom
  • Why setting up a content library really isn’t all you gotta do to become a good CLO
  • Why small-bore thinking sucks and finally
  • Platform/services, LMS/LXP… is that still the right question if we drop a recession on it all?

Resources to help us all learn together:

Sam would love anyone interested to connect with him and his outfit at its main website here:
Full disclosure: we are honored to remind you that Intrepid is the sponsor of the first season of ‘Learning Is The New Working’ episodes - thanks again!

1:2 The Human Superpower the Robots will never have

Listen, to learn, from Dani Johnson, Co-Founder and Principal Analyst of RedThread Research:

  • Why living on a mountain in Utah is kinda great for getting to either Coast
  • Why her motto is, ‘I’m better today than I was yesterday, but I’m going to be better tomorrow’
  • Why it’s dumb to skip to the ‘answer at the end’ of research; it’s the journey that’s of the real value to you
  • The legacy of THAT Bersin By Deloitte report
  • You’ve heard it before, but yeah - we really have to give up on the 1960s Industrial Design mindset, people
  • The imminent Big Ed Tech convergence, and why it matters to the buyer
  • How L&D really is everyone’s job now and finally
  • And how measuring conformity isn’t really doing anything but hit YOUR ‘efficiency’ numbers.

Resources to help us all learn together:

Dani suggests we all go to her company’s main website here to find out more: RedThread Research

She is also a regular contributor to publications in our field including CLO, HR and Employment Relations Today.

1:1 You Now Live on Planet VUCA. Live With it!

Listen, to learn, from well-known author and commentator on Workplace Learning issues Lisa Kay Solomon on:

  • How a part of The Philly Diaspora ended up in Menlo Park
  • Why you can be scared or fascinated by the future - but you can’t ignore it
  • What ‘Outside-In Thinking’ about change would look like - and how it could help your organisation
  • Why CEOs need to drop the PowerPoint and start a meeting with a bit of Bold Wonderment… but not in a Kumbaya Way
  • What a journey from Transactional to Mission Learning is all about
  • Why our minds are coded to remember, not empathise - and how you can exploit that
  • and finally
  • The interesting - and surprising - self-test to find out if you’re a Designer, too.

Resources to help us all learn together: Lisa recommends we look at her main website www.lisakaysolomon.com, but also ‘Just Google me’ - as she has a wealth of content and interviews out there to research. Her books are available from Amazon here:

Find out more about the d.school - more formally, The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University - here, and find out how to take a class or join one of its regular executive workshops here

1:0 A Sense Of Crisis: Why Workplace Learning Is In Big Trouble, And What We Can Do About It

In our launch season trailer, listen, to learn, from former Microsoft CLO and now independent Workplace Learning consultant Chris Pirie, CEO & Founder of The Learning Futures Group:

  • Why anyone interested in learning science, the future of workplace learning, the latest smarts for great sales enablement, the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the future of workplace learning and The Rise of The Robots should listen to this new podcast
  • What kind of a brain you have after 108 straight quarters hitting your numbers in Corporate America
  • Why Chief Learning Officers need to start looking at what adjacent disciplines - neuroscience and psychology especially - can offer them if they’re serious about addressing the growing backlash against traditional ways of delivering company staff development
  • How the software we throw at our brains might have changed a lot these past 20 years - but the underlying hardware hasn’t (= can’t)
  • What Microsoft’s Satya Nadella can teach us all
  • Why the NGOs don’t need our ‘help’ on this - in fact, we need theirs
  • and finally
  • How to develop a growth mindset.

Resources to help us all learn together:

Chris Pirie on LinkedIn

Chris’s new company: www.LearningFuturesGroup.com