If anything was clear from 2020, innovation and adaptability are the foundations of a sustainable and thriving community. While I am relieved to know COVID-19 vaccinations are underway, the long-term effects of this pandemic are still unknown. How will global health be managed moving forward? When will our economy recover from closures and unemployment? And, one area I’m particularly concerned about, when will all children return to in-person learning, and how will the cumulative hours spent learning at home impact their future?
Fortunately, I do believe this move to remote K-12 learning is only temporary. But what keeps me up at night is the potential long-term effects that this disruption will have on our students—particularly those more vulnerable to disruption. According to STAR Assessment results of 5.3 million students, schools reported lower rates of achievement in the areas of math and reading in 2020. And based on student assessments conducted in January 2019 and during the initial months of the pandemic in 2020, Sylvan Learning confirmed that students’ grades 3-8 are roughly three months behind in skill knowledge. And as John Bielinski, senior director of research & development at FastBridge, noted, "the data shows that we’ve reached a critical point. If we don’t place greater emphasis on remedying losses now, achievement gaps are likely to widen later."
Parents Can’t Do It Alone
Last Spring, when schools first closed their doors, a wave of panic rushed over many parents. How would they ensure their children properly finish up their school year from home? How would they keep an eye on their kids while juggling their own remote work situations? Like many parents, I came to terms with the fact that my kids weren’t going back to school anytime soon and got creative with their learning setup. I turned my dining room into a classroom. I got my kids computers, chairs, and headphones, and I buckled up for a few more months of balancing being a parent, a teacher, and a full-time executive director running the Cornerstone OnDemand Foundation.
I'm certainly not alone. One of our incredible Cornerstone employees, Payal Shah, Director of Content Strategy and Operations at Cornerstone, who is working remotely with her husband and school-aged daughter while also completing an eMBA, candidly shared her experience:
"Both my husband and I find ourselves wearing multiple hats—employee, parent, teacher, student, cook, cleaner, son, daughter. On any given day, we are hosting virtual meetings and working on deliverables while answering all clarifying questions and assisting our second-grade daughter to the best of our ability during her asynchronous study time. We would love to spend our afternoons teaching our daughter math and reading books, but with so many demands, it’s not always possible to give her the one-on-one educational support she requires right now."
For all parents, keeping your kids on task during the school day while managing your own work obligations feels nearly impossible, even for those lucky enough to have flexible schedules and generous vacation time.
Partnering with Sylvan Learning
We at Cornerstone have taken this issue to heart. Late last year, we kicked off a collaboration with one of our long-time customers, Sylvan Learning, a leading provider of personalized tutoring for students in grades K-12. Together, we created a program called Always Learning @Home to provide discounted tutoring to the school-aged children of our employees. The tutoring sessions are held virtually and consist of one-on-one lessons with certified tutors with an emphasis on math skills and reading comprehension.
This is more than just a timely perk for our employees. This type of supplemental educational support is an important tool for minimizing education loss and achievement gaps as a result of the pandemic. In fact, according to an open letter to President-elect Joe Biden proposing a solution for healing the massive learning losses of our students in math and reading, the Center for Research and Reform at Johns Hopkins University revealed new research suggesting the most effective strategy for struggling students is one-to-one tutoring.
Based on the initial rollout, the program has been well-received by Cornerstone employees across the U.S. Over 100 tutoring sessions have been completed to-date, and that number is expected to grow as students return to classes in the new year. Payal, who I mentioned above, was one of the first to join the program, elaborated on her experience:
"When we found a tutor that could understand my child’s needs, pace and interest, I could see the immediate benefit of this program. In addition to providing helpful resources for me and my husband to review with our daughter, the tutor we are working with makes the sessions engaging using creative learning techniques to teach math. Never before have I seen my daughter so excited to learn math, especially in a virtual setting. To witness my child’s academic confidence levels rise during a challenging time is one of the most valuable benefits I could imagine."
Additionally, I was particularly warmed by the responses we heard from employees without school-aged children. They expressed deep appreciation for this benefit from Cornerstone and even offered to further support their colleagues with kids.
Building on the early success of this program, I'm thrilled to share that we are now able to offer Always Learning @Home to our U.S. customers and their employees as well. This means thousands of families around the nation will have the same opportunity to support their children in the coming weeks.
Putting Our People First
Amidst changing circumstances, it’s critical for organizations to re-assess the needs of their people and implement policies and programs that truly put people first. Rooted in the concept of unlocking potential, Cornerstone continues to work towards making learning more accessible through its technology solutions, work with non-profits, and unique people-first policies. Through Always Learning @Home, Cornerstone is not only investing in the wellbeing and success of its people, but is also extending this investment in education to the next generation.
To learn more about the Always Learning @Home program, click here.
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Cornerstone Partners With Microsoft to Bring Learning into the Flow of Work
Making time for learning during a busy workday is challenging. According to a recent survey, a majority of employees reported thattime is the biggest barrier to their development. But over the course of the pandemic, and even in the years before, we’ve seen how quickly business needs—and therefore, the needs for employee skills—change. Learning is more important than ever and needs to be delivered in new ways that drive accessibility and information retention. To help companies remain truly adaptable and nimble, they need to integrate learning into the flow of work. It’s why Cornerstone and Microsoft are partnering to make learning in the flow of work possible and support employees’ growing learning needs. Both of Cornerstone’s LMS platforms (Cornerstone Learning and Saba Cloud) will be integrated into Microsoft Viva—Microsoft’s new Employee Experience Platform (EXP)—to make it easy for employees to discover, share and engage with learning content without having to switch back and forth between solutions. "Cornerstone is bringing great value to organizations by integrating its solutions within Microsoft Teams, right where employees are working every day," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, COO, Experiences + Devices at Microsoft Corp. "The new Microsoft Viva empowers employees to make learning and development a natural and intuitive part of their daily work." How Cornerstone Powers Learning in the Flow of Work on the Microsoft Employee Experience Platform Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced through Teams, Microsoft Viva seamlessly helps your organization build human connection, foster growth and wellbeing, and drive peak business performance. And now that experience encompasses learning, including the integration with Cornerstone. Incorporating learning opportunities from Cornerstone’s LMS offerings into Microsoft Viva Learning makes it easy not only to access learning, but also integrate it into the flow of work. Employees using Teams can seek out, share and/or assign learning content based on their current needs. For example, if an employee is struggling with their workload, a manager could engage in a real-time 1:1 conversation and based on that discussion, serve up training on time management or organization skills. This way, in addition to providing real-time coaching and feedback, the manager is also able to give their employee development resources in a timely and relevant manner. In another instance, an employee that’s familiar with HTML but hasn’t used the skill for a while might find a quick refresher course—rather than spending time and energy re-learning through trial-and-error. For more on the power of this partnership, watch this video announcing Microsoft Viva Learning Removing Barriers to Learning Cornerstone and Microsoft’s collaboration will help remove barriers to learning and empower organizations and their employees to grow and adapt for the future. Our learning solutions contain training to meet employee needs across on-demand learning, compliance and career development. Through this partnership and through Microsoft, employees will soon have the ability to access learning where they are, when they need it, to power stronger individual and company performance. As a leader and pioneer in learning, we’ve accumulated the largest pool of learning data and insights in the world over the course of our 20 years in business. We are thrilled to share that experience, expertise and passion with Teams and its users. Read the full announcement to learn more about Cornerstone’s partnership with Microsoft.
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Cornerstone Cares Free Learning Portal Recognized for Online Learning Innovation by EdTech Breakthrough
Today, we are honored to share that EdTech Breakthrough, a leading market intelligence organization that recognizes the top companies and solutions in the global educational technology market, has selected Cornerstone as the 2020 winner of its "Adaptive Learning Solution of the Year" award in the second annual EdTech Breakthrough Awards program. This year’s program attracted more than 1,750 nominations from over 15 different countries throughout the world. Helping K-12 teachers transition to online learning With more than 55 million U.S. students displaced from school closures due to COVID-19, thousands of educators were forced to quickly adapt to an online learning format, requiring them to rapidly transform how they teach and engage with their students. Responding to this vast and pressing need, Cornerstone leveraged its internal expertise in online learning to create a free content playlist as part of its Cornerstone Cares solution for teachers, offering best practices and tactical information as educators shift to this new way of teaching. To date, over 70,000 people have visited the site since its launch in March, in addition to the millions of users who leverage Cornerstone Learning and Content Anytime through their organizations’ portals. A critical need for adaptive learning solutions "Both the significant increase in online learning consumption by learners on the Cornerstone Learning platform and the free resources offered through Cornerstone Cares demonstrate the critical need for adaptive learning solutions that provide relevant and authentic content," said Lisa Hartley, AVP of Growth Products at Cornerstone. "We are extremely proud to contribute to the dedicated educators during this difficult time and this 2020 EdTech Breakthrough Award is a fantastic validation of the hard work and innovative thinking from the entire Cornerstone team." This specially curated Cornerstone Cares playlist features courses such as "A Teacher’s Guide to Online Learning," designed by former teacher and Head of Cornerstone Studios, Summer Salomonsen, Ed.D. The resource includes bite-size, informative videos and downloadable guides that elevate the conversation from "How do I teach online?" to "How might I continue to connect with and impact my students online?" Due to teachers being under a significant amount of pressure with limited time to make this transition, the content is short, digestible and available on any device or platform and also easily downloadable for those who don’t have online access at home. Learn more about EdTech Breakthrough and Cornerstone Cares If you want to learn more about the 2020 EdTech Breakthrough Awards and see a complete list of winners, please visit their site. You can also check out Cares.CSOD.com to access learning content on a variety of critical topics that can help you transition to a remote working or teaching environment, manage stress and mitigate unconscious bias - all for free on Cornerstone Cares.
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Cornerstone Earns Multiple 2020 Top Rated Awards by TrustRadius
As a global people development leader, Cornerstone is obsessed with enabling our clients to achieve significant business results through world-class learning, recruiting, performance and HR technology solutions. Because innovating for the success of our clients is our top priority, we are honored to be named a leader among Corporate Learning Management, Talent Management and Employee Performance Management solution providers! The recognition by TrustRadius holds significant value to our company as these lists are based purely on above-average customer satisfaction ratings for business technology. Since 2016, the TrustRadius Top Rated Awards have become the industry standard for unbiased recognition of B2B technology products. Based entirely on customer feedback, they have never been influenced by analyst opinion or status as a TrustRadius customer. Learn more about the TrustRadius Top Rated Awards and hear from verified users on how much they value Cornerstone: â— Corporate Learning Management â— Talent Management â— Employee Performance Management Are you a Cornerstone client and looking to share your own feedback? Please leave a review here!