Customer Story

The Ohio State University: Building 
a learning culture 
for the future

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Higher Education



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The Ohio State University (OSU), founded in 1870, is recognized by US News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Colleges” and a top 10 public university for its exemplary approach to curriculum, campus life, technology, and innovation. With the main campus in Columbus, Ohio, which includes The Ohio State College of Medicine, plus six satellite campuses and over half a million alums around the globe, Buckeye pride is worldwide. To continue their strong learning legacy, OSU needed a centralized learning management system (LMS) to efficiently deliver training and track compliance among staff, faculty members, and student employees. They selected Cornerstone for its user-friendly interface, robust reporting features, and customer-focused strategies.

  • Main Challenge: Delivering and managing training across 100,000 learners
  • Solution: Cornerstone Learning
  • Results: Centralized learning ecosystem that flexibly serves multiple learning populations

Cornerstone becomes OSU’s MVP

“We really have a very diverse population,” said Jen Spohn, senior systems analyst at The Ohio State University. “We needed something we could build into the future with. With our unique needs, one of the things we were looking for was an LMS that supported various integrations.”

Before partnering with Cornerstone, OSU’s training was very distributed, with multiple systems delivering several training titles — some purchased and some homegrown. Removing duplicative titles, auditing training records, running reports, and maintaining compliance for over 100K users was a formidable undertaking. Implementing Cornerstone Learning was a total game changer.

OSU scores big with BuckeyeLearn

Focused on compliance training and career development, BuckeyeLearn is an all-in-one system that empowers people with personalized, scalable learning to foster self-driven growth. The shared online learning platform serves the university and medical center with non-academic topics such as health, safety, security, discrimination, and more. Fully customizable content varies from self-paced online courses to videos, images, documents, PDFs, instructor-led classes, assessments, surveys, and evaluations.

The university uses Cornerstone Learning to identify smaller segmented groups within the system to meet their needs and better define their learning opportunities. Tailoring the training to specific groups has made keeping employees in compliance much more manageable and relatable to the employees and their jobs.

“Delivering large-scale training assignments gives us a way to communicate important, up-to-date information,” Spohn added. “And it ensures that the right populations are receiving this targeted training to build and grow OSU’s learning culture.”

Tackling Title IX training one Buckeye at a time

Spohn also noted that after working with Cornerstone, OSU reached a massive milestone for its Title IX training. “We were at 95% completion for our Title IX training, which was huge for us.” Education to prevent discrimination based on sex is required each academic year at the university and helps all members of the OSU community maintain a respectful learning environment.

According to Spohn, “It was the pinnacle we set out to accomplish.”

Game-changing training for future wins

OSU recognizes the delicate balance between data security and its desire to preserve the open, information-sharing mission of its culture. All institutional data is assigned one of four classifications in accordance with the legal, regulatory, administrative, ethical, and contractual requirements to protect it. To better understand institutional data and how to safeguard it, certain students, faculty, and medical center employees must take training based on the data they’re permitted to access.

“It was a major achievement to implement and centralize our institutional data policy,” observed Spohn. “Everyone in the medical center must take HIPAA training, plus institutional data policy training. Cornerstone helped us navigate all the hills and valleys and various needs across the entire enterprise.” And now, the university can utilize Cornerstone Learning to target populations and deliver intricate trainings according to employees’ titles and positions. “The diverse sharing capabilities brought our reporting to brand-new heights. We’re able to keep track of training at a 30,000-foot level. The LMS allows us to take a more informed approach to training strategy and implementation.”

OSU continues to innovate as it looks to the future

Spohn explained that many of their most ambitious learning initiatives are moving in the right direction as The Ohio State University evolves and continues to discover its identity as a learning community. “We have a new learning governance group we’ve wanted to create for years.” This group is from around the university and medical center and invests deeply in OSU’s learning culture. They closely monitor the university’s training to make it more precise and impactful every year. Spohn adds that while training helps solve problems, it’s not the entire puzzle. “Our learning governance group will have a say on how we address things here at OSU. We hope to open that conversation around ways we can continue being an exemplary learning institution.”

Integrations Powering OSU’s Success

Cornerstone works in lockstep with OSU to help the university champion learning and engagement for a future ready workforce and student body. “Our customer success manager has been amazing. We meet with him monthly. He’s instrumental in helping us think through things on a more granular level and stay ahead of what’s coming down the pipeline.” Spohn went on to note how participating in the Cornerstone Success Center connects her with industry peers and best practices, ultimately expanding her Cornerstone Learning knowledge and delivering fresh ideas for supercharging OSU’s learning initiatives.

Spohn wrapped up by saying, “Cornerstone has been the key to the success we’ve experienced here in Buckeye Nation, day in and day out. I can’t say enough good things about it.”

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