American Bankers Association: Engaging millennial members with social learning and collaboration
1 November 2021
Founded in 1875, the American Bankers Association (ABA) is a membership organization serving banks of all sizes and charters. They provide online professional development opportunities for over 180,000 bankers.
Prior to implementing Cornerstone, ABA leaders did their research. “We asked ourselves, ‘What could constitute mobile, social and collaborative learning at ABA?’ We determined this meant continuing to offer formal learning opportunities with specific and measurable outcomes. But these opportunities would also be accessible anywhere, on any device, and at the learner’s convenience,” said Marsch. “We also wanted our programs to enable learners to have the opportunity to interact with peers or the instructor and to give and receive feedback, both synchronously and asynchronously.”
A significant component of ABA’s charter is providing professional development opportunities for its members, but with members scattered across the nation, delivering training efficiently, engagingly, and scalably was an ongoing challenge.
ABA recognizes that demographics in the banking workforce are rapidly changing. According to Clare Marsch, SVP, training and development, at the ABA, “Millennial workers are now the largest share of the workforce. They are very mobile, tech-savvy, and adept with social networking both personally and on the job. To stay relevant, ABA needs to ensure our training meets millennials’ expectations.”
Training is marketed through Extended Enterprise, facilitating an ongoing revenue stream. “With Cornerstone, we can efficiently provide students with valuable learning opportunities and resources that improve their skills and knowledge. It’s not necessarily a one-time delivery program. Students can refer back to the training on demand and print out guides,” said Marsch.
Plus with Connect and Learning, students in cohorts can collaborate easily, discussing topics, providing feedback to their fellow students, and playing roles in banking simulations.
Streamlined and unified learning to improve the member experience. ABA members now have access to a one-stop-shop of classes, transcripts, discussions, and instructors. “Cornerstone enables us to provide a unified experience,” said Marsch. “Students appreciate that they can log in once and access everything they need. They can complete assignments, participate in discussions, take quizzes and exams, and submit CE credits all on the same platform. Instructors like it, too, as they can moderate discussions and enter grades in a single location.
Enabled students to learn at their own pace while collaborating with learning communities. Members can take courses on their own time while remaining part of a team. Enhancing the collaborative element in learning improves learning overall and helps ABA engage learners over time — crucial to supporting an ongoing “culture of learning” within member banks. “Students self-select courses. They can watch videos on their own, but there are certain activities required each week,” said Marsch. “These activities are mandated at first, but they tend to develop beyond the instructor’s expectations as students begin sharing their experience and context.”
Facilitated ongoing simulations. Previously, courses with simulations were conducted in person, limiting member participation. With Cornerstone, ABA enables bankers from all over the nation to learn together. “One of our senior-level courses is an online simulation, where bankers can team up and make financial decisions that mirror the choices they must make on the job. Cornerstone enables us to deliver it virtually instead of making it location-specific,” said Marsch.
Engaged millennials with social learning. Using Cornerstone, ABA can deliver “micro” learning opportunities, short lessons delivered in a social context. This micro-learning includes offering short videos, enabling user-generated content, and facilitating discussions. Social learning is particularly critical to the ABA’s ability to engage and retain millennial members.