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Bersin & Associates Announces the 2008 Learning Leaders Winners

Complimentary Research Report Details the Best Practices of the 26 Winning

Oakland, CA – January 29, 2009 -- Bersin & Associates, the only research and advisory firm focused on enterprise learning and talent management, today announced the winners of the Bersin & Associates 2008 Learning Leaders Program. Based on detailed criteria compiled over years of research, the Learning Leaders Program recognizes organizations which have developed and implemented effective and efficient approaches to employee learning and development resulting in significant business improvement.

The Bersin & Associates 2008 Learning Leaders include 26 organizations in United States, Europe and Australia. The winners are:

Operational Program Excellence

  • Beers + Cutler, for its college internship onboarding program which greatly improved the intern experience, led to better hiring decisions and generated revenues.
  • The Boeing Company, for its learning program for excellence in the rigorous Systems Engineering approach to development, manufacturing, and customer service.
  • CA, for its coaching program for sales managers, featuring on-the-job training and an online support community, which has reduced turnover and increased sales volumes.
  • Textron, a winner in two categories, for its program for manufacturing leaders designed to teach all disciplines of integrated supply chain, which has reduced inventory costs and increased quality.

Organizational Management Excellence

  • Freeman, for its integration of training and HR, achieving a customer-driven, strategic focus on effective management of the entire employment life cycle.
  • Sun Microsystems, a winner in three categories, for its central learning services organization which operates as a successful profit center, serving employees, customers and partners.
  • Telstra, for its learning program, in partnership with Accenture, which supports its strategic imperative to develop a next-generation engineering, technical and operations workforce.

Leadership Development Excellence

  • Sun Microsystems, which prepares senior and executive leaders through skills assessment, coaching, training, and a sophisticated custom-designed simulation.
  • Textron, for its leadership program in which participants apply core marketing processes, tools, and principles to the entire product lifecycle using a real Textron business challenge.
  • The United States Air Force, for its initiative, developed in conjunction with Vangent, Inc., targeting 42,000 officers and based on well-defined competencies and levels of proficiency required at every rank.

Learning Initiative Excellence

  • KPMG LLP, whose performance measurement group implemented an enterprise-scale measurement technology infrastructure and sophisticated analytics methodologies, generating clear increases in productivity, efficiency, and time to competence.
  • Luxottica Retail, for implementation its enterprise-wide talent management strategy which includes a new LMS and talent management suite, governance boards, talent management processes, and the elimination of ah-hoc systems.
  • Vestas, which built a successful e-learning initiative for a global onboarding program using a series of short modules featuring virtual colleagues, doubling test scores.

Technology Excellence

  • Booz Allen Hamilton, which combines all talent-related functions into a single portal so employees know where to go when they need to do anything related to their employment and career.
  • Cisco, whose e-learning program quickly prepares the sales force for strategic product launches by consolidating new product and technology information into small chunks for self-paced, easy access at the time of need.
  • Sun Microsystems, for its YouTube-like portal where sales employees can post, view, rate, tag, share, or download content to computers or wireless iPod devices, allowing them to get information and guidance quickly and easily.

Vendor Innovation

  • Allen Communication Learning Services, for the Allen Learning Portal, a fully functional, on-demand, portal-type LMS solution targeted at the corporate market, with a unique pricing model -- a fixed price no matter how many learners use the system.
  • Brainshark, for The Brainshark Content Network, a YouTube-like open market for e-learning and other content, where users can search and purchase instructional content and then easily integrate into their own LMS.
  • InnerWorkings, for InnerWorkings Developer and InnerWorkings Recruiter, which offer ways for software organizations to hone and validate .NET developer skills through a structured learning and testing environment, with a library of learning challenges for employees and skills tests for candidates.
  • Kognito Interactive, for The Investigator, a web-based, interactive learning simulation that teaches human resource managers how to effectively and legally investigate complaints of workplace misconduct including sexual harasswww.niit.comment, retaliation, and unethical behavior.
  • Mzinga, for The Social Learning Suite, which combines LMS and performance management with social media and networking technologies, collaborative authoring, and virtual classroom capabilities within a single SaaS platform.
  • NIIT, for the learning administration solution it developed for its customer, Philips, which includes a global LMS coupled with 24x7 customer support services for employees in more than 80 countries.
  • Ninth House, for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Interactive Edition, an innovative personal and professional development solution, developed with FranklinCovey, building on the traditional 7 Habits classroom-based training with new, interactive activities.
  • Richardson, for Richardson QuickSkills, a package of web-based courses designed for sales professionals featuring a unique wizard-style interface for customizing content to reflect a company’s specific challenges and sales opportunities.
  • Saba, for The Saba Knowledge Center, a portal extension to Saba’s enterprise LMS, adding search engine functionality so that learners can find informal and formal learning activities, experts, and communities of practice.
  • Suddenly Smart, for SmartBuilder v3, a Flash-based web e-learning development platform with an intuitive, drag-and-drop authoring environment that enables users to quickly lay out content, incorporate rich media, establish robust interactivity and customize content from templates.

“The 2008 Learning Leaders represent the very best of enterprise learning with high impact on the business, which is especially important in this difficult economy,” said Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates. “We found several themes in common among these organizations -- a strong alignment with their most urgent business problems, a focus on collaboration and informal learning, and a priority on learning program adoption and change management. We believe that all training and development professionals can gain valuable insight from the Learning Leaders success stories.”

The Bersin & Associates report, Learning Leaders 2008: Award Winners, provides an in-depth look at the best practices of the 26 winners. Click here to receive a complimentary copy. A print version of the report can be ordered for $595.

Learning Leader winners will be recognized at Bersin & Associates upcoming research conference, IMPACT 2009: The Business of Talent®. The conference agenda includes a panel presentation, “The Best of the Best,” featuring representatives from the following winning organizations: Freeman, Sun Microsystems, The Boeing Company, Beers + Cutler and Vestas.

In addition, Learning Leaders Program partner Elearning! magazine features the 2008 winners in its January 2009 issue. Elearning! will also feature the Learning Leaders in follow-on articles and in webinars throughout 2009.

According to Catherine Upton, CEO and publisher of Elearning!, the Learning Leaders program is a compliment to the magazine’s goal of providing executives a roadmap to successful enterprise learning implementations. Upton added, “We are happy to announce that Sun Microsystems and Bersin & Associates will present a live web session at the Elearning! Summit about how Sun operates its successful and profitable central learning services.” Register for this complimentary session scheduled for April 30, 2009 at:

For more information on the Learning Leaders Program, go to To be added to the Bersin & Associates mailing list for Learning Leaders Program news, updates, and the 2009 call for applications, please contact

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning and talent management. The company’s WhatWorks® research and research-based services are designed to deliver actionable and practical guidance and to improve operational effectiveness and business impact.

Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and in-depth market analyses designed to assist professionals in making fast and confident decisions. Research areas include planning and strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management, technology and infrastructure, and measurement and analytics. Member benefits include strategic advisory services, briefings, forums, analyst interaction, and workshops.

Bersin & Associates is the host of the industry’s only annual research conference on enterprise learning and talent management. IMPACT 2009: The Business of Talent®, will be held April 14-16, 2009, in St Petersburg, Florida.

For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622, extension 223. 

About Elearning!

Elearning! helps business executives build smarter companies with enterprise-wide learning technologies. Elearning! Magazine provides executives a roadmap to building a high performance organization by focusing on industry best practices, real-world case studies, trends, analysis, new products and services. Elearning! Magazine, Government Elearning! Magazine, e-zines, E-News, Alerts, Elearning! Summits and Web sites are produced by B2B Media Company, LLC. To learn more, visit