Eighth in our series of 30 Under Thirty interviews is Theo Moser, Engagement Manager for Harvard Business Publishing, a Leadership Development company with a focus on helping large, global organizations that view leadership development as a strategic priority in building their businesses and leadership pipelines.
In his role as Engagement Manager, Theo leads the design and delivery of blended learning programs for cohorts of high-potential leaders and executives. Based on client input and a needs assessment, they design a curriculum based around the core competencies the client organization is trying to develop. Through a combination of self-study, case discussion, expert lectures, and application exercises, Harvard Business Publishing teaches leaders general management capabilities through a virtual, online experience using webinar and video conferencing technologies, as well as a web-based platform for content and discussion forums.
Maestro: Tell me about some of the things you are doing to stay current in the world of learning.
Theo: Being in the world of distance education and online learning is a constantly evolving field—there is no standard to go by or framework to follow so we’re constantly innovating on the fly and tweaking our model to better serve our learners. In the 3+ years I’ve been working in this field, I’ve seen webinar technology improve, online collaboration methods evolve, and a strong push for more mobile methods of learning. With first-hand experience and by keeping current with learning and technology trends—through blogs like these and social media outlets like Twitter and others—I’ve been able to stay abreast of the ever-changing world we work in.
Maestro: What challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders - people like you?
Theo: There seems to be a lack of defined “career paths” in our field which might lead to churn among young workers. On the flip-side, the idea of ever-evolving roles and businesses models is attractive to my generation because of our desire to be constantly challenged in our careers.
Maestro: What excites you about the future of learning?
Theo: That distance learning is here to stay. With the plethora of MOOCs, the introduction of edX by Harvard and MIT, and the cost-savings benefits gained from online education it’s clear to me that there is only going to be an increasing focus on these learning methods. With that comes a lot of responsibility, though, to make the learning experience just as rich and impactful as traditional, face-to-face teaching. As technology continues to proliferate, the barriers to education will continue to diminish and, as a result, the entire world will benefit from access to education. To me this is very exciting.
Maestro: What advice do you have for companies struggling to keeping up with the changing landscape of learning?
Theo: Learning needs to be a strategic priority of any company that hopes for long term growth and success. It’s no longer a question of if but rather a question of how much a company should invest in Leadership Development. I believe senior/executive sponsorship is imperative for any organization to truly become a learning organization, starting ideally at the very top with the CEO. Learning also needs to be part of the company culture for it to truly have a lasting impact.