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Masie's 30 Under 30: Interview with Jessica Rydz, Health Care Service Corporation

Each year, The Masie Center introduces us to 30 young leaders in the learning industry with its 30 Under 30 award. Maestro has the privilege of interviewing several of these individuals each year. We look forward to hearing their fresh perspectives and getting a glimpse of their predictions for the future of the learning industry. 

Today, we share with you an interview with Senior Performance Consultant for Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), Jessica Rydz.

Tell us a little bit about your company and your role within it.

Jessica: Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) is the largest customer-owned health insurance company in the United States. HCSC offers health and life insurance products to more than 14.5 million members through its subsidiaries which include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. HCSC employs more than 20,000 people and is continuing to expand as the health insurance market evolves.

Currently, I work for a learning development area called Marketing University. Marketing University is an enterprise performance development and learning solutions organization for Sales, Account Management, and Marketing. As a Senior Performance Consultant, I am responsible for instructor-led training offerings, development of eLearning courses, and the creation and revision of several curriculums that support the sales and marketing departments.

Tell us about some of the things you are doing to keep learners engaged.

Jessica: In order for learners to retain information learned in training sessions or online courses, the learners must be engaged. In instructor-led training offerings, it is important to incorporate scenario-based activities and collaborative teamwork wherever possible. I have seen that adult learners learn best when they are asked to apply the content to real-life scenarios. A similar approach is taken when I design and develop e-learning courses. It is important to challenge the learner through student-centered, problem-based learning that encourages the learner to “think outside the box” and apply what they have learned.

How have you seen technology incorporated into learning?

Jessica: One of the most interesting things about the learning field is to see how technology has impacted how students learn. When I was growing up, we had a computer lab that we used a couple of times a month – now we have classrooms throughout the country where each student has their own tablet device and is able to interact with the instructor through that device! In the corporate environment, technology has also played a huge role in learning. A majority of our training deliverables are now available through our Learning Management System. Learners have the opportunity to interact with material from a wide variety of devices and partake in “on-demand learning” - where they are able to choose when and where they want to take courses. When we deliver training in a classroom, that training is almost always recorded with audio and video so that learners can go back and view the material again. One of the most important advantages of these advances in technology is that learners are given more choice in their education.

Challenges do you see for the next generation of learning leaders — people like you?

Jessica: As the learning and training community continues to grow, the needs of learners and employers are continuing to become more diversified. More than ever, learning professionals need to tailor training so that it fits the needs of the individual. While some learners might prefer to learn through watching a video, others might prefer to work in a more hands-on manner. As learning leaders, we need to be prepared to design, develop, and challenge these learners that may have different needs. As technology continues to grow, we will also need to consider how learners prefer to be trained, whether it is through online conferencing software, mobile devices, or traditional instructor-led offerings. Learning leaders need to stay current with new technologies while continuing to provide relevant, challenging training opportunities.

What excites you about the future of learning?

Jessica: What excites me most about the future of learning is how it is constantly changing and adapting. I am excited to see how the learning environment transforms in the next few years. I would like to see learning that is more personal to the individual employee. If an employee already has a base level knowledge of the content, why not let that employee move on to more challenging material? I am excited to create new learning materials for our employees that will assist them with their career development. As technology continues to advance, I am motivated to continue to reach the individual learner in new and exciting ways.

Want to learn more? Get connected with Jessica!

Follow her on Twitter: @JessicaRydz

Connect on LinkedIn

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