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205 Accelerating Change: How Learning Innovators Overhauled “The System” in the USAF

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET
Monday, November 7

Tracks: Leadership

Innovation in learning is challenging; even more so in a learning and development (L&D) organization that has been wildly successful with the same approach for over 70 years. In 2018, Pentagon leadership challenged the Air Force’s education and training command to rethink learning for the 600,000-person service. Our challenge was to find a way to succeed in the critical mission to develop the world’s greatest airmen while reimagining and overhauling the very system that is developing those airmen today.

In this session you will learn how the US Air Force Air Education and Training Command is simultaneously achieving L&D production for a global workforce and challenging the very foundations of the existing system. You will learn why we believe improving our ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn is the key to defending our nation and how we envision the learning environment of 2030, including creating a dynamic, learner-centric approach to developing a diverse workforce. We will walk you through how we balance sustained performance with transformational change and how Air Force leaders realized they must be personally involved to overcome an entrenched organizational culture. We will share our approach to cultivating both incremental and transformative innovation and provide examples of how we are integrating mixed realities, artificial intelligence, and new content design and delivery methods to modernize Air Force learning. You will leave this session with a clear understanding of how to accelerate change in the learning environment, regardless of the size of your organization.

In this session, you will learn:

  • What the learning environment of 2030 will look like: learner attributes, learning and teaching methods, technology, and more
  • How to sustain a successful learning and development paradigm while simultaneously developing new paradigms to make prior success obsolete
  • How leaders at every level can innovate within a learning and development bureaucracy that is blatantly hostile to change
  • How to empower learners to take ownership of and drive change not only in their own learning, but the development of the entire workforce

Randy Coats

Executive Director, Future Learning, Analysis, and Innovation

Air Education and Training Command, US Air Force

Dr. Randy Coats serves as the executive director of future learning, analysis, and innovation at the US Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command. He holds a doctorate in strategy and innovation, teaches graduate courses in leadership and command, and is an ICF-certified executive coach. Randy is a former military officer/commander and an aggressive learner who is passionate about the future of learning and helping others use learning and teaching to gain deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them.