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701 All Carrots & No Sticks: How Adobe Pivoted Its Learning Strategy

1:45 PM - 2:45 PM ET
Tuesday, November 8

Tracks: Strategies

Employee enablement leaders often find themselves in a compliance-based, reactionary learning model where learners are required to complete training as demands trickle down from the top. At the end of 2020, were dealing with our fair share of challenges both inside and out of the workplace. Our learners were tired. Tired of last-minute training invites; tired of training that didn’t feel applicable; tired of screens and virtual learning. We decided to reframe the entire experience and offer our learners the power of choice in their learning journeys: The choice to know which professional skills to focus on and when. The choice of a learning modality suited to their workload and learning preferences. We also sought to use only positive, intrinsic motivation and focused on coaching managers to engage more with their employees’ learning goals.

In this session, we’ll share with you our learning story of creating a concept we called “University.” The aim was to stop pushing required training at a specific time and treat learning programs more like higher education, where leaners would opt-in based on their goals and needs. We began rolling out a quarterly enrollment-based process with a small pilot group, who could choose elective courses every quarter, with a small amount of “required” training on their calendars as well. Soon, we noticed our test group was leaning in and consuming more learning content than they ever had before. We realized that learners’ ability to take control of their learning destiny was proving to be more motivational than weekly compliance reports to their managers. Today, we are rolling this model out across all of Adobe’s field enablement teams. Our challenges have since shifted, as we now work to tackle change management, buy-in with key stakeholders, gamification at scale, operational efficiency, and building an infrastructure that can support over 3,000 learners. In sharing our experience, we hope to inspire others to start their own transformation journey; just don’t forget to lead with all carrots and no sticks.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Strategies to drive change management and buy-in across a Fortune 500 company
  • Which learning platforms and technologies we used to create an excellent learner experience
  • How to implement a “land and expand” strategy when rolling out a brand-new program
  • The hard truths of what we had to say “no” to while still maintaining relationships

Pam BergLundh

Adult Learning Strategist


Pam BergLundh is an innovative enablement professional who geeks out on reimagining and reinventing new ways to enable adult learners. Pam has dedicated 25 years to enablement, from teaching new hires and seasoned sales people to managing curriculum design teams and designing new learning experiences for the Adobe Field. Pam’s greatest achievement to date is the new Adobe University she co-founded, where “learning autonomy” is the secret to success. Pam gets most inspired by her colleague Wes Everson, her co-host of their sales podcast, “Spam & Cheese.”

Wes Everson

Manager, University Experience


Wes Everson joined Adobe in January 2017 as part of the TubeMogul acquisition. During her tenure at Adobe, she has served as head of training for Adobe Advertising Cloud and senior manager of services GTM readiness, where she’s been responsible for building and growing enablement programs for customers, partners, and sales employees. Her trademark passion for learner experience led to the Adobe Advertising Academy as a finalist in 2019 AdExchanger Awards for Best Educational Program, the Adobe-internal podcast “Spam & Cheese” with co-host Pam BergLundh, and the creation of the University Model for Adobe Sales Enablement. In her current role at Adobe, Wes continues to lead the vision, strategy, and roadmap for the University Model she co-founded alongside colleagues in 2020. Through fun and meaningful engagement, she hopes to empower learners in being the best versions of themselves.