A good Chief Learning Officer is more than just someone who knows a lot about training; in fact, a good CLO is probably more akin to a chef than an HR rep. By creating the perfect recipe for training, development, and talent management, CLOs create engaging learning opportunities that directly benefit learners and keep them coming back for seconds.

Penn’s CLO Program 

Perhaps that’s why the inclusion of the Penn Chief Learning Officer Executive Doctoral Program in Penn State’s degree catalog is so monumental: Finally, schools are starting to catch up with business in terms of understanding the importance of an impeccably trained CLO.

So, what’s the deal? Is a CLO born or made? The answer: It depends. While a good CLO trusts his or her instincts and the power of experience, a degree could put the finishing touches on a recipe for success.

More Than HR

Organizations that rely on the HR department to take on the role traditionally held by a well-trained, experienced CLO could be giving their employees leftovers. The HR department is already slammed with all of the duties required in hiring, maintaining, and answering employees.

By creating a degree specifically for aspiring CLO’s, Penn State is sending a message to organizations everywhere: HR can’t do what a CLO does. When offered the chance to study success stories, read up on the latest techniques, and even experience learning for themselves, CLO’s can easily give more to the hiring, onboarding, training, and retention process than the overworked and overtired HR department.

Blending Methods

If CLO’s go into a doctoral program as novices, they certainly come out as four-star experts on the subject of corporate training, learning, and talent development and retention. Simply by subjecting themselves to the same programs, delivery methods, and technology they’ll one day present to learners, CLO’s can gain a deeper understanding of blended learning.

As program professors demonstrate the various methods and theories CLO’s will use on the job, it instills an empathetic response that could be awakened on the job: If CLO’s have already experienced great training, they’re more like to pass that on when implementing their own modules in the future.

Brain Games

A university-based CLO program is a lot more than learning styles and delivery methods, however; there, CLO’s will also learn about learners’ brains and how they respond to various types of information. If a CLO has learning, through careful training and education, that learners absorb material better after exercise, for example, that CLO might improve learner cognition by instituting walking meetings. Conversely, a well-educated CLO might better understand neuroplasticity in a way that leads him or her to institute learning games as part of the training process.

All of that hard work can easily be rewarded: According to Salary Expert, the average CLO is raking in $110K to $150K, depending on geographical location. While the idea of a doctorate program for CLO’s may seem unnecessary to some, it’s clear that its mere inclusion bodes well for the future. With more and more organizations recognizing the need for a dedicated CLO, you can expect better training and more accessible programs in the future. Bon appetit!