Welcome to a new monthly series “Modern Learner Spotlight” where we highlight a member of the learning community who has experienced success using the Learning Cluster Design model. 

We couldn’t think of a better person to kick this series off with than with Loc Nguyen, Director of Customer Education for Bluescape Software. Loc and his team began their LCD journey with joining the public workshop and subsequently, the applied success of their learnings was featured in our book, Designing for Modern Learning: Beyond ADDIE and SAM.  Most recently, Loc and his team won the ATD BEST Award for their learning programming at Bluescape, and Loc sat down with us to discuss what went into winning the award and why it’s so special.

Question: You just received the ATD BEST award for what you’ve done with the LCD model at Bluescape, how does it feel?

Nguyen: The ATD BEST award was given at the beginning of this year, and it is super special to me because I think what really struck a chord was the fact that that award is traditionally presented to enterprise companies. And we are anything, but an enterprise company, you know. We’re a small startup of about 240-ish folks. The thing is we’ve managed to do quite a bit with our L&D program. Overall it was validating to know that the work that we’ve put into building these programs has been recognized, and that we’re on par with even the largest companies out there who have much larger teams with much more funding to curate these experiences for their employees, but also for their end customers.

Question: You went from a team of two, to creating a modern L&D department, and now you are an award winner. What sets you apart as a leader that helped make this happen?

Nguyen: I think what sets me apart is something that actually was not recognized when I had started in the startup world, which is my Air Force experience. My prior experience in the military, being an officer and part of a flight crew of 15 to 20 folks.  And a lot of our, a lot of our focus was life or death type of situations where you couldn’t stand to be off your game because everything you did, all the decisions that you made, were on behalf of other people and other lives.

And so I take that into the software world, into the startup world and I build my teams in the same way. So, as I’m adding new members to the team or as I’m adding new initiatives to our ongoing list of programs, it’s with the end goal of creating something very purposeful on behalf of our customers on behalf of the employees that consume our content. So it’s very focused and targeted towards doing something for other people.

Question: What are some unique points of view of the L&D field that you have?

Nguyen: I view learning content, educational content as a very unselfish endeavor. I don’t profess to be someone who knows how other people learn or can predict how other people learn. I kind of take the opposite approach. I build as much content as I can, and I allow the end learner, the end user to consume whatever type of content that resonates with them to learn via whatever means that are appropriate to them given their situation. We are very much aligned with the LCD model where we try to create as much varied content as possible around a single topic.

Question: What is next for learning at Bluescape? Are you going to go for ATD BEST Award #2?

NguyenI feel as if learning has changed so much because of this pandemic and we have this opportunity here in most places in the States to start implementing this hybrid working model and this hybrid learning model. And, it’s probably gonna change a lot of the things that we do. So I want to maintain flexibility within our programs and within our team and I don’t want to, structure our work so that we’re building towards an award. I want to structure our work in the sense that it’s unstructured.  I want to kind of have it unstructured to the extent possible so that we can experiment that we can keep our minds open. We can keep our mentalities free and unbiased towards the past and more focused on the present so that we can understand what’s happening, react to the current time in place and build our content that way.

Want more Loc? Be sure to connect with him on LinkedIn and check out this other interview with him on YouTube.