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November 23, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Cloud Based Online Learning Solution with a Content Management System, Social Collaboration, Gamification and Full Library



Interview with Becky Sterling, President and Dena Bartlett, Co-Founder and COO

Becky Sterling



CD2 Learning


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 23, 2015


CEOCFO: Concept behind CD2?

Ms. Bartlett:  In 1997, we started a training company to fill in the curricular gaps for nursing students preparing for the licensure exam. Because this exam changed every three years, nurse educators struggled to keep learning current. We served a population of 250 thousand nurses annually. We intimately knew the industry's pain points of developing, scaling, and delivering content online and shared in these frustrations. After selling the company in 2008, it became clear we could develop a better system by designing it ourselves, so we did. CD2 Learning (Content Driven Delivery) was designed differently to bring a new experience to the marketplace.


Our concept started by redefining the way we looked at content. That is our difference. We don't view content as something limited to a textbook or an article, but as an asset that can be repurposed and reused throughout the learning process. With content in mind, we built a content management system and coupled that with features of a learning management system. Next, we added a simulation and gamification engine, social collaboration, and a full library component giving companies the ability to share content and repurpose it in different ways for today's workforce and learners. We have also strategically created a toolkit that covers the employment lifecycle from onboarding to career path tracking, coupled with a leadership training library.


Ms. Sterling: The initial design was as an extended enterprise system allowing clients to train employees internally and customers externally. This allowed companies to reach an audience that they were unable to previously. We soon recognized the real value was in providing an entire ecosystem for continuous learning. What we were really offering was the opportunity for organizations to easily create engaging content, store it in one repository, and search for it easily. Plus, we offered a solution to the biggest frustration and expense of all, finding and making changes. For the first time,  clients could quickly make a change just once and publish it everywhere!


CEOCFO: Common thread?

Ms. Sterling: Yes, our clients have a couple things in common, their content is a high priority and they have a specialty training need. Whether our clients are working with their employee or customer base, they want an easy way to create relevant, high quality, and engaging training that can easily be delivered and repurposed. 


CEOCFO: Typical engagement?

Ms. Bartlett: There is no one typical form of client engagement, but here are some examples. We have one large corporation that uses our product to develop high-tech avionic training. One of their needs is to provide content on a device neutral basis that simulates the experience of the cockpit, while delivering content that is meaningful trackable and useful.


Ms. Sterling: Another client is a 30 year old leadership training company. By using our content development tools and simulation engine, they were able to repurpose 30 years of content, then deliver it in an engaging and compelling experience to an otherwise unreachable audience.


CEOCFO: User-friendliness?

Ms. Bartlett: We started out in a philanthropic way by delivering online learning to a user base whose demographic was older by nature. We learned to simplify delivery and developed a motto of "three clicks or less to get to where the end-user needs to be." We spent a lot of time and effort in that arena.


CEOCFO: How do people find CD2?

Ms. Sterling: When our clients or prospects are searching the internet, they are generally looking for learning, content management, or content authoring. Or maybe, they are looking to improve their talent development solutions, that would also bring them to us. We reach out to customers by being active in industry networks, at industry conferences, and a number of clients have found us through awards and recognition we've received.


CEOCFO: Are people surprised?

Ms. Sterling: Yes, they are surprised at the breadth of our offering. We are deep in content and learning management, talent development, social collaboration and our own built-in content authoring/simulation tool. Usually one, if not more, of those come as a surprise. They come to us to find answers for what they need, but then they get introduced to the rest of the ecosystem.  


Ms. Bartlett: When clients compare us to other systems, we frequently hear, "you're like the Cadillac of systems." So, it is safe to say there are many pleasant surprises.


CEOCFO: Utilize one component?

Ms. Sterling: Eventually most people take advantage of several capabilities, but before embracing  the entire system, they may start with one or two components. Having multi configurable components allows us to adapt to our customer’s needs in phases versus making customers adapt to an off-the-shelf product.


CEOCFO: Some areas not taken advantage?

Ms. Bartlett: One component we've been focusing on is a collaborative process map that includes social collaboration. We are just starting to see this take off. As an agile technology, we don't wait for the masses to catch up before we are on to the next improvement or design. We value client feedback and often use their input to steer our future roadmap.


Ms. Sterling: We also just launched version 2.0 of CD2's Moment In Time mobile application. In today’s connected world, information rapidly becomes dated.  With Moment In Time (M.I.T.), you can take advantage of our mobile responsiveness to leverage those experiential moments, push them out to groups, and collaborate in real time.


CEOCFO: Proprietary content?

Ms. Bartlett: Our system is based on roles and permissions. Companies can identify certain personnel who are in charge of specific responsibilities. It is all part of our partnership approach. We don't just hand over a software program. We work in collaboration, truly understanding their business needs and helping them achieve success from the beginning.


CEOCFO: How is business?

Ms. Bartlett: Business is great and we are excited! We love the fact that we are offering something new to this marketplace, something that has been missing. Organizations are still using LMS systems from twenty years ago. It's rewarding to be a thought leader and solution provider in this industry today.


Ms Sterling: I would add that from the analyst reviews and meetings we've had, we are confident that we are in the right market at the right time.


CEOCFO: How do you reach out to people?

Ms. Sterling: We attend conferences, participate as presenters, and get involved in local industry chapters. Through our sales and marketing arm, we have become part of the communities focused on training and development, content management, and improving on performance management from onboarding to career pathing.


CEOCFO: Do people become confused with your many components?

Ms. Sterling: Remember, our solution was designed to be different. We are the first of a kind and that requires some introduction. We generally start with an entry point, the stand-alone components that address the client's needs.


Often they become excited about the growth potential and then we have to peel back to a starting point. We focus on listening to our clients and what they need, then match that need to what we offer without overwhelming them with things they don't need at this time.


Ms. Bartlett: We try to simplify at the introduction, but customers inevitably call back to set up another meeting with yet another department head. We really work to drive home the message that "you can start small and grow."


CEOCFO: What do you look for in your people?

Ms. Bartlett: Our technology is so innovative that people are surprised to hear we are from Kansas City and not Silicon Valley. The truth is, our team is a talented group with  that solid Midwestern work ethic. We work with a local college and have an internship program that brings in the best and the brightest. Our mission statement includes a pledge to provide simple solutions for complex issues to maximize long-term value for our clients. We foster relationships and get to know our clients at a personal level. We are here to serve our clients, and their businesses, successfully.  


CEOCFO: Why choose CD2?

Ms. Sterling: Eighty percent of organizations are aren't satisfied with their current system. That was us too!  The solution we designed is intentionally different. We define content differently and allow our clients to break it down to the most granular sense by tracking analytics to the click. Despite our broad offerings, everything we do simplifies and solves clients' problems.


Ms Bartlett: We have been in online training since 1997. In the beginning we were scoring by using old scantron sheets, then sleeping on cots all night to ensure the program was running so we could post results and content online the next day. Our clients today benefit from our many years of trial and error. We are committed to continuing our innovation and to providing a better way of delivering a new system of engagement.


CEOCFO: Final thoughts?

Ms. Sterling: Everything we have just talked about is included in a single solution that was developed by one team, our team.  For companies overwhelmed with multiple systems and different providers, this concept is a game-changer.


“Our clients have a couple things in common, their content is a high priority and they have a specialty training need. Whether our clients are working with their employee or customer base, they want an easy way to create relevant, high quality, and engaging training that can easily be delivered and repurposed.”
- Becky Sterling


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