Excellence in Technology Innovation

Excellence in Technology Innovation recognizes vendors that have rolled out an innovative learning technology for a client such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, apps, video, social collaboration tools or games and simulations.



Hilton knew it needed to modernize its approach to design experiential learning in order to build empathy for roles that are often overlooked, as well as deliver a more cost- and time-effective way to introduce the value of hospitality to new team members. Hilton decided to work with SweetRush’s emerging technologies team SPARK to create a virtual-reality-based learning experience. Hilton received assistance navigating how to evaluate and select VR technology for the Business Immersion learning program. Once the complex process of creating VR began, SweetRush and Hilton went through a series of phases, including allowing learners to move their body in a virtual space.

Within this interactive experience, the learner must do the work of others, including kitchen workers, housekeeping and the front desk. Throughout, understanding and empathy is built for those who fulfill these demanding roles. Additionally, the virtual environment can give guided help.

Learners tested positively — 85 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they gained more empathy/appreciation for hotel team members, the company said. Additionally, 79 percent stated they agree or strongly agree the experience will impact their corporate work.



STRIVR helped 200 Walmart Academies out with the old and in with the new through implementation of virtual reality training to teach and train employees after the company began facing business challenges.

Derek Belch of STRIVR.
Derek Belch of STRIVR.

Those challenges revolved around preparing store associates and store managers for their first six months on the job. Not to mention, training methods were getting costly, and the turnover rates were high among store associates. That’s where STRIVR came in.

After identifying its learning strategies, the two collaborated to design the training scenarios and curriculum. While Walmart brought the SMEs, STRIVR brought the VR expertise. The development included STRIVR’s team of solutions architects, data scientists and engineers creating the training curriculum in four weeks. The initial test occurred at 30 Walmart academies where employees were trained on how to use VR software and devices, with STRIVR going onsite for accurate set-up. Now, employee satisfaction has improved by 30 percent and Walmart has expanded the VR program to reach 140,000 employees per year with plans to expand training to encompass soft skills training such as conflict resolution for managers.



After Paychex executives noticed a distinct lack of women in leadership roles at its organization, it launched a career mentoring program by matching women in leadership roles to high-potential women at the company. The framework, facilitated by Chronus mentoring software, focused on ways to design, attract, connect, guide and measure potential leaders. The program was monitored on an admin dashboard allowing feedback by way of surveys so Paychex could see what aspects were thriving and what needed to be corrected efficiently. In just two years, according to the company, participants have achieved a 94 percent retention rate and are 12 percent more likely to see a change in position.



To help children and adults gain a better musical education, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra partnered with D2L to design video teaching resources to put students in the middle of the orchestra while also providing a comfortable lesson plan for the teacher. After enlisting the help of D2L’s Learning and Creative Services, which helped create the digital design and build the video player technology, the two recorded 10 concerts from multiple camera angles with more than 100 musicians and distributed it to Canada Mosaic, a digital learning site. The format featured embedded videos, easily digestible learning modules and integrated lesson plans. As a result, more than 40 TSO performances have been recorded for future use and 10 teaching modules have been created for schools.

Brooke Pawling is a former Chief Learning Officer editorial associate. To comment, email editor@clomedia.com.

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