Case Study

Designing people-centric learning to further optimize human capital

How Villanova University is transforming workforce training and development by leveraging Bridge to standardize learning processes

The Objective

Not unlike many other higher education institutions of its size and reputation, Villanova University needed to solve for what has now become commonplace for organizations across the board - workforce development.  End-to-end, standardized, effective employee training and development that addresses processes such as onboarding to much more individualized, purpose-driven learning such as skills and knowledge development. Regardless of public or private affiliation, industry or vertical focus, many organizations are finding themselves having to pivot their traditional forms and structure of learning and development to account for and address the new requirements of the ever-evolving needs of the new workforce. 


“As the main training and development function here at Villanova University, I’m tasked with building out training tracks that enable our employees to learn about systems, processes and policies. Since 2013, when  our training function was established, we have worked to build content, technology and processes to support the development of our employees.  From the first day in a new role, through their continued journey, our employees need to have training and development to ensure they are successful. This was a consistent request and need that came from across the institution - Office of the Provost, Compliance, Dining Services, Public Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, and many others. What used to be an extremely disparate and manual process is now much more standardized. Employees are funneled through a more cohesive experience, the content and tracks are aligned under a central umbrella,” says Jennifer Derry, Director of Training & Staff Development at Villanova University.


The team at Villanova University was looking for an employee workforce training and development solution that would:    

  • Scale easily to address for a broad range of departmental and individual learning needs
  • Efficiently engage employees on policies and procedures to ensure compliance to regulatory requirements
  • Blended content options allowing for numerous learning modalities
  • Real-time insight into learner completion to meet audit and compliance requirements 

Villanova University’s Approach

Motivated by an ever-increasing shift in workforce dynamics, and prompted by a deepening need to further report on increased compliance metrics, Jennifer Derry and the training team at Villanova University looked to establish processes through a flexible system that would enable quick, up-to-date delivery of content and learning services to meet to the various needs across the organization. “We provide learning and development for all our departments that that allows employees to engage with learning tracks targeting risk and compliance management efficiently while freeing up human capital to better address other aspects of the roles employees were hired for. We now have a way to train for the ‘required stuff’, whether board-mandated or federally mandated. With higher ed more regulated now than ever before, it’s a new environment for a lot of us. We're accountable for more and we have to have a reliable way to not only assign training, but to ensure that it's being completed, and then to report on it,” says Derry.  


Additionally, the rapid change in the makeup of the workforce prompted how Derry and her team address training programs for employees at Villanova. With tenured employees retiring, professional development opportunities were often tablestakes as new employees joined the Villanova team. “We have earlier-career professionals who expect to be developed here. I receive requests every day for all types of training and recommendations for development. As a steward of higher learning, we are responsible to provide those opportunities. Our employees love working here, but for them to move forward in their career, they need to be able to find development opportunities.  The data from our exit survey  was telling me that former employees just didn't feel like they were going to find that here and it creates an imperative to me, as someone invested in the development of our talent, to do something about that. Community and unity is ingrained is everything we do here at Villanova.  Our core values are ‘Veritas, Unitas, Caritas’, which literally translates to Truth, Unity, Charity. Our people, culture, mission, and values are centered on a sense of community. We have to create a culture and community of learning.”    

How Villanova University Measures Success

  • Centralized, sustainable learning - “In a decentralized environment like ours, being able to gather all learning for employees under a single umbrella system, like Bridge, allows for better, more efficient development. Our employees are empowered to use a tool that makes their jobs easier and creates shared learning experiences, both in person and online.. To me that’s success,” says  Jennifer Derry, Director of Training & Staff Development at Villanova University. With the Bridge employee-centric learning and development solution, the Villanova Training & Staff Development team has invested in a long-term partner who can deliver:
    • The ability to increase awareness of compliance, safety and risk management
    • Increased standardized knowledge flow across departments and teams, while maintaining alignment and focus on the University’s goals
    • Personalized learning experiences with “just in time”, relevant content through targeted training tracks
    • Promote a culture of continuous learning and development
  • Action-driven reporting - “We were all struggling being buried in spreadsheets and clunky reports. We had managers constantly calling us and asking about the performance of their team - which courses and classes had they completed. Not to mention, when regulatory entities, the likes of OSHA, make an appearance requesting access to training records. We used to have filing cabinets and desk drawers with sign-ins and Excel sheets as our training records for all the live trainings. Managing these types of manually intensive processes takes up valuable time that can be better spent on other activities.” Bridge’s insightful analytics provides real-time contextual data to support strategic initiatives that provide immediate impact but also pave the path for long-term, foundational changes.        


To learn more about how Villanova University is preparing tomorrow’s workforce with technology-first, impactful learning and development with Bridge Learn, contact us at [email protected] or 877.576.5364.