Four Sessions at COGNITION 2020 to Get Excited About

Four Sessions to Get Excited About at COGNITION 2020

Thought Industries
Sep 14, 2020 10:33:30 AM

COGNITION 2020 is a matter of weeks away. Two half-days of sessions, panels and workshops exploring the very best in customer education wisdom. COGNITION brings together a superb roster of customer training executives, thought leaders, and customers to share their strategies, experiences, challenges, and ideas. We are very, very excited.

Every single COGNITION session will bring insightful and thought-provoking ideas. But there are a few that both organizers and attendees are especially excited about. These sessions – featuring top names such as Donna Weber, Adam Avramescu, Sam Brace, Debbie Cavalier, and Patti Sanchez – are set to be truly must-attend. Together, they display the breadth and richness of the conference as a whole. Read on to get a taste for why people are rubbing their hands ahead of these sessions. 

6 Principles to Build a Successful Customer Education Program with CELab


  • Adam Avramescu, Head of Global Customer Training & Enablement at Slack; Co-Founder at The Customer Education Lab (CELab) 
  • Dave Derrington, Senior Manager of Customer Education at Outreach; Co-Founder at The Customer Education Lab (CELab) 

As the customer education industry grows, disparate practitioners have the chance to unite in developing their craft. Professionals can become strong consultants to their businesses, and develop clear, powerful frameworks for what constitutes a successful customer education program.

But what is the best way to define quality, when it comes to customer education? Is it the quality and regularity of the content you churn out? Is it the pathways you define to guide the user through using your product? Is it the customer health scores? Or is the key ensuring you have built a customer training program that grows and scales with you

Adam Avramescu and Dave Derrington, co-founders of the Customer Education Lab, are perfectly placed to get into these issues. 

Adam believes that customer education is “the scale engine of customer success.” The author of Customer Education: Why Smart Companies Profit by Making Customers Smarter, Adam has made it his mission to help companies unlock customer retention and loyalty through effective education programs. Dave, meanwhile, is focused on the art of pedagogy. He loves to make complex technology easy by learning things the hard way, organizing this knowledge, and sharing it to everyone who needs it. 

Join these CELab co-founders as they share their complimentary visions for how to build a successful customer education program.

The Subtle Art of Acquiring Extended Organizational Buy-In — Finding & Engaging Your Subject Matter Experts


It can be a challenge to get cross-functional departments engaged in the customer education process. Often, customer education can become siloed from the rest of the customer experience. Springboard Solutions, Cloudinary, and ACS Technologies are three companies that have a keen understanding of how customer education programs can drive customer and business success. 

Donna Weber’s 20 years of customer onboarding expertise has helped high-growth companies – from startups to well-established enterprises – put customers first. Weber is an absolute expert in her field, and a Marketing Trustee on the board of CEdMA (Customer Education Management Association). Sam Brace has developed innovative training and certification programs throughout his career (most recently at Cloudinary). And Sandra Neal’s experience with handling learning management systems helps clients effectively manage their churches and ministries, and change lives.

This session will bring together cutting-edge insights from a range of companies’ customer training successes. Not to be missed!

Defining the KPIs of Customer Education


  • Daniel Quick, Senior Director of Product Experience, Thought Industries
  • Tom Studdert, Vice President of Learning, Support, and Integrations at ZoomInfo
  • Christy Hollingshead, Director of Customer Education at Heap

According to the 2020 State of Customer Training Report, 43% of companies struggle to measure how customer training impacts their business. Barry Kelly, founder and CEO here at Thought Industries, is familiar with the challenges that companies face: “How do we help organizations to connect training to business metrics? Time-to-value, skill set, etc. are not traditionally data points.”

As in any area of business, you can’t succeed until you’ve defined success. Before you gather data to understand a customer education program's effectiveness, you need the right KPIs, calibrated to accurately reflect performance. It can be hard to know where to start. Will you track local metrics, like content engagement or customer surveys? Or will you analyze global metrics, like product adoption and churn?

In this discussion, our expert panelists will explore the art and science of defining KPIs to evaluate the success of a customer education program. Attendees will learn from Tom Studdert, who has been a Customer Experience professional across various sectors for over 20 years. They will gain insights from Christy Hollinghead’s fascinating experience at Heap, and hear how her passion for Customer Education and Enablement can help companies. This discussion will be moderated by our very own Senior Director of Product Experience, Daniel Quick.

The Digital Transformation of Customer Education — Meeting Your Customers When & Where they are Through Authentic Online Customer Education Experiences


  • Margo Gouley, Vice President, Program Development, The Humphrey Group
  • Dr. James “Buddy” Steele, Senior Digital Learning Strategist, Leading Analytics and Advisory Services Company
  • Dr. Chris Nekvinda, Senior VP and Director of Global Learning Operations, Cannon Financial

As a part of their digital transformation, nearly half of all companies are keen to incorporate online training within their product or platform. Regardless of the state of your corporate digital transformation journey, your customer experience is at the center and education is a critical part of that transformation.

However, just moving ILT to digital learning experiences and hoping your learners adopt, engage and get value from them is not enough. 

  • How do you bring the magic of in-person classroom training, online, effectively, that is sellable and scalable? 
  • How do you get internal organizational buy-in and cooperation and the ability to weather change management processes. 
  • Also, what worked last month may not be working today, so how do you reinvigorate your content and format strategy?

Personalized customer education experiences weigh heavily in the success of pivoting your customer relationships virtual. You need to maintain the human-centric, authentic experience for which you're known while also scaling to broaden your reach.

Join Margo Gouley, The Humphrey Group; James “Buddy” Steele, of an analytics and advisory services company on the front lines of transformation; and Chris Nekvinda, Cannon Financial, as they talk about the tipping point that brought them to bring customer education into the fold of their organization's digital transformation and how they’re keeping customers at the center. In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Deliver vILT and digital learning experiences that are both scalable and sellable
  • Meet your audience when and where they are within their experience
  • Deliver a classroom-like experience, digitally, and keep your learners engaged as content and delivery mechanisms get stale 
  • Manage organizational change and change management challenges as you go digital

Margo Gouley’s The Humphrey Group was at 98% in-person customer education a year ago. However, when COVID-19 hit, they had to rapidly transform to 100% digital. Margo’s experience dealing with this radical transformation promises to be fascinating to listen to. Dr. James “Buddy” Steele, meanwhile, boasts a career that has spanned multiple industries, including corporate development and leadership, aviation, management consulting, and oil and gas. Steele has vast experience in the challenges and benefits of digital transformation. Lastly, Dr. Christopher Nekvinda will share insights on digital transformation from his various experiences and specialties, including wealth management and eLearning design.

...And a Whole Lot More

These four sessions are going to be a lot of fun, and packed with insights. But attendees shouldn’t limit themselves. Taken together, all of the sessions at COGNITION 2020 will help individuals and companies learn how to:

  • Measure the ROI of customer training and use data-driven insights for 2021 planning and beyond.
  • Keep learners engaged in training content.
  • Leverage technologies and methodologies to help scale a training business. 
  • Determine proven methodologies from innovators in customer training and professional learning to build and transform customer training from a cost to profit center.

The worlds of customer education and professional learning are changing fast. There are more options than ever in terms of how companies create, roll out and then assess their customer education programs. This potential is exciting, but it can also be daunting. If you’re seeking to learn about how you can adapt your technology while ensuring that you generate higher engagement, product proficiency, retention and growth – then come along to COGNITION. An abundance of interactive online sessions and workshops await you. See you there!

Learn more about COGNITION 2020

Subscribe by Email