Who in the world is a Chief Learning Officer?

October 31, 2019

And how do they drive learning within their organisations?

We have heard of CEOs, CTOs, CFOs and more. But who in the world is a CLO or Chief Learning Officer?

The new abbreviation on the block has emerged, thanks to global organisations revisiting their learning & development strategies. From being an ignored ancillary wing attached to Human Resources, organisations have realised the importance of L&D in creating a skilled and profit-generating workforce.

Chief Learning Officers lead these L&D teams. While this is still a new term, it is catching on!

So, what is a CLO? What do they do? How do they build the learning wings at various organisations? Let’s take a look!

How to become a good Chief Learning Officer?

If you are a part of the learning and development team in your organisation, you can elevate yourself to the role of a Chief Learning Officer. But, this is not a small task.

A CLO differs from any L&D team employee in many ways. The CLO is the brain and brawn behind all learning innovations in the organisation. They help the entire workforce take a hard look at themselves and upskill in a way that matters. This is not an easy path to take as organisations rely on simple and traditional learning methodologies. But as a CLO, you put on your employee-first cap and ensure that you get the best solution. This might be new in the market, untested and risky. From pitching this idea to implementing and scaling it, the CLO is driving the learning plan.

Here is a deeper dive into the traits needed to become a good CLO.

Empathetic, intuitive and inclusive

CLOs are empathetic, intuitive and inclusive. They understand a diverse workforce and find ways to upskill them. They connect with the employees on an intuitive level and help fill in the learning gaps. Being an inclusive team-player, they choose adaptable learning solutions for various special use-cases. For instance, accessibility solutions for people with disabilities. Or providing extra multimedia resources for people with alternative learning styles.


The CLO communicates across a broad spectrum – with leadership and stakeholders, employees, vendors, etc. This is the key to finding, pitching and implementing the right solution across the organisation.


In today’s tech-savvy world, it only makes sense to incorporate modern solutions for learning. Instead of depending on time-tested practices, CLOs innovate. They keep an open mind to change. A good CLO pushes for scalable learning that suits the workforce and has the largest impact.


The Chief Learning Officer is not your average employee. They have a huge appetite for risks. They go above and beyond their call of duty to elevate the workforce learning solutions. They are brave about exploring new paths with their grit and determination.

Leading from the front

CLOs are leaders who reinvent themselves first, even before addressing the enterprise. Not only do they adopt the best practices to transform the organisation, but also inculcate a learning mindset. They empower employees to take ownership of their learning path.


We may have encountered learning champions across organisations. But, being a Chief Learning Officer in today’s times is a lot harder. Our world is changing. Upskilling and upgrading the workforce is a gargantuan task in this landscape. CLOs understand that learning is a lifelong journey of discovery, unlearning and relearning. They stay adaptable to changes that happen in the business, the world and workforce. As long as we have Chief Learning Officers motivated by curiosity and change, we will witness a sea-change in the learning landscape.


Are you interested in being the driving force of learning in your organisation? Write to will@newcampus.co. If you are an individual looking for a learning membership, head here.