Tag Archives: blogging

Content v Technology

Since the Learning Technologies Conference and Exhibition, there have been some great blog posts pondering on the results and looking to the future. I was also interested in the short Voxpops interviews (Voxpop1, Voxpop2) with a selected few from the event. The question posed to interviewees was “What changes would YOU like to see in L&D for 2011?” I was going to do a short review of what people said in their interviews but instead thought I’d just capture the main points in the Wordle you can see above.

It’s interesting that the advice for L&D is to focus on the learning, the learners, the business goals, performance based.  Surely that shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone and it’s a shame that we needed reminding.  There was a lot of references to the learning being effective.  Quality certainly should be at the heart of developing our staff.  In order to produce quality learning we need to make sure the learning is relevant, learner-centred, bite-sized with plenty of practical application and which can be assessed in a more realistic method that handing out quiz questions no matter how you dress them up.  It’s our responsibility to help people learn to do their jobs well which has a direct effect on the bottom line.  We shouldn’t be teaching them how to pass tests – where’s the learning in that?  Give them work-based projects instead.  Help them feel they are contributing.

At the same time as calling for more effective learning, there was also a call for it to be more efficient and to make use of more online learning.  The danger of taking our effective courses online is we may leave out what makes it effective in the first place.  That’s all the learner-centred stuff.  The conversations, the group work, the feedback, the questioning, the collaboration.  Where will that all go?  So they become efficient but now their ineffective.  Efficient without efficacy actually leads to more inefficiency.  Without good quality learning, people won’t learn well (or at all in some cases).  So what happens?  They make more mistakes in their work and/or have to retrain.  If they retrain using the same ineffective materials as before, what’s going to happen?  Yep – a never ending circle.

What’s encouraging is the recognition that training – the formal stuff – is only  a small part of the development of individuals in the workforce but it’s what happens after they’ve had the formal training that really embeds the learning.  We’ve heard a lot about formal training accounting for only 20% of our knowledge on the job. The rest being attributed to informal learning.  However, there’s a little more to it than that as Clive Shepherd points out in his ‘The New Learning Architect’ but performance support will be the cement that makes the learning stick after the formal events have long past.

What I also found interesting from the Voxpops (considering we were at a the Learning technologies) conference was the low key references to using technology for learning.  Oh yes, there was a whole floor at least dedicated to technology but when speaking to the L&D people not the vendors, there was little emphasis on using new media or more technology in their solutions.  James Clay’s post ‘Focus on the technology or not’ puts it brilliantly.  He says:

… it is vital that practitioners are aware of the potential and availability of technology. When they know what is available and importantly what it is capable of then they can apply technological solutions to their learning problems.

L&D should more than capable of designing an effective solution that meets adult learners’ needs but a more efficient delivery means the more likely it has to include new technologies thus creating a huge skills gap. It’s no longer about content versus technology but about content AND technology. In this media filled world where people are always connected and will find it very difficult to avoid using technology to communicate, work, rest and play we can no longer separate the two. We need to think of the technology as the enabler. L&D really need to become more tech savvy and keep up to date with research. They need to try things out and exercise their creation and innovation muscle. Think about using technology not normally considered a learning tool for a learning activity (see Milo). I know we shouldn’t try and shoe-horn a particular piece of technology into a learning solution just for the sake of it but if people are already using the technology in their working or personal time, isn’t it about time we can help them continue to use them for learning.

To quote again to James’ post:

you have to start from somewhere and by explaining the potential that learning technologies offer, you are starting from a good place that will open minds to future potential and possibilities

Overall, the message I got from listening to the VoxPops was that following a logical blended approach to designing learning solutions in organisations is definitely the way L&D can become more than just the ‘training department’.  L&D can become the cement that holds the organisation together by becoming more cultivators of learning.  Helping learners learn for themselves and providing more performance support.  By increasing their knowledge, understanding and skills in using new media tools for more efficient delivery of learning, L&D will ensure their longevity in the organisation by becoming an integral part of the bricks and mortar.  Organisations will pay a high price if they don’t invest more in their L&D professionals.

Pipped to the post

Following on from my previous post where I reflected on my own visit to the Learning Technologies exhibition in London Olympia last week, I felt the need to catch up on the Twitter backchannel to help me get a feel for what was said at the conference on Level 3. The conference was rich with my learning gurus and those who would soon be on that guru list.

If anyone wanted to be convinced about the value of Twitter, this is definitely one example. It was (almost) like being there again but this time I had the luxury of checking out the links within the tweets for further information. Hail the backchannel. And hail @learninganorak who did a stirling job of Tweeting updates throughout the two days (I honestly don’t know how you do it – you must have bionic fingers).

From there I was able to catch up on various blog posts reflecting on the event both from the conference and the vendor floors. Everyone has a different perspective but there was a common theme about the mis-match of focus between floors as I mentioned in my previous post. Then I thought – hey, how about collating all these blog posts in one place and sharing them.

It was such a brilliant idea that I was pipped to the post by Cathy Moore. It certainly saved me a job. So rather than me repeat the super job Cathy has already done why don’t you check it out for yourself. And just so I feel I have contributed to the list here are a few more. Happy catch-up.

e-Learning Centre’s review
Craig Taylor’s reflections
Nowcomms Learning Technologies exit poll (an interesting read)

Resolutions galore!

Who has made their new year’s resolution? I’m still wondering what mine shall be. Normally they’re quite easy to keep because I always resolve not to make one because I just break them. This is because they usually involve dieting, exercise, more work-life balance etc.

Again, I haven’t made a definitive resolution but rather set myself some goals. One of these is still about trying to achieve a better work-life balance but this is already going to be an up-hill struggle because my work is my obsession. However, in an attempt to succeed I’m going to share them with you. Some goals are professional goals and some are personal (there’s a balance already!)

For those of you who have read my bio, you’ll know that one of my neglected hobbies is field archery. This year I’ve decided get back into it slowly concentrating on marked distances only when allows me to concentrate on my form and just enjoy the day.

But my main goal, by way of maintaining blogging momentum, is to set myself a specific time each week to write at least one blog post and to make better use of Evernote for drafting these. I’ve started a logical plan (a bit late as it has been a year since starting blogging). If I get the time to blog more than once a week then, hey – I’ve exceeded my own expectations.

Is that balanced enough?

What’s your new year’s resolution?